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for: ‘September, 2010’

The 2010 Season Wraps : Tournament Edition

This season was a great one… It has been my favorite since we moved to Grant Park.

Things got rolling back in March when we only had 12 confirmed teams. Our waiting list had been decimated along with everything else in a free-falling economy and it looked like we’d be hitting the fields short of our 16 team capacity for the 2nd season running… but then as March turned into April, fresh teams emerged that not only brought us to capacity, but added a couple new viable teams to the waiting list… so this bodes well for a full field again for the 2011 season.

The second thing that made this season great was the almost total cooperation of the weather. Week 2 rained out… but we were able to reschedule those games to Week 16… that twist of fate paired the #1 and #2 seeds in the last game of the regular season which had some impact… but you never would have guessed it would have held that much significance back in Week 2… and then for the season as a whole, we only ended up losing Week 14 to rain-induced cancellation… This took theBuzz@RuderGroup off the books as well as Cannon@REX… but those are the twists and turns of any season… and as we typically average 3 rainouts a season, we got off really light this year… The final indication that the weather was smiling on us was when it threatened our Tournament, but didn’t deliver a knockout punch… we ended up having our first ever “rain delay” and I thought it was cool how all the base camps cheered in unison when the horn sounded for games to resume, many spent the hour of down time drinking I’m pretty sure… and the rain we did get ended up making the field conditions perfect for the remainder of the day… thinking back to ’06 when the Tourney washed out at 3 pm, trust me when I say that it’s a lot easier when you get it all decided on the one day… Allow this paragraph to be a sacrificial offering to the weather gods… your contributions were noticed and appreciated.

The third thing that made this season great were the (4) new teams we added in JC Anderson, Kelso-Burnett, STV and SOM… all four solid and more than we could have hoped for in a season where we added more new teams than in any season past. All of these teams caught themselves up on the traditions and the rules pretty thoroughly and did a great job of playing relaxed and getting their feet wet so to speak as they made their way through the season… also impressive was the always raised spirits of STV and SOM who had a rough go of it here in their inaugural campaigns… challenged in the WIN column perhaps, but May will be here soon enough when they’ll get another chance at it… hopefully all four of these teams will be back.

And of course the biggest story line of the 2010 season was the worst-to-first story of REX Electric… just last season they entered the Tournament as the lowest seed after a 1-11-0 rookie season, yet managed to beat the eventual 2009 Champ Ruder Group 3-2 in their first game of the Tournament. It didn’t end up amounting to anything in ’09… but once we got to the mid-point of this 2010 season it became apparent that REX Electric had figured some things out… and their roll continued, hampered only by a tie with Clune in Week 10 and their only loss of the season to VOA in Week 15. Other than that it was perfection until the end when they ran into defending champs Ruder Group and what amounted to one bad inning… but in Design League softball, that’s all it takes sometimes to shift a season… and although they fell the one game short which I’m sure is really disappointing… they enter next season as one of the teams that you highlight when you’re looking at the schedule… a squad to be reckoned with…

In the end though it was the Ruder Group’s day once again as they stirred a brew of some pretty fine defense, which is what’s needed in a league that favors a teams ability to not allow runs to score over everything else… in 4 of their 5 Tournament day victories they allowed a grand total of 3 runs to cross the plate… and as they’re also a team that’s big with their bats, they were able to overcome giving up 15 to Cannon Design in their Final Four game by scoring 23 of their own… an impressive showing on our League’s biggest stage… and the Design League’s first ever back-to-back Champs. The League congratulates Ruder Group, best of the field in 2010.

Looking over the days results, the biggest jump that occurred from regular season standing to final standings was for JC Anderson who entered the Tournament as the #14 seed yet finished in 6th place… they missed the Final Four by virtue of allowing only 3 more runs than Cannon Design, both teams finished bracket play at 2-1. This is huge for a brand new team and like I’ve always said… all bets are off come Tournament Day.

I wanted to thank all of you for rolling with the changes as the weather affected the proceedings this past Saturday… also for doing a great job (as always) getting your garbage where it needed to go and treating the Park with respect. To all the Captains I offer my heartfelt thanks for doing the weekly coordination job that got your respective teams to the fields each week ready to play… we only had 3 forfeits this season and all were handled correctly per the rules. And one last thank you goes out to the Chicago Police Department who chose to steer clear of coming onto the diamonds where they would have had a revenue jackpot as the “open bar” setups some of you were sporting were felonious ;-) I’m also thankful to all for your cooperation regarding picture taking, I was able to get all of the 48 required pictures to give us a complete set for 2010. Thanks one and all.

The end of the season always holds dueling emotions for me… on the one hand I’m glad to not have to sweat the weather, update a website, take a picture or whatever else for a while… but on the other hand, Thursday evenings never feel right for a spell as I always miss not heading out to Upper Hutch and our softball brotherhood anymore… with only the long cold winter ahead… but May will roll around again soon enough I guess…

See you all then.

Have a great off-season.

Note; Simply type in the “comments” box below to add anything to this narrative you feel noteworthy, this is the Design League’s permanent record, all of your personal observations are both welcome and sought after here…  also find links below for sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter and all the rest…

Week 16 Update : Tournament Primer

So… here we are… last game day of the 2010 regular season is in the books with the Tournament left to be played tomorrow. Hopefully all the members of your teams read this Forum every week… but if not, this is definitely the post to forward on to all of them as it contains important info and links regarding the Tournament, particularly for all our 1st-year teams… I’m going to lead off here with the Tournament info and then finish below with a short recap of what happened yesterday.

The most important thing about tomorrow is that all (16) teams show up no later than 8:30 AM, UPPER Hutchinson, getting their drop-off rolling… you’ll need that half hour to set up your base camps as the horn for the first games of the day blows at 8:55… to that end it’s important that all (32) Captains communicate with their teams throughout the day today accomplishing whatever coordination is necessary in your particular situations. Last year we had (2) teams forfeit on the fields Tournament day which (a) really screwed all the remaining teams, and (b) got them both banished from the League… of the rules we have, DON’T FORFEIT on TOURNAMENT DAY is the most hallowed… followed closely by ‘thou shall never throw a punch’. My feeling though is that we have (16) quality teams going this year and that we’re not going to have a problem… prove me right y’all. Also to note is that even if your first game isn’t until 10, the overwhelming preference is that those teams arrive to the Diamonds at 8:30 AM with everyone else… you obviously have the extra hour for possible stragglers to arrive, but take advantage of having that first game off… Be on time. More time to get comfortable, more time to warm-up.

Regarding the weather… the forecast has unfortunately turned real sketchy all of a sudden. The good news is that it contains none of the ominous language that should get us really scared about things, although there’s a chance we might see a little water. The thing to know is, and please clearly communicate this to your players; Nothing short of a deluge overnight tonight into Saturday will cancel this Tournament. A danger that exists come Saturday morning at their homes, is that if your players aren’t aware of this fact,  they might ‘assume’ a rain out when in fact, the show has gone on… Don’t let it happen to your team… make sure they all have the website address > > If the Tournament has been cancelled, that will be the only common ground for all to access on a Saturday morning in the wee hours to find out the status.

Another important contingency here is that you plan for the possibility of playing through some rain… designate those responsible for bringing tarps to cover things you don’t want getting wet… umbrella’s for moving around with… even canopies or tents if you have them. Simply put, the forecast is such where we’re planning for some dampness… hopefully we get lucky and find the softball godz smiling down upon us.

Now let’s get into the information you need to check out today on the website… pages that have been dormant all season have now come to life… for very important info on the Tournament that hasn’t been covered in this post, check out the Tournament Info page. To view the teams you’ll be sharing a bracket with, check the Tournament Brackets page, you will play each of these teams once during regular Tournament play (9am-3pm). To check out what time your games go down at, check the Game Day Matchups page. All teams are responsible for extracting their specific schedules from this page and having their teams ready to go at the appropriate times.

As of yesterday, ALL Team pages are now complete. I would highly recommend visiting the team pages for the other teams in your bracket… PRINT THEM OUT and have them with you. The names on those pages represent the players that should be on the field. Always be prepared against ringers…. nothing personal here but it has been known to happen… and for those of you in the bracket with JC Anderson, their picture was just taken yesterday and I’m awaiting annotation… I’ll send an email out once that info has posted.

One of the things that is noted on the Tournament Info page that I wanted to double emphasize here would be… EVERY TEAM is required to have a print out of the Rules with you on Tournament Day. You can access the .PDF printable version of the rules here. Read over the rules at some point today… read certain rules a few times… like the ‘close call’ stuff and the ‘rules on the bases’ passages… and remember, ONLY Captains argue the rules on the fields, players should step back and observe. If it’s unavoidable, you can come to me and I’ll act as an arbiter to the best of my ability… but make this a last resort as you consider my inherent conflict-of-interest… if you still decide to come to me and there’s enough evidence for a ruling to be made… I’m going to make it, for better or for worse… and PLEASE, don’t argue the rules if you don’t know the rules, it just wastes time… and MOST IMPORTANT > If a conflict comes up in a game and you play through it… rendering any future ruling moot… than that’s the way it goes… In other words, many disagreements need to be decided just as they’ve happened… play on and any ruling becomes irrelevant… weigh the time it would take to find me, against the time you would lose from your game and compromise… use the ‘close-call’ rule, whatever you need to do…

New teams > Please make a note of the tie-breakers found at the bottom of the Tournament Info page. The key fact to note is that Least Runs Allowed then Most Runs Scored supersede Head-to-Head within the bracket.

That’s all I have on the Tournament right now… if I’ve missed anything or you have any questions, feel free to get in touch… I also might be updating this post (or the web) today if necessary, so keep an eye on your inboxes.

Week 16 Update

From a personal standpoint, I wish yesterday never happened… my Dogz paid dearly for our 10-7 loss to kings of the hill REX Electric dropping two seeds down to 4th. But looking at things from the League’s perspective, excitement was added as 3 of the 4 top seeds changed places. In the ‘we’ll never know’ department, defending champs Ruder Group moved up 1 to the 2 seed courtesy of a Kelso-Burnett forfeit… while Clune Construction moved up 1 to the 3 seed via an 11-8 win over SOM.

Also pulling off the double leap-frog was Power Construction who finished the season on a 4-game winning streak with a 13-12 win over a VOA team that needed to brace up their lineup with Ruder Group players that were orphaned by their own forfeit. Power jumps past Perkins&Will who played to a 6-6 tie with theBuzz as well as Goettsch who dropped their last game of the season 6-5 to Gettys Group. Cannon moved up a notch to the 6 seed with a 10-3 win over Old Stylin’… and I have to send out a sportsmanship tip-of-the-hat to JC Anderson who could have forced an STV forfeit… but instead gave them enough players to make it a game and then played them for real… an official game. JCA ended up winning the game 10-9 which I guess you could say cut it really close… but that was a straight up classy move in my book… All said and done though, there was no movement on the Leaderboard 12 through 16.

So that’s all I’ve got for right now… please remember to forward this post on to your players… and if you’ve read this far, CLICK HERE then hit SEND.

Good luck to all of you tomorrow… this has been one of my favorite Design League seasons ever… now it’s time to find out who its Champion is.

Week 15 Update : Mayhem & Carnage Edition.

So it was bizarro world out there on the Diamonds last night… left was right and up was down… but before I get into that I wanted to start the preparation for this coming week, which of course holds the 2-day finale of our 2010 Season… by the time next week is over, all of us will have played 4 games, 4 of us will have played 5 games, 2 of us will have played 6 games and the Design League will have a new champion (or a repeat champion, however the chips may fall)…

In short, next Thursday is the last game of the regular season… if it were to rain, then the brackets you see today would be the final brackets going into the Tournament. If not, we’re assuming right now that all games will go down as they did yesterday. 5:30/6:30 on UPPER Hutchinson. There’s a chance we’ll get lucky and be able to run all (8) games at 6 o’clock, but we’ll plan for the former. No matter how games were to go down next week, all final scores will need to be reported to me on the field as I only have Friday to get the Big Board for the Tournament printed. From there, the Tournament is one week from tomorrow on LOWER Hutchinson. the diamonds haven’t been finalized yet but my preference is 10, 11, 14 & 15… all back to back and as close to a bathroom as possible. I’m working with the Park District and I’ll post information as I get it but most likely, all the final specifics won’t come until next Friday. That said, all you need to know right now is to have your teams out on Lower Hutchinson by 8:30 AM next Saturday.

So now back to what went down yesterday. The most bizarre aspect of things to me is that even though there were many surprises in how games turned out… only VOA and theBuzz switched seeds on the Leaderboard. From there though you have massive potential for the exchanging of seeds next week as the Leaderboard is holding a lot of bunches of teams that are close to each other, both record-wise as well as runs allowed… so there’s a lot of interest there.

The only thing we know for sure at this point is that REX Electric has clinched the #1 seed in spite of dropping their first game of the season to VOA (the winning lineup is pictured above). REX of course finished their inaugural campaign last year at 1-11-0… so nothing but praise for what they’ve been able to accomplish this season… perhaps the biggest regular season turnaround in Design League history… worst to first, literally… but as many of us know, Tournament Day is a whole different beast… let’s see now if they can parlay that 1 seed into a Championship… that’s the trick.

In other action, Goettsch dropped the Dogz 5-4 in a briskly played 7-inning game that took only 50 minutes. Clune got into a slugfest with JC Anderson yet eeked out a 15-14 win. VOA upset REX 9-3 as has been previously mentioned… and then perhaps most interesting, Ruder Group and Cannon played to a 9-9 tie that ended on a controversial call involving a Cannon base runner that was tagged out after hitting a game tying base hit after over-running the bag at 1st. Ruder Group claimed he made the turn into fair territory towards 2nd… As the play happened after the action seemed to be over… few actually saw the play in question… only the shadow knows for sure… all these scores are significant because with only one week to go, seeds 2 through 5 are still up for grabs in a very tight race.

A study of the Leaderboard also illuminates other knottings… TheBuzz is 1 game behind VOA record-wise but even with them for runs allowed… and VOA is behind Ruder Group by virtue of just a single tie and are identical to Ruder in both runs allowed and runs scored. We’ve never had to go to the head-to-head tiebreaker for the regular season, but that’s a possibility… for those interested, Ruder Group beat VOA 11-10 in Week 1 of the season… how bizarre is that? Ruder Group plays Kelso-Burnett next week while VOA plays Power.

Loosely speaking, the 1 seed as well as 14-16 are pretty much set… 2-5 are in flux… and basically, a lot of changing places could happen from 6 through 13 as well, most significant is next week’s matchup between Gettys Group and Goettsch who currently have identical records, are separated by only 8 runs allowed and are battling for the 8-seed which comes with one extra home game on Tournament Day. theBuzz is sort of stuck in-between these two packs and could move up or down… So damn… I can’t wait to see what next week brings.

One thing I know next week will bring for sure though is a lot of emails… I wish it wasn’t so but it’s what’s necessary to get 2010 in the books… Please be patient and diligent in following the threads… one more week and then you won’t hear from me again until the Spring ;-)

One way or another, best of luck to all next week… let’s play some softball, have a great time and crown a new Champion.