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for: ‘September, 2011’

2011 Season Wraps : Tournament Edition

Sorry its taken me a bit longer than usual to post here with this final game day update of the year… truth is, I’m burnt out a little… not on softball, but rather organizing softball, which got really tedious here at the conclusion of this season… I’m sure most of you are as sick of reading emails as I am of writing them… so thanks for hanging in there with me to the bitter end. It made a big difference towards keeping the train on the tracks.

For the second straight year, our Tournament Champion arrived at the Final Four having only given up 2 runs. The Tournament is inevitably about defense and Cannon Design exhibited that in spades this past Saturday. In fact, they gave up less runs in 5 games (10) than any other team did in 3 or 4 games… pretty amazing.

In the top of the 1st inning of our Final Four game, the Dogz started with a deep ball to left that had triple written all over it, Cannon’s left fielder ran it down with an amazing over-the-shoulder catch… next batter, a line shot at the pitchers head… which he snags… third batter hits a hard shot to the hole at short, a base hit against most other teams, Cannon’s fantastic shortstop sticks it and shotguns a throw across to their sure-handed 1st baseman. As an opposing Captain it gets you thinking ‘oh shit’… and that’s more or less how it worked out as Cannon dropped theDogz 10-5.

And then one last twist of fate to find out that the other Final Four game had ended with #9 Clune knocking off the #1 seeded Dobbins Group… No need to change fields, the 2-seed was now the trump card. Clune traveled the Upper Hutch diagonal crossing from Diamond 2 to Diamond 4 for the title game, which got under way around 4:30 with a bright sun in the right field sky. Clune looked a little tired from the outset, it’s a longer road to a championship game from the #9 seed. They advanced from their bracket at 2-1, which is always more stressful and then they switched diamonds to play a team that had won 16 straight. Lost in all of this was the fact that Clune hung the only loss on Dobbins Group they experienced this year… but that they did… for the right to take that long walk over to Diamond 4 and a shot at the crown…

They were a bit gassed though… and Cannon seemed cool, calm and on a mission… which was how it worked out… a valiant effort on the part of Design League vets Clune Construction, but in the end, this was Cannon’s day… Final Fours in ’06, ’07 and ’10… but here in 2011 they’ve finally reached the promised land and grabbed their 1st Design League Championship since the move to Grant Park.

Congratulations on a great season.

On a side note, from my own perspective of having had the Dogz lose to Cannon in the Final Four game, a chain-of-events revealed itself as I thought about it in the aftermath that seems to give weight to the importance of your regular season seed’s influence on your chances on Tournament Day. One scenario that’s quite possibly true is that Cannon Design was just unstoppable this year, regardless of what their path to a title ended up being. On the last day of the regular season though, Cannon (#2) dropped a 3-2 game to 11th place Gettys Group. That should have dropped them from the 2 to the 3 seed, however the Dogz (#3) ended up tying 15th place Kelso-Burnett, equally unlikely, yet still missing out on the opportunity to take the #2 from Cannon. Assuming that the Dogz and Cannon would both have advanced with flip-flopped brackets, how that translates two days later on Tournament Day was that in their Final Four game, the Dogz were both the visiting team as well as having to move diamonds for the game… the result could very well have been exactly the same, even with the situation reversed… but it still makes me want to work towards the highest seed possible every season. The #1 seed is the ace-in-the-hole, you just need to win 4 games before you truly get to use it.

One way or another, a great season ending in the crowning of a deserving champion in Cannon Design, 5-0 with 10 runs allowed and 48 runs scored, a fantastic day.

The (extremely loud at times) Mexican Parade aside, it felt like a pretty laid back Tournament day to me. The dire weather forecast never came to pass and I think everyone was happy to be back on Upper Hutchinson. The consensus seemed to be that the outfields were still a little rocky, but considering the entire park was a steamy stew of slop less than a month ago, I’m actually amazed at the job they did in getting it playable again in such a short time. My wife and I took a couple trips around the diamonds taking some pictures… many of these will be posting to the leagues Facebook page over the next week or two… so if you’re on Facebook and not yet a fan of the page… stop by here and get it done so you don’t miss those.

At the end of the day, after the sun had set on Grant Park, I looked around and saw my Dogz, Power ConstructionVOA and theBuzz, flagship teams still with camps that were going strong, squeezing every last bit of time out of the annual event… got me thinking once again of the ‘tradition’ that’s been spoken of so much over the last month or so. It’s worth fighting for. Due diligence will be paid and we will return strong as ever next year to carry things on…

In the meantime, 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…

Regular Season Wraps : Tournament Primer

A little bit of a longer post this morning as I’ll do the game day update from Thursday along with all the information I have at this point regarding Tournament Day. Captains are responsible for reading all this info and please… forward the link to this post on to all your players.

First off, my sincere thanks to each and every team for what they’ve had to endure over the last 3 weeks. The longer trip to Waveland coupled with the earlier sunset and earlier start times created some real hassle for many of us… but in the end, of the 24 games scheduled at Waveland, 4 were decided by forfeit, which I feel was better than expected considering the circumstances. 13 of out 16 teams fielded teams for all 3 games. And a special thanks to Sean Bock from Old Stylin’ and the crew from Ruder Group who helped me out a lot getting the bases staked before each Thursday’s games. And last, to all the folks that took up the bases after the late games and humped ’em over to Diamond 2, my sincere thanks as well…

Our last game day of the regular season and hopefully our last game at Waveland ever turned in a few exciting finishes as well as a couple of surprises… Surprise #1 was 13th seeded Gettys Group knocking off 2nd ranked Cannon 3-2 in the early game on Diamond 1. From what I heard, Cannon had two on and one out in the top of the 7th and failed to tie it… the Cannon loss opened the door for the Dogz to take the 2 seed if they could beat Kelso-Burnett in the early game on Diamond 2… In that game the Dogz entered the bottom of the 7th down 5-3… the Dogz picked up a run to make it 5-4 and brought one of their better hitters to the plate with 1 on and 2 out… a triple to right center tied the game but then the Dogz runner tried to stretch the game-tying triple into the game-winning score and was tagged out at the plate. Dogz tie and remain the 3 seed. Hats off to Kelso-Burnett who played a spirited game.

JC Anderson and Perkins&Will played a close game that appears to have ended in some controversy as it grew too dark to play… but in the end, JC Anderson’s 9-8 loss coupled with Clune Constructions 9-1 win over Old Stylin’ finds JCA and Clune swapping the 9 & 10 seeds… And the 3-2 win by Gettys Group over Cannon mentioned earlier allowed Gettys to jump 2 seeds from 13 to 11 as Old Stylin’ and VOA each drop down a seed courtesy of a loss and forfeit respectively.

But the most interesting game of the night was theBuzz @ Dobbins Group in the late game on Diamond 3… how the hell you start at 6:35 with the sun setting at 7:16 and have a 7-inning game where 32 runs are scored is beyond me… but these two pulled it off as theBuzz lost a heartbreaker 17-15 as they took the best shot at Dobbins of any of us in their attempt to knock off the undefeated… what’s more amazing is that the game had no real consequence for either team… this was simply theBuzz trying to hang a loss on ’em heading into the Tournament… and Dobbins fighting like hell not to let it happen… from what I heard theBuzz put up an 11 run 3rd inning dropping Dobbins way down in the hole… and they came back from it… as the regular season comes to a close, I think all hats are off to the Dobbins Group, a rookie team that ran the table on the regular season… let’s give them a collective pat on the back and then commence trying to knock ’em out again on Saturday… 13-0, 8th ranked defense, 1st ranked offense. Congrats.

Tournament Info

Field Conditions : After the games last night I headed over to Upper Hutchinson and walked the diamonds. All the grass is firmly in place and looking pretty good… the one trouble spot is on the south end of the park where there’s a little patch of 10% grass 90% dirt… this affects right field for Diamond 2 and left field for Diamond 3 but I wouldn’t say it’s enough of a thing to really cause any problems. They’ve also already cut all the grass which was good to see. They were scheduled to do that today (Friday), but I’m assuming they cut it yesterday with the forecast for rain Friday… this ends up good for us I think, hopefully the fence will come down today… The last remaining issue would be the bases. Of the 12 on Upper only 9 were staked… I hold out hope that this can be rectified today… but I’m guessing we’ll have to stake in the bases we’ve been using at Waveland…. problem with that is I need more stakes (that aren’t bent) and what are we supposed to do about the sticks that are sticking out of the ground where the bases are supposed to be? Removing them will lose the spot… coordinating with the Park District on this one today…

So assuming the weather holds out it would appear all systems are go for Upper Hutchinson this Saturday morning… that being the case, the official Tournament Scoreboard will be located in foul territory behind 1st base on Diamond 1, along the train tracks. As always, one Captain from each team is responsible for checking in at the Scorer’s Tent between 8:30 and 8:55.

Captain’s Checklist

MOST IMPORTANT > Make sure your players understand not to assume a Tournament rain-out… Short of an all out deluge, the Tournament will go down as planned tomorrow even if we have to play through some rain. Too many teams would be adversely affected if we moved to the rain date to give up on tomorrow too easily.

This is what you need to do today… (1) Email all your players and get confirmations on their attendance, coordinate the supplies for your base camp and have everyone prepared to deal with some rain (tailgating tents, umbrellas, plastic bags, tarps). (2) Read and Print the conditions and info specific to Tournament Day on this page. (3) Print out the Rules, have a copy in your bag, re-read them quickly to get things fresh in your heads. (4) View the Tournament Game Day Matchups and extract your teams schedule. (5) Go to bed early with the alarm clock set.

On a side note, I still need pictures for Perkins&Will and SOM… I’ll be visiting Perkins&Will with my camera in the 1 o’clock hour… and I’ll be taking pictures of SOM in the 9 o’clock hour.

Feel free to comment on this post, I read all comments as they’re posted… or you can email if you have any questions… I’ll update via email today with any relevant new information as it becomes available.

And as always… Good luck to all.

Week 13 Update.

First I’d like to talk about next week before I get into the update, while I’ve got everyone’s attention…

The most likely scenario is that we’ll play our last games of the regular season at Waveland Fields on Thursday, Friday will be a day of rest… and then the Tournament will go down on Saturday at Upper Hutchinson. The only things that could change that would be rain on the 10th… or a failure of the Grant Park contractors to remove the fencing on Upper and release the park for use as they’ve promised on the 9th… if the latter were to occur, the Tournament would simply move up north to Lawrence Fields, everything else would stay the same.

For me, next Thursday through Saturday becomes all Design League, all the time. Scores from Thursday have to be gotten that same day on the diamonds so that the website can be updated and the Tournament Big Board prepared to be printed on Friday so that it’s ready for Saturday. I’ll be working on this stuff pretty much non-stop so here’s what I need from all of you;

First, Scores need to be given to me on the diamonds next Thursday, late game Captains will need to return the bases to me on Diamond 2 just as it happened last night. For the record, Cannon @ Gettys Group next Thursday has been switched to Diamond 1 to allow me to stay on Diamond 2 as I don’t want to change the routine we’ve established for the staking of the bases.

Second, understanding what a pain in the ass playing at Waveland Fields has been and the aggravation it has caused many of us, especially now with the 5:30 early start time… I would ask all the Captains to do their very best towards not forfeiting our last games of the regular season… this is just for one last Thursday. Even on my own team I have 3/4’s of my players agreeing to leave work a little early that day so that we can field a team and get 2011 in the books… just one last day of sacrifice.

And last, with all that has happened this year and all that I’m continuing to deal with on a daily basis… the last thing I want to happen is for any of our teams to bail on the Tournament last minute… my understanding right now is that all teams are good for the Tournament except for Old Stylin’ who are having issues due to one of their players getting married on that day. Their Captains continue to work on putting together a skeleton crew, that’s being worked on… but my assumption is that I don’t have to worry about any of the rest of you. Please communicate with your players early and often on this so potential issues can be dealt with over the course of the next week.

So that’s it… paying attention to those 3 things would help me out tremendously and if all goes well, 2011 will be in the books with a new champion crowned within the next 8 days.

On the fields yesterday we continued to pay the price of having been displaced from Grant Park… 7 of the 8 games got played, and I thank all of you for the effort in getting out there… but I know that many of us have seen our lineups decimated due to the strange circumstances… this has statistically skewed things a bit and it’s one of the issues on my list for the Park District.

That said, not a whole lot happened in terms of change yesterday… JC Anderson and Clune swapping the 9 and 10 seed marked the only movement on the Leaderboard. Other than that, there were no real upsets… a disappointment to me was that the game between #2 Cannon and #4 Goettsch was obviously affected by depleted rosters and trouble getting to the park on time for the 5:30 start… Bears traffic on Lakeshore Drive also played a role in our problems…

But on to better times right… next week is THE week… and I don’t know about any of you… but no matter how much I enjoy Design League softball and usually wish we could play all Winter…. this year, I’m gonna be happy to see things draw to a close… hopefully we’ll get a bright, sunny day for our Tournament and have a redemptive day on what’s now the newly re-constructed Upper Hutchinson Fields. Keep your fingers crossed.