Inside Pitch, April 87

At last, after about 18 months, we have the final results of Pennant Race.

Playoffs - Best Of 5 Games.

 Game     Expos         Giants              Phillies       Cardinals
   1      Gullickson  2 Laskey    1 9 inns  Carlton      1 Andujar   4 9 inns
   2      Sanderson   3 Hammaker  2 9 inns  Christenson  4 Forsch    3 13 inns
   3      Rogers      3 Fowlkes   1 9 inns  Horton       1 Hobbs     4 9 inns
   4      Lea           Holland             Krukow       2 LaPoint   5 9 inns
   5      Palmer        Gale                Ruthven        Mura

Expos win 3 - 0 Cardinals win 3 - 1

In what were basically tight, low scoring pitchers duels, the playoff games saw the Expos and Cardinals come through with comparative ease. Incredibly, in game terms, no doubles at all were thrown on any set of rolls which meant no big scores, thereby effectively handing over the games to the better pitchers. There was no explaining the anaemic offensive performance of the Giants I'm afraid Jim, they simply didn't hit in what were very close games and the Expos pitchers 'had good stuff'. The Phillies were little better with Mike Schmidt only producing anything like MVP form in the tight game 2. So, onto the Series:

World Series 1982 - Best of 7 Games.

Game Expos         Cardinals
   1 Rogers      2 Andujar   1 10 inns  Game MVP: Raines, Expos
   2 Gullickson  3 Forsch    1 9 inns   Game MVP: Dawson, Expos
   3 Sanderson   4 Hobbs     7 9 inns   Game MVP: Flannery, Expos
   4 Lea         5 LaPoint   1 9 inns   Game MVP: Oliver, Expos
   5 Rogers      3 Andujar   8 9 inns   Game MVP: Hendrick, Cards
   6 Gullickson  3 Forsch    5 10 inns  Game MVP: Hernandez, Cards
   7 Sanderson   2 Hobbs     3 14 inns  Game MVP: Hobbs, Cards

St Louis Cardinals Win 4-3 and are 1982 World Champions.

Well, difficult to top that - an excellent end to the season. It was a gripping Series with the Cardinals claiming their rightful place (having won it in real life in '82) at the last minute in a cliffhanger finish, having been behind 3-1 and looking beaten. The rookie Hobbs pitched superbly to win two crucial games and is named 'Miller High Life' Series MVP (shades of Bret Saberhagen in '85?). Game seven went to 14 innings and featured a great duel between ace relief men Bruce Sutter and Jeff Reardon. The Expos pitcher lost only after a Tim Flannery error at second base which allowed Hendrick to score. Expos manager Paul Townsend, who subsequently resigned in disgust to spend his last years in the Cayman Islands, offers his congratulations to Neil Roberts, the Cardinals manager. Thanks again to everyone for playing.

Despite my fears over lack of interest, The Big Bat is underway with more than the five players I was after, more are welcome. These include two American players, Chuff Afflerbach and Jake Halverstadt, probably best considered as the Godfathers of Gonzo. The opening trading round saw, umm, much diversity in the techniques used. They varied from the considered, finely tuned purchases of Mike Saul to the somewhat unsubtle cornering of the Mets market by John Harrington, seemingly a man who would mortgage his internal organs to get some working capital. We shall see which one pays off long term, I for one am interested in the outcome of the many strategies employed. The trend though is very definite with virtually all the players choosing to buy, hold or sell similar stocks. Watch out for the Mets Rights Issue.

I should note here that the interim VPs and standings will be a bit haywire until the season is into its swing, stick with the trading with a view to the season end. It only needs a team to get off to a 16-2 start to really throw the VP system into silly levels. For future reference, I am working on a system of dual dealing sessions which should enable twice the activity for the remaining rounds with the help of a few conditionals. Revised order sheets will follow.

Spring means Gonzo Baseball is with us and my Marineville Titans are raring to go in Phil Dancause's 70 game league. I had a wonderful, if expensive, time recently participating in the player draft carried out by mail with the league commissioner in Virginia. Some of the top players had been protected by last year's managers so the likes of Clemens, Mattingly, Puckett, Morris etc have been retained by their existing clubs but there was still a fine selection of players for the expansion teams and the existing clubs to choose from. My first round choice was Mike Schmidt who should still produce the goods in his last season. Certainly the Phillies think he is worth nearly $2m p.a. so it can't be too bad a choice. If it is, I have the excellent Brook Jacoby on standby. I have managed to get together a useful starting rotation with McCaskill, Ojeda, Viola and Langston but missed out on both Valenzuela and Gooden in the process. I even managed to acquire Steve Carlton but as there is no certainty that he will play this year, I may have to turn him loose to free agency. Oh, the pain. We shall see how the rest perform.

My copy of Pursue the Pennant arrived yesterday and we certainly do have a little gem here as indicated by Ellis in his review. It takes the best parts of some of my favourite games and adds some more clever features, especially in the all important fielding area. The only slight drawback is the 50-50 chance of batter/pitcher control. This still doesn't feel right because I am used to, and like, the control factors of Statis-Pro. Despite this small quibble, this could well be the optimum replay design so far. You should be able to order from the excellent Games Unlimited for about £22.

A pretty dry month for films this time, with only Stand by Me worthy of comment. Despite all the hype surrounding the title track this is a film with few pretentions and many fine points. It is basically a story of kids growing up to be adults, of lost innocence, and is extremely well told. All in all a good evening's entertainment, unlike the BAFTAs and the Oscars which saw some very iffy choices. I was particularly amazed by the Emperor's New Clothes awards which went to the pathetic Singing Detective and Life and Loves of a She Devil while the superb Monocled Mutineer went largely unrewarded. What is the world coming to?

Book of the month is Between the Woods and the Water by Patrick Leigh Fermour (Murray £13.95). A delightful travel book written with economy and skill. There is also a very good book out on the career and strategy of Earl Weaver of the Orioles, possibly the most consistent and successful of recent major league managers. I suspect it is ghost written but makes for interesting reading. About £8 from Sportspages. The Sporting News baseball guides are now available for 1987 and include the usual indispensable stats and profiles. They are also available from Sportspages at £9.95 each.

Be Seeing you.

Stop Press: Phillies get off to lightning 0-4 start, Arghhh. Sell!

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