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2013 Season Wraps : Tournament Edition

Perfect weather for Tournament Day this past Saturday… and I would have to say that being on Lower Hutchinson was fine with me… awesome perspective on the south skyline and those perfect blue skies just made it that much nicer… anyway, a nice end to a season that made it past its midway point in fine shape… but then stumbled a little for consistency post-Lollapalooza… but more about that in a bit…

As for the days results on the diamonds, this marks the first year since I started this Forum that I’ll be writing my own story here in the Tournament Edition as once the day finally reached its conclusion, it ended with a Reservoir Dogz walk-off hit for the Championship as the sun set on what was arguably the most exciting Championship Game in our 13-year history at Grant Park…

What made this game so great in my mind were the momentum shifts and the battle back and forth, inning by inning as it went down. To say right up front.. the Dobbins Group is a fierce softball team. It struck me that there wasn’t a down spot over their entire order, no place where you could semi-assume an out, no place to rest… and being down 8-2 heading to the bottom of the 3rd, I personally felt as though there was a good chance my team was cooked… long day, hot sun, entering our 28th inning of softball over the last 9 hours… on top of that our Final Four hit-fest with old rival Ruder Group racked up 28 combined runs under the last of the days sun… so I felt we were tired and in trouble… but then the tides started turning as the Dogz found a second wind, started chipping away at the score and by the time the top of the 7th rolled around, we had the lead for the first time in the game 12-11… then the Dobbins Group tallied twice in the top of the 7th to regain the lead, 13-12… The Dogz then tied the game in the bottom of the 7th, proceeded to load the bases with only 1 out… but then a weak pop to 3rd and a medium depth fly out to left ended the inning with 3 stranded and the game tied…

Extra Innings. Dobbins Group bats in the top of the 8th… they make two quick outs, get an infield hit before a grounder to short ends the inning with a force at 2nd… which sets the stage for the finish… Dogz lead-off hitter singles and then advances to 2nd on an error… next Dogz batter intentionally flies out to right sacrificing the winning run to 3rd… and then an infield hit precedes the walk-off game winner which was a line drive single up the middle by Dogz left-fielder Dustin Fife… to a man we all felt it was the best 16″ softball game any of us had ever played in and we thank the Dobbins Group for being the height of competition for a historic Championship Game that was the only one to ever go to extra-innings, featured a record 27 combined runs and became the first Title Game won on a walk-off.

Not that the following would be something many of you would be interested in, but who knows… I was extremely fortunate in that my 10-year old son decided to run video over the end of the game… the following picks up with 1 out in the bottom of the 7th and runs through the end of the game…

Also to be congratulated would be Perkins&Will who were able to advance from their bracket to the Final Four with a 2-1 record in a situation where the head-to-head tie-breaker was off the table and they made it out by virtue of 2 less runs allowed over SCB… so it was a hotly contested fight in Bracket 2 on Tournament Day… P&W also represented the days biggest jump in seed at +7… entered the Tournament the 11th seed, finished in 4th place… and last but not least, congratulations to Ruder Group who had an easier 3-0 sweep into the Final Four before going down 15-4 to the eventual champion Dogz, but then reeling off 9 unanswered runs in the 6th and 7th inning to bring that Final Four game down to the wire… always tough competition, congrats to Ruder Group and their 3rd place finish this year.

The 2013 Final Standings along with all the scores from Tournament Day have posted under the “Tournament” menu on the Design League website. Pictures from around the diamonds have posted to our Facebook page as well…

So… getting back to the nature of our season post-Lollapalooza the last couple years… the plan for right now is to do what I can towards finding us some better continuity for the end of our seasons moving forward… in light of the current circumstances, what really becomes the key issue is preserving the 15-game schedule… The Park District has mentioned and would really prefer if we were to let that go and instead settle in on the amount of available game days that were available prior to Lollapalooza and end our season there… which amounts to an 8 or 9 game regular season… but my intention will be to fight that for as long as I possibly can… there’s numerous reasons why I love the 15-game schedule… but end of the day… it’s our tradition and I’m not going to let that go easily…

But that said, something needs to get worked out that will once again simplify things for me from a planning perspective… I spent WAY too much time this year trying to figure out post-Lolla and we spent way too much money on Lincoln Park for only ONE night! Trust me when I say that that experience cannot be repeated…

So what I’m going to do in the short term is go personally to Union Park and talk to the Park District Rep there… Union Park for those that don’t know it would be the perfect location or us to relocate for the necessary period post-Lolla… near west side (Ashland & Lake), 4 diamonds, under the lights, easy parking… and even though I’ve been told two years running now that there were NO dates available at Union when we needed them… I’m hoping that going over there and having an in-person conversation might garner us some favor… all we really need is two nights sometime between 3rd week in July and end of August… we might need to be flexible and change the night we play those games, but that will be a concession I’d be willing to make if we could get 2-3 nights promised to us and paid for before the season even starts… which is what I need to have happen.

So we’ll see how it goes… I’ll keep everyone informed if anything were to develop along these lines in the off-season… but for right now, know I’m concerned about it and working on it.

And finally, a big thanks to ALL of our (16) teams in the Design League this season with an extra special thanks to all of our Captains for keeping everyone organized and ready to go at game time… back on track again this year when it came to forfeits… only 2 forfeits over 131 games. Absolutely fantastic, thank you all.

Have great off-seasons. See you in the Spring.

Week 13 Update

Well… for as down as I was leaving Lincoln Park a couple weeks ago… last night on Lower lifted me back up… the diamonds were beautiful… nice bases again… comfortable weather and blue skies… a really nice night in my opinion.

Our Grant Park rep stopped by and we had a nice conversation… she seems willing to look the other way on the fact that we’re out of money… which is a good thing… so here’s how the situation stands in regards to our finishing out the regular season;

Best possible scenario is that (4) more diamonds are released sometime by next Tuesday… if that happens we’ll be playing all (8) games next week at 6 PM spread over (8) diamonds… and then most likely we’d be making up the Week 5 rainout the same way on the 26th.

Second best (but not so good) scenario is that no more diamonds are released and we split Week 15 over the next two Thursdays… (4) games on the 19th, (4) games on the 26th… what can go wrong in this scenario is that a rainout on either date would make both dates moot…

And finally, we could be done as of right now… but the feeling I have is that that won’t be the case… all of you should know that it’s always my top priority to get ALL (15) games played… right now we’re at 13 and if we ended up playing all (15)… that would be a herculean accomplishment considering the road blocks that have been thrown up this year.

So that means what I’m telling all of you… would be to be prepared to play on the 19th, the 26th, or both… we’ll know more by next Tuesday… sorry all this needs to be such a mystery… I’m a big fan of giving everyone as much notice as possible or things… but it is what it is.

As far as the Leaderboard goes following yesterdays games… we’re sitting with a glut of teams in the middle of the field all with 7-6 records… this translates to the Tournament’s seeding brackets being very volatile. Teams in the 10-16 seeds showed no movement whatsoever yesterday… but there was a lot of movement in the middle… up at the top, a Ruder Group loss yesterday pushed them a little further off the lead although they maintained the 4 seed courtesy of a VOA loss… while Clune eeking one out over Power coupled with an Old Stylin’ tie against Perkins&Will allowed Clune to leapfrog Old Stylin’ into the #2 seed… so whatever games we get in to conclude the regular season should have some interesting consequences on Tournament seeding… looking forward to seeing how it works out.

All for now, everyone have great weekends and stay tuned early next week for an update as soon as I have information to pass along.

Week 11 Update

So once all the dust settled and we actually reached the Lollapalooza break… the League is in pretty good shape with just the one Week 5 rain out to make up… that leaves us 2/3 of the way through our season with 5 games still to play starting about a month from now.

This week we had game days on Tuesday as well as Thursday and many great games got played… The Reservoir Dogz maintained their streak and hit the break winners of 9 in a row… Clune Construction held serve as well remaining just 1 game back of the 1 seed… Power Construction, Old Stylin’ and Cannon Design all also won a couple this week moving themselves upward on the Leaderboard… As it stands the Leaderboard is pretty well-spaced offering many possibilities for teams to move up or down once we resume… interestingly, pretty much 1/3 of the field is at .500 and poised to rise or fall, however it may turn out.

Moving forward, let me tell you what I know… there’s two possible scenarios… the one we all hope for is that Upper Hutchinson emerges from Lollapalooza unscathed, the Park District releases it back to public use sooner rather than later and we finish out our remaining schedule right where we started it. The second scenario is that like last year we move to South Field at Lincoln Park for at least a pair of double-header nights and that becomes how the season is concluded. As far as what the dates would be for those games, that’s still up in the air as we have to wait until the Summer Leagues already playing in Lincoln Park conclude. If they end up not losing many dates to rain, then they will finish earlier and we could be on as early as August 15th… but if the move to LP becomes a reality, I would push for those dates to happen as late as possible so that the span of time between our last regular season game and our 09/28 Tournament Day was as short as possible. That would probably work out as 08/29 and 09/05… beyond that, Fall Leagues start at LP so there would no longer be diamonds for us.

Many of you have inquired as well about the scheduling of those double-header nights as to what the chances are that games could be as close together as possible… be aware that the scheduling as it now appears on the web has NOT been worked on yet… so I would definitely be going over those trying to get as many of you back-to-back games as possible… although I’ll say now that it won’t always be possible just due to the specific match-ups that are left to be played, but I’ll do my best on that front…

So all for now… feel free to shoot me an email if there’s a question I haven’t answered here… have a great break and we’ll see you on the other side.


Week 10 Update

I don’t think that anyone would argue that weather and atmosphere-wise, yesterday was our best day of Design League softball yet this season… The Taste adds to the congestion a bit, but it’s always fun to play that Thursday as Upper Hutchinson feels a lot like a softball oasis.

On the fields it was an eventful day with a lot of movement on the Leaderboard… the day started with three 6-1 teams, but finished with just one 7-1 team as the Dogz were able to knock off Cannon Design 9-4 in a game that was tight until the 6th when the Dogz broke it open… VOA dropped a tight one to Power Construction 6-5 while Clune Construction came back full force to route the Ruder Group 13-3 and vault themselves into the 2nd seed.

In other games, SCB showed what they’re capable of beating the Dobbins Group in a tight 8-7 win… interestingly, 4 of Dobbins Group’s last 5 games have been 1-run decisions… tough on the nerves… JC Anderson ended their short losing streak while continuing Old Stylin’s with an 8-3 victory there… and Skender Construction needed extra innings but got the job done with an 8-7 victory over theBuzz in 8… The leagues most prolific offense is currently VOA with 105 runs scored…. while the leagues stingiest defense is the Reservoir Dogz having only allowed 24 to cross the plate with the season now halfway through.

Believe it or not… ALL pictures have been taken and posted with still two games to go before the Lollapalooza break… this is easily an all-time record and I thank ALL of you for your cooperation… if you’re unhappy with the turnout you had on your picture day… there’s more than enough time to get a re-take done… just let me know you’re interested in doing that.

And last, next week is a busy week for the Design League as we have games on both Tuesday, 07/16 on Lower Hutchinson as well as our usual game day on Thursday, 06/18… this will be a bit tricky for some of your teams I’m sure… but let’s roll with the punches and get these games in the books without forfeits… we’ve done great with the lack of forfeits so far this season and I’d love to keep it that way as we cruise into the Lollapalooza break… assuming no weather issues next week, that’ll leave us with just Week 5 still to get made up after the break and that should be no problem at all… which is great, ’cause it was looking dicey there for a while…

The post-Lolla schedule at either Lincoln Park or if we get lucky, Grant Park… is a work in progress. Lincoln Park is unable to firmly commit to much yet as they won’t know the exact situation until they see how many rain outs they have that’ll need to be made up… but the dates we’ll probably have for sure are 08/29 and 09/05… with the strong possibility that we could start as soon as 08/15 or 08/22… and of course I’m still holding out hope that a Lollapalooza that’s rain-free would allow us to finish up our season on Upper Hutchinson and skip Lincoln Park entirely as I know we’d all like to do… we’ll see.. just know that it’s being monitored and worked on.

All for now, have great weekends.

Week 8 Update.

Interesting game day yesterday scores-wise… A few lop-sided games, a few tight games and a shutout… but our game of the week which was Dobbins Group @ Old Stylin’ was fittingly a 1-run affair where Dobbins headed into the bottom of the 7th with a 3-run lead, but finished just 1 up with an Old Styler in scoring position… so a great game, as expected… unfortunately for Old Stylin’, the loss dropped them into a 5-way tie with other 5-1 teams which led to their 48 runs allowed placing them at the bottom of that pack in the 5-seed… but still plenty of season to play.

Clune Construction with their 13-7 win over Skender Construction and Ruder Group with their 4-0 shutout of Power Construction both moved up a seed into the 2 & 3 positions respectively. Gettys Group with their tight 7-6 win over Perkins&Will leap-frogged JC Anderson and SCB who both lost… Other than that, all other teams stayed exactly where they were on the Leaderboard last week.

Looking at the schedule for next week, my pick for the game of the week would be a match-up between two of our 5-1 team with Old Stylin’ @ Ruder Group on Diamond 3 in an early game… another great match-up would be a strong 4-2 Cannon Design team @ VOA, also 5-1…

One more Game Day next week before the 4th of July Bye and the weather has been treating us well of late… and I’m down to two team pictures left to do including my own team… so I’m well ahead of schedule in that regard and I thank all of you who have cooperated perfectly in making it happen… special thanks to Skender Construction who came across Upper Hutchinson the long way yesterday to get their pictures done.

Have great weekends.

Week 7 Update.

So the story remains Old Stylin‘… the leagues sole survivor among the ranks of the undefeated… although to get it done they had to first get through a death match with a Gettys Group team that kept coming back over and over to keep the pressure on… Old Stylin’ jumped out quick with 7 in the 1st, but then Gettys got on the board themselves with a 2-run shot in the bottom half of the inning… long story short, of the 14 half innings in this game, goose eggs only went up 3 times, so it was a back and forth affair. Old Stylin’ put a single tally up in the top of the 7th to take a 16-12 lead into the bottom half… but Gettys then scored 2 in the bottom half and had the tying runs on base before the game ended on a deep fly to left… Congratulations to both of these teams for throwin’ down…

Around the rest of the league… The Reservoir Dogz took down 1st place Clune Construction to leap frog into 2nd with a defensive performance that featured 7 outfield put-outs and only one error over 7… Ruder Group improved to 4-1 as well after what appears to be a hard fought 6-3 win over JC Anderson… and speaking of death matches… Dobbins Group narrowly avoided a 3-game losing streak with an 8-7 win over Power Construction… while Cannon Design won by a single tally as well in a 13-12 win over theBuzz.

Looking ahead to next weeks games… I’d have to pull out Dobbins Group @ Old Stylin’ as the game of the week… The much improved Old Stylin’ crew won’t be taking anyone by surprise any longer and the Dobbins Group is surely looking to build upon their new winning streak in an effort to once again ascend the Leaderboard.

A Note On Scorekeeping & Score Reporting

I’d appreciate if all teams could review the Leagues rule #C1 regarding in-game scorekeeping… check scores with opposing Captains every half inning during your games and then confirm the final score at the games conclusion. Each team should have a SINGLE Captain that’s responsible for reporting the score to me NO LATER THAN NOON on the Friday following each game day. Unless you played the Dogz, I need you to report your score… so 14 email replies every Friday morning… and for the record, my email requesting scores typically goes out Thursday night no later than 10 PM… if possible, respond to that email Thursday night… this both gets it out of the way and also gives me a head start on the web update… I thank you all for your cooperation on this.

Ongoing Picture Taking

I’d first like to thank all the teams that have already had their pictures taken and to those that have already replied with their annotations… things are going pretty good considering we’ve had 2 rainouts. I can’t say here in this update which teams are on tap yet for next week… I have to look at the schedule, update the rest of the pictures I took yesterday… and then see where we’re at… so who’s going next week will come out in an email as soon as I know.

All for now… have great weekends.

Week 6 Update

So here we go… off and running on another year of the Forum… for those of you who are new to the Forum, this is the one and only place where Game Day updates post for the remainder of the season… it starts every year as soon as the league has 4 games in the books.

The emerging story of this young season is Old Stylin’… kickin’ ass and taking names… thus far they’ve plowed through the Dogz, rivals theBuzz, Power Construction and yesterday a hard fought 6-5 win over Cannon Design which has left them in 2nd place on the Leaderboard just a scant 2 runs allowed behind Clune Construction… in their 5th season as members of the Design League… pieces have started to fall into place for Old Stylin’ and it’s great to see.

This leads us to next weeks key matchup which would have to be (#1) Clune Construction at (#3) Reservoir Dogz… the results of this one have the potential to upend the top of the Leaderboard… Old Stylin’ in turn is charged with holding serve against #8 Gettys Group who are coming off a nice 15-11 win of their own.

Also wanted to explain to everyone the rescheduling situation that’s happened over the last week… due to company events on Thursdays for both Power Construction and Thornton-Tomasetti, games were rearranged with the end result being that Thornton-Tomasetti played a double-header yesterday while Power Construction didn’t play at all… and then on July 11th, Power will play a double-header while Thornton doesn’t play at all… VOA has coincidentally been the opponent for both of these conflicted dates… but the net effect for them was just that they flip-flopped the dates they play these two teams this season.

That said and moving forward… this will be the last time the league makes schedule changes to accommodate company events… aside from the time it takes me to make such changes… the larger issue, and the issue that still exists for us this year, is that if either of these two “double-header” dates ends up raining out… then we’ve created an even larger headache than the one caused by having to find makeup dates for a rain out in the first place. Long story short, we need ALL teams having played the SAME amount of games at any given time. The Design League Rules will be amended to reflect this coming up here shortly…

And finally for this initial Forum post of the 2013 Season, a word about the team pictures that I’ve been taking over past weeks as some of you have inquired… I’ve been letting them all build up due to my own general busyness actually… but what’s going to happen sometime here in the coming week is that ALL pictures to date will post to the website and all teams that have had their pictures taken will receive my ‘request for annotation’ email… once you receive this email I would appreciate if you would reply to it as soon as you are able to allow me to get the site completely caught up.

That’s it… everyone have great weekends and I’ll catch you next week.