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The Filides Forecast: Summer 2013 Predictions

Written by - Posted 2013-09-28 22:46 in Blog

About the Author: Alex Filides is the guy most of the league hates for no reason, and some of the league hates for very good reasons. He’s aggressive in the game, eats, sleeps and breathes wiffleball, and left the winning run in two postseason series stranded on third base.

Canvassers 2 Gumballers 0

Gumballers vs Canvassers should be a very interesting match up. Potential game day starter Stacy Critchfield for the Canvassers and Anthony Morin for the Canvassers. Morin has had a great season on the mound and had defeated the Gumballers in their second meeting. Rookie Spencer Howard is another great addition to the Canvassers’ potent lineup hitting .449 this year, to go along with veteran, Kris Garcia. Both have had solid seasons. Gumballers rely on putting the ball in play and some aggressive base running. I think it will be the Canvasser bats that will be able to manufacture a run against Critchfield. However, if Morin gets pitcher ejected by the 5th inning, then it could be the Gumballers that gain a huge advantage. With ace Jeff Nitto out, I’m taking the Canvassers to win the game and the division.

Moose Knuckles 2 Suns Out Guns Out 1

Another tough match up between two divisional rivals. Potential game day starter Chris Mazur goes for Suns Out vs. the Moose Knuckles, Matt Gagnon. For the most part, Gagnon has been the league’s best pitcher this season, but is also going up against one of the best offenses in the league. The Moose Knuckles will try to scrap for runs using their aggressive base running tactics. Flowers had a monster week in their last meeting against Suns Out, hitting 4 homeruns, but most of them weren’t against the Suns Out ace, Mazur. Gagnon tends to nibble at the corners, however it’s gotten him into trouble at times this season with pitcher ejections. This is where the new addition Ty Fletcher will come into play, addding a much needed second pitcher to the rotation. Suns Out has the hitting duo of Will McNally and Michael Burns and one of the best 1-2 tandems in the league. Despite past history, I’m taking the Moose Knuckles in this game. Moose Knuckles 1 Suns Out Guns Out 0

For Saturday’s Divisional championship series winner, we’re going with the Moose Knuckles. They have finally found some solid backup pitching to the rotation. Matt Gagnon has been one of the best pitchers all season. The Nasty Boy’s will be in the mix with Adriano DeSorrento leading his team both with his pitching and his bat. The Hai’chi Mountaineers are another dangerous team to watch out for. Last year Cy Young award winner Neal Kovach will try to keep the hitters in check. Any one of these 4 teams have a chance of coming out on top. Listed below are the odds for each team winning the DCS for Sunday.

Moose Knuckles 2-1
Nasty Boys 3-1
Canvassers 8-1
Suns Out 10-1
Hai’chi 15-1
Gumballers 15-1

Higman At The Bat

Written by - Posted 2013-07-18 13:35 in Blog

This weekend, the PWL All Stars, playing as the Nationals, compete in the 2nd Annual NWLA Tournament. The team’s All Star representative is Kevin Higman. This is his story.

Higman At the Bat

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the DC Nats that day;
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Jim Shannon died at first, and DiCrosta did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Higman could get but a whack at that -
They’d put up even money, now, with Higman at the bat.
But Flowers preceded Higman, as did also Shannon, Jack,
And the former was a pudding and the latter was a hack;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Higman’s getting to the bat.
But Flowers let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Shannon, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jack safe at second and Andy a-hugging third.
Then from 5 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Higman, mighty Higman, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Higman’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in HIgman’s bearing and a smile on Higman’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ‘twas Higman at the bat.
Ten eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Higman’s eye, a sneer curled Higman’s lip.
And now the hollow plastic sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Higman stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
“That ain’t my style,” said Higman. “Strike one,” the whack of the strike board said.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Rip the board from the ground, it’s wrong!” shouted someone on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d have destroyed it had not Higman raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great Higman’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Higman still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”
“Fraud!” cried the maddened fan, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Higman and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Higman wouldn’t let that ball go by again.
The sneer is gone from Higman’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence the plastic bat upon the mat where the plate is drawn.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Higman’s blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Columbus, or DC — mighty Higman has struck out.

The Filides Forecast: World Series Predictions

Written by - Posted 2013-06-15 21:35 in Blog

About the Author: Alex Filides is the guy most of the league hates for no reason, and some of the league hates for very good reasons. He’s aggressive in the game, eats, sleeps and breathes wiffleball, and left the winning run in two postseason series stranded on third base.

Barnburners vs. Superman’s Wheelchair

Barnburners wins series 2-0

The new looks Barnburners with their pitching rotation has really flourished this season. It makes it difficult for any team to have an offensive game plan going against a 4 man pitching rotation. The Barnburners have had their strongest season by far, both offensively and on the mound.

Joe Thaman is Wheelchair’s top ace and arguably the best pitcher in the PWL. The key to the success of Wheelchair is Thaman being able to throw his drop/curve over for a strike, if he has that pitch working, he’s going to be very difficult to hit. He doesn’t always have to throw it for a strike, but it will get the Barnburners hitters thinking.

At times, it’s been tough to figure out what Wheelchair will do offensively against any particular team, sometimes they have good days and not so good days at the plate as a team.

There is no question the Barnburners are the best hitting team in the league. Have they seen Thaman enough times to be able to figure him out? Thaman will need to change speeds while throwing low and away strikes to have success.

Wheelchair offensively is led by Thaman and first baseman, Chris Keeven. Both are strong hitters and can lead the charge by themselves. Todd Ogg has some pop and can hit for average.

The Barnburners are young and strong and can most likely recover from playing back to back days, although Wheelchair has a young team as well, but may be tired from playing back to back, we’ll see. Wind is also blowing out on both fields, in addition to having home field advantage strongly favors the Barnburners.

As crazy and as far out there as this sounds, it is my belief that if Thaman can hold the Barnburners to 0 runs then Wheelchair will win the game. It took me a while to think about it and it’s a gamble but I’m willing to sacrifice my reputation by making such a statement. The guys on Wheelchair are really a great group of people, however with all due respect the Barnburners are the #1 team in the nation and have looked solid with no flaws to their game. In the past, this writer had question if they had really deserved to be the #1 team in the country, however after watching them this season it is definitely worth the argument.

Barnburners (keys to the game)

  • playing their game and staying loose.
  • pitching aggressively in the zone, knowing they have solid backups.
  • DiCrosta distracting them with his fine commentary.
  • see above

Wheelchair (keys to the game)

  • Thaman being able to throw his drop/curve for a strike.
  • Thaman changing speeds, thowing low and away and mixing up pitches, maybe adding a new pitch.
  • Holding the Barnburners to a single on hits.

The Filides Forecast: DCS Round 2 Predictions

Written by - Posted 2013-06-13 20:00 in Blog

About the Author: Alex Filides is the guy most of the league hates for no reason, and some of the league hates for very good reasons. He’s aggressive in the game, eats, sleeps and breathes wiffleball, and left the winning run in two postseason series stranded on third base.

Wheelchair vs Suns Out
Wheelchair wins 2-0

It’s been a while since these teams have met. Suns Out is coming into this series with an 11 game winning streak including a playoff series win vs. Gumballers and quality regular season wins vs. Scared Hitless and Moose Knuckles during that streak. Wheelchair has won 16 of their last 17 games, including the playoffs dating back to last season.

Michael Burns and Will McNally are Suns Out’s main hitters and they both need to hit for them to have a chance in this series. However, the downfall is that they haven’t had many looks against Wheelchair’s ace Joe Thaman.

As of now, it appears that Will McNally will be the starting pitcher with Mazur out this Saturday. They don’t need to strike everyone out, but do need to be quick, fast and adept in the field. Wheelchair doesn’t particularly have fast baserunners, so this works to their advantage.

For Wheelchair, Chris Keeven and Joe Thaman are an excellent 1-2 combo at the top of the order. When they are both hitting well, they are extremely tough to beat. They have other guys in the lineup that can hit on occasion, if these others guys can get on base, it should be an easy win for Wheelchair. Keeven and Thaman are two of the more consistent hitters in the league.

Wheelchair (keys to the game)

  • Thaman staying in the game at pitcher.
  • Keeping runners at first base on hits, not allowing them to get to second.
  • Completely shutting down on of their top 2 hitters.
  • A little offensive “pop” from Christoff, Ogg and Halverson would help.

Suns Out (keys to the game)

  • Offensive support for Burns and McNally
  • Mixing up pitches and changing speeds against Wheelchair hitters.
  • Not being afraid to make outs on the basepaths, through smart, aggressive baserunning.
  • Being patient at the plate and working the count. Making the pitcher work.

Barnburners vs. Moose Knuckles
Barnburners 2-0

The Barnburners and Moose Knuckles met in the final week of the season, with the Barnburners coming back from behind to win 3-2. Matt Gagnon(MK) did pitch 3.5 innings of one hit ball, while allowing 0 runs. However, the two questions are can Gagnon stay in the game and can he pitch as effective on the blue field where the Barnburners have the all important home field advantage? Will the Barnburners go with a rotation as they had during the season? Or will they stick with Jim and Jack Shannon as they did in the 1st round of the playoffs against 7th inning?

The Moose Knuckles do have a very good hitter in Andrew Flowers, the whole team can put the bat on the ball and scrap for runs, but they have also been very inconsistent this season in their run scoring ability. They have arguably the best fielding tandem in Gagnon and Flowers, which should help.

The Barnburners have looked as dominant as ever before. There are just too many “ifs” with the Moose Knuckles, everything will have to break right, such as Gagnon staying in the game and hitting the corners, the rest of the team needing to find some offense to support Flowers. In other words, the Moose Knuckles will need to play their best series while hoping to catch the Barnburners on an “off” day to pull of the miracle upset.

Barnburners (keys to game)

  • Pitching aggressively to the batters knowing they have solid backup pitchers behind them.
  • Situational hitting when it calls for it and not swinging for the fences every time up.
  • Keeping the pressure on by putting runners on base.
  • Smart aggressive baserunning.
  • Not being distracted by any nerf footballs floating around the field.
  • Getting that first out of the inning, without allowing any base runners.

MooseKnuckles (keys to game)

  • Gagnon pitching the series of his life and staying in the game.
  • At least one or two other guys supporting Flowers on offense.
  • Not getting too emotional during the game. I should take my own advice.
  • Knowing the Barnburners hitting tendencies
  • Keeping the Barnburners runners off bases. They can allow for one or two homeruns and still stay in the game

PWL WEBSITE RANKED 4TH IN NATION

Written by - Posted 2013-06-12 20:59 in Blog

That is not a type-o in the headline. The new national website rankings, out this week, from our friends at the National Wiffle League Association place us 4th in the country.

That’s right, 4th. So, logic would tell us then that there are three websites that are better than ours. We’re not sure on which planet this is true, but certainly, not on planet earth.

The rankings were done, as they were the previous year, by Sam Skibbe of the Skibbe Wiffleball League from St. Louis, Missouri. My guess is they’re really in O’Fallon, but claim to be from St. Louis, like all O’Fallon trash does, as if St. Louis is much of an improvement.

Now, in general, we like Sam, or we used to. He brought a team to the NWLA tournament last season, as well as played in London, and this season he’s even a member of the organizing committee working closely with Commissioner Gallaway to host the 2013 tournament.

He seems, on the surface, like a decent guy, who cares about wiffleball, and wants to make it better. That all seems good.

But, we have to seriously question his judgment, his competence, his lineage, and his basic understanding of what a website is after this debacle of a national ranking came out. 4th? Our website?

Is it possible Sam hasn’t cleared his browser cache in months and was looking at the old website? Is it possible that he somehow just drew names out of a hat for these rankings? That might explain what’s going on here, but certainly no one, giving any thought at all, to a website ranking is going to put us 4th? Behind three other leagues? Three?

We hope this was an error, or act of random luck, and Sam, which is a girl’s name by the way, didn’t intentionally rank us 4th. If this was intentional though, that makes the whole situation much worse. We wouldn’t put it past a Cardinal fan to do something like this. Long known as the most despicable people on the planet, these bottom feeding fans suck the worst possible traits from everything they get near. Thankfully, in 1985, they were set straight by Don Denkinger.

We hope that amended rankings will be coming soon, but until then, we wait for a proper ranking system, perhaps by someone who doesn’t live in hoosier-ville, to redeem the NWLA website.

BIG CAT RESIGNS AS HITLESS SKIPPER

Written by - Posted 2013-06-10 20:35 in Blog

Hours after Scared Hitless was eliminated from the playoffs during the first round of the Division Championship Series on Sunday, manager Matt Dreyfus submitted his resignation as the clubs skipper.

“I hoped a steady hand and calm demeanor could be the catalyst to get Scared Hitless to the promised land. I believe in this team, but the time for a new leader has come,” Dreyfus said.

Dreyfus took over the storied franchise four seasons ago, after a revolving door of managers and personnel plagued the clubhouse. He hands the reigns of the franchise off after amassing all time record of 49-23, a winning percentage of .681. That record includes a disappointing 8-8 in postseason play.

He ranks 5th in all time wins for a manager, tied for 7th in regular season wins, and 4th in postseason wins. (See all time managerial win records at the end of this story.)

In pre-playoff predictions, Commissioner Gallaway had wondered if a managerial shake-up would be necessary since the team was playing far below its talent level, but Dreyfus indicated his decision had been made well before the preview was posted.

It’s unclear where Hitless goes from here. Nicholas DiCrosta can barely manage himself, misses important games, oversleeps for playoffs, and has a reputation for making the worst possible decisions whenever possible. Alex Filides managed his own team for a few seasons before joining Hitless, but routinely made up imaginary people to fill his roster. Joey Davis has been a part-time player the last several seasons, and rookie Nick Vanderhye seems to be a non-factor. Could Brian Ford get early parole in time to manage the Summer season and catch the Phish summer tour?


Manager All Time Wins

  • Chris Gallaway – 135 (5 World Championships)
  • Christopher Keeven – 104 (3 World Championships)
  • Colin Gannon – 66 (3 World Championships)
  • Kris Garcia – 50 (1 World Championship)
  • Matt Dreyfus – 49
  • Howard Krasilovsky – 47
  • Patrick Browning – 46
  • Tony Ragano – 45
  • Gregory Hudson – 43
  • Andrew Johnson – 39
  • Matt Gagnon – 39

Manager Regular Season Wins

  • Chris Gallaway – 104
  • Christopher Keeven – 82
  • Colin Gannon – 50
  • Howard Krasilovsky – 47
  • Kris Garcia – 43
  • Gregory Hudson – 42
  • Matt Dreyfus – 41
  • Patrick Browning – 41
  • Tony Ragano – 41
  • Andrew Johnson – 37

Manager Postseason Wins

  • Chris Gallaway – 31
  • Christopher Keeven – 22
  • Colin Gannon – 16
  • Matt Dreyfus – 8
  • Kris Garcia – 7
  • Matt Gagnon – 7
  • Ross Duenas – 7
  • David Crain – 7
  • Patrick Browning – 5
  • Tony Ragano – 4
  • Alex Filides – 4
  • Jack Shannon – 4

Move Over Joe, Nitto Sets Scoreless Inning Record

Written by - Posted 2013-05-03 22:18 in Blog

In the Summer 2012 awards voting, a rookie right hander who sometimes rocks an almost submarine delivery style did something that shocked most of the wiffleball world…he won the Cy Young Award.

It wasn’t that his numbers didn’t deserve consideration for the award given to the best pitcher in the league, he led in ERA (.31) and OBA (.137) and was fourth in strikeouts (56). It was that he upset the incumbent holder of the award; the four time winner who was the odds on favorite for a fifth Cy, Joe Thaman. Thaman, in addition to winning four Cy Youngs, had also won four MVP’s over the same time span. For his own double dip in the awards, Nitto claimed himself a Rookie of the Year trophy.

Some question the value of the year end awards, citing voter turnout and popularity more than stats as determining factors. After all, Thaman won the World Series that same season, eliminating Nitto’s Gumballers in the DCS. A DCS in which Thaman outpitched Nitto in ERA (0.53/1.06) as well as OBA (.175/.209) and in K’s (40/13), not to mention in the most important “team” category, two game wins to one. (NOTE: Postseason performance doesn’t factor into the awards, they’re voted on before that.)

During the past week the sophomore Nitto did something else to push the veteran out of the way, and this one can’t be attributed to anything other than his performance. He broke a record thought to probably be unbreakable, by throwing 78 consecutive scoreless innings. Thaman, the previous record holder, had set the “unbreakable” mark in the spring of 2011 at 73. The previous high mark before then had been 53, by Tony Ragano.

“The scoreless inning streak is certainly amazing,” Commissioner Gallaway said. “This is a game where we have a home run every 17 at bats. To consider that he has faced 10 times that many batters over this time and not given one up, let alone a run of some other kind, it’s simply remarkable.”

In fact, during the streak, Nitto has only allowed four doubles, and sixteen singles. It’s hard for runs to get scored against you when no one ever reaches scoring position. He’s also blessed with an above average fielder, Don McClintock who keeps a lot of balls in front of him with his speed and range. Through 11 games in Summer 2012, and the first two of this season, McClintock was error free behind Nitto. He did commit two fumbles this past week, a rarity for him, but still only one runner even reached second base in the two games.

Nitto’s mark isn’t without controversy of course. His streak is split over two seasons, with his first 56 innings coming in his rookie year, and 22 carrying over this season. Thaman’s mark was in one season, but streaks carry over. In between those two seasons, Nitto got tagged for eight runs in the postseason, but those games don’t count. This season, he didn’t pitch in games Week 2 against Superman’s Wheelchair (who got to him for those eight postseason) or Scared Hitless, who sometimes can score runs. (Nitto faced Hitless twice last season, giving up three runs in his league debut game, but holding them scoreless early in his streak for the second meeting.)

Don’t let the naysayers get to you though, the four-time Player of Week certainly isn’t going to. When presented with his keychain for winning his fourth award during Week 1 this season, Nitto feigned surprise with a wry smile and said he was sure that Matt Gagnon was going to win.

The question now, is how long can the streak go. Nitto’s Gumballers have two games on the Red field this week against the Canvassers, who are hitting about 60 point below the league average, and Oedipus who by all measures are the worst hitting team in the league. The wind is also supposed to be blowing in, pretty stiff, so a home run might be tough to come up with. Week 5 he draws rookies Porkchop Sandwiches and the light hitting Natty Brohs. It’s not hard to see a possibility that this streak gets to somewhere close to the century mark.

Of course, it’s just as possible that a guest player who’s never had a hit in his life knocks a ball off the foul pole in the first inning to make this next “unbreakable” record capped off, and ready for the next guy to take a run at. That’s why we play the games.

HOT STOVE: Long Winter

Written by - Posted 2013-03-31 15:22 in Blog

3/27/2013Current Teams and Players

  • Roster signings have been slow the last couple of weeks but are expected to pick up as we enter the home stretch. Nine teams have officially filled the minimum five players needed. With contraction talks in the air, more roster spots should get filled soon.
  • In what is being described as an even exchange by no one, the Janitors have replaced the lost Kevin Higman with former Have Fun manager Scott Abrahams.
  • Todd Ogg joined Superman’s Wheelchair to help in their offensive pop department. But, didn’t they really need a backup pitcher?

Read the full entry

A Face Made for Podcast: Gallaway Talks to WSEM

Written by - Posted 2012-12-28 14:29 in Blog

Commissioner Gallaway was a recent guest on Wiffle in Southeast Michigan’s (we know, weird name?) second annual Christmas Podcast.

WSEM, who was a co-host along with the PWL and KWL of the NWLA Tournament last July, does a monthly podcast which is then put on their blogspot website (we know, blogspot?).

The usual topics are league news, but they have branched out to cover national wiffleball fare, including an infamous preview of the NWLA tourney, and an interview in November with Brian Meyers, commissioner of the Kalamazoo Wiffle League.

Commissioner Gallaway talked about the PWL, NWLA, taking over the wiffleball world, and posed a question for the second guests of the podcast, the Freaky Franchise the best wiffleball team in the country.

You can listen to the podcast (seriously, you can do video over the web now right with a $5 camera?) right here.

Hard Knocks: DC Twits

Written by - Posted 2012-08-31 10:36 in Blog

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is an above-average hitter for and legendary manager of the Ha’chi Mountaineers. A former card-carrying member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, he now spends his time blogging about television, movies and sports when he isn’t working. He is one of the top 5 most talented people named Johnson in the PWL.


Unlike the National Football League, the Potomac Wiffleball League doesn’t require you to have a premium cable subscription to get unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to one of its best teams. There’s no DVR necessary either.

Nope, all you’ll need to get an inside look at the DC Twits – the reigning Western Division champions – is an Internet connection and the ability to tolerate someone other than Harry Kalas (may he Rest in Peace) doing the voiceover work, a task that’s taller than it seems at first.

Hard Knocks: Potomac Wiffleball League is the brainchild of Twits manager Greg Hudson, who says he came up for the idea during his first season in the PWL.

“It is a very overwhelming entrance [to the League],” says Hudson. “Walking into [Gravelly Point] is very cinematic with planes overhead, D.C. in the background, the Potomac [River] right there, and then these actual fields.

“When you take a step back and realize you are playing wiffleball on a stage like this, it is pretty insane … and a bit ridiculous. So what better way to capture it than this.”

Read the full entry