All-State Tournament: No. 2 Pennsylvania vs. No. 15 North Carolina
Welcome back to our baseball All-State Tournament, which rather suddenly has sort of taken on a life of its own.
On a lark (as it tends to go here at JoeBlogs), I decided to try and put together the best 16 statewide All-Star teams — that is to say the best teams I could create of players born in particular states — and have them play in a March Madness-style tournament to find the best baseball state in America. The plan was to put out the state lineups and have readers vote on them and do it all as quickly as I could.
But — two things happened. One, the idea REALLY seemed to connect with readers, more than even I expected. I think the first matchup — between No. 1 California and No. 16 Nebraska — sparked the imagination. It was clear that California’s team was MUCH more talented (an overwhelming 90 percent of you picked California to win), but because this is baseball, Nebraska had more than a puncher’s chance because Bob Gibson was the Cornhusker State’s starting pitcher.
It’s always a good idea to bet on Bob Gibson.
All of this made me wonder: Who would ACTUALLY win a one-game playoff?
Obviously, we can’t know. But we can guess. And that leads to the second thing that happened: Five minutes after I posted the first matchup, the great people at Strat-O-Matic — the wonderful baseball board game that basically got me through my college years and early 20s — reached out to say that they would love to run simulations of the games and send me full boxscores and recaps.
Whoa! So, to take advantage of this bit of awesomeness, I’m going to change the format here just a tiny bit. You will still have the chance to vote for the team you think is better, and we’ll talk about those results. But we’re going to have Strat-O play out the games, and I’ll write about the results. Stick around to the end of this post, and you will get the full recap of the California-Nebraska game. Spoiler alert: The game turned out to be a classic. Who won? Wait and see.
And given how this project has expanded, we’re going to slow down the pace a little bit. We’ll run these games four days a week — from Monday through Thursday (clearing the way for the weekly Ten Who Missed on Fridays).
As I wrote before, this is a bonus for paid subscribers — we’ll continue to write our usual posts as well. I suspect that soon I’ll write a little something about Baker Mayfield getting traded to the Panthers and undoubtedly something from Wimbledon, where the men’s draw in particular has been utterly fascinating.
And since this series is for paid subscribers, I’m bringing back the special, seven-day free trial offer. Sign up now, and if after seven days you don’t like it, you can simply cancel your subscription and you won’t be charged.
Thanks all, and here’s a handy button to subscribe. Now, let’s get on with the tournament!