On Wednesday, January 20 at the Palm Beach Gardens, FL Marriott, 76 campers were about to have their wildest dreams come true at the Cardinals Legends camp which benefits Hire Heroes and takes place in Jupiter, FL January 20-24 at Roger Dean Stadium (Spring Training and Minor league home of the Cardinals and Marlins).
DYNASTY League Baseball is one of the sponsors of the event providing a free Cardinals Greatest Team tournament for the Campers and Legends and an opportunity to learn and try out the new DYNASTY League Baseball Online version.
In preparation, software engineer extraordinaire Jamie Hall cooked up seven Cardinal Greatest teams to choose from including:
In addition, new code was added to create the actual Greatest Teams brackets that seed, designate the home team and advance teams in the bracket.
I invited Tim Lewis and his son Ivan (named after Ivan Rodriguez) to help with the event. After lunch at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott it didn’t take long for us to spot our first Cardinal – Bruce Sutter.
Mr. Sutter sitting outside peacefully thinking back some 28 years ago as he fired one his split fingered fastballs only to have the bottom drop out under Brewer’s Gorman Thomas bat and clinch the World Championship for the 1982 Cardinals. Ivan got his photo op with Bruce and a cherished memory meeting the HOF’er with Dad Tim getting the photo credit.
The foot traffic was slow at first, but picked up a bit and I spotted Rick Horton the Camp leader, but better known as one of Whitey Herzog’s top short left-handed relievers. As many of you know from looking at Rick’s 1985 player card, he has a great hold and pickoff move (7/A/-2) that he honed in college while looking at the mirror in his dorm room.
Rick was flying around like a Cardinal in flight trying to get everyting ready for the Patio Party and Staff meeting. He was able to stop by our table and check out the interface and commented that the game looked great and he had a friend that would love the game.
Our tournament got under way with a Final four matchup with the 2004 Cardinals facing off vs. the 2009 Cardinals. Two veteran campers, both Doctors, sat down face-to-face to battle it out in a single elimination bracket tournament with Carpenter starting for the 2004 Cards and Wainwright starting for the 2009 Cards.
DYNASTY League Baseball Online will have several different types of brackets such as Sweet 16 and Final 4. The Cardinals Greatest Team tournament was a shorter Final 4 tournament to fit into the time frame.
Every game counts when you are playing in the Greatest Teams tournaments towards your Managerail ranking level. You will be awarded points based on your performance in each tournament and it will allow you to advance to a higher Managerial level rank. For example, if you are managing the Cardinals the lowest Managerial level is Jack Hendricks, a little known Manager from the 1940 season who finished last with a record of 51-78, You will aspire to reach the La Russa and ultimately the Herzog Managerial level if you prove to be a savvy Manager. You’ll have a separate public ranking for your live games as well as a prviate ranking for your solitaire games.
The 2009 vs. 2004 match-up ended up being a see-saw game that came down to the last out as the 2009 Cardinals won and advanced. Both campers caught on quickly to the game and had a blast playing it. Note that with the Online version you have your own screen, you are not sharing a screen or mouse. When your opponent goes to the bullpen or makes a substitution, a message pops up saying that the opponent is calling the bullpen or making a substitution so you know at all times what is happening.
Look! Steve Kline is right next to us at the registration desk. As Steve made his way to the elevators I approached him and let him know about our Cardinals Greatest Team tournament. I invited him to play and Kline remarked “You need to get Mike Matheny to play! Do you have the 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers?” Only Steve Kline can be this daffy and hilarious. Kline is a throw back to earlier times when the players spent time in the locker room lighing players feet on fire and a whole array of pranks. Kline asked if the 2004 Cardinals won and one of the Doctors said “Kline you just gave up a HR and lost me the game for my 2004 Cardinals.” I told the left-handed Kline that the Doctor had left him in to pitch vs. three straight RH batters.
The pitcher who is the “poster boy” for the OFF Situation rating (rarely walks the lead off man) strolled by next. I’m talking about Bob Tewksbury who had two excellent years back-to-back in 1992 and 1993. Bob was helping us identify some of the players including Brian Jordan who looked like he still could play in both the NFL and MLB. Ivan sure is making a lot of friends isn’t he?
I just feel sorry for these campers. They are going to get smoked in the games vs. the
Cardinals Legends. Everyone recognizes our next guest who just arrived at the Marriott. The very classy Lou Brock. I told Lou as he was heading for the elevator that his 1967 Cardinals just beat the 1985 Cardinals in the other bracket with Bob Gibson pitching a shutout. Lou grinned knowlingly of Gibson’s dominance as the elevator doors closed and he waved to us. Steve Carlton continued the 1967 Cardinals pitching dominance by only allowing one run vs. the 2009 Cardinals in the Finals. Between
them, Gibson and Carlton pitched two complete games and allowed one run over those 18 IP. The new Greatest Teams brackets worked perfectly in their first test as did all the games we played. The Cardinal Legends were scheduled for a team meeting at 7:00P, but before the meeting up walked the great All-Star and Gold Glover Andy Van Slyke. I had met Andy once before in October of 1985 in the Cardinals locker room after the Cardinals clinched the Division title vs. the Cubs. MVP Willie McGee had
borrowed me his sharpie and Andy signed my prized champagne celebration bottle. After Ivan got his photo with another Cardinal Legend, we started showing Andy the new Online version. One of the first things I told Andy was how the weather effects come into play and how at Wrigley Field in the Summer the wind tends to blow in while in the Spring and Fall in tends to blow out. Andy was really interested in this and reflecting on it now I discovered that Andy
had wanted to be a meteorologist and is a huge fan of the Weather channel like myself. Andy Van Slyke and I then proceeded to make out the 1985 Cardinals lineup vs. the 2004 Cardinals in a new game. Andy caught on real fast to the interface and lineup selection and studied the ratings intently. Once the game started I moved the mouse over his defensive player ratings in right field to display the tool tips that explain the rating. “A+ outstanding Range and -3 outstanding Throwing Arm” the tool tip indicated. Andy Van Slyke nodded intently as he watched himself out in right field in Busch Stadium. Van Slyke took over as skipper of the 1985 Cardinals and I had to pinch myself a bit as I felt transformed back to 1985 as we continued our DYNASTY League Baseball Online game. The team meeting was nearing, but Andy was captivated by the game as he came to bat. The dice roll came up and I winced as I saw a bizarre play result get accessed and I thought to myself “Now what?”. Van Slyke struck out on a called strike and was ejected by the umpire for arguing the call. Seemingly right on cue, the game ejected Andy Van Slyke right out of his seat into the team meeting. Andy gave me a nudge on the shoulder, stood up, and pleaded “I never was thrown out of a game!”.