News

London Logo Debuts

Written by - Posted 2013-05-15 10:18 in News

This year’s London Wiffleball Tournament is the 15th in history and to celebrate the milestone they’re going Star Wars style.

The tournament logo for this season features Darth Vader, (or rather, a character that probably bears a passing resemblance to him, but not in violation of any copyright), slicing a wiffleball (or rather, a ball that bears a passing resemblance to a wiffleball, but not in violation of any trademark) with a light saber (or rather, a sword that bears a passing resemblance to a light saber, but not in violation of any copyright).

The unveiling of each year’s logo has become a media field day for the national wiffleball press. This one was certainly worth the build up.

The Potomac Wiffleball League has traditionally sent two all star teams to London for the slow-pitch tournament.

Past London Archive

Player of the Week: Week 5 Nominees (Sp13)

Written by - Posted 2013-05-14 21:23 in POTW

Four automatic nominations this week with three perfect games and one cycle. Add to that mix, an overlooked rookie, if you believe his manager, who breaks through with his first nomination.

  • Joseph Thaman is no longer tied with Nicholas DiCrosta for the most nominations all time, he’s back alone with his 21st, he has 4 wins. Nominated for his 12th perfect game, he’s also leading the league in strikeouts thanks to 12 more this weekend, with a 0.00 ERA and .143 OBA for Wheelchair’s two wins.
  • Jim Shannon becomes the second player in history to hit for the cycle more than once. The two time Triple Crown winner has been shown up by his twin brother this season in HR and RBI, but he’s still leading the league in AVG. This week he hit four dingers and slugged 2.357 to get three wins for the #1 ranked Barnburners, and for his 9th nomination, he’s won once.
  • Matt Gagnon of the Moose Knuckles gets a second consecutive nomination this week (like Thaman and Shannon) as his team finally got over .500 behind a perfect game, his second against the Canvassers. He struck out 14 this week, with an ERA of 0.50 and OBA of .154 as he picks up his 6th nomination, he has one win from before people got to know him.
  • Neil Kearns who is really the backup pitcher for Besley Bashers scores the win in the third perfect game of the day to pickup his first nomination. He didn’t finish the game, so Alex Cohn came in for two inning save to keep the perfecto. Kearns struck out 3, with a 1.71 ERA on the weekend allowing opponents to hit .211.
  • Joel Brunk gets our lone non-automatic nomination this week, his first, despite having a very solid rookie campaign to date. Minutes after his manager complained he was being overlooked as a Rookie of the Year candidate, Brunk hit four homers, hit .667 and slugged 2.500 despite facing Thaman in his second game.

VOTING CLOSES AT NOON FRIDAY

The public vote counts for 50% of the overall total, and the league managers vote counts for the remaining 50%.


POTW: Week 5 (Sp13)
Joel Brunk
45%
Matt Gagnon
20%
Neil Kearns
5%
Jim Shannon
13%
Joseph Thaman
18%
total_votes: 40

About POTW: Each week five nominess will be announced for Player of the Week. The league, fans, and press will vote for the winner. Winners receive a very limited edition wiffleball keychain. For a history of the award, check out Player of the Week History.

Week 5: Five F@#king Forfeits (Sp13)

Written by - Posted 2013-05-14 17:30 in News

With just two weeks left if feels like we hardly got to know this season. There is a lot left to be decided, other than the Barnburners and Wheelchair, is seems like everyone else is ambivalent about making it to the playoffs or winning their divisions. Or, they’re playing like they are anyway.

Speaking of the Barnburners and Wheelchair, at 10-0, they’re both flirting with unbeaten seasons. Due to having 20 teams in the league, they also don’t have to face each other to end the streak for one of them. It’s possible for the first time ever we could have two unbeaten teams.

The perfect season has happened just three times in the past 15 seasons, and only one time in the “modern” era. The first two seasons the league existed saw teams go undefeated in regular season, the 2005 campaign had the eventual World Champion Filabusters go 14-0, followed Just Look At Yourself going 8-0 in Spring 2006 before being eliminated in the playoffs. The third time it happened was Summer 2011, when Superman’s Wheelchair picked up their second World Championship, and led the regular season at 14-0. There appears to be more danger lurking for Wheelchair than the Barnburners, but anything can happen, obviously both teams are capable of losing games.

Three perfect games this week for the second time this season. Moose Knuckle Matt Gagnon claimed his 5th perfect game beating the Canvassers. Joe Thaman tossed his 12th perfect game for Superman’s Wheelchair, beating the Master Batters, who now find themselves looking at an inside straight draw for postseason. Can Higgins fly in next week? Rookie Neil Kearns went four perfect innings against the Dupont Circle Jerks before turning things over to Alex Cohn for the save as the Besley Bashers recorded their franchise first perfecto.

Something much more rare than a perfect game, a batting cycle, was also recorded Week 5. Jim Shannon stole a little thunder from his brother’s dominance this season by going 5-for-5 against the Garbage Plates to become only the second person ever to hit for the cycle twice. His first cycle was in his rookie debut game, which only lasted 1 inning against the Gnats in Spring 2009. (That’s right, he hit for the cycle in a single inning.) This is actually the third cycle this season, 23rd in history, which is second only to the Spring 2010 season which had four cycles for the most ever in a season.

Given the perfect games and the cycles, Player of the Week is going to be pretty predictable this week.

Weekly web gem winner and Rookie of the Year candidate Alex Cohn of Besley Bashers might have opened the door for a challenger this week after dislocating his thumb stretching a single into a double in the Bashers game against the Barnburners. It “took several hospital employees to get it back in” per Cohn’s agent. Cohn, known for his one handed diving catches, is listed as day to day. He plans to take batting practice this week to see if he can hit one handed, though it’s probable he won’t be able to pitch Week 6.

This was a rough week for forfeits, with five on the books. We’re not going to say anything about it though, people know they’ve disappointed us.

Player of the Week: Week 4 (Sp13)

Written by - Posted 2013-05-10 17:50 in POTW

Jack Shannon of the Blandsford Barnburners won Player of the Week for Week 4.

Week 5 Preview: Mother of All Wind Days (Sp13)

Written by - Posted 2013-05-10 15:10 in News

Don’t forget to call your mom on Sunday after your game to update her on your stats, but please don’t bring her to the field with you. It’s a little embarrassing. We’ve got 20 games this week and wind is expected to be a factor. The cool off starts Sunday, with a high expected of only 66, and wind from the NW at 14 MPH. That’s our highest “forecasted” wind for any week to date, and if you’re playing on the Green field, work on your bunting.

It’s supposed to rain on Saturday, but we’re assuming it won’t be “significant rain within 24 hours of field use”. Watch the twitter feed, website and facebook page for weather updates. The managers all get a quick SMS with updates too, which I’m sure they all love.

Only a couple games that might become meaningful for the postseason, 7th Linning and Master Batters will tangle in the morning. If 7thLinning falls in the woods, does it make a sound? In the afternoon, DC Twits try to get back on track against the Nasty Boys. If the Twits can’t rebound, their #3 seed last year just might have been their peak.

If the weather is nice, or people think it is, expect more people at the Point to celebrate with their Mom’s. This means tougher parking and more likelihood that a kite is going to bring down a passenger jet. Don’t worry, we have a first aid kit.

Web Gems: Week 4 (Sp13)

Written by - Posted 2013-05-10 11:47 in Web Gems

We had a bunch of great plays this past week — lots of submissions, keep it up!

VOTING CLOSES AT 10 AM SUNDAY

Alex Cohn One Handed Dive – I wonder if Alex Cohn of the Bashers was frustrated with everyone’s voting last week because he was blocked by his catcher. So what does he do this week? Oh just do the exact same play but this time in view of the camera. Outstretched completely for another one handed dive.

Adriano With The Diving Catch – In one of the longest games of the season, every run was critical. That’s what makes this play so much more important. Adriano DeSorrento comes all the way from left field to make this diving catch.

Tim Qua Pegs Alex – Also in the same game, Alex Filides tries to get tricky/smart/cocky — and fails. Pegged before he can reach 3rd base by Tim Qua makes a great heads up play.

Matt Dreyfus Gets Up – Matt Dreyfus has always been a great fielder, and here he goes up with confidence in the extra inning game against the Nasty Boys.

Scared Hitless Play at the Plate – Another play from the extra inning Scared Hitless game. Adriano hits a shot down the right field line which Matt Dreyfus eventually gets to and throws a perfect rope to get Tim at home easily.


Web Gems: Week 4 (Sp13)
Alex Cohn One Handed Dive
31%
Adriano With The Diving Catch
15%
Tim Qua Pegs Alex
16%
Matt Dreyfus Gets Up
20%
Scared Hitless Play at the Plate
17%
total_votes: 93

About Web Gems: Nominations can be made by anyone, manager, player, fan, rival wiffleball league, and are due by NOON each Thursday. The league office will review all nominees and submit up to five of them to be voted on by the public. Voting will be open from Friday until 10 AM on Sunday. Submissions can be made by sending an email to webgem@potomacwiffleball.org, and MUST include the youtube link to the game, as well as the time (minutes and seconds) where the play occurs.

Player of the Week: Week 4 Nominees (Sp13)

Written by - Posted 2013-05-08 09:57 in POTW

It’s getting to the playoff push time of year again. Where the clutch players start to show themselves and the playoff picture becomes clear. This week, Jack Shannon pitched a perfect game to get an automatic bid and the rest of the nominees are hitting the ball all over the place.

  • Joe Thaman is up for POTW again (19 nominations). It’s no wonder Superman’s Wheelchair are always in the hunt with this guy on the mound and a 2.750 OPS this week; with 3 homeruns and 4 RBIs.
  • Jack Shannon is our only automatic nomination of the week, although he would’ve been nominated no matter what. Somehow this is only Jack’s 7th POTW nomination. Jack pitched a perfecto against Ha’Chi to start the Barnburner’s day. Jack then went on to hit 6 home runs, with an OPS of 2.333.
  • Jim Shannon is making things difficult for the rest of the league to have any confidence when facing the Barnburners. He batted .800 for the week, with an OPS of 1.800 in 3 games. Jim also pitched a shutout against the Janitors.
  • Matt Gagnon of the Moose Knuckles turned things around this week, breaking out of his slump in a big way. Hitting 3 doubles, a home run, and 4 RBIs, Gagnon tallied an OPS of 2.000 to help Moose stay at .500.
  • Jack Rems had one game this week — statistically though, he had 4.5 games. In a 28 inning losing effort game against the Natty Brohs, Jack had 13 hits in one game (a new record!), batted .500, and an OPS of 1.154. Jack’s 13 hits more than doubled the Dupont Circle Jerks total hits that game (6).

VOTING CLOSES AT NOON FRIDAY

The public vote counts for 50% of the overall total, and the league managers vote counts for the remaining 50%.


POTW: Week 4 (Sp13)
Joe Thaman
10%
Jack Shannon
67%
Jim Shannon
5%
Matt Gagnon
10%
Jack Rems
8%
total_votes: 39

About POTW: Each week five nominess will be announced for Player of the Week. The league, fans, and press will vote for the winner. Winners receive a very limited edition wiffleball keychain. For a history of the award, check out Player of the Week History.

POWER PLAY: BESLEY VS. GALLAWAY

Written by - Posted 2013-05-07 22:24 in News

A cloud of unrest hung over the Potomac Wiffleball League prior to the Week 4 games. The Besley Bashers, a rookie franchise already on their second logo, submitted a late night challenge to the Commissioner’s authority in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The issue arose after the Bashers submitted a challenge Friday night, pointing out that in their game Week 3 against the Ha’chi Mountaineers, the umpire had given two warnings to an individual pitcher, Ricardo Nieves, but failed to remove him from the mound. The pitcher, it turned out, was the final pitcher the Mountaineers had, which would have given the Bashers the win via pitcher ejection forfeit. Instead, the game finished, and the Mountaineers won 7-4 in a regulation game.

The game video shows without a doubt that Nieves had been warned in a previous inning, and the second consecutive four ball count should have caused his removal. The umpire wasn’t sure, he asked the players, and even a member of the Bashers dugout said Nieves hadn’t been warned already. Nieves, in a postgame interview, said he “didn’t remember” which is what he told the umpire as well. The umpire had not been recording warnings on the lineup cards, which the league’s written instructions to the umpires ask them to do, and he allowed the game to continue.

The umpire, without a doubt, blew the call, and robbed Besley of a win.

When an umpire makes a judgment call, calling a guy safe who was out, or calling a ball fair instead of foul, there isn’t anything that can be done to review, overturn, or adjust the call. Right or wrong, a judgment call of the umpire is what it is, their judgment, and it can’t be changed.

However, if an umpire makes a mistake in the application of the rules of the game, there is a process for appealing and fixing that mistake. For example, if an umpire gives a team 3 outs instead of 2 in an inning, or if an umpire ends a game using the 10 run rule after only 2 innings, instead of 3, those things are improperly applied rules, which can be fixed.

The process of fixing an issue arising out of an umpires misapplication of the rules is called a protest. For example, if a pitcher gets two warnings in the same game, and the umpire doesn’t make that pitcher leave the mound and be replaced with a different pitcher, that game can be protested.

The problem, as Besley found out, is that the game has to be protested at the time of the rules violation. In fact, you have to notify the umpire on the field before the next pitch is thrown that you are protesting the game. Otherwise, you can’t protest. Once the next pitch has happened, whatever the result that happened is deemed to be accepted, and it can’t be protested after the fact.

Besley didn’t make a protest at the time of the issue. In fact, checking out the game video, they didn’t actually even put up much of a fight at all. [ SEE THE VIDEO ]

Besley made their protest request almost a week later, late Friday night.

Commissioner Gallaway, per an email he sent to the PWL managers reviews two criteria in deciding whether or not a protest will be reviewed. The first, was the issue being protested a “rules” problem, or is at “judgment” call by the umpire. In this case, it was clearly a rules call, so it could clearly be protested.

The second factor is was the protest filed on time. That is, was the protest filed before the next pitch was thrown. After looking at the video, it was clear that no protest was filed. Neither the umpire, opposing manager, or even a casual onlooker could make the case that a protest had been made. Due to this factor, the Commissioner ruled that nothing could be reviewed and the protest couldn’t be considered.

In fact, if you look at the full MLB rule on protests, there is a third factor, which is whether or not it would have affected the outcome of the game. This obviously would have met that test as well, had it been filed on time, as it cost the Bashers a loss when they would have had a win.

The full rules around protests are:

4.19 PROTESTING GAMES. Each league shall adopt rules governing procedure for protesting a game, when a manager claims that an umpire’s decision is in violation of these rules. No protest shall ever be permitted on judgment decisions by the umpire. In all protested games, the decision of the League President shall be final. Even if it is held that the protested decision violated the rules, no replay of the game will be ordered unless in the opinion of the League President the violation adversely affected the protesting team’s chances of winning the game.

Rule 4.19 Comment: Whenever a manager protests a game because of alleged misapplication of the rules the protest will not be recognized unless the umpires are notified at the time the play under protest occurs and before the next pitch, play or attempted play. A protest arising on a game-ending play may be filed until 12 noon the following day with the league office.

So, Commissioner Gallaway ruled that the protest wasn’t valid, and couldn’t order the situation to be fixed, which in all likelihood would have been ordering the game to be replayed at a future date.

Besley’s manager, Colton Turner, wasn’t satisfied though. Commissioner Gallaway pointed out another section of the rules with which the Bashers were unfamiliar (a running theme?) which allows the decision of the Commissioner to be overturned by a 2/3 vote of the league managers. So, the Commissioner asked the Bashers if they wanted to try to overturn his decision with a vote of the managers. They did.

So, for the first time in league history, a Commissioner’s decision was appealed to a vote of the managers in the league to possibly overturn it.

Once before, the Commissioner had referred a rules issue to the Managers to be voted on. It wasn’t a game protest, but rather a review of game changing play in a game that involved the Commissioner’s own team, in a game that did NOT have an umpire present. While there was no official need for the matter to be referred to the managers, the Commissioner decided to recuse himself from making the decision, and had the manager’s vote. In that case, the opinion of the Commissioner was upheld by the managers.

The stage was set for the first opportunity for the managers to overturn a Commissioner’s decision, and also call for the first ever successfully protested game in league history. They didn’t.

After a series of discussion and debate, which culminated in a flurry of emails on Saturday, the managers soundly supported the Commissioner’s ruling that the protest was not able to be considered.

The Bashers needed 14 votes to have the protest be considered, they got 3. The Bashers, Porkchop Sandwiches, and Suns Out Guns Out voted to overturn the Commissioner. Five teams didn’t vote, DC Twits, Gumballers, Natty Brohs, Oedipus and Superman’s Wheelchair. The other 12 teams voted in support of the Commissioner and against the Bashers.

Despite the overwhelming belief that the Bashers didn’t have a case, there was pretty universal feeling that it was a bad break for Besley. Had they filed the protest on time, no doubt the managers would not have overturned a Commissioners decision which would have forced the game situation to be addressed in some manner to make it right.

“This issue came down to following the rules”, Commissioner Gallaway said. “The rules for doing a protest are very clear. The managers were even reminded of those rules before Opening Day, including Besley. We can’t break the rules in favor of the Bashers in order to correct a rules violation that was made upon them. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

The managers agreed. They also agreed the Bashers got screwed by a bad call.

“It’s not acceptable that the umpire made this mistake. No mistake is acceptable. But, it’s going to happen from time-to-time. In this case there is a process in place to fix it, and unfortunately that process wasn’t followed. I start from a position of wanting everyone to be perfect, and I manage the expectations down from there,” Commissioner Gallaway continued. “I’m not saying that I’m infallible. I’m just incapable of making an error. I wish everyone else was too.”

Commissioner Gallaway has noted that feedback provided by managers and players on umpires is used to provide feedback to the umpire association, and also help select umpires for the postseason and for future seasons. The PWL doesn’t have a disciplinary process or formal review process in place for the umpires contracted through the umpire association.

“Hopefully this situation will serve as a learning experience for all managers, not just the rookie managers. If you believe the rules are not being followed, make sure you protest the game with the umpire immediately. We will ensure the rules are followed, but the rules for fixing it has to be followed too,” Gallaway said.

When asked about the vote, and the first time in 16 seasons that one of his decisions has been challenged by a vote of the managers, Gallaway dismissed the matter.

“The Commissioner of the PWL is kind of like the commander in chief of a country without a military when it comes to authority. I can decide a lot of things, but not much of it matters. Certainly it’s reassuring to me that only 3 managers voted against my decision. I’m up for re-election after this season, so it was a good straw poll on my Commissionership.”

The Bashers, on the short end of this one, came back on Week 4 with a big upset of the DC Twits for their second win of the season. (Well, their second win in the standings anyway.) They won’t face Ha’chi again this season, having lost to them Week 1 in addition to Week 3. And, it’s very possible that this disputed game will be a factor in a tight race in the Western Division which see Ha’chi, the Twits and the Master Batters battling for postseason.

Hopefully the rookies learned two things from this. First, if you think the rules aren’t being followed, stop the game, and fix it immediately. Second, you better have your ducks in a row before you try to overturn a decision of the Commissioner.

With any luck, they’ll get better because of this and be back for more.

WEEK 4: LONG RECORD SETTING SUNDAY (SP13)

Written by - Posted 2013-05-06 23:32 in News

Week 4 ended up being truncated in the number of games played, but not in the total innings. Five extra inning affairs, including two 15 inning games, and one 28 inning contest, created a logjam on the schedule. The wind was hit or miss, but the odd direction, coming from the east, seemed to wreak havoc, at least in the minds, of players.

The Dupont Circle Jerks went extra innings in both of their games, playing 8 against the Sex Panthers, but it was their 28 inning game against the Natty Brohs on the Red field that caused the biggest scheduling kerfuffle. While 28 is the equivalent of over 4 and a half games, it’s well short of the league record, 41 innings set during Week 4 of the Spring 2010 Season between Alcoholics Anonymous and Clubber Lang. It falls in third place, also behind a 38 inning Canvassers and Gnats game in Week 2 of the of that same season.

After the game finally ended, no one seems to remember how, the Natty Brohs second game against the Garbage Plates was postponed until a future week.

Though the length wasn’t record setting, Jack Rems of the Brohs did set a new league record for both hits and singles in a game during the grudge match. He had 13 hits, besting the previous record held by Michael Lemaire at 11. He had 9 singles, taking the record from Tony Ragano and Gayle Rae , who had each hit 8.

The first 15 inning affair was played by Scared Hitless and the Nasty Boys, knotted up at two a piece on the Blue field at the end of regulation. Sadly, this one would end in a pitcher ejection forfeit, as the Nasty Boys, running four players deep, ran out of hurlers.

That was also the first of two pitcher ejection forfeits on the day, as the Gumballers and Oedipus were just one inning short of finishing their game when Oedipus ran out of pitchers.

The second 15 inning affair between the Canvassers and Gumballers was record setting, or rather, the end of a record setting streak for Jeffrey Nitto. In the top of the 6th inning, with a 2-0 lead over the Canvassers, and his consecutive scoreless inning streak sitting at 83, Nitto was one out away from clinching the win, and the 84th inning. He gave up a double to Tony Morin after the first out, only the 5th he’d allowed in 84 innings. It was promptly followed by a two run home run off the bat of Pete Hackeman to end the streak and force, what turned into, nine extra innings before the Gumballers finally prevailed. Nitto ended up besting Joe Thaman’s streak by 10 innings, and third place competitor Tony Ragano, by 30 innings.

The Barnburners continued their dominance at the plate, and added in some pitching for good measure as Jack Shannon tossed a perfect game against the Ha’chi Mountaineers to kick off the day. The Barnburners players (the Shannon twins, mostly Jack) currently hold claim to five of the six batting and pitching triple crown categories, only Joe Thaman edges out the Shannon’s with strikeouts. Though, Jack Shannon does lead the league in K/6, with only 10 IP’s, he’s behind Thaman on total K’s.

And yeah…it might take some extra time to get the videos up this week with the extra hours of footage.

Thanks to John Hamlett of Dupont Circle Jerks for pointing out the single game record his team let Rems set.

Barnburners Strike Back - #1 Again

Written by - Posted 2013-05-04 19:29 in News

The National Wiffle League Association national team rankings for their Week 2, which cover games through our Week 3 (confused?) are up, and the Blandsford Barnburners have returned to their #1 overall spot. They held the same position in Spring 2012 until they were knocked off by the Freaky Franchise from the Ontario County Wiffle Association.

Other league teams making the cut this week include:

  • #19 Superman’s Wheelchair
  • #30 DC Twits
  • #40 Scared Hitless

Scared Hitless returned this week after being off the top 50 last week for the first time in several seasons. Master Batters and Moose Knuckles also popped up last week, before shooting back off the list again.