Mad Greek v Channel 6
What a better way to end an exciting pool play schedule than a giant KICK-A-BALLOOZA out at YSI. There are several games that will really shake up pool rankings if an upset occurs, and this is one of them. Seems like I’ve mentioned Mad Greek every week, and for good reason as they now sit in the #2 position in the Carrie A. Nation Pool. But before they start sizing up their rank play opponents, they have to focus on a Channel 6 team that could supplant them in the 2 spot. The standings are wrong on the website and Channel 6 is actually 1-2 in pool play and owns the tiebreaker against Murda Tang, which puts them currently at #3. Channel 6 can take over the #2 position with a big win or fall all the way to #5 depending on a potential 3-way tiebreaker with Murda Tang and Todd Tractor.
I’ve described Mad Greek as a collection of gym rats that may not have the physical talents of other teams, but they have been playing together for years and strive on the strength of their entire unit. To further emphasize the role teamwork has had in their success, it is worth noting that Mad Greek is the veteran team of what is far and away the youngest pool in the league. With the exception of Mad Greek, the rest of these teams have been around for less than 2 full seasons: Das Boot (in just their 2nd season); Murda Tang (2); Todd Tractor (1); and Channel 6 (2). This is an impressive group of young teams and all seem to have promising futures in this league. They can all stand to learn from a Mad Greek team that plays team defense and embraces a varied offensive strategy that includes the bunt.
The Toepokes have surprised some teams in their short time in the league. They pulled an upset over Murda Tang in week 3 and also beat the Screamers in the first round of the playoffs last year. I have never seen this team play (aside from highlights on some news channel), but league sources tell me they have a strong outfield and have a mid- and deep-range offense that can put pressure on teams. A review of their game against Murda Tang was posted on MMKU Wk 3 by some mad Greek. PREDICTION: The veterans find a way to get it done MG 9 C6 7
Jazzhaus v Eldridge
The Langston Hughes Pool has provided our league with a lot of excitement this year, and this game features another quality matchup. This is the game I personally would most like to see, but it falls in the rankings because it will have no effect on their pool rankings, as the Eldridge and Jazzhaus locked into their respective #1 and #4 after Week 3. This is assuming Slowride takes care of business against Ms. Fortune’s, otherwise Jazzhaus could move up to the #3 spot with a win. Regardless, these teams are capable of big things and they are looking for some momentum heading into rank play.
Jazzhaus is coming off a tough late-inning loss to the Screamers and has lost 3 games by a mere 4 runs. I’m not sure what’s happening with their personnel but this is still a team that garners league respect, and for good reason. This will be the best competition Jazzhaus has before the playoffs (not to say they will win every rank play game) and I would think a win would be an important confidence booster.
The Eldridge has had arguably the toughest first half schedule and is looking to sharpen up against yet another quality opponent before entering the merciless #1 schedule. I think the Eldridge wins this game because they, like Mad Greek above, has the more versatile offense that includes short (bunts), mid, and deep kicking. They are a quick, scrappy, and athletic bunch if there ever was one. An interesting side note about this pool before my official prediction: you could play a KVKL version of Kevin Bacon’s Six Degrees with this pool, only it would be more like 1-2 degrees separating any team:
Eldridge has at least one former player now playing for Jazzhaus
Red Lyon has at least one former player now playing for Slowride
Slowride has at least one player that used to play for Red Lyon
Jazzhaus has players that used to play for Red Lyon, Eldridge, and Ms. Fortunes
Ms. Fortune’s has at least one former player now playing for Jazzhaus
There may be more than I’m aware of, but it’s worth noting that the players I’m thinking of are marquee players–can you think of them? PREDICTION: people will think that last bit was rubbish and E 8 J 5
Replay v Love Garden
My apologies to both teams as this game would be featured much higher but I don’t want to get in the habit of writing much about my own team’s games. It would just make me feel too pompous. I may make exceptions to talk about rivalries or team/league history as I did with LG v Murda Tang in Week 2. My own self consciousness aside, these two undefeated teams will be playing for first place in the James Naismith Pool. Replay has traded in their late inning PBR’s for H20 to ascend the ranks, but I assure you they have lost none of their Rowdiness. LG and R have had many enjoyable times together, as our teams started the weekly Thursday night pickup games at South Park in 2008, which usually started with a $4 jar at Harbour (ah, memories). KVKL PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Don’t practice at South Park!
Unfortunately, I have it on good authority that Replay will be without their best player, Mr. Bickel, although my experience also tells me captain Dover has some devilish psychological tactics that could include, and are not limited to, misinformation. I look forward to a competitive game with friends.
Wildman Vintage v Liberty Hall
Playing for #3 and #4 in the little talked about Carrie A. Nation Pool. Weavers seems to come from nowhere to lock up the #2 seed with their surprising win over Liberty Hall last week (barring a SS/Astroidhead upset this week—not going to happen). That makes Weavers the biggest upward mover, going from a preseason 5th tier team to a 2nd. This game isn’t about Weavers, but what did surprise me about the Liberty Hall loss was that they were coming off a game in which they held Sacred Sword to 10 points, almost all of those runs coming after the 6th inning. I haven’t seen Wildman play in a long time, but they are always well dressed and are coming off a 23-run beat down of Astroidhead. PREDICTION: Liberty Hall stumbled, but get right back up LH 12 W 7
PEANUTS AND CRACKERJACKS
Weavers v Todd Tractor — GOTW
Three compelling reasons to look forward to this game: 1) We get to watch a GOTW played on grass in the middle of nowhere; 2) we get to see the #2 seed from the Carrie A. Nation Pool; and 3) we get to see and welcome our newest team, some of whom are city kickball league transfers. Can’t wait.