Webcam APBA: Next best thing to FTF

I’ve written about this before on The Baseball Zealot but the idea of using video Skype is catching on in the Illowa APBA League.  At least among some of us. 

Don’t get me wrong.  The IAL prides itself for being a face-to-face league.  Considering we have managers that live hours apart (even one that lives three states away), we manage to play at least 90% of our games face-to-face thanks to some creative scheduling. 

But sometimes our hectic personal schedules just can’t accommodate travel for a nine game series.  In such cases, hooking up over a webcam via a service such as Skype is pretty close the next best thing to being face-to-face.  Thanks goes to Teddy Ballgame for suggesting the idea earlier this year when he couldn’t make our spring convention.  He asked if anyone had a webcam they just connect up with him that way to play his series. 

Well, I didn’t have a working webcam but I was game so I purchased one to see how well it would work.  It’s not the same as face-to-face but like I said, it’s the next best thing. 

It’s better than the alternatives:

  • playing by mail (ick)
  • playing by phone (been there)
  • having someone else play your series (no thanks)

That was back in May.  I had another chance to use video Skype to play a league series.  Last weekend, my Twin City Thunderchickens had to face the Green Rock Bombers managed by our league commissioner Mike B.  It was a nine game series we had to play for October.  Living four hours apart and no time in our schedule to travel to each other’s house to play, we elected to use Skype. 

Mike and I were able to get our games in over the weekend. We decided to break up our nine game series into two days, playing four on Saturday and five on Sunday.  Saturday, we did have some network issues and kicked us off twice off in a time span of 2 or 3 hours but getting re-connected was no problem.



Our Fearless Leader


If you’re interested in doing anything like this, all that’s required is:

  • a high-speed Internet connection
  • a decent webcam you can buy or order from anywhere (I have the Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks and it works fine)
  • an account with Skype which is free

Yes, things have certainly changed from I started playing APBA…. mostly for the better.   I wouldn’t want to play ALL my league games this way.  I enjoy the comraderie of the get-togethers too much.  But this beats playing by mail by a long shot. 

PS we beat the Bombers 5 games to 4

Thomas Nelshoppen

I am an IT consultant by day and an APBA media mogul by night. My passions are baseball (specifically Illini baseball), photography and of course, APBA. I have been fortunate to be part of the basic game Illowa APBA League since 1980 as well as the BBW Boys of Summer APBA League since 2014. I am slogging through a 1966 NL replay and hope to finish before I die.


  1. I’ve done “f2f” over AIM chat. One great feature – in an AIM chat window, if you type “//roll” it will simulate a roll of 2 6-sided dice! Perfect for APBA!

    Haven’t tried webcams. I don’t think anyone in our league has one, but it sounds like a great idea.

  2. that /roll is a neat feature. I might see if Skype has that capability.

    I’d miss rollin’ the bones, tho. my cam is set on a small pole which allows me to pick it up and zoom in on the dice when I roll sixty-six. ;-)

  3. If you try it, be advised that it’s invoked by “//roll”. Note the double-slash.

  4. There are a variety of online dice rolling apps and sites meant for gaming over the web (mostly intended for RPG’s). I’ll have to look into that – I’m guessing my final series this year will be played via Skype.

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