Well, this is it: The last week of games before we can all finally get serious about kickball. No more playing around. It’s about to get super serial.
Happy Shirt is the lock for the overall 1-seed, having beaten Channel 6 in 13 innings and coasting past Wildman Attack Force last week, 7-1. It faces Bad News Bagels this week, a team that’s already dropped both games in Rank Pool play. The winner of Channel 6 vs. Wildman (Holcolm Blue, 6:30 p.) will earn the no. 2, with the loser taking the 3. If the Bagels can (somehow) win against Happy Shirt, it will probably get the 4. There has been precedent set that even the bottom team from the 1s is not guaranteed the overall 4-seed in the bracket: Remember in 2011 when Thunderkickz (then-Slowride) upended Chalmersiz to get into the 1s, lost out, and dropped to the overall 7-seed in the tournament.
What’s more likely, though, is that Kansas Tree Care (the should-be fourth 1-seed) or Mario Chalmersiz will get the 4-spot, depending on the winner of this week’s Game of the Week. Chalmersiz are on a mission this season, vying its first Final Four bid since 2012. I think I wrote that last week. I probably wrote a lot of this last week. But, you know, now we’re a little closer to understanding the field. With both the Hurtz Donut D-Holes and Love Garden Squids struggling—and facing each other this weekend—one of them will at least halt its two-week losing streak and earn its first win since 29 July. My guess is KTC and Chalmersiz will get the 4- and 5-seeds, followed by the Bagels, then the winner of the Squids/D-Holes game. And then it gets interesting. . . .
Pizza Party!! came smashing through Rank Pool 3 with big wins over Red Lyon and the Rockets, and it very well could finish strong with a backsliding Das Boot. Granted, Das Boot has missed its most consistent player, Das Phil, in those two outings, but he alone can’t stave off the in-stride Party! If Party! wins this weekend, I suspect it’ll surpass the bottom of the 2s (probably Hurtz) in the tournament ranking, and probably move up to the 8-seed overall. Meanwhile, Red Lyon faces the Rockets at Holcolm Gold, 5 p.
Rank Pool 4 is a mess. It’s not really, but seeing the Free State Growlers on top at 2-0 with wins over the Goats and ThunderkiXXX, and the potential to sweep is a surprise. In fact, two of the hottest teams right now are ones I apparently put on blast here in Sundays in the Park: the Growlers and Party. I picked both to finish last in their pools, and look at ‘em now—Party is on a six-game win streak (hasn’t lost since 21 June, Hurtz) and the Growlers are on a four-game win streak (haven’t lost since 5 July, Happy Shirt). Los Matadores could have a tough time, too, with the loss of its CF Cody. Austin and Fatima are back, though, which is good news. The real question mark belongs next to Thunderkickssss—as in What the hell is going on here? It needs a win against the Goats to up its tournament resumé, but it hasn’t won in three weeks now. If it loses, the Merchants of Death (if it sweeps) could move further up in the bracket. Speaking of which. . . .
The Merchants of Death have won five in a row since starting 0-4 (third longest active win streak, too). During that streak, it’s allowed 9 runs. The Wu-oost finishes its schedule against Where’s My Pitches?, a team that’s drastically improved since last season, but probably won’t be able to handle the Wu-oost’s overall talent. Conversely, the Ghosts, which have shown upside potential, just haven’t quite gotten its shit together. Probably because Matt Cosgrove doesn’t play enough. It showed promise against good teams like Los Matadores, Das Boot, and the Bagels, it even beat a pretty good Corksuckers team, but it’s struggled to hang and finish.
I’m not sure what’s more surprising about Rank Pool 6. The fact I brushed off the Rats because of its off-season losses, or that Sacred Sword hasn’t already clinched it. I guess all those times I said Taco Tuesday ain’t what it used to be can now be applied to Sacred Sword. It was a Final Four team in 2010, Elite Eight in ’11, and are now 5 games below .500. Ouch. Jazzhaus has also surprised me—and not in the good way like you want. As has been discussed before, it has the pieces to be an all right team, it just doesn’t use its players in the right positions. Pretty sure we all saw that in its Game of the Week a couple Sundays ago. And now it faces the Rats, a team that’s already beaten Taco Tuesday and Sacred Sword.
As for the 7s, one team clearly doesn’t belong in it: the Corksuckers. It beat the Brewballers by 12 and Nick Lerner’s “Homies” by 9, and has an even bigger win over the Bagels in week 4. Its early losses caused it to drop big, but now it’s playing about as well as it has. Having a full roster helps, turns out. No matter how you look at it, the Corksuckers would probably beat all four teams in the 6s (yes, it did lose by 1 to Taco Tuesday in week 2, but I don’t see that happening again), and probably a couple in the 5s. But, hey, can’t argue with the tiebreakers. The Liberty Hall Late Fees got its second win of the season (Brewballers), its first since 5 July, and now faces the aforementioned Corksuckers. I don’t see it handling Clint & co. well.
And then we have the 8s. Seeing AsteroidHead and the Screamers this low is a surprise. When I first joined KVKL, back in ’10, the Screamers were a perennial powerhouse, always just shy of a Final Four, and AsteroidHead had plenty of potential, it just tended to hang around the late ‘teens with the occasional big win. And now they’re all growed up—ditching tie dye for neck ties, and on-field spats for matching wedding tats. (Probably, I don’t know.) Then we have the perennial punching bags of the league, the Ladybird Harpies and D’s Nuts. AsteroidHead foiled the Harpies’ upset bid, and the Screamers pulled away with a win for Taylor and Jason’s last game before gettin’ hitched.
Rats > Jazzhaus
Nick Lerner’s “Homies” > Brewballers
Screamers > Ladybird Harpies
Taco Tuesday > Sacred Sword
Corksuckers > Liberty Hall Late Fees
Wu-oost > Where’s My Pitches?
AsteroidHead > D’s Nutz
Los Matadores > Free State Growlers
Love Garden Squids > Hurtz Donut D-Holes
Red Lyon > Rockets
Happy Shirt > Bad News Bagels
Thunderkickz > Goats
Channel 6 > Wildman Attack Force
Pizza Party!! > Das Boot
Kansas Tree Care > Mario Chalmersiz
That was pretty straightforward. I’ll try and do something more entertaining later this week. Less buffalo drawings. More instructional videos. Thomas’ Promises.