Schulz brothers share the love for APBA Baseball - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Schulz brothers share the love for APBA Baseball

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A little more than 30 years ago a group of three brothers and three friends in Stoneboro started playing what's basically a board game for baseball fans. Those games continue today, only they've added many more players to the group.

For Ken and Darren Schulz, the sound of rattling dice is the soundtrack of their childhood. It is also a reminder of how much time they spent playing a game called APBA Baseball.

"I would say at least 80 percent. At least 50/50. I spent a lot of time with these cards," said Darren Schulz.

"Yeah we had a group of friends that we played all the way up through probably the time we were in college," said Ken Schulz.

"Some dice shakers were thrown and some words were spoken and so forth," said Darren. "Sometimes we wouldn't talk for a couple weeks, but ultimately always came back and we're still playing today."

The game itself has been around since the 1950s. The baseball version takes real teams and real players and turns their stats into a series of numbers. You roll the dice, find the numbers, and deal with whatever happens.

What the game does is help re-live some of that old baseball magic; almost a sports time machine, matching up teams from all eras nine innings at a time.

"The 1984 Pirates have a special place in my heart because that's the first set of cards that I got was 1984," said Darren. "They weren't very good, but they had some good pitching."

 What Ken and Darren didn't realize when they started looking around the internet a few years ago, there are tons of people just like them.

"It just amazes me at how many people play this game that I had no clue," said Darren. "I thought it was just a group of us six nerds so to speak that loved baseball and just totally got into it."

Every year, the Schulz boys hold a big tournament named in honor of their late mother who was a huge supporter of them playing this game back when they were growing up. The tournament brings in competitors from all over the place, with 40 at the tables this year.

"She was a huge proponent of us playing because we weren't out doing things we shouldn't be doing. She took care of us, gave us snacks, loved to hear the rattling dice," said Darren.

"When we were kids it kept us from doing shenanigans all the time. Kind of dorky, but we got it going. That's alright. It kept us out of trouble," said Ken.

Even now, more than three decades later, it keeps them coming back to the table and rolling the dice; a lifetime bond over a baseball game.

You can learn more about the game at the APBA website. The site also features an online version known as APBA GO, which offers a free trial. Ken Schulz is also an administrator for the "APBA Baseball" Facebook page if you would like to learn more about playing locally.

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