GREENE COUNTY — The news was something that many of us had been bracing for.
With the Winter sports postseason stopped before it could even finish, and sensible social distancing in place, the idea of there even being a Spring sports season didn’t seem very good.
And on Monday, the announcement nobody wanted to hear was heard.
No school = no sports = no fun.
In the meantime, I dug out an old baseball board game I had in my closet. I’ve played the game for years, since way back in my college days.
(Yes, kids. They had baseball back then. We smacked homers with the same clubs we used to hunt dinosaurs. Pipe down.)
I went through last season’s high school baseball statistics for each of our Greene County high schools’ baseball and softball teams, with the hope of somehow presenting a sports event — even if it was just a silly simulation on a gridded cardboard field — that we could all enjoy nearly each day in our newspapers.
It felt like a potentially nice diversion from all the sad news our readers were hearing and seeing with each passing day.
Nothing fancy. No concession stands, or fans cheering their teams on. Just a fun diversion, for anyone who wished to read it, for us all to enjoy.
To me at least, these silly board games between our local kids have become more than that. They’re a way of enjoying the exploits of the county’s student athletes one more time, with feeling.
Some area athletic directors, and a few of the coaches themselves, have told me how much they enjoy reading about these games. One coach told me that it helps him cope with not being able to be out there with his kids.
With the cancellation of the Spring sports season this year, these games have ended up being all we’ve got.
I’m willing to do these games as long as I can for you.
And I’d be willing to take your tips and suggestions on how to add even more realism to the contests, too.
Some schools didn’t list the players’ regular fielding positions on their league websites’ rosters, and so I’ve had to kinda wing it when determining just which player would be playing where.
And I had no access to any batting orders, so those are also out of kilter a bit.
The player who rated with the most potential to bash the ball into the next zip code usually bats either third or fourth in the lineup. The kid in the lineup who maybe had a better glove than they did a swing, they batted down in the batting order. I won’t list batting orders, just because I don’t want to show someone at the bottom of the batting order, for all posterity.
Besides, these games are showing me that a poorly rated hitter can take a base on balls just as good as a slugger! A walk is a walk, even on cardboard.
If there’s anyone out there who would like to take some ownership to the lineups and who plays where, I’d gladly take your suggestions to heart.
These games are for you. All of you. The coaches, the players, the fans, the A.D’s. … the seniors.
Anyone affected by this stupid virus, if the games help you to distance yourselves from the hurt and pain, I hope I can present something that each of you can enjoy … or at least laugh at.
I don’t mind being the butt of your jokes.
“Did you see that Bombatch actually listed Dombrowski as a clean-up hitter? What the heck was he thinking?”
It’s all good.
I’ve got 72 games scheduled out, all between the Greene County area baseball and softball teams of Beavercreek, Bellbrook, Carroll, Cedarville, Fairborn, Greeneview, Legacy Christian, Xenia and Yellow Springs.
These games are for you, and I’ll continue to play them as long as I can.
Send your playing positions, lineup cards and simulated ball game suggestions to Sports Editor John Bombatch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, as always, to ASG Games (asggames.com) for enabling us to have some simulated baseball and softball fun.