Games and Stuff, Week 1 Preview

Welcome back to another edition of Games and Stuff. I’m going to write about as much as I can not knowing roster changes, offseason free agencies, and all that, so, hey, let’s see what happens and how well it goes.

Hotel Lobby vs. Ladybird Harpies @ 5 p.m., Lyons West
I’ve written this before, may as well reiterate it: Hotel Lobby arguably has the most athletic team player-for-player. Conversely, the Ladybird Harpies do not. This game will be a good reminder of what almost every Week 1 game is like anymore, only with a lot more home runs.

Hotel Lobby > Ladybird Harpies

Happy Shirt vs. Jazzhaus @ 5 p.m., Lyons East
The reigning champs take on the Jazzhaus, a team that has improved over the past couple seasons. Of course, the reigning champs are three-time reigning champs for a reason, and any amount of not being Happy Shirt is usually too much for any team to handle Happy Shirt. So. See above.

Happy Shirt > Jazzhaus

Rockets vs. Free State Growlers @ 5 p.m. Holcolm Right
The Rockets lost all-star nice guy Kyle at 1B. But you know James Findley—he picked up some super young dudes to fill some holes in his roster. And Capt. Geoff Wright’s birthday was this week, so he’ll probably be playing home-run-or-out all game. As for the Growlers—knowing its tradition of only changing waitstaff and not players, I suspect a similar outcome as last season: not particularly bad, but not particularly great, either.

Rockets > Free State Growlers

Bad News Bagels vs. Das Boot @ 5 p.m., Holcolm Left
Having known many of the players on both teams fairly well, I can only imagine Das Boot will take the field thinking, “Holy shit, it’s a bunch of younger-and-maybe-drunker us.” The Das Boot of old (emphasis on old) ain’t what it used to be, and the Bag News Badels will use its charm and speed to put up some runs early. Or maybe Boot’s experience will teach ‘em a thing or two, kinda like Red Lyon in the Semi-Finals last season. This would be my Game of the Week if I had any say whatsoever. But I’m glad I don’t.

Bad News Bagels > Das Boot

Wu-oost vs. D’s Nuts @ 5 p.m., Holcolm Red
If Dan Mauga can, for the most part, beat the Corksuckers (or whatever it was called last season) single-handedly in Game of the Week, I imagine he can beat D’s Nuts (gross) with only three other people. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. But I think we can all agree that, while D’s Nuts aren’t the same team as last year, it’s still SpacePussy at heart, and Wu-oost is still the better team.

Wu-oost > D’s Nuts

Brewballers vs. Thunderkickz @ 5 p.m., Holcolm Gold
Thunderkickz (formerly BasilRide), from what I’ve gathered, hasn’t changed much from last season. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just not enough to earn that 1-seed in pool play like it did four years ago. (Four? is that right?) Brewballers on the other hand hasn’t been the same team since Mason and Tracy were on it, which, as I recall, was also four years ago. But hey, at least Brewballers came away with the coveted Least Fun Team to Play and Least Fun Team to Watch/Ref awards last season.

Thunderkickz > Brewballers

Merchants of Death vs. Channel 6 @ 5 p.m., Holcolm Blue
The last I spoke with Mike Anderson, he told me, very unfunnily, that this was perhaps the first season in which all the major contributing players of Channel 6 are returning to the team. 2015 may end up being its breakout season to prove it can actually be called a great team, as opposed to just being a good team. The Merchants of Death would like to prove otherwise in week 1, having made several offseason additions of its own. But finding places for all those new faces may prove challenging at first. Rhymes.

Rats vs. Nick Lerner’s “Homies” @ 7 p.m., Lyons West
Nick Lerner doesn’t just sell houses. He also sells his name. And this year it went to the former Bulletproof Tigers. The Rats lost a couple people from last year—I admittedly don’t remember who, but I can also barely remember anyone’s name from its roster—and the Tigers also lost a couple. Well, at least one—leadoff fast guy, Colin Flanders. This may be the most evenly matched game of Week 1, but also one loaded with questions. Like, What happens when the two teams that never seem to have enough people to play have to play each other?

Rats > Nick Lerner’s “Homies”

Ghosts vs. Mario Chalmersiz @ 7 p.m., Lyons East
As mentioned above, the Mario Chalmersiz picked up the old Bulletproof Tigers’ leadoff kicker, Colin. Not that Colin is old (maybe he is), just, you know, whatever. Is that enough to return one of the most impressive defensive teams in the league of years past to its former self? Probably not. But it will still probably dominate the struggling Ghosts of years past. Plus Chalmersiz is, like, super-fuckable. I read it in the New York Times.

Mario Chalmersiz > Ghosts

Corksuckers vs. Los Matadores @ 7 p.m., Holcolm Right
You know the drill: Paul Santos cut some players and picked up some people essentially from out of nowhere and built another solid, speedy team, that mixes experience with Kenny fuckin’ Flanders. Meanwhile, the Corksuckers, the most-improved team of a couple years ago, aren’t quite the same since Ariel Ludwig’s departure to the Hurtz Donut D-Holes. It has some talented players, still, like the underrated Capt. Clint Banana, but it’s lacking as a whole.

Los Matadores > Corksuckers

AsteroidHEAD vs. Red Lyon @ 7 p.m., Holcolm Left
Red Lyon had its first Finals appearance ever last season, ultimately losing to Happy Shirt. AsteroidHEAD, on the other hand, had a pretty forgettable season, overall, unlike a couple years ago when it actually beat Red Lyon and nearly beat the Goats in extra innings. Red Lyon returns its roster, with one notable exception—Sarah Riley (of Rockets fame) has joined. And I don’t know if you know this yet, but she’s kinda awesome. Hopefully Jason Barr comes back to play to at least liven up the somber and not-quite-totally-revitalized AsteroidHEAD. At least it would keep him a couple hours away from his studio, right?

Red Lyon > AsteroidHEAD

Liberty Hall Late Fees vs. Kansas Tree Care @ 7 p.m., Holcolm Red
Liberty Hall has lingered in that 17th-25th place position for a couple years now, and, barring some offseason overhaul, it doesn’t look like it’ll be given any favors in its opening game. Kansas Tree Care [Terrebonne Po’boys (fuck, I’m hungry) and Abraxas and whatever else it was before that] prepares for its first season without the irreplaceable Kris Marshall. Capt. Brad Keirns took over, though, and brought in long-time Sacred Swordsman Joel Kelly, presumably because there was no other way to keep Hannah on the team and the team would just crumble without her.

Kansas Tree Care > Liberty Hall > Hannah

Where’s My Pitches vs. Goats @ 7 p.m., Holcolm Gold
Scott Starrett and Scott Johnson were the glue that kept the Goats together, and then they bolted for Austin, Texas, and China, respectively, and everything fell apart. Then its super-star Laeth Hamill bailed for Wildman Attack Force and it had about the season people expected. With their absence, the Goats have had a hefty amount of personnel changes over the past couple seasons, and this season is no different, with Carter Carter (1B) leaving to play yoga instead. Where’s My Pitches, on the other hand, has had a problem with having people joining its team (or at least showing up). It picked up late last season, but by then it was too late to make much of a difference. Capts. Vaughn and Richie (and Kamari if she’s still playing) are all badasses, though, and with the right offseason pickups could put this team back somewhere out of the bottom five.

Goats > Where’s My Pitches

Screamers vs. Taco Tuesday @ 7 p.m. Holcolm Blue
The Screamers picked up enough wins to reach Rank Pool 5 last season (going 1-2) and Taco Tuesday swept Rank Pool 8. I’m not sure how to quantify that information, so do with it what you will. Screamers are better in practice than on paper, due in part to experience, but it’s not the same team as it was three years ago when Aaron Swaggerty and that other guy whose name I don’t remember were on it, so stop talking like it is, Cougar! I mean, Taco Tuesday isn’t the same as it was when Simon Skinner, Cathe Decena, Richard Davidson and Breezie were on it, either, so just quit it. (I hope you’re reading this, Cougar.) The future of both these teams is up in the air, but history repeats itself, so. . . .

Screamers > Taco Tuesday

Hurtz Donut D-Holes vs. Wildman Attack Force @ 7 p.m., Hobbs
The Hurtz Donut D-Holes return relatively unscathed from the offseason, and Wildman Attack Force is still named after a shitty Steven Seagal movie. What that means in regards to this matchup is hard to say, so I won’t pretend to know, but Wildman is still really good and the D-Holes still lack discipline. Well, Wildman does, too, just in different way. Hurtz is ready to repeat its surprise victory over Wildman in 2012, so Wildman better hope it’s not caught sleeping on the couch.

Wildman > Hurtz Donut D-Holes

Sacred Sword vs. Love Garden Squids @ GAME OF THE GODDAMN WEEK
Garnering one of the top three defenses last season, the Love Garden Squids faltered through Rank Pool 1 after squandering leads against all three teams it faced, before ultimately losing to Los Matadores in the playoffs. Not much appears to have changed roster-wise, though, which is a good thing, because it suggests another reasonably successful season (a weird thing to say about a 7-3 team). Sacred Sword, though, lost leadoff kicker Joel Kelly to Hannah’s cold embrace, and that definitely hurts the team, especially on the defensive end. But the Sword still has a litany of good players who’ve been playing together for a long, long time. This could potentially be the best Opening Day Game of the Week since 2011’s Goats vs. Star Bar Barracudas.

Love Garden Squids > Sacred Sword

Good luck and have fun, everyone! Oh, and clean up after yourselves. And have your friends help clean up. Make life easier for everyone.

– Thomas J.