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THE REPLAY ZONE - FEBRUARY 2016
 
By Jeff Polman
 
February ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Check out “Twinbill”, my new baseball novel incorporating two unique replays: one with the 1938 season and one with the Negro League All-Stars in 1941.
 
ANNOUNCING THE “REDEMPTION GAMES”
 
One great thing about Strat is that it always gives you the ability to “reverse history”, to see if the Cubs can outlast the Mets in the ’69 N.L. East, or if the Washington Capitals can finally make a Stanley Cup final, or if the Bengals can top the ‘49ers in a replay of the 1982 Super Bowl.
 
Being a baseball nut, I thought it might be fun to start a continuing series of game write-ups here, featuring replays of memorable ones I grew up with. For the opener, then, why not replay the Pirates and Braves NLCS Game Seven from 1992, when Francisco Cabrera’s pinch single scored Sid Bream with the pennant-winning run to cap a last-minute three-run comeback? As it turned out, it became one of the most unforgettable Strat experiences I’ve ever had…
 
The “as played” lineups, from Oct. 14, 1992:
 
PITTSBURGH
Cole LF
Bell SS
Van Slyke CF
Bonds LF
Merced 1B
King 3B
LaValliere C
Lind 2B
Drabek P
 
ATLANTA
Nixon CF
Blauser SS
Pendleton 3B
Justice RF
Bream 1B
Gant LF
Berryhill C
Lemke 2B
Smoltz P
 
 

1st INNING

Pirates go 1-2-3.
 
Braves get a leadoff single from Nixon, but he gets picked off.
 
 

2nd INNING

Smoltz has nothing. Leadoff Bonds single, then three straight walks and a wild pitch, before a Lind double play bails him out. TWO RUNS
 
Braves get leadoff walk by Justice, but Bream kills rally with a double play.
 
 

3rd INNING

More Smoltz awfulness. Singles by Cole, Van Slyke and Bonds, and two more wild pitches thrown with Bonds at the plate. TWO RUNS
 
Braves go 1-2-3.
 
After three innings…
 
PIT 4 4 0
ATL 0 1 0
 
 

4th INNING

Smoltz falls apart. A double, single, and single send him to the showers. Marvin Freeman comes in, walks Bell and serves up a Van Slyke grand slam! Mark Wohlers tries his luck and Bonds doubles for his third hit, but Merced and King ground out. FIVE RUNS
 
Braves finally score on a Blauser single, Pendleton double and RBI grounder by Justice. ONE RUN
 
 

5th INNING

La Valliere leadoff single but Lind hits into his second DP.
 
Braves go 1-2-3.
 
 

6th INNING

Bell hit by pitch and Bonds walks, but Bucs don’t score.
 
Braves go 1-2-3
 

This has become a very dull game, and I’m seriously considering ditching it and trying a whole different matchup altogether. But I may as well play it out, right?

 
Through six innings…
 
PIT 9 10 0
ATL 1 3 0
 
 

7th INNING

Kent Mercker now pitching for Atlanta, and gets a 1-2-3 inning.
 
Braves go 1-2-3, Drabek has retired eleven in a row.
 
 

8th INNING

Two-out singles by Bell and Van Slyke, but Mercker strikes out the side.
 
Braves get a two-out single from Lemke, but don’t score.
 
 

TOP OF THE 9th INNING

Jeff Reardon now in, two more singles for the Pirates but no runs.
 
 

BOTTOM OF THE 9th INNING

And here we go. Drabek for the complete game win and redemption for Piittsburgh before they virtually go on to face the Blue Jays in the World Series.
 
--Nixon leads off with a walk.
--A passed ball gets him to second.
--Blauser hits a home run and it’s 9-3. No big deal.
--Pendleton hits a home run and it’s 9-4. A little bit of a deal.
--Justice singles, and that’s it for the tired Drabek, who is replaced by Stan Belinda.
--Bream hits a double play ball to the good-fielding Bell at short, who boots it for an error instead.
--Gant singles to load the bases. Still nobody out.
--Berryhill clears the bases with an automatic double on his own card. It’s 9-7.
--Lemke hits an RBI single and it’s 9-8.
--Greg Olson bats for the pitcher. Belinda is still the best option in the Pirates’ pen but he walks Olson.
--Roger Mason takes the ball from Belinda, Belliard runs for Olson, and Nixon lays down a perfect sac bunt to move them up.
--Blauser walks to load the bases.
--The crowd is going nuts.
--The infield comes in.
--Pendleton, already with a homer in the inning, promptly hits an X-chance to the 1e8 Jose Lind at second. As you may recall, it was Lind’s error that got the Braves’ real winning rally going in ’92. Here, instead of a likely game-ending 4-2-3 DP, I roll a “2” on the boulder for a “pound” single and the game-winning runs!
 
This was simply incredible. Not only had I never played a 9th inning comeback as impossible as this one (and I’ve been rolling Strat games since 1964), but it produced outcomes eerily similar to the actual NLCS game! Reardon also got the win and Belinda the loss in reality, and a misplay by Lind figured prominently in the inning. Francisco Cabrera with his limited at bats didn’t even have a card on my ’92 Braves roster, but a miracle happened anyway!
 
FINAL TOTALS:
 
PIT 022 500 000 - 9 14 1
ATL 000 100 009 - 10 11 0