March 30 – Current Players and Teams
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The Flea Bitten Varmints have announced they won’t be able to finish the season and are forfeiting their final four games. After a record breaking perfect start to the season’s first four weeks, with no forfeits, things have fallen apart post Labor Day. The Varmints join Clubber Lang as the the only two teams in the league’s 11 season history who didn’t finish the season.
The Varmints forfeit to Scared Hitless allowed them to clinch the Eastern Division and eliminate the The Gnats from postseason contention.
The four teams making the playoffs are now set, though there are games left for seeding.
Current Postseason Seeding
The Master Batters and NWO are fighting each other for the Western Division crown. The runner up still makes the playoffs as the Wild Card, but gets the #4 seed as a result, even if they have a better record than the other teams.
If that happens, or something similar does, it’s the Master Batters at Superman’s Wheelchair in the first DCS. It’s always fun to play a team 3, or maybe 4 times in a row at the end of the season. Wheelchair seems the favorite, but is clearly untested this season. They could easily get upset, especially by the scrappy Master Batters who will end up playing at least three more games than Wheelchair did this season, against a much tougher Division. Put your money on Wheelchair though. They have all the tools and multiple threats.
The other likely series is NWO at Scared Hitless. Or vice versa depending on how their end of the season matchup goes. NWO relies on Alex Filides to win it on the mound and at bat. Giving up .87 runs a game, and personally scoring 1.25 runs a game. Despite his break with Tony Ragano, Filides is using the Ragano school of strategy on this one. A strategy that failed to win a World Series three seasons in a row. It will once again fail this time. The three game series is still short enough that bad luck or just barely getting by can save you, but Filides can’t hold Hitless to .87 runs a game for 18 consecutive innings. And, his team can’t score. Hitless advances from this one.
That means Scared Hitless makes their second consecutive run at a World Series only to be outmatched in the final contest. Wheelchair won the only match-up this season, 5-0 over Hitless but that was way back in Week 1. They also beat Hitless the only other time they played, during Spring 2010 by a score of 3-0, with Thaman 3-hitting them. This year it was a Joe Thaman 1-hitter with two dinger effort that hurt the ERA of Hitless’s best pitcher, DiCrosta from the get go. Normally Hitless runs Ford until his mental game goes to shit, then brings in DiCrosta. That strategy isn’t going to work here. It will take three games, but Wheelchair should roll over this one.
Each week always brings a little bit of controversy, complaining, and douchebag like behavior. Usually it’s manageable, doesn’t distract too much from the game, and is treated with the appropriate level of disdain by most other wiffleball participants.
Who can forget the Tony Ragano/Jon Godfrey “in your face” confrontation after the padawan NWO beat former master Clubber Lang for the second time this season. The tension was palpable and the sexual undertones hard to ignore. Pretty much anytime NWO is on the field you expect a certain amount of douche-baggery, but that day it reached a boiling point and Ragano’s Facebook status soon changed to single.
Week 5 probably should have been an exception to this rule. With only four games it’s hard to have many issues. Forfeits suck.
However, the day started out bad not just for the rain and standing water on the field, but from a visit from the National Parks Service, and got worse as two old teammates squared off in the day’s final matches.
For your consideration, the first ever nominees for Douchebag of the Week (not that MANY others haven’t deserved a nomination over the years):
Nominee #1 – Park Ranger Deborah Deas
As most of you know each week or at least every other week, a Park Police officer or a Park Ranger from the National Park Service stops by the PWL Scorer’s tent to check things out and make sure we have a permit. ( We do ) Each week we’re mildly inconvenienced as the person who approaches tells us that we have to move the league van. In addition to being our source of power for the stats laptops, the van serves as a nice additional headquarters, a “dugout” almost for players. (Not to mention making loading and unload equipment and fences a little easier.) After reading the permit, the officials always concede the argument and move on.
This week, the Ranger who issues the permits, Ranger Deborah Deas, stopped by in person. You might remember Ranger Deas from previous posts as the person we unsuccessfully lobbied to let us stay at Gravelly in 2008, and who worked with us to get our permit this year. She’s kind of infamous in league history and at some point more will be written about her.
Well, why wait for that point, here is the deal: She visited the fields this week because it had been reported to her that we had been parking the league van next to the fields and she wanted to personally come and make sure we knew that was in violation of our permit and that the vehicle needed to be moved to the lot.
The conversation began smoothly enough as the Commish directed her attention to the same language that had been shown to the other officers and officials who had stopped by before. As the person who issues the permits, it was merely a reminder since she had in fact given us the exact language to which we were referring. We don’t believe she actually wrote the language herself, we’re sure the template for permits existed long before she became the Special Permits Ranger. But, to say that she should be at least casually familiar with the language is probably an understatement.
What happened next was hard to explain. The only thing we can believe is that there was just a simple misunderstanding of the English language. The section which we have pointed to many times, and to which every other official we have provided it to agreed with, was disputed by the Ranger. She in fact said, that she “issues the permits, so she knows what is in them and what they mean”, despite what every other rational person’s reading of the language has been.
The permit states:
28. Parking is permitted only in the designated parking area, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ONE VEHICLE FOR USE IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY, which may park on the grass near the playing field.
(Emphasis NOT added by the PWL, but rather, by Ranger Deas in the permit.)
To us, and most others, it’s pretty clear that the intention here is that when you have a permitted event, you’re allowed to have one vehicle be on site, close to that event, in the unfortunate situation that an emergency were to happen. Whether a medial injury on the playing field, a drive by shooting from the Parkway, a plane crash, or a kid flying a kite next to the field, it makes sense to have a car close by to help facilitate the needed aid.
Ranger Deas first argued that the section only applied to “emergency vehicles”; which we’re assuming she defined as ambulances, fire trucks, police cars, the trucks that spray the foam on the run way when you have to crash land a plane, etc. However, a pretty clear reading of that section as well as the other sections which reference “vehicles” in the permit made it clear pretty easily that the permit was both written and intended to be referring to any kind of vehicle, say perhaps, a van. This part of the debate took five minutes. PWL 1, NPS 0.
Unfortunately we weren’t done, and the next debate point became over the language “in the event of an emergency”. Ranger Deas took the position that this meant parking was allowed only near the field if an actual emergency was currently in the process of happening. For example, should the field be actively on fire, and the fire be defined as an emergency, it would be fine to then park and leave the van next to, or perhaps in, the fire. When the PWL took the position that perhaps that didn’t make any sense, and that if an emergency were actually happening at that point it wouldn’t make sense to go get the van and park it, things started to take a turn for the worse.
Even if it was a medical emergency, a broken leg, it wouldn’t make sense to have permission to move the van there and park it. It would make sense to load up the injured party and drive them away, to a hospital perhaps. No need for parking. Another section of the permit already gives holders the right to drive onto the field to pick-up or drop-off equipment. Assuming we defined the player with cracked bone sticking out of his or her skin as “equipment” we’d be ok for a drop-off or pick-up already. So, clearly, the position of the NPS didn’t make any sense. Clearly this section of the permit and “in the event of” means that we can park there, so that should an emergency occur, we are ready with the vehicle. At this point, even the umpire chimed in that it really couldn’t be read any other way. PWL 2, NPS 0.
Finally…after having asked four times for us to move the PWL van, and having lost each part of the argument pretty clearly, Ranger Deas relented. She didn’t concede the points, but rather, stated that everyone would be issued a new permit this week that was clear that only “emergency vehicles” could park there, and that in the event of an emergency, a stroke victim or plane crash survivor could hoof it over to the parking lot from the field to find a car to bleed on just like everyone else. PWL 2, NPS 1 (kinda)
Fortunately, the forfeits meant that only one game was going on at the time and a game didn’t have to be delayed for the Commissioner to keep score for the close to 20 minutes that this dispute occurred. Nicholas DiCrosta, hiding his beer from the Ranger, scored while the argument raged.
To no one’s surprise, so far no new permits have been received by the PWL, and Ranger Deas has not been heard from. She gets our first nomination for Douchebag of the Week.
Nominee #2 – Kely Raygod
In the PWL, and in life, there are definitely bigger douchebags than Kely Raygod. Normally Kely’s squeaky wheel complaints and witless suggestions and ramblings are minimal enough to be ignored. However, during Week 5’s matchup between division rivals Scared Hitless and the Canvassers, Raygod elevated his game enough to win a nomination for a tussle with the Commissioner.
Raygod was a Canvasser during the franchise’s 5th World Championship season in Summer 2009, but left to join Scared Hitless in 2010. As a result, he and the Canvasser manager, who also happens to be the Commissioner of the PWL, had a small falling out. It resulted in minor things such as the Commissioner not mentioning Raygod as part of the World Series champions in some statements and a name misspelling on the stats page. Once it became clear that 2010 was a rebuilding year for the Canvassers (who have won 5 of the 10 World Series in PWL history to date) and wouldn’t be a challenge that prevented Scared Hitless from making the playoffs only to blow their 5th chance at a World Series, the rivalry died down a little bit and Raygod and Gallaway even seemed to make peace at times.
Raygod’s perfect throw from home plate to second base after catching a foul ball in the Spring 2010 World Series, the first out recorded that way, was even highlighted on the PWL website.
The third installment of the Canvassers/Scared Hitless four game series this season started off as expected. Scared Hitless go out to a good lead, building up a five run margin. With the earlier forfeits, the game was the only one going on, and it actually started early, but still over an hour later than the last game had been played.
The PWL rules provide for runs rule victories in a couple of different situations. If a team is winning by 10 runs any time after 3 innings (clearly giving the home team chance to bat last should they be trailing) the game is over and the “mercy” rule is applied. The second scenario is that if after 45 minutes of play, a team is down by 5 runs, the rule is then applied. (Average game time this season for games has been 43 minutes.)
This rule was mentioned and discussed by Raygod prior to the start of the game. It had come up because Raygod had spent “more than an hour” on the metro in order to get to the game, and he had hoped it wouldn’t be a run rule victory. With the nine team schedule, Scared Hitless was only scheduled to play one game that week. The trouble should have been spotted then. It was clear, at least to some onlookers that Raygod was really inconvenienced by the “more than an hour” metro ride, and was looking for a fight.
Unfortunately, Raygod’s worst nightmare came true. His team WON THE GAME. And, in fact, were up 5-0 after the Canvassers had batted in the bottom of the 5th inning (out of 6) and 48 minutes and 35 seconds of play had happened, thus making it a “mercy” run rule victory. It was at this point that Raygod became unhappy. He really wanted to get one more inning of play in.
Those present say that they believe that Raygod had spent somewhere in the neighborhood of “an hour” on the metro, and even if the game was technically over, it was clear that Raygod wasn’t satisfied that the rules were applied. Clearly, exceptions to the rules are what are needed after “an hour” metro ride.
Unfortunately, the Commissioner didn’t agree. Despite is costing his own team a loss, and an embarrassing “mercy” run rule loss, the Commissioner enforced the rules. The Commissioner, feeling bad that Raygod had spent somewhere close to “an hour” on the metro, did agreed to continue playing out the game so that Scared Hitless could get in more at-bats and fielding practice.
“If Kely needed the Canvassers, including a rookie pitcher who had never thrown a pitch before that day, to be the punching bag for Scared Hitless on their way to the World Series runner up spot, we were ok with that. It meant more practice for us too, and we really need it this season”, Gallaway said.
However, the Commissioner said that the “extra inning” wouldn’t count in the official stats, since technically the game was over. Raygod came unglued. He lost control to the point of prancing around the field and taking over the scoring computer from Alex Filides who had scored the “official” game but was refusing to continue scoring the “unofficial” part. He then continued to complain about the rule and said everyone hates the rule, even though it was unanimously passed by the league managers.
Commissioner Gallaway pointed out that Raygod was welcome to be his team’s representative to the next manager’s call when rules were discussed. But, probably went a little over the top when saying that clearly despite his problem with this rule, and many other rules, neither his current manager (Patrick Browning) nor his former manager (The Commissioner himself) had felt comfortable including him in those decisions before.
“It’s like the crazy guy that stands on the corner and tells you what’s wrong with the Congress, and that the government is beaming signals into his head”, said Browning. “Sometimes you stop and listen to him to amuse yourself, but that doesn’t mean you actually elect him to Congress.”
Some of Raygod’s other ideas for rules changes have been a little out of the main steam:
To teach everyone, especially the Commissioner, a lesson about not crossing him when he spent almost “an hour” on the metro, Raygod left the field after the game without helping to pack and load the equipment. Raygod 1, PWL 0.
At some point, no one is clear when, by Raygod’s own admission, he also put his “thumb up his ass” in protest. ( See Comment #1 ) Raygod 2, PWL 0.
For his lifetime of work, if not just for this event, Raygod merits the second nomination.
Nominee #3 – Commissioner Chris Gallaway
Clearly it takes two to tango. Both of the previously described douchebags needed a foil to engage with or else their douchebag moments would have passed unnoticed.
As the league’s sole responsible party, the defender of the “best interests of wiffleball” it often falls on the Commish to make unpopular decisions. That doesn’t mean that the Commissioner is always perfect in that role. Whether it’s a controversial free agent signing, an ignored name on the POTW nominations, or a tough scoring decision, everyone is not always going to be happy.
As a result, it’s only fair that the third nomination for this week be the Commissioner himself.
The choice is yours, to vote with your minds and your hearts, to determine the first ever douchebag to be formally recognized in the stat book as such by the league.
For those of you who haven’t figured out how to right click on the stats tables to export to Excel for sorting and further calcuations, we thought we’d give you a little surprise due to the off week.
Here are some additional stats categories that aren’t automatically calculated by our software, and thus, haven’t been posted each week.
Batting (Min 22 AB’s)
OPS – On Base Plus Slugging (League .811)
GO/FO – Ground Outs Per Fly Outs (League 1.1)
AB/XBH – At Bats Per Extra Base Hits (League 7.61)
AB/HR – At Bats Per Home Runs (League 14.26)
AB/SO – At Bats Per Strikeout (League 2.87)
Pitching (Min 7 IP)
HIP – Hits Per Inning Pitched (League .74)
K/6 – Strike Outs Per 6 Inngs (League 5.8)
Fielding (Min 14 TP)
Pitcher – Range Factor – PO+A*6/TP (League 3.87)
Fielder – Range Factor – PO+A*6/TP (League 1.48)
Catcher – Range Factor – PO+A*6/TP (League 6.83)
Minutes after he lost a Player of the Week award that he had at one time led in the voting by 71%, Brian Ford got more bad news.
Commissioner Gallaway announced that after reviewing the video from Ford’s shutout against Clubber Lang during Week 4 that he would not overturn the scoring decision made at the time leaving the game as a 1-hitter, not a no-hitter.
“At all times we should strive for perfection, no matter how impossible to obtain,” Gallaway stated. “If a scoring decision made at the time is wrong, we will fix it. The game deserves that. However, in this case, the video tape review is not conclusive in a manner that would convince me to overturn the decision the scorer made at the time of the play.”
The game was scored by Alex Filides, of NWO. The hit in question came in the 8th inning of what would be a 10 inning game. Ford was perfect for 20 of 21 batters, including the 12 he would normally face in a regulation game. His offense let him down though and didn’t score until the bottom of the 10th inning.
Ford was unable to be reached for comment as his 8-track was in the middle of changing from “Army of One” to “Dirt”.
Brian Ford was perfect for 7.5 innings, but Scared Hitless couldn’t score a single run to give the hurler his 4th perfect game. Brandon Carter ripped a line drive to second in the 8th inning to bust up the perfecto. Hitless held on and ended up winning in the 10th.
A controversial scoring decision in the 8th followed a questionable managerial decision to put Kyle “Hands” O’Grady in the field when Matt Dreyfus had to leave the game early for a pap smear.
Scared Hitless skipper Pat Browning, perhaps to make up for the previously referred to managerial decision, has formally asked Commissioner Gallaway to review the play. The PWL policy is to review scoring decisions upon request, as long as they are submitted within one week of the game. The game was scored by Alex Filides.
At issue is whether the dropped ball by O’Grady would have been caught by an “outfielder at that position making ordinary effort.”
Thanks to our friends at YouTube you can watch the clip in 1080p.
For years I’ve been looking for a place to play winter wiffleball in DC. Whether it’s a league, or a one day tournament; November to March is far too long not to have any wiffle action.
The problem, of course, is the venue. You have to have a place that’s indoors, and thus not covered with snow. You have to have a place that has a high ceiling. Ideally you want a place with carpet (or artificial turf) rather than hardwood. A place that’s affordable is also important.
A high school gym is rented cheap, but a gym with a regulation basketball court can only hold one field. And, it’s hardwood. Indoor soccer fields have the right turf, and can fit one field…maybe two if we squeeze…but they all have low ceilings. Home Runs, people…home runs. In the winter these places are expensive by the hour.
After five years of frustration…it finally hit me the other night. The DC Armory.
In additon to a floor space that is 380’ by 183’, (that’s 4 to 6 wiffleball fields), it has a ceiling height of 88’. More than enough room to let the home runs soar, and the pop flies fall harmlessly back to earth. Certainly, like any domed stadium we’d need ground rules to cover the inevitable ball hitting the ceiling, or more likely ball hitting one of the lights which hang lower. But, all things considered, the perfect solution for winter.
When the floor seating is pushed back, as we’d need it to be to make room for the fields, the spectator seating is all in the upper deck on second level. Of course, we’d arrange fields so that home run balls hit really well could reach the top tier of the stands into the stadium seats.
It’s hardwood in its natural form, but the indoor football team that played there brought in a rug, and if it works for football, it will work for wiffleball. 70,000 square feet of carpet isn’t the kind of thing you put in a rental van and transport each week, but the Armory is too expensive to use weekly for a league anyway. At $7,500+ a day, this is a one day tournament or special event.
So, that leaves us with a single day tournament in January or February. An all day event with a pool play round that then seeds a double elimination tournament in the afternoon. With six fields, we’d be able to max out at about 24 teams for a pool play and then 16 teams seeded in the double elimination tournament.
As Chris Knight would say…“it’s a moral imperative”. We must do this. I’m now on a mission from god to make this happen.
What do you think?
The National Wiffle League Association Rankings for Week 20 have put the Blandsford Barnburners in the #3 spot nationally.
The site follows 28 leagues around the country and ranks teams based on whatever factors “Senior Anaylst” (sic) Stats Stenson deems appropriate. It appears to be mostly on regular season win-loss record, and it’s unclear if playoff success is a factor.
The PWL has had as many as five teams ranked, and is now down to three. Most leagues play one long season, so the PWL model of two seasons in a calendar year causes some issues with the rankings. The Barnburners only play in the Spring season, so while their record has been unchanged, they’ve moved from #9 in the rankings at the end of Spring to #3 now.
Additionally, it’s unclear if standings for teams that play both seasons are combined. Currently, no Summer Season standings or results have been incorporated.
The rankings website, as well as the PWL are always looking for guest columnists to write feature stories. If you would like to represent PWL as the official blogger on the National Wiffle League Association or just write content for this page, email the Commissioner at email@example.com.
For detailed game coverage (in addition to the complete game videos of course) do you prefer the league post the Box Scores with the play-by-play, or the PDF scoresheets?