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Dodgers Win! Dodgers Win! Dodgers Win! : Baseball: A baby boomer, too young at the time to understand the gloom that engulfed a Brooklyn household on a dark October afternoon 44 years ago, rewrites history and rights the wrong with his computer.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The computer screen went through its machinations as “Old Time Baseball” booted to life. Suddenly, the Polo Grounds appeared.

And a baby boomer too young at the time to understand the gloom that engulfed a Brooklyn Dodgers household that dark October afternoon 44 years ago was about to right the wrong, via computer.

This time, Ralph Branca would throw Bobby Thomson a curve ball. This time, the late Russ Hodges would have to change his tune.

“Branca throws. There’s a long drive. It’s gonna be, I believe . . . “

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The next five words, uttered four times to his radio audience before Hodges came up for air, were the most painful ever heard by the Flatbush Faithful--until Walter O’Malley announced the death of Brooklyn baseball 2,197 days later.

So, here it was again, Oct. 3, 1951, bottom of the ninth, one out, runners on second and third, the Dodgers leading the Giants, 4-2, with the National League pennant hanging in the balance.

Branca throws another curve . . . and another . . . and another . . .

It took 47 curve balls--six of which Thomson hit for home runs--before the computer registered him as hitting into a double play. Too bad Hodges wasn’t there to call it.

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Somebody should do it for him:

” . . . Branca throws. There there’s a line drive. Oh! Reese spears it and shovels to Robinson. The Dodgers win the pennant! The Dodgers win the pennant! The Dodgers win the pennant! The Dodgers win the pennant!”

Take that, Russ!

Thanks to Stormfront Studios, the West Coast-based developer and publisher of the CD-ROM baseball simulation, the user can be a revisionist historian. Any number of baseball “catastrophes” can be reversed. Any team, any year, in any of 16 classic ballparks.

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“With ‘Old Time Baseball,’ we’ve delivered baseball’s past with a faithfulness and accuracy that is unparalleled,” said Don Daglow, president of Stormfront in San Rafael, Calif. “Most importantly, you, the user as the player, not only get to choose the type of pitch, but its location. And you get to hit the ball, if you choose.”

“Or, you, the manager, can make all the decisions and let the computer play the game. You can even direct the computer to simulate an entire season in less than 10 minutes.”

Teams from different eras can play each other. Just think of the matchups.

The 1916 Red Sox could meet the 1927 Yankees. Babe Ruth could pitch to . . . well . . . Babe Ruth.

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“Our unique Time Machine feature factors the various physical, strategic and statistical changes that have occurred in baseball over the last 125 years,” said Hudson Piehl, Stormfront’s technical director. “The Time Machine feature mathematically levels the field between players and teams that played under different rules and conditions.”

Available now from Stormfront, which also offers “Tony La Russa Baseball 3,” “Old Time Baseball” includes every player from 1871 to 1981, including those from the Federal League and an all-star team from the Negro leagues. Because the software in “Old Time Baseball” equalizes statistics, teams from the dead-ball days can oppose those from the post-war era.

And rewrite history:

--Fred Merkle could touch that base.

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--Mickey Owen could hold that ball.

--Johnny Pesky could throw it.

--Mike Torrez could pitch down and away.

In this game, where raw numbers can be fed to the processor, or a joy stick, mouse or keyboard used in a 3D arcade setting, almost anything is possible.

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“You can dream,” Daglow said. “Fred Merkle can tag second on that fateful day in 1908. Some of the greats like Lou Gehrig, Dizzy Dean and Roberto Clemente, gone from the game before their time, are now playing for you.”

And, remember those deals you hated?

Well, Boston, now you can prevent Harry Frazee from selling Ruth to the Yankees to finance “No, No, Nanette.”

Just say no. Take him back and put him on the Red Sox.

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But some things are impossible. The Stormfront people haven’t figured out a way to keep O’Malley and City Hall closeted until they hash out an agreement to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn.

“We’re working on that,” Daglow joked. “But you’ve got to admit we’ve got the other part of it under control.”

Indeed. Now Branca can celebrate.

And Thomson?

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Let him lie face down on the clubhouse steps and cry.


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