Saturday, September 27th, about a dozen PLAAY Gamers gathered at Battleground Games and Hobbies in Plainville, MA for the second annual HISTORY MAKER BASEBALL Fall Classic Pre-PLAAY!
I met Steve Tower at his home in Walpole, MA and we headed out to Battleground Games, which is not too far from Gillette Stadium, home of the Patriots. We arrived shortly before noon, and a couple PLAAY Gamers were already there—Brien Aronov and Joe Petrafassi. We were soon joined by Fran Larkin, Charlie Sachelli and Steven Foster. Other folks who came by included Thom Goodsell, Walter Hunt, and John Began. Finally, Ken Main brought his microphone to the party—like me, Ken is an old radio guy, and he currently runs an internet radio station that does some amazing original programming.
I had conducted the “Fast Forward to the Fall Classic” back in Denver the previous week, quick-playing the final 10 games of the big league regular season with the Instant Results chart (where Kansas CIty went on a tragic losing streak that ultimately knocked them out of our event) and full-playing Wild Card play-in games (won by San Francisco and Oakland) and the best-of-five semi-final series, won by Washington and Los Angeles in the NL and Oakland and Detroit in the AL.
At last year’s event in San Diego, we played out the entire championship series for both leagues, game-by-game. For this event, though, we decided to “cut to the chase” and use a “game seven” winner-take-all format, Los Angeles at Washington and Oakland at Detroit. Fran Larkin took Washington, facing Steven Foster managing Los Angeles' "Big Blue." Brien Aronov managed the Detroit against Steve Tower and Oakland.
Both games were decided on the final at-bat, “walk-off wins.” In Detroit, Victor Martinez’ home run in the bottom of the ninth gave the Motown hosts a 5-4 win. In Washington, it went 14 innings before Jayson Werth’s run-scoring single gave Washington the win. That set up a Detroit-Washington "Fall Classic," and here’s how it played out, (PLAAY manager in parentheses)…
Game One: Washington (Steven Foster) 3, Detroit (Steve Tower) 2
Game Two: Washington (Brien Aronov) 4, Detroit (Fran Larkin) 1.
Game Three: (played solitaire by Fran Larkin) Detroit 8, Washington 1.
Game Four: Detroit (Thom Goodsell) 4, Washington (Brien Aronov) 3.
Game Five: Detroit (Steve Tower) 3, Washington (John Began) 0.
Game Six: Detroit (Steve Tower) 2, Washington (Fran Larkin) 1.
So, with champagne bottled fully un-corked, congratulations to the Motor City, home of our 2014 Fall Classic Pre-PLAAY champions!!
As an aside, multiple games were played simultaneously in order to fit the event into the time frame. Thus, we started a game seven while game six was being played, knowing that if Detroit won, it would be un-necessary. For the record, Detroit was winning game seven as well, with Brien Aronov managing the club to a 3-0 lead over Ken Main's Washington crew after three innings.
There was a post on the PLAAY Games Facebook page, asking which manager had the best record. For posterity and bragging rights, here are the final manager standings, with Fran’s solitaire game and Ken and Brien’s un-finished game seven recorded as “ties”…
Afterward, we had some “unwind” time to talk about the game, and about sports board games in general. Finally, around 6PM, we all shook hands and headed home, in agreement that “a good time was had by all!”
A special thank-you to Chase Laquidera from Battleground Games and Hobbies for accommodating us so comfortably during our event, and to Steve Tower and his wife Jen, who were such wonderful hosts while I was there. We will definitely have to make an encore visit to the Boston area!