Embracing technology like no other APBA league in existence, the Summer League has become the first large-scale replay league to rely on Internet play. A test game was played May 18th via NetMeeting between two of the league founders, Greg Nims and Keith Klein. By Klein's accounts that night, "it took a few minutes of set-up, then 24 minutes and 2 seconds to play the test game." Klein's Liverpool Longhorns and Nims's Barstow Dreamers played a series over the course of the next few nights to mark the league's first official Internet games.
After 40 games it is apparent Internet play for the Summer League is not a one-season novelty, but a permanent necessity. The league must keep this commitment just to remain solvent as it will soon make a permanent exodus from the confines of the carparker office. Innovations must be embraced. Rules must be established. Technology must be learned and bettered.
Throughout this season, the league must remain in constant communication about what works well in Internet play, what doesn't work, what else should be tried, and other thoughts about how to maintain and improve the process. Without this contact, the league will be hurting its chances to keep moving forward.
Following this season, a mandatory session should be arranged to help work out all remaining bugs. Internet play in the Summer League is a reality in the present and in the future.
The Longhorns weren't that highly regarded among pre-season pundits, yet they have sprinted out of the blocks faster than any team in Summer League history with 30 wins in their first 40 games. However, the highly-touted Andrews Red Rangers have kept pace with the same formula of compete against the above .500 teams, beat up on the under .500s.
Here's a capsule of each Liverpool series to date:
vs. Hibbing - Won 3-2. We both scored 23 runs in the series. Moyer hurled an 85 game score in a 5-0, 4-hit shutout in game 2, the team's highest game score to date. Liverpool brought in Urbina to face McGwire late in game 4, the first big hitting vs. pitching confrontation of the season. McGwire homered.
vs. Barstow - Won 3-2. Liverpool was outhomered 14-5, yet still prevailed. Game times of first Internet series averaged about 21 minutes.
vs. Andrews - Won 3-2. In the three wins, Longhorns bullpen contributed 5 holds and 3 saves. Ranger Robb Nen saved game 4, the only save by any Liverpool opponent so far.
vs. Gilmer - Won 4-1. Clemens beat Maddux in game 1, striking out 15. Liverpool scored 26 runs in the series on only 35 hits. Outwalked Doug 14-7 in the series.
vs. Chicago - Won 4-1. Went 0 for first 5 stealing vs. IRod, all in game 1 (including ARod caught 3 times). However, trailing by one run in the ninth, Liverpool pinch-ran Bill Spiers and he stole third on Pudge and later scored to tie a game Longhorns would eventually win.
Supposedly, Tim Salmon kills Steve. Upset at being dissed by Swinea during '97 trade talks, Salmon hit a grand slam to key a 9th inning comeback in game 3. Despite Steve's talk about Salmon dooming him, he managed only 4 hits in 19 at bats in the series.
’Twas a series of Liverpool comebacks. Game 1, trailing 1-0, 5-run 9th. Game 3, trailing 6-1, 6-run 9th. Game 4, trailing 4-2, 4-run 4th. Game 5, trailing 5-1, 4-run 8th.
vs. Arvada - Won 5-0. Outscored Graham 41-12. Alan Hunt* negative 26 game score in game 3, allowing 22 hits in 7 innings. Stopped playing speed rules in the second inning after Hunt* was reduced to a 6, but Graham kept him in for 7 full innings in the 17-0 loss. Average game time was under 14 and 1/2 minutes.
vs. Palatine - Won 4-1. Outhomered top HR team 11-7 and outscored them 36-25. Outsweared by Bob 65-2.
vs. Windy City - Won 4-1. Amid Ken's personal attacks on him, ARod wins games 1 and 2 with late inning home runs. In each game of the series, outwalked the best walking team and team with fewest walks allowed.
Other Liverpool notes:
-- Won all 8 of their series.
-- Was 4-4 after squeaking past Joe 3-2 and dropping 2 of first 3 with Greg. 26-6 since.
-- Haven't blown a save yet. So how smart is their GM? He dangled a main relief cog, Graehme Lloyd, during trade talks with Doug.
-- In this stolen base frenetic league, Longhorns catchers threw out only 3 baserunners in the first 40 games.
No. All of the above factoids will be remembered fondly, especially if they go out and win the Spit Cup. There are still 122 games left, then the second season begins for 4 fortunate teams. The Spit Cup isn't won with a great start, as the Oz O's, Mystic Rhythm and Manhattan Project know. Good luck to all in the last 3/4's.