Congrats to Mr. Santos for correctly picking every game last week! Paul now has a 3 week streak for most picks. What’s your favorite Wes Anderson flick? His picks included 2 upsets according to my pool rankings, which were Screamers > Yello Sub and Astroidhead > Kitty (ouch, isn’t that like giving the bird to your former team after you deserted them?). Winner of the picks this week gets to give Paul a wedgie.
Pita Pit v Los Luchadores
This week features a full slate of great games in the top flight pool, and this is the cherry on top. Both teams are undefeated and are 1 & 2 in my rankings: Pita Pit, Los Luchadores, Sacred Sword, Das Boot, Eldridge. I’m getting off on a tangent here and I hope I don’t ruffle too many feathers, but someone asked me last Sunday if I thought the competition among the 1’s was tougher this season or last, and I have to say that last year was stiffer. It is very possible that PP, LG, and SS are all better than they were last year, LL is undoubtedly a strong addition, and DB and E have proven that they can be dangerous. However, the 1’s lost a lot: the offensive juggernaut that was First Blood; the veteran, perennial contenders in Eastsiders; and the big kicking, defensively sound Jazzhaus squad (not sure what’s going on with their personnel this year but don’t count them out). I do think that the league is deeper this year, and there is much improved play among the teams ranked 5-15. But to illustrate my point about the collective strength of the ones, I believe that every game last year between PP, FB, LG, Eastsiders, and J was decided by a mere 1, 2, or 3 runs.
I mention all this to point out that while both PP and LL have been in close games to good teams, neither has faced an opponent of this ilk this season as they would have on almost a weekly basis last season. Specifically, offensive balance with top-end power kickers and defenders in every position that possess highly rated speed, hands, and arms. If you don’t play at 5:30, come over to Hobbs to watch these heavy weights feel each other out for the first several innings. LL have certainly done a great job at limiting offenses this year, and I’m interested to see how they handle the PP offensive pressure. I actually think LL’s ability to produce offensively is more important in order to relief some of the pressure on their defense. PREDICTION: PP 7 LL 6
Sacred Sword v Love Garden
This is the rubber match in what has become another Battle of Hobbs. Sacred Sword humiliated LG in the GOTW two years ago in their breakout season, but LG avenged the loss at Hobbs last year. I would argue that both teams are better than last year and vastly improved from two years ago. Not just a game on the line, Katie (LG) and Adam (SS) will be your KVKL after party DJ’s. Winning DJ gets to be Casey Kasem for the night, taking your “requests and dedications” as you boogie your kickball butts all night long. PREDICTION: I can hear the Rocky theme song
Das Boot v Eldridge
Both teams have been handed a beat down in rank play, but both showed their toughness last week. Eldridge had a close 4-7 game with Pita Pit until the 7th, and Das Boot jumped on Love Garden with a 5 run first inning. Das Boot beat Eldridge earlier in the season, and I expect this to be a good rematch under the lights that will showcase how both teams earned their right to play in the top pool. PREDICTION: DB 8 E 7
Yello Sub v Red Lyon
Yello Sub is coming off a big loss, but suffered an even bigger loss with the injury of their captain and arguably their best player, Shahir (sp?). Yello Sub has to find a way to absorb the loss to fend off a strong Red Lyon team. I rank this pool: Screamers, Yello Sub, Red Lyon, Mad Greek, Replay, Weavers. At full strength, I think Yello Sub would give the Red Lyon defense fits, but I sense that they were completely out of sorts last week (though maybe that’s the Screamer effect). They have to pull it together in a hurry and could be aided by a Red Lyon team that is short-handed due to the Manchester United game. PREDICTION YS 10 RL 6
Replay v Mad Greek
This could be the best 2 matchup this week, or maybe I’m just looking for a reason to write about Mad Greek yet again and make some joke about Replay drinking water, but how could I top Cougar’s “no water” line. PREDICTION: R 10 MG 7
It’s a “pick your upset” for the 3’s this week, as I’m not seeing a compelling match up. Rangelife seems like they are going to roll the rest of the way into the tournament just like last year. Man, were they under seeded to start the season. They’re on top followed by Slowride, Eastsiders, Liberty Hall, Free State, Channel 6. What will it be: Liberty ends Life’s pursuit of happiness; 6 takes over the Hood; or Free State bottles the great taste of Foghat classic.
Jazzhaus v West Coast
Really, I doubt this will be a game. West Coast was my preseason pick to ascend the ranks and compete with the 3’s, but they just haven’t reached their potential (sorry to say it, Derrick—I’m just as disappointed as you. Well, maybe not). They’re without their best(?) male and female players this week and I don’t know how they’ll manage to coral a Jazzhaus team that seems to have rediscovered its mojo. I rank the pool: Jazz, Brew Ballers, West Coast, Murda Tang, Blue Collar, Wildman. Actually, better games will probably be Murda Tang v Brew Ballers and Blue Collar v Wildman. PREDICTION J 16 WC 7
Wow, Todd Tractor is above .500. They’re king of the 5’s followed by Tellers, Astroidhead, Kitty, Girls, Ms. Fortunes.