I have been involved with the APBA computer game for 13 years now. A fellow coworker got me hooked after I borrowed a computer from my company (to remain nameless) and played the 1986 version of the game. I joined the league (The National Baseball Federation) he was commissioner of and following my 3rd season, I became the League statistician and Commissioner. The League (now in its 16th year) is a 20-team computer mail league.
Two of my young stars, Pedro Martinez and Andruw Jones
The Farmington River Rats came into existence sometime around the fall of 1993. Dan Warren, a member of the National Baseball Federation (for which I am commissioner) and who is an original member of the TCBA, asked me if I would like to join the league. Despite a slight protest (“now you’ll never leave your computer room!”) from my wife, I accepted.
I was to meet most everyone at the League’s annual meeting in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in February of 1994, but a major snowstorm prevented me from traveling from Connecticut. I had inherited a very old team and wanted to start my youth movement through the League’s Rookie Auction. I was able to land one player in the auction, via telephone. It was Pedro J. Martinez. I then traded Dennis Martinez, Lou Whitaker and Randy Velarde for Brett Boone and Mark Wohlers. Youth was added but the River Rats finished 64-98 in their first season.
In my second season, I made my way down to Lancaster to meet the guys. A majority of them were there. Here I got to make new friends, trade face to face and take part in the second live rookie auction. This time around I picked up Alex Rodriguez and Mike Hampton. I also traded a couple of pitchers for cash, thus supplying me with plenty of dough for the following season’s auction. Oh yeah. The River Rats finished 62-100 in their second full season.
I entered my third season in the League with some optimism, hoping that the team might make a run at an overall record above or around .500. Most of the optimism came from a successful and plentiful Rookie Draft in which I picked up Marty Cordova, Shawn Green, Russ Davis, Julian Tavarez and Jamie Brewington in that draft. I had recently purchased JT Snow to give me a first baseman for the future (I had John Kruk and was left with Eddie Murray).My optimism for finishing close to the .500 mark in the league didn't last long. The River Rats struggled again and finished the campaign at 67-95. My draft picks struggled as Jamie Brewington didn't even make the majors, Julian Tavarez struggled in the bullpen and Russ Davis broke his leg. Once again, it was wait 'til next year.
I entered my fourth season looking for a catcher. The previous year I failed to get Charles Johnson. This season I focused on Mike Sweeney in the draft. I never even bid on him. I spent most of money on 19 year old rookie phenom Andruw Jones. My team was desperate for some power so I acquired Carlos Delgado for Scott Karl. I also bought 2 players for cash, Edgardo Alfonzo and Brian Johnson (at least I got a catcher named Johnson!). In 1997, I traded Mike Hampton (I was really disappointed in his performance) for Mark Whiten, Jose Lima and cash. I expected to have my best season this year but not to finish above the .500 mark.
Looking back at my fourth season, I did more good than bad. My team had its best season, though being 73-88 is nothing to brag about. My acquisitions of Johnson, Alfonzo, Delgado and Jones greatly offset what appeared to be a horrid Hampton deal. Feeling good about this year's chances (fellow league members say I could possibly win the division), I made more deals. First I unloaded Mark Whiten for Rich Aurilia (I needed a back up for A-Rod). I bought Mike Stanton, to bolster my bullpen, and Charlie O'Brien, to help out my catching problem. I paid top dollar in the rookie draft to get Mike Morris (he better be worth it). The free agent draft was used for more bullpen help (Frascatore & Harris) and for depth. Morris was my main concern at the draft because I valiantly tried to acquire Tom Glavine and failed. Just before the season started, I made a blockbuster trade. I sent out Derek Bell, Marty Cordova, Midre Cummings and Darren Oliver for Bobby Higginson, Geronimo Berroa, Scott Kamenicki and Dave Magadan. It was hard to part with Cordova (he played well while I had him) and Oliver (he has some great potential) but I was overjoyed in getting Higginson. I hoped that he would be the player that put the team over the hump.
In April, I announced a deal to improve the River Rats' roster and boost our pennant hopes by acquiring Jeff Frye from the Islanders for Russ Davis. Frye will start over Bret Boone and improve the hitting for that position by 90 points. In my trade announcement to the league, I stated, "Frye's .312 average will be a big boost over Boone's .223 average. We hate to lose Davis but he wouldn't have been protected for the upcoming expansion draft, so we probably would have lost him anyway. He wasn't on our 25 man roster, so he wasn't playing anyway. He probably will get some playing some with the Islanders before Mac shops him around. With Chipper on Long Island, Russ will probably see another new address soon. We have Alfonzo at third base now and there are quite a few good young third base power hitting prospects currently in the minors. We will probably try to add one of those prospects to our team in one of the upcoming Rookie Auctions."
I added, "Although Frye is probably good for one year only, he will add to our pennant chances big time. The fans in Farmington haven't seen a winner in 4 years so I'm hoping this will finally put us over the hump!"
STATUS: Married to Rose 10-15-94; one child, Olivia - born 10-15-95.
HOBBIES: I collect compact discs (I own approximately 1,500 of them); I used to collect Baseball & Hockey cards (though now, I can’t afford to); I play softball during the summer and Dek-Hockey during the winter.
FAVORITE TEAMS: PLAYER: - Then Now -------- ----- -------------- --- Baseball New York Mets Tom Seaver Gregg Jefferies Hockey Montreal Canadiens Yvon Cournoyer No one in particular Football Kansas City Chiefs Len Dawson Derrick Thomas Basketball UConn Huskies Ray Allen
* All my favorite teams (except UConn - my alma mater) were chosen in 1969 when I was 9 years old. The Mets won the World Series, the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup and the Chiefs won the Super Bowl in the 1969-1970 Season.
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