2018 KVKL Rank Play Preview:
KTC already had one of the best collections of talent in KVKL history, then they added the premier lady in the league (Angela Finch) to the mix and have been the odds on favorite to win the title ever since. Elite athleticism combined with veteran kickball instincts make it hard to imagine this team losing a game, even against the best teams in the league, but then again the regular season has never been the problem for Kansas Tree Care…
Reigning champions and masters of Hate Fuck Kickball™ deserve more respect than getting slotted in at #2, but that’s how good KTC is. Not to be outdone by their nemesis, Jackpot also picked up a top 5 lady (Sarah Riley) this offseason, furthering the arms race that is the #1 seeds. Some of the best veteran leaders (love ‘em or hate ‘em) in the league play of this team and keep them laser focused, even against lesser competition, so you know they are bringing their A+ game every single week during rank play. KTC vs. Jackpot will unfortunately not be a GOTW, but damn if I’m not gonna do everything in my power to watch that finals rematch/preview. Shoutout to the homie CJ, you’re alllllll sick at hosting podcasts, 505 Por Vida!
- Lawrence Shirt Factory
There has been a lot of talk about how stingy KTC’s defense is, but KVKL legends Lawrence Shirt Factory have given up only 6 runs in pool play, and are looking to regain their crown after a semi-final loss to Jackpot last year. Steady as ever, a lot of Happy Shirt’s season could come down to Chris Ford getting eligible and showing up for playoff games, he’s a game changer that they will need against the other elite teams in the league.
- Love Garden Squids
Love Garden made a statement last year in the #1’s beating Wildman, Shirt Factory, and Goeser’s, showing that they truly are one of the best teams in KVKL. Their performance in pool play has done nothing to change that thought, as they gone scorched earth on the Kelly Corcoran division, outscoring their opponents 141-36, and never really being tested. The defense hasn’t been as solid as some of the other #1’s, but the offense has been clicking on all cylinders. The completion bumps up significantly, but Love Garden is out to prove that last seasons Final Four run was no fluke.
- The Salvador Pereziz presents The Mario Chalmersiz
In their last 35 regular season games (2015-present) Chalmersiz is a mind boggling 32-3, with one loss each in ’15,’16, and ’17. Equally astounding is that with a record like that, they have been in the #1 seeds exactly zero times. After having feasted on the #2’s and #3’s for years, Chalmersiz finally broke through and will be facing top flight competition for five straight weeks. They will almost certainly not have a sparkling 9-1 record heading into the tournament again, but will be much more battle tested and ready to make a run at The Cup.
- Goesers Good Neighbors
Talk your shit Bryson! The man with the biggest mouth in KVKL came into the season boasting about his squad being a contender for The Cup, and up until this point he has been nothing but right. However, the real work starts now. A solid 2-3 showing in the #1’s last year proves that they can hang here, but someone has to finish #6, and unfortunately for the Good Neighbors, they’re the pick. (Feel free to throw out some shade on the next podcast, I know it’s coming)
- Red Lyon
Red Lyon was destined for the #2 pool as soon as the divisions were announced, as they are consistently an upper echelon team, but utterly incapable of beating Lawrence Shirt Factory (just like most teams in the league). Their magical back-to-back runs to the championship game are starting to feel further away, and they have settled into the 6-10 range. That being said, they seem to match up well with everyone in the #2’s, and still have the athleticism to beat back some of the younger up-and-coming squads. Always be on the lookout for Lyon come tournament time, they’re a threat to spring an upset or two. Shoutout to the Homie Nick Lerner, 505 Por Vida!
- Red Legs
I’m never quite sure what to make of the Red Legs, they seem to have all the pieces in place to be a top team, but then they’ll have a performance like Week 2 where they only beat Corksuckers 4-3. I was on their bandwagon since day one, and I still think they have the talent to make a jump and win the #2’s and be a top six seed in the tournament, but that might be their ceiling.
The D-Holes are a consistently consistent KVKL team, always with enough talent and moxie to beat the teams that they should, but never quite able to get over the hump and make the leap into the #1’s. Obviously KTC put a beating on them during GOTW, but KTC does that to most teams so I don’t hold it against D-Holes too much. I’m not sure what the missing ingredient is for the D-Holes, but unless they find it they are destined for another run at the Twain, when I’m sure their sights are set higher.
Ladybird has been the feel good story of KVKL for a few years now, rising from the absolute bottom of the league all the way up to the #2’s. That being said, it’s time to see what they can do against the big boys. I was able to catch a few innings of their game against the Ghosts and they have all the speed/athleticism/talent you can ask for, but at times it seems like something is off. Personally, I think they have too many players. With 17-20 people on the team, it’s hard for anyone to get into a rhythm, and when it comes to tournament time, do they have a rock solid defensive 10 that can get a shut down inning when needed? The Twain is a realistic goal for Ladybird, but they’ll have to make some tough calls on playing time if they want to achieve that.
- John Denver Experience
JDE has shown some solid defensive chops the first five weeks of the season, only giving up 23 runs so far, but they’ll need to get the boots working if they’re gonna make some noise in the #2’s. Since KVKL switched to the Five Division/Five Rank Play model in 2016, JDE has yet to win more than two games in rank play. I’m confident they will beat Pawsh Wash, but they’re probably underdogs in every other game on the schedule.
- Pawsh Wash
Pawsh Wash is a solid kickball team with some excellent KVKL talent, but they might be punching above their weight class in the #2’s. That being said, they were a #4 in ’16 and won the #3’s last year so this seems like a natural progression for them. They are entering the #2’s with no expectations, so pulling off an upset or two will make their season an unmitigated success. Let’s just try and keep the Dikembe Mutombo finger wagging to a minimum, ok?
- Muddy Waters
There seems to be a team every few years that falls into the #3’s and just lays waste to the entire division, and on paper Muddy certainly seems to fit the bill. An absence aided loss to Ladybird sent this team tumbling down the standings, and anything less than a 5-0 record here will be a disappointment. Caught a few innings of their game against Jackpot a few weeks ago and saw a fresh alignment, four players patrolling the outfield, including two ladies. I’m all for new defensive formations, keep up the innovation Muddy, that was fun to watch!
The Rat’s were picked to be in the #4’s by most KVKL prognosticators before the season started, but a big upset win over Johnny’s in week four vaulted them to the #3’s, their highest placement in franchise history. However they shouldn’t have a happy-to-be-here attitude, as they have the ability to make some noise and finish with a top 15 seed come tournament time. They have a solid core of veterans and should have their targets set firmly on The Twain.
- Los Matadores
I wanted to rank Los Mat’s #2, but they still seem to have problems with fielding a full team (maybe they could acquire a few Harpies in the offseason?). Without consistent attendance, they will suffer a loss to a team that they probably shouldn’t lose to, but alas, that’s the life of Los Matadore’s. Goeser Bryson is firmly on Los Mat’s bandwagon, and that’s enough of an endorsement for me to place them in the top half of the #3’s.
The Woost has some of my favorite players in all of KVKL and are always a blast to play against (even when they have their music turned Up To Eleven and opposing fielders can’t hear each other call a ball in the outfield). They emerged from the four team scrum in the middle of the the Kelly Corcoran division with a with a couple of hard fought victories (9-8 over Free State: 8-6 over Reboot X) and now have to kick it up a notch to hang in the #3’s. I can see them finishing anywhere from second to fifth, depending on their ability to keep pulling out close victories.
- Kicking Assets
Kicking Assets has been on a hell of a tear since week 6 of last year, sweeping the #6’s and running all the way to The Plate and following it up with an impressive first five weeks in 2018 (34-3 ass beating to Lawrence Shirt Factory aside). Jumping from the #6’s to the #3’s is no joke, and they’ll have to bring their A-game every week, but I think the improvement is real, and this is a team to watch out for in the coming years.
- Drop Stoppers
The Drop Stoppers got their signature win of the season in week one, beating the Corksuckers 7-4. They finished as the #3 due to winning the tiebreakers, and their reward is playing a tough slate of teams for the next five weeks. In the long run it will make them better, when they look down in the standings and see fellow James Naismith division members Bunt-N-Grind and Corksuckers stringing together wins, they might think “what could’ve been?”
Being placed in the #4’s can only be viewed as a disappointment for Johnny’s Bravo. Thus far this season they’ve only beaten The Homies and The Late Fees, not exactly building on last seasons solid performance, which included sweeping the #4’s. I reffed their 18-16 loss to the D-Holes and saw a team with the athleticism and legs to hang with a top 10 squad, not sure what has happened since then, but they need to put together a few impressive performances to get the momentum headed back in the right direction. I’m betting they can do it.
- ReBoot X
ReBoot could’ve easily finished in the #2’s, only a couple of close losses (to Pawsh by 4, and Woost by 2) knocked them down to the #4’s. Thomas has quietly done a good job rebuilding on the fly, and they certainly kicked the shit out of my team in week two. They’re going to surprise some people in the #4’s and are primed to make a run at The Diana Plate.
Rick has done a solid job of rebuilding Jazzhaus, as they were one close loss (15-13 to Kicking Assets) away from being in the #3’s. The athleticism is there, let’s see if they can make good decisions on defense and cut down on their errors. Last year was the first time they’ve finished .500 or above in quite some time, now it’s time to make it two in a row.
Shoutout to Repetition and Rockets for giving us a great game of the week, there’s nothing like watching two evenly matched teams trading punches on a Sunday night at Hobbs Park! I was the head ref, and both teams were incredibly cool despite some close calls, so hats off to both of you. Repetition is a great story, they entered the league in 2016 and took their lumps, got much better in ’17, and are now already a player in the Free Agent market, snagging a few players from other teams this offseason. Obviously the #4’s will be a challenge, after never playing above the #6’s, but what I saw on Sunday gives me hope they will sneak out a few W’s.
The Ghosts beat the teams they are supposed to beat, but rarely jump up and upset a team that’s better than them on paper. Their victory over AsteroidHEAD this season was impressive after some of the offensive prowess that A-head has shown off in previous seasons, but not a true upset. Katie, Diana, Mike and the gang will probably end up with two wins in the #4’s.
- Bunt N Grind
BnG eked one out against the Drop Stoppers this week to keep themselves out of the #5’s, where they have been the past two seasons. They’ve won three games in rank play the past two seasons, but I think that streak comes to an end as the competition gets bumped up. Sorry, I haven’t see you guys play yet this year and just don’t know much about your team, prove me wrong!
- Free State Growlers
The Growlers have had a precipitous fall since they finished in the #1 seeds in ’16, but a convincing win over Pawsh Wash last week has to make Free State feel a bit better. Had they beaten Woost (one run loss in week 3) they would’ve ended up in the #2’s, but as it stands now they have a chance to get their confidence back in the #5’s. Anything other than a first place finish in this division will be viewed as a disappointment.
Also a victim of bad tiebreaker luck, the Corksuckers probably never thought they would end up in the #5’s this year, especially after only losing to Red Legs by one in week two. They’ve played the best teams in their division extremely well, only losing to Chalmersiz by five this week, and more impressively they put up eight runs against them. This veteran team has the ability to hang with anyone.
AsteroidHEAD is the most consistently inconsistent team in all of KVKL. They go toe-to-toe with Ladybird in the early contender for game of the year, falling 23-22, and then a few weeks later they show up completely flat against the Ghosts and get beaten. They can easily beat any team in the #5’s, but they also have virtually no chance of going 5-0 because they don’t bring it every week.
I’m not sure what to think about LuckyBerry, their only win of the year was in a game where no bunting was allowed, they lost to Repetition on a walkoff, but then played Goeser’s relatively close this past week. Perhaps its’s a sign that the talent is starting the jell, but until they win a game played with traditional KVKL rules, it’s hard to rank them higher than fourth.
- Nick Lerner’s Homies
The Homies have the worst defense of any team not in the #6’s, having given up an astounding 95 runs through five games. For them to have a chance to win anything in the #5’s they are going to have to improve that dramatically. The good news is they can score some runs too, putting up 12 against a decent Johnny’s defense last week. Cougar, you of all people know that defense is what wins in KVKL!
For the Screamers, offense has been the problem, only putting up 13 runs through five games. They played Jazzhaus close in week three and then beat Sacred S-word in week four, but they’re going to have to significantly improve their offensive output if they have hopes of winning anything in rank play.
REPOSTED FROM ABOVE – Shoutout to Repetition and Rockets for giving us a great game of the week, there’s nothing like watching two evenly matched teams trading punches on a Sunday night at Hobbs Park! I was the head ref, and both teams were incredibly cool despite some close calls, so hats off to both of you. Rockets play a fun brand of kickball, and they should cruise to a 5-0 record in the #6’s and pad some stats.
- Liberty Hall Late Fees
The most fun team in the KVKL has already given up a mind boggling 134 runs (nearly 27/game). Obviously that number will come down now that they are playing a similar level of competition, but my goodness that’s a wild stat. All that being said, I’ve got them primed to win three games in the #6’s.
Picking the middle of the pack in the #6’s is a fools errand, I have no idea how 2-5 is going to shake out, so I gotta go with my beer brethren as the pick here.
- Sacred Sword
Sacred S-Word is playing acceptable defense, but the offense has only produced eleven runs in five weeks, so they’ll need to get the boots working to make an impact here.
- Leafy Greens
One of the most memorable individual performances of all time at week one GOTW from Khaki Shorts dude aside (he seriously checked his phone while in the field during GOTW??), the Leafy Greens haven’t done too much this season. Jordan is solid out in LF, it’s too bad he can’t play all three OF spots.
C’mon Grandstand, get a W!