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for: ‘September, 2012’

2012 Season Wraps : Tournament Edition

For those of us that look forward to the Tournament like a little kid looks forward to Christmas, I had a lot of interesting conversations Saturday with others that analyzed the forecast all week almost as much as I did… the Design League has a history of dancing with the rain in September… we’ve been rained out a couple times early in our history and had to move the Tourney to the rain date… Just recently in 2010 we had to stop play for a half hour or so to wait for a heavier shower to pass… and most notably in 2005 just as bracket play concluded, the skies opened up and unleashed a day-ending deluge which forced the Final Four and Championship games to 28th & Halsted for Thursday night games under the lights at McGuane Park, that was definitely a memorable night…

So here we were this year looking at a sketchy forecast once again, which at its worst was indicating a 60% chance of rain as late as Thursday… but as it turned out, Friday held the worst of what was to come which never exceeded a light rain… not enough to threaten us and in fact… it left the dirt just about perfect… sliding was like doing it on carpet… I saw more sliding Saturday than I have in a long time. For those of us out in the park earlier, which was quite a few  camps this year due to the street closures, we took cover from a 10 minute shower around 8:15 that created a little anxiety… but a quick look at the radar ensured it would just be  a passing nuisance… Games began as scheduled at 9 AM and shortly thereafter the skies opened up to a beautiful blue with big puffy white clouds… and we were off.

For the first time in a long time, bracket play was relatively uneventful with no upsets to speak of… going into the Final Four this year were the 4 top seeded teams… that hasn’t happened in a while either… You’ll remember a couple years back we flip-flopped the 1 PM and 2 PM match-ups to have the meetings between the top 8 seeded teams happen last… the thinking being that statistically, these were the games that would send teams to the Final Four so we wanted to have those teams warmed-up coming off of games… that move has now caused a tradition inside the tradition to emerge in the 1 PM time slot where the bottom seeded 8 teams are meeting up… in games that hold no chance of advancement, which this year was all of them, beer coolers are promptly dragged out behind 2nd base and some variation of the 16″ game ensues… very cool if you ask me… as long as the police stay away, which they always have, just another unique part of the day… but I will say that those games are going to have to do a better job of reporting there scores next year… it’s crucial that ALL scores are recorded as they’re needed to figure out the final standings.

Which leads me to the Dobbins Group, Design League Champs for the 2012 season… and what an incredible two-year run its been for these Design League newcomers… They’ve amassed an amazing 26-1-1 record over the last two regular seasons along with an 8-1-0 post-season record that culminated in their first Championship as they knocked off the Ruder Group 15-5 to take the crown as the day came to a close. Making it even more significant was that they navigated through two 1-run victories in bracket-play… the first over SCB who remains the only team to beat Dobbins during the regular season… and the second a 1-0 victory over a hard-fighting Perkins&Will squad who had a great year themselves finishing 5th… then they seemed to step on the gas moving past VOA 7-4 to meet Ruder Group for the title where they put on a hitting display rarely seen as they cruised to the 10-run victory. Dobbins has definitely become the team to beat… it will be interesting to see how they handle that next year with everyone gunnin’ for them… but for the next calendar year…

Dobbins Group are our reigning Champs… congratulations on a great season and a great run.

So time to send the league and the website off to hibernation, as usual it’s been a great season, but once we get here to late-September, I look forward to not having to sweat the forecast for a few months… next year will bring a better preparedness in light of the Lollapalooza elephant in the room that we now know is here to stay… to join the league next year your team will need to promise a certain amount of flexibility post-Lollapalooza, the amount of forfeits we had this year is unsustainable… far too many teams that wanted to play were left without an opponent and that’s unacceptable. For my part, I’ll do the best I can to solidify non-Grant Park contingency plans as early as possible, but I’m limited by the bureaucracy that is the Chicago Park District… I can only guarantee what they allow me to guarantee, beyond that we need to be flexible… if it rains during Lollapalooza, we can expect to be relocated in the aftermath… that’s our new truth. So there’s something to mull over the long, cold winter…

In the meantime, have a great off-season.

And thanks you all for another great Summer, 2012 is officially in the books.

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