2018-2019 C Bracket Recap

This ends up being a truncated recap. We were expecting to do the whole C Bracket last night at the Rhythm Room, but Alex texted me 30 minutes from start time to say he wasn’t gonna make it due to dog illness. Oh, not HIS dog. Not Eileen’s dog. No, we’re talking about Eileen’s sister’s dog. Is that the craziest excuse for getting out of playing at the Rhythm Room?

You see, two days ago Alex put out an email to the group suggesting we move the tournament to my place because of the low lighting. But nobody said boo about it except Thies who supported playing at the bar. Other than that crickets. So the conspiracy theory that was floated last night suggested Alex concocted this crazy sister’s dog story to get out of playing there.

You gotta love a good conspiracy theory. It’s not quite JFK level, but it’s funnier.

So the sick dog meant Eileen was helping out her sister with the pooch while Alex had to stay home to watch the kid. Unfortunate on multiple levels. So I made the decision that it didn’t make much sense to have the #1 seed forfeit. That’s no fun. Nobody wants to win that way. So we played all the games up until someone would have to play Alex. Worked out for Liverpool who wasn’t gonna make it, and was gonna have to forfeit but now gets his chance to play Alex afterall at some future date TBD. So here’s the games that WERE played.

Quarters: #3 Yosh vs. #6 Brach

yosh vs. brach

Without question the most intriguing match of the night was the very first one. Some notes first.

-Since Alex wasn’t there, we were only gonna get four matches in, so we just booked one table. I would’ve been able to watch all the matches, but I got really into trying to get tickets to the Ben Folds / Cake show at the Greek Theater in September when I found out Brach was going, and I missed a good chunk of the best match of the night. FYI, tickets near them were selling for $176/person for seats they paid less than $50 for. I love Ben Folds and I really like Cake, but that’s a lot. Fucking Stub Hub and your fucking extra fees. And fuck the corporations with their fucking bots that buy up all these tickets and sell them across all the resale sites with algorhythms that automatically adjust the prices to max out value. It is such a racket, and way worse than the sketchy dude selling you tickets outside venues that are illegal while this shit is somehow okay. It’s such bullshit.

But I digress. Not bitter.

Moment of zen. Find your happy place.

Okay. Moving on.

– Turns out you can ask the Rhythm Room to brighten the lights. Who knew? We only found out cause sometime during this match they dimmed the lights. I knew it seemed brighter than it was on Saturday. So I asked them if they’d turn the lights back up on the Ping Pong section, and they said no problem. It was still dark, but less dark than what A played in.

– Several people asked where the spot was that Keegan called interference on the stationary guide rail on Saturday. That got some reactions when I showed them.

– Rhythm Room is the rare bar that has Sailor Jerry’s but doesn’t have Captain Morgan.

When Yosh and Brach played during the regular season, Yosh won in straight sets. The games were close. 22-20, 21-15 and 21-17. But that was before Brach went full two-handed. 2-hand backhands. 2-hand forehands.

It’s so fascinating to watch him do it. You thought it was crazy when Feeney was doing the 2-hand backhand. Brach never takes his hands off the paddles after the serve.

Nobody’s used both their hands this gratuitously since the Mexican standoff scene from The Office.

office

There’s no denying it. 2-hand Brach is just a better player than solo hand Brach. And with all the space to swing at the bar, he was landing amazing shots one after the other. Yosh didn’t have an answer.

Yosh gave us some intrigue after Brach won the first two nailbiters when he won 21-14 in the third game. A possible 0-2 comeback like we saw on Saturday with Ethan. But Brach squashed any hopes in game 4 and completed the upset. It was the only upset of the night, and the only match that didn’t end in straight sets.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Yosh 18 19 21 13 1
Brach 21 21 14 21 3

Quarters: #2 Andy vs. #7 Thies

Andy vs. Thies

Although Thies has been in the league 5 years now, I’ve only played him twice previously. They were both sweeps. And this one went the same way.

Even though it was lighter than Saturday, it was still pretty dark and you could see the clear difference between the two sides of the table. The side closest to the back wall is just so dark it’s really hard to pick up the ball. We moved the table over a little to get some more light, and amazingly didn’t get harrassed about it by the bar.

Thies started off well in the third game, opening 6-1 against me, but I was able to put it away in three.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Andy 21 21 21 3
Thies 9 8 12 0

Quarters: #4 Spike vs. #5 Dot

Spike vs. Dot

I really thought this one was just gonna be great. The 4v5 usually is. When they played this year Spike won in 4 but the games were pretty close. But Spike came into the tournament on a 3-game winning streak including the final game of the season an upset over Alex, and he’d won 5 of his last 6 where it was the exact oppo for Dot, on a 3-game losing streak, and having lost 5 of his last 6.

The first two games were not close at all. And Spike ultimately won in straight sets. Spike did not get to play another game as he’ll have to wait for Alex vs. Liverpool to play and then he’ll meet the winner in semis.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Spike 21 21 21 3
Dot 5 4 15 0

Semis: Andy vs. Brach

I started off on the dimly lit side, and it was a struggle. Brach’s 2-hand cross-court smashes all go off the right side of the table and are super hard to return for a lefty. I also had trouble with his backspin serve which I hit into the net several times and had to adjust to.

He went up early and maintained the lead throughout almost the entire first game with leads of 13-8 and 15-10. I was able to make up ground on my own serve, so it was just about trying not to fall too far behind on his. I made my run at 17-12 and tied it up at 17’s before he retook the lead, and I tied it up again at 20’s. And I was real fortunate he hit a shot a little too far at 22-21 and I escaped with a W.

On the better lit side I felt much more comfortable slamming shots and hitting placed shots on the edges to take it 21-8. Really felt like night and day on the other side of the table.

I positioned myself a little more to the right side for the third game to prepare for those cross-court smashes and it helped a little, as I was able to return a couple of them. It was a tight game again. I finished it in 3 and will play in finals against either Alex, Spike or Liverpool.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Andy 23 21 21 3
Brach 21 8 16 0

Next up is the completion of the B tournament on Sunday. Corey will be waiting in the finals for the winner amongst Steve, Matt, Bama and Clint.

And we’ll find a date to finish out C.

2018-2019 A Bracket Recap

Saturday night we went down to the Rhythm Room, which is literally just a door on the street with no signage at all next to a hotel. It looks like the door to someone’s apartment. I love that some bars do not give a shit about foot traffic. If you haven’t heard of us, we don’t want you. And this place does well, especially since it just opened less than two years ago.

First thing you notice, the Ping Pong tables are in the most dimly lit section of the place. The pool tables get way more light it seems. I’ve been to some places where dark lighting is an absolute necessity. Swingers clubs. Fetish bars. It’s best to keep the lights low there. There’s some things you don’t need to see super clearly. But you’d think ping pong is a place where light has SOME importance. It was either Keegan or Ethan who made the point that the ball seemed to come at you at 12 frames per second. There’s like a strobe light effect. The early comments were noticeable. “This is terrible” someone said.

There’s no question your eyes eventually adjust and it’s fine. Not great, but fine. Let’s just say, when we play C Bracket there on Wednesday, that’s exactly where we should be. It’ll be perfect. But I admit maybe not the best for A Bracket. We might be looking for somewhere else next year. No question I had a fun time, and I loved being in a bar for this, but unless they find a way to pump up the brightness, I’m not sure everyone will be pumped to go back there.

Quarters: #2 Brian vs. #7 Cedar

brian vs. Cedar

Two-time defending champ Brian was playing the comeback kid. After missing a year in league, Cedar was back in A. He hadn’t played Brian at all before this season, facing him in December and getting swept. But you know, that happens to a lot of players, getting swept by Brian. It was a tough draw for Cedar as well, who managed to escape the #8 seed, but still had to face Brian anyway.

And the scores kind of tell the story. Brian held Cedar to 33 points total which was the lowest allowed in a quarter-finals match in four years, when Seth held Thies to only 30 points in C Quarters.

Brian was looking really good for a potential 3-peat.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Brian 21 21 21 3
Cedar 11 9 13 0

Quarters: #3 Ethan vs. #6 Keegan

ethan vs. Keegan

This is the match-up you all want to hear about. As it made my personal list for top 5 most heated match-ups of all time. And what’s in my top 5? I’m glad you asked.

#5 Grant vs. Bama when Grant asked Bama to stop talking in the middle of points, and Bama ultimately responded by asking Grant to quit stomping during his serve. That got pretty tense.

#4 Steve vs. Corey. A disputed line call started everything off, and then it was an argument about the score that saw some serious yelling, in probably the loudest argument we ever had.

#3 Me vs. PVP during B Finals when Peter was so upset he was being forced to play finals on the main table rather than in the cave that he stopped playing in the middle of game 2 to gather himself, and then walked into the cave before game 3, refusing to play anywhere else.

#2 Jeanine vs. Seth. Jeanine was pissed about Seth’s lean over the table serve, which was legal back then. Seth was so upset after the match he quit the league.

#1 Ethan vs. Keegan. It’s the first time I questioned whether a match might actually come to blows.

It started off with us getting reprimanded by the bar for moving one of the tables. The far table had a noticeable slant, but the middle table had the worst lighting, so they agreed to swap the tables, which was noticed by the bar staff, and they came over to make it clear only THEY had the authority to move the tables. They did agree to help us, which was nice, but there were some sneers.

Before the game, due to the fact we were in a bar, and people were walking all around the players, I guess they agreed to call “let” on interference calls. But then Ethan objected to some of the calls Keegan made, including an interference call on the stationary walkway ramp guiderail some 10-15 feet behind the table. And so began some grumbling, which led to open remarks, which led to an actual verbal confrontation during game 2 that was pretty heated.

Keegan had won game 1 in OT on a play where Ethan missed a deep shot that came pretty close to where I was standing. Ethan did not call interference even though that missed shot was the winner for Keegan, but he did ask me to move back to give more room. So when Keegan made some calls later during games 2 & 3 that looked similar to the one Ethan let go, he got pissed about it. I was once again standing too close to Keegan when he made one of those calls, so the real moral of the story here is I need to stop being so damn close to the players!!!

With Ethan down 0-2 in two close games, and obviously pissed off, Keegan had enough of Ethan’s demeanor and came over to him face-to-face, and that’s when I got a little concerned. But nothing bad happened. They just talked it out and finished the game which Ethan won 21-16. But I gotta tell you, I have seen many of Ethan’s matches, and I’ve never seen him hit the ball so hard before. The anger was fueling him.

After game 3, Karen came over to talk to him and they walked away from the tables to help him calm down. He came back more focused than ever, and won the final two 21-15 and 21-11. I’m totally speculating here, but it’s hard not to feel that if Ethan didn’t get so upset, he doesn’t win that match after being down 0-2. I truly believe the anger made him play a lot better. That’s not a new concept, we’ve seen that happen with players in Ultimate many times. I know I’ve certainly done it before. Someone does something that makes you go “fuck them” and suddenly you turn into the Hulk and you’re running like lightning and diving for everything.

Afterwards they talked it over for a solid half hour and I’m told they worked it out and they’re good now. That’s great. It’s always good to hear.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Ethan 20 18 21 21 21 3
Keegan 22 21 16 15 11 2

Quarters: #1 Feeney vs. #8 Haynes

FeeneyPicSmall vs. haynes

We decided to institute a new rule starting with this match that was based on the bad lighting. It seemed like the two tables we were playing on had big advantages on one side of the table. So Brian suggested that if the matches went to 5 games, we should switch sides on the 5th game when one player got to 11 to make it more fair. I totally agreed. It was a good idea.

Haynes won the first game 21-13 on the good side. Could we possibly see the first 8 seed upset a 1 seed? No. Despite some of the best defensive playing I’ve seen against Feeney, rivaled only maybe by Scott Mahr, Feeney still took the second game on the good side 21-15.

I was ping ponging (pun intended) between the two tables, so I didn’t see every point on either game. But I got a good amount in to see that Haynes was holding really tough against Feeney, but he didn’t have the offensive game to take away from Feeney controlling the pace. Haynes mostly stayed back, returning all those slams as best he could. Feeney just continued a relentless assault of slams, and finally won it in 4.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Feeney 13 21 21 21 3
Haynes 21 15 14 15 1

Quarters: #4 Grant vs. #5 Cody

Grant vs. cody

Cody knew exactly how to celebrate 4/20. When he first saw the date of the tournament, he told me “oh, I didn’t realize it was a holiday.” I said, do you mean Easter or the 420 reference, and he goes “what’s Easter?” Love it! This match was basically who was going to be more intoxicated. Would Grant be able to get more drunk than Cody was high?

Side turned out to be pretty important in this one, as each of them won on the same side, forcing the 5th game, where we got to see the new rule take effect. I believe Cody was up 11-8 when they switched sides in the middle of Grant’s service.

Feeney was invested in this match. He has said beforehand he didn’t want the #1 seed cause he didn’t want to face Grant in semis. Grant had most recently taken him in straight sets in February whereas Feeney swept Cody on that same day, so it’s fair to say he had a clear rooting interest.

Cody, smoking between games, was able to pull out the 21-13 win in the 5th for the day’s first upset.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Grant 10 21 12 22 13 2
Cody 21 16 21 20 21 3

Semis: Brian vs. Ethan

These two definitely know each other well. They’ve played numerous practice matches, and even faced off in a real local tournament, in addition to all the PAPPL matches they’ve played. This year they both beat each other 3-2, so there was no question this would be a hell of a match-up. In Brian’s three year career leading up to this match, he’s only lost 6 matches, and 2 of them were to Ethan.

The other question is how much would Ethan’s previously heated contest with Keegan affect him here, if at all?

Brian took the first game 21-18, looking strong as ever. But winning the first game is not a great indicator of success in semis. In the 10 A Bracket semis we’ve had, the player to win game 1 has won 6 of 10 matches. Pretty close to even. Also, in Ethan’s tournament history, he’s 2-2 when losing game 1.

Sure enough, Ethan came back in game 2, a nail biter that Ethan only took at the very end. But from there, it was all Ethan. Not even close. And quite shockingly honestly. Up until this point, Brian was looking like usual Brian. He took down Cedar in straight sets and looked fine in the first two games.

But Ethan won 21-10 and 21-7. For context, this year Brian only lost one single game by a score worse than 21-14. That was a 21-8 loss to Cody. So this was the 1st and 3rd worst games he had all season. How much of this was the low lighting? How much was not playing on his home table, where he played every game this season? And how much was Ethan playing with a chip on his shoulder? Only the Easter Bunny knows. Or Elijah the Prophet. Sorry, I’m Jewish and should put in at least one Passover reference.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Brian 21 18 10 7 1
Ethan 18 21 21 21 3

Semis: Feeney vs. Cody

In almost very year now, we’ve had somebody join the league who becomes a top player.

In season 2, Steve, Peter, Corey, Cedar and Joe all joined and all went 9-3 or 8-4, finishing higher than 7 of the 9 original players. (Only Scott and Feeney finished higher.)

In season 3, Grant came in as a replacement player for Sam who dropped out right before his first match, and although he started off shaky losing his first two games to Jeanine, he won that match in what would become signature fashion, coming from behind, on his way to a 9-3 2nd place record.

Season 4 is when Ethan and Brian joined, who would finish 2nd and 3rd respectively with Brian taking the first tournament win after Scott moved up North.

Last year was the first that we did not have a rookie player make it into A Bracket.

We thought we were going to have a new elite player with Eli joining, but he also ended up dropping right before the season started. So it was a very welcome surprise to have Cody come in and play so well. His record of 6-6 may not have looked that good, but remember he lost 3 matches to Brian during the season.

Now he had the chance to pull a huge upset in semis. When he won 24-22 in game 1, you could see the shocked faces in the room. But Cody was up against one player that no one has been able to beat this year. And that player is Sandy.

Sandy is the best story of the year, and everyone I’ve talked to about this knows how much I love that a $5 paddle is beating all the best paddles. It’s awesome. Best underdog story ever. And to be completely clear, it is 100% legal in this league, and I’m never changing that. I love a good story, and Sandy’s tale is better than the Iliad.

Feeney and his mistress Sandy eeked out their own 24-22 OT win in game 2 to tie things up, and Jeanine was shouting from the distance on GroupMe.

After that, as Ethan was winning the final three in his match, Feeney did the same deed in this one, returning to the finals for the first time since season 2.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Feeney 22 24 21 21 3
Cody 24 22 11 18 1

Finals: Feeney vs. Ethan

These two played one of the best quarter finals match-ups, if not one of the best overall game 5’s in league history when Ethan pulled the upset with a 25-23 win two years ago. Since then, they’ve only played each other twice in league play. Ethan swept it last year. And Feeney did the same this year. But I know Feeney’s been waiting for a tournament rematch of that Quarters loss.

Feeney, who didn’t want that #1 seed, found it kind of worked out. Cody knocked out Grant. Ethan knocked out Brian. And as the #1, he got to pick the table and side he wanted to start on. Next time, don’t argue with me about seeding. 😛

Smartest thing Feeney could do in this match was not piss off Ethan. Keep the rage Hulk off the court.

Some of the points in this thing were unreal. For me, it’s like they’re playing a different sport than what we’re doing in C Bracket. (If you come watch C on Wednesday, just know you’re mostly there for the drinking.) Feeney was absolutely on point, and was able to keep it away from Ethan’s killer forehand slam to the left side of the table, that was so successful against Keegan. He put Ethan on the defensive most of the match.

We were hoping for a longer match. Feeney said he could tell everyone was rooting for Ethan, but it was more that we just wanted it to go 5. But I’m personally happy for Feeney. He’s lost twice in finals before, and this was 6 years in the making. If it took the Sandy paddle to do it, well that’s just how the legend is born.

Long live Sandy.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Feeney 21 21 21 3
Ethan 17 19 16 0

Next up is C Bracket on Wednesday, also at the Rhythm Room. I’m gonna go practice in the dark in my garage to get used to it.

2018-2019 B Bracket Recap

We couldn’t find a time for everyone to get together for B, so we had to do the first side of the bracket last night at my place.

Quarters: #1 Corey vs. #8 Garrett

Corey vs. garrett

First, a brief history of all 1v8’s in PPPL.

2014 – I don’t have the results from the first year tournament, but I will never forget Feeney complaining about the fact that we moved the table outside, especially when #8 seed Spike took a game off of him. But Feeney won 3-1.

2015 – Feeney beat Tim in straight sets in A. I beat Alex in straight sets in B. And there was no 1v8 in C due to three players not making it to the tournament and so we moved everyone around.

2016 – After Grant won the first ever play-in game against PVP when PVP complained about his 9 seed in A and convinced me to do a play-in, Grant was then beaten in straight sets by Scott who went on to win the tournament. Peter had earned the play-in spot by winning B, which started with him beating #8 Alex in straight sets. And C again did not have a 1v8 game due to 4 forfeits.

2017 – Grant was the #1 seed, and beat Steve in straight sets, although the last two games were super close at 21-18 and 21-19. Lu failed to show up to the tournament in B, so there was no 1v8. And once again, there was no 1v8 in C as Thies ended up forfeiting.

2018 – Because we did 10 in A and 10 in B last year, there were pre-quarters games. #9 Haynes upset the #8 Matt in 5, and Brian beat Haynes in 4. And in B, Spike ended up forfeiting so we didn’t have a 1v8.

So leading up to this year, not only had no 8 seed beaten a 1 seed. No 8 seed had even pushed it to a 5th game, until last night.

Corey looked really good in the first game, dictating pace, and constantly putting Garrett on the defensive. Corey also had the benefit of a bunch of net shots that fell for double bounces. But Garrett looked significantly more confident in game 2 when he opened up with a sizable lead to start out, and began hitting the ball a lot harder, and his defense was much better. Two different styles with Garrett almost exclusively top spinning his shots from low angles several steps behind the table, and Corey mostly returning back handers from close to the table with some choppers and occasional slams.

We had the frisbee scoreboard in play last night.

scoreboard

It’s not super easy to keep track of every single point, but I dug deep. I was the real hero last night. 😂

That score you’re looking at was Corey winning game 3. All 3 games being won on the dark side so far. Tim’s new wife Megan was there, by the way, and she remarked how she liked the look of the vines. Maybe we grow them like Wrigley Field.

Then again, no, probably not. That’s a perfect way to lose a shit load of balls.

When Garrett won game 4, it marked the first time we had a 1v8 go 5 sets. History!!! Records!!! Also, now 4 straight wins on the dark side. At some point in game 4, we had a dog time-out. Tim’s dog got excited for Garrett and ran into the playing area in the middle of a point, so we had to call a redo. Sadie and Chloe, it should be pointed out, were good girls and stayed on the sideline the whole time. They’re fans.

Game 5, epic. Ties at 2-2, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 8-8, and 10-10 to the best of my memory. Garrett pulled out the largest lead of the game at 13-10 and again at 14-11. But Corey managed to finish it off with a 10-2 run to stave off defeat.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Corey 21 15 21 14 21 3
Garrett 13 21 17 21 16 2

Quarters: #4 Van vs. #5 Tim

van vs. Tim

You would expect that the 4v5 match would be the one to go 5 sets. But Van almost never relinquished the lead in this match. His mix of spin serves caused Tim trouble in the first game, as Van took a number of first serve winners. It got so bad that at 20-9, on game point, Tim decided to switch up paddles to go to Sandy.

Games 2 and 3 were clearly a lot closer, and Tim made big adjustments to battle Van’s serve. In the third game, Tim looked somewhat defeated when Van went up around 17-10, but Tim found renewed hope when he found a way to combat that serve and brought it close with 4 straight to 17-14. But that was as close as it got. Van closed it out in 3.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Van 21 21 21 3
Tim 9 17 17 0

Semis:

This was a joy to watch this match. Corey did not seem to have much trouble at all with Van’s serves, and Van missed some easy winner slams. When Corey took it 21-15 I thought he’d sweep. If Van couldn’t get winners on his serve, and if he was gonna be inconsistent on the slams, Corey is just too disciplined to beat on longer points.

But that proved to be completely wrong. Van outlasted Corey on several longer points in game 2, and his slam was now falling pretty consistent. After winning game 2, Van dominated game 3. Corey looked lost. Like he had no answer for Van’s game. And you know Corey when he’s losing big. He just looks like he doesn’t care any more. Could he turn it around in time?

Corey needed a few breaks to grab some Gatorade, and I think I remember him doing it before game 4, which seemed to have an immediate effect when he built an early lead. In fact, Corey did something I had not seen a single player do all year: successfully return one of Van’s slams for a point. Because Van hits so hard and Corey returned the shot so quickly after it hit the table, the bounce back came to Van just after he had finished his swing. Like he wasn’t even completely done with his follow through when the ball was already back on his side. That was cool. And Van just didn’t have enough reaction time to hit it again, and netted it. Either that or he was so shocked the ball came back to him, he didn’t know what to do.

Corey ended up winning a couple points after returning Van’s slams. It was pretty impressive. And Corey ended up forcing a game 5 with a 21-17 win.

Game 5 was amazing. I’m not joking, there were at least 10 lead changes starting right off the bat when it was Corey 1-0, Van 2-1, Corey 3-2. And that continued the whole game. At some point Van held an 18-15 lead when Corey got 4 straight to go up 19-18, and naturally Van went up 20-19. But Corey managed the last 3 in a row to win 22-20. A 7-2 run reminiscent of the 10-2 run he pulled on Garrett at the end of theirs. I’m sorry, that’s the definition of clutch.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Corey 21 14 10 21 22 3
Van 15 21 21 17 20 2

No date set yet for the other side of B bracket, but now that we know Corey won this side, I’ll start working on that again. We couldn’t find a date through the 20th which is when A Bracket happens. So that’ll be next. Saturday, April 20 at the Rhythm Room.

C Bracket is on Wednesday, April 24th. Also at the Rhythm Room.

PART TWO

I wrote a recap for the second half, but it completely went into the ether and disappeared.  So here’s the scores.

4/28/2019 Seed Team 1 2 3 Sets
Table 1 2 Steve 21 21 21 3
B Quarters 7 Clint 6 14 13 0
4/28/2019 Seed Team 1 2 3 Sets
Table 1 3 Matt 21 21 21 3
B Quarters 6 Bama 18 11 12 0
4/28/2019 Seed Team 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Table 1 2 Steve 21 16 21 10 21 3
B Semis 3 Matt 12 21 10 21 16 2
4/28/2019 Seed Team 1 2 3 Sets
Table 1 1 Corey 17 18 8 0
B Finals 2 Steve 21 21 21 3

2018-2019 Day 23

As I’m typing this there’s some construction going on outside my building. I don’t know if it’s a crane or what the hell the thing is making this crazy sound, but if you told there me was a velociraptor outside I would 100% believe you, because it’s straight up Jurassic Park audio out there. It’s a little distracting.

The final regular season date is in the books. In case anyone’s curious, this has been the opening and closing dates of every regular season in PPPL history.

Season # of players Start Date End Date
1 9 10/21/13 2/19/14
2 24 10/20/14 2/24/15
3 28 10/12/15 3/9/16
4 24 10/4/16 3/26/17
5 20 11/6/17 3/13/18
6 24 10/29/18 3/26/19

Yesterday Spike sent this at 3:30 PM to the group.

image-17

Okay, where’s he going with this? Then, at roughly 5PM he sent this.

image-18

Well played. The slow build. I like it.

There were some theories brewing.

By 6PM he still hadn’t sent the third one. Tension was building.

Finally at 6:41PM we got the last one.

It was a link.

http://bitly.com/98K8eH

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Brach 13 21 21 21 3
Liverpool 21 17 10 18 1

Last night the first game was Brach and Liverpool, after Brach finished his local Crenshaw Blvd. Golden Bird chicken. He’s been putting the hard sell on me to try it, and I WILL GET THERE, but still haven’t yet.

Liverpool won the first game, and then Brach started experimenting with a Feeney patented two-hand backhand, and he won the final 3. Brach came in on the night arguing how much fun it would be to slam it, and the addition of the two-hand backhand may have opened up worlds.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Spike 21 21 21 3
Liverpool 14 17 15 0

After successfully Rickrolling us, Spike got to work with the new Sandy paddle. Looks like everyone’s taking Feeney’s advice one way or another. Why not? He’s the #1 seed in A. Might know a thing or two.

For the record, I did not know what Rickrolling was. I got my first lesson, but I hope most of you knew the joke already.

This match happened in the cave. Didn’t see it. Sandy obviously did work.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Clint 21 21 18 21 3
Brach 12 12 21 15 1

On the main table, Brach adds a two-handed forehand to his arsenal. By the end of this match, he’s barely taking both hands off the paddle, and he’s playing the best he’s ever played. Hitting some monster slams. It’s exciting. More exciting than the scene in Jurassic Park where the velociraptors try to eat the kids and…. WTF is going on out there??? I know you guys can’t hear this, and I can’t get good enough audio on my cell phone so you can play along, but I’m telling you, there is serious dinosaur carnage happening out my window and I can’t even focus.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Alex 9 21 21 21 3
Liverpool 21 12 10 12 1

Back to the cave. Liverpool again takes game one, this time by an impressive margin, before falling.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Brach 21 21 21 3
Thies 7 8 12 0

Brach takes his two-hand backhand and forehand to a new level and dominates this match-up. It was supposed to be played in the cave the following round, but Brach needed to be back home early and requested a switch in schedule. Thies argued Brach wouldn’t have had the room to play the two-hand game as well in the cave. We may never know. Brach ended up not playing a single match in the cave, and the C tournament will be off site. Might have to wait until October.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Spike 21 21 21 3
Thies 12 18 15 0

And this match, which was scheduled on the main table, ended up getting pushed into the cave, where Thies put together a better performance than the last time they met in November. It was straight sets then as well, but the scores were not as close.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Clint 21 21 21 3
Alex 14 19 8 0

On the main table was the one match that might have had significant tournament implications if Alex could win. If so, I would have to revisit the final few seedings in B to see if anything changed. But it wasn’t to be. Clint took game 1 handily, came back to win game 2 when Alex was leading as late at 18-17, and game 3 started out 10-0 Clint, although Alex did win 5 straight on his serve to cut it to 10-5, but from there Clint controlled the rest of the game.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Clint 21 21 21 3
Thies 6 6 15 0

Clint dominated in the cave, and solidified his position in B.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Alex 15 8 16 0
Spike 21 21 21 3

Before the final match on the main table, I was asked what the line was in the match. I predicted Alex in 4, and both players were upset. Spike understandably that I was calling the match for Alex. Alex was surprised I didn’t say 3-0 cause Alex believed he’d never lost a game to Spike before, which turned out to be untrue. Just last season Alex won 3-2. And the season before that Spike won 3-1. Memories. They can’t be trusted.

It must’ve been the Sandy paddle, as Spike swept the match, and we’ll have to see if that has any impact on final seeding for Alex.

Okay, and now let’s do the final seeding for C.

#1 – Alex

This is a really tough one. Alex and Spike finished with the top records in C at 8-4. I went 7-5. And Yosh was 6-6. Head-to-head Spike beat Alex, and Alex beat me. I didn’t play Spike. Alex and I both beat Yosh whereas Yosh beat Spike. This is enough to at least remove Yosh from the equation.

PPI heavily favors me at 810 while Alex is at 677 and Spike at 610. But this highlights to me why I don’t use PPI as the determiner, because you can see in each of our schedules why those numbers are reflective of who we played. I played the most A/B players at 5, and even beat Matt in an upset (but that match is certainly an outlier.) Spike played 3 A/B players and had 5 matches against Liverpool and Thies alone – the two players with the lowest PPI’s – where I only played Thies once and never played Liverpool. So the 200 point difference I have over Spike in PPI can be largely explained right there.

Let’s go to Record Against Common Opponents (RACO).

Spike and I tied in RACO 4-2. We have to go to Games Against Common Opponents (GACO). Here’s where I have the edge. 14-6 to Spike’s 13-9.
Alex and I also tied in RACO 4-2. GACO is also the same percentage-wise. I went 14-7 and Alex went 12-6.
Alex has the lead in RACO over Spike 5-1 to 4-2.

Since both Alex and I lead Spike in one of these categories, it makes sense to remove Spike from here and just look between Alex and I.

Since Alex beat me head-to-head and we tied in RACO and GACO, Alex gets the nod here.

#2 – Andy

Now we bring Yosh back into the equation. Again, I didn’t play Spike, but we know I beat him in GACO.

Yosh beat Spike head-to-head. But Spike beats Yosh in RACO 5-1 to 4-2.

I beat Yosh head-to-head and we tied in RACO 3-3 to 3-3 but I beat him in GACO 11-10 to 11-12. So this spot is a little easier. I would take this.

#3 – Yosh

The stuff we already know is that Yosh beat Spike head-to-head and Spike beat Yosh in RACO. In cases like that, head-to-head always prevails unless there’s a third person who can be brought into the mix to see if that changes anything. The next person we would include would be Dot who went 4-8. But in this case, both Spike and Yosh beat Dot head-to-head so Yosh takes this spot.

#4 – Spike

Spike was super close to getting the #1 seed. If he even held GACO over me, he would’ve been the 1 seed, moving Alex down to 2, me down to 3, and Yosh at 4.

But instead, Spike is here, because of his head-to-head win over Dot.

#5 – Dot

Dot’s 4 wins are all against players in the last three spots. And he lost to everyone above him. So this is an easy one.

#6 – Brach

This is a similarly easy one as Brach’s 3 wins are over Thies and Liverpool, and he lost to everyone above him.

#7 – Thies

Comes down to the final two, who both finished 1-11 and also were amazingly close in win-loss record in games, with Thies at 7-34 and Liverpool 7-35. Liverpool has a slight edge in PPI at 203 to 195.

Head-to-head they each beat the other once. But Thies has the advantage with his 3-1 win over Liverpool while Liverpool won 3-2. We know they have the exact same RACO since they only beat each other, and GACO shows they are also exactly identical. So the only decider we can really do is that head-to-head advantage for Thies.

#8 – Liverpool

And that puts Liverpool in the final position.

Match-ups would be:

#1 Alex vs. #8 Liverpool
#2 Andy vs. #7 Thies
#3 Yosh vs. #6 Brach
#4 Spike vs. #5 Dot

I’ll send out a separate email to the C players to find a date to play.

2018-2019 Day 22

First note of importance is the A Bracket tournament is happening on Saturday April 20.

Last night was mostly about seeding. There was only one game with significant importance, and that was the match between Garrett and I to see who gets the final spot in B. Also, I have a major presentation at Disney tomorrow to show them our clip licensing system at Fox in advance of the merger, and I’ve spent my entire morning and early afternoon prepping it today, but I need a small break from that to write this. But it’ll be short.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Andy 21 21 21 3
Yosh 16 11 18 0

Playing against lefties always throws me even though I’m a lefty myself, because one of my favorite shots against righties doesn’t work against him at all. This is the most lefties in the league ever this year with myself, Yosh, Cedar, Tim, Clint, Brian and Grant if you count him as a lefty since that’s how he plays Ultimate. We could almost have an all lefty league.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Garrett 21 21 21 3
Dot 16 7 19 0

wp;ds (Was playing. Didn’t see.)

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Andy 19 21 15 21 21 3
Dot 21 17 21 13 13 2

Dot was noticeably tired from playing hours of pick-up in the closed tryout for the new club mixed team, and that’s after playing all day Saturday for Winter League and partying super late that night. So I had a big advantage. But he still went up 2 games to 1. I just had to outlast him with his fatigue and fortunately I was able to do it.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Garrett 19 21 21 21 3
Yosh 21 19 18 8 1

wp;ds But I certainly perked up when I saw that Yosh had won the first set. If Garrett lost game, it would significantly help my chances in our match-up. He must’ve thought the same thing when Dot was up 2-1.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Yosh 15 21 17 21 21 3
Dot 21 10 21 18 17 2

wp;ds. Certainly sounded intense though. Lots of crashing into the garage door back there. Dot definitely is not afraid of walls or garage doors, and if he isn’t black and blue today I’d be shocked.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Garrett 21 16 21 21 3
Andy 14 21 10 16 1

The big match-up of the night. Only one spot open in B, but I had already established I kinda had to sweep Garrett to ensure a spot because of a circle of winning with Alex if I had won this. That ended quickly when Garrett handily took game 1. It sucks when you go up against somebody who’s doing the exact same things you want to do. He moved me side to side. Changed speeds on me. Played strong D. But I made adjustments to win game 2. He did the same to win g3. In g4 we were tied 15-15 when it was my serve and I plotted out how I was gonna play these 5 points. First serve normal. Second serve would be the first of the entire match from my forehand side. Then back to normal. Then try topspin serve to get him to under hit it, and finally the low fast liner. It all went to shit. Lost the first point. Missed the table on the forehand serve. Lost another point. Whiffed on his easy return on the topspin serve. And hit the low liner serve smack into the net. 15-20. And then it was done. I might have overthought it.

After the game, when they were leaving, Chloe bit Garrett through his sweat pants and drew blood. We decided she was extracting revenge for my loss. Very loyal dog.

So now let’s get into the seeding for B.

#1 – Corey

This one is the most obvious. Not only was Corey one of only 2 B players to beat an A player this year, he went 4-0 against B players including wins over Van and Steve. Corey did not play Matt, but in addition to having a 120 point higher PPI, Corey won the Record Against Common Opponents (RACO) 3-3 to 2-4.

#2 – Steve

Just going by PPI, Steve would be the highest, 75 points over Van and 112 points over Matt. But Matt beat Van and Van beat Steve, and Matt and Steve didn’t play each other. So PPI is completely reversed from the head-to-head results. We have to go deeper, cause this is a mess.

It’s not hard to see why Steve led in PPI. He played most of his matches against A opponents since he’s always been in A as long as he’s played in the league. In fact, he only played 3 B opponents, and went 1-2 against them. But he’s the only person other than Corey with wins over A opponents, beating both Feeney, the #1 seed, and Haynes, the #8 seed, which is another reason why his PPI is so high. Steve also has the lead over both Matt and Van in RACO 2-2 to 1-3 in both cases. It would very difficult to justify placing Van over Matt due to Matt beating Van twice this season. So with that in mind, then does it make more sense to put Steve over Matt since he beat him in RACO and is the highest PPI of the three, or below Van who he lost to head-to-head? In my opinion, it’s most logical to put Steve above Matt. Those wins over Feeney and Haynes can’t be ignored.

It’s also worth mentioning, as I broke down in the A Bracket, that as much as I value head-to-head, I put a lot more emphasis on head-to-head in recent match-ups, particularly last round where the stakes are more obvious. So Van’s 2nd round upset of Steve, although still a valuable marker, gets a little less emphasis than I would usually give head-to-head.

#3 – Matt

Now we have the same situation essentially between Matt, Tim and Van. Matt beat Van twice, and Van beat Tim, but Tim beat Matt. Looking at RACO, it doesn’t help anything. Van beat Tim but Tim wins RACO 3-1 to 2-2. Matt beat Van twice. But Van wins RACO 3-2 to 2-3. And Tim beat Matt but they tied RACO 2-1 to 2-1. Even if you look at Games Against Common Opponents (GACO) it’s relatively even. Tim is 7-5 and Matt is 8-5.5 (averaging the two matches he won against Bama.)

Of course, I’m ignoring the fact that Tim had the only forfeit of the season. If I include those as actual losses, then this isn’t a question. It would go Matt, Van, Tim. Since everything is so close, and PPI has it Van and Matt separated by 36 points, but Tim is lower at 62 below Matt (and PPI does not factor in ties) then it makes the most sense to include those forfeits to resolve the closeness here and drop Tim down. Once you do that, then it’s easy Matt beat Van twice so he gets this spot.

#4 – Van

And then since Van beat Tim head-to-head and it happened in the last round, then we give Van this spot.

#5 – Tim

Tim beat Bama head-to-head, and wins RACO over Clint 3-2 to 1-4.

#6 – Bama

Bama beat Clint head-to-head and beat Garrett head-to-head twice.

#7 – Clint

Clint beat Garrett head-to-head. It’s possible Alex could make this interesting if he wins his last round game against Clint on the 26th. That would create a circular thing where Alex beats Clint, Clint beat Garrett and Garrett beat Alex. For now I’m keeping Clint in this spot because Alex is so far down in PPI that it would take a lot more than just a win against Clint to grab a spot in B.

#8 – Garrett

And because Garrett beat Alex and myself head-to-head he gets the final spot in B.

I’ll send out a separate email to the B players to find a time to do this tournament.

2018-2019 Day 21

The A Bracket seedings are below. You’ll see most of these were relatively easy without having to go TOO in depth. The only one I admit I wavered on was the #1 spot between Feeney and Brian, and you can weigh in on that, cause I’m really on the fence there.

There’s a lot to get to here so I’m not gonna spend too much time with what happened last night as there were nine matches played.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Ethan 21 21 21 3
Steve 14 10 17 0

This one happened first on the main table before everyone got here. Ethan looked very much in control right off the bat when he went up 8-0 in game 1 and 8-1 in game 2. Steve was constantly battling from behind. This was the first time Ethan had played at my place this year but it didn’t seem to slow him down.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Keegan 21 21 16 21 3
Haynes 17 17 21 2 1

Not sure what happened there in the last game. This was otherwise a really good contest, with the scores of the first three not reflecting how close they were. The first two in particular Keegan didn’t pull away until towards the end of both games. Haynes mostly held the lead in game 3, but then that last one really looks out of place.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Ethan 21 21 21 3
Cedar 12 5 19 0

Didn’t see any of this, as it was in the cave. Also hadn’t seen Cedar play all year. He was at the barn twice, and the last time he came to the Potomadome, I had to grab Erin from the airport when her flight got cancelled, and I missed the whole night.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Ethan 20 21 13 21 21 3
Corey 22 7 21 3 19 2

This one was fascinating, as Corey nearly pulled the upset. Corey was down in the first game around 19-16 but pulled out the OT win on the darker side of the main table. Using the Sandy paddle, Ethan was not comfortable and was clearly forced to play his older more defensive strategy. But when Ethan was on the darker side, he dominated. Not sure what the deal was that the first four games were won on the dark side. As we went into game 5, it looked like Corey would have the side advantage. But there were a series of really interesting plays that turned the tide, most notably in my opinion was around the time Corey was up maybe 15-13ish, and Ethan hit a drop shot just over the net that Corey had to lunge for. From my vantage point it was tough to see if Corey hit it before the ball struck the table the second time, but if held to a lie detector I would say he got to it in time. But Corey seemed to believe he didn’t get there, and said it hit twice and gave up the point. It was a pretty classy move at a critical moment in the match.

Still Corey held a 19-17 lead and Ethan got 4 straight at the end to pull it out, with the final point coming on a back of the line back-breaker that Ethan had to step backwards on to hit it, but managed to pull out the acrobatic winning shot. Great match. Awesome to watch.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Keegan 21 21 21 3
Steve 19 19 11 0

Two tough losses for Steve to start this one out. Missed it all, as it was in the cave.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Keegan 21 21 13 21 3
Cedar 10 13 21 17 1

This one was supposed to be played on the main table at the end of the night, but Keegan had to get home so instead they played it in the cave early as Ethan and Corey’s match was still going on on the main table. Although I saw none of it, I’m not surprised Cedar lost this one, as I’ll explain later.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Haynes 22 18 21 21 21 3
Corey 24 21 9 10 5 2

The most entertaining match-up of the night also proved to end in the most surprising way. Both players were definitely playing to the crowd. Corey in particular. Karen and Erin had come down to the garage at this point and Ethan hung around. Then Cedar also came to watch when his match ended, so everyone was pretty much watching this one. Corey did not fail to add his own personal commentary after almost every shot in the first few games. Between Haynes’ normally long warm-up time, Corey’s mouth running the whole time between points, and their general slow pace of play with extensive rallies, this was by far the longest match, possibly all season.

Corey’s first game 24-22 win was epic with several amazing shots at the end. Although Corey won the first two, Haynes was a defensive God. Corey had a few points in almost every game where he assumed he had a winner and seemed to stop playing the point only to watch in amazement that the ball came back. And Haynes’ chopping style was also making it difficult for Corey to get too many successful slams in. By the time the third game happened, Corey seemed to be frustrated with Haynes’ ability to keep returning everything, and seemed to give up once the game started to go heavily in favor of Haynes.

Same thing basically in the fourth game, with Corey’s frustration growing. Continuing to keep the crowd abreast of his entire thought process, he said over and over how difficult it was to play against Haynes, who was on fire at this point. Corey started just slamming back shots out of desperation, not really focusing on where they were going, to the point that Karen and Erin had to literally move their chairs away from Corey for fear of getting smashed in the face.

The first game was over before it began really. Corey looked flustered and unable to regain his composure. In the poker world, you’d say he was on tilt. Haynes, helping to fan the flames of Corey’s resignation, threw in a few subtle taunts as well; some strategically placed heckles like when Corey bemoaned that he couldn’t hit a shot, Haynes goes “must be your wood paddle”.

The end result of this match would end up being huge as you’ll see in the final seedings below.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Steve 21 17 19 0
Corey 23 21 21 3

Corey regrouped and took down Steve in straight sets in the cave. After that loss to Haynes, where he pretty much knew he’d lost his spot in A, you’d forgive Corey for coming out flat in the final game. But as we know from past seasons, Corey plays better in the cave, so maybe that was rejuvenating for him.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Cedar 11 21 21 16 21 3
Haynes 21 19 16 21 17 2

The final match of the night on the main table was my first chance to get to see Cedar live all season. And since he missed out last season, that means I haven’t seen him play since April 23, 2017 at the A Bracket tourney at the Barn. Two years later, his style of play is almost unrecognizable. For starters, although he’s still the only player in the top half of the league to serve out of his hand (which is legal in this league) he does occasionally add a drop serve to his arsenal now. But the glaring change is the low slam he’s added. It’s crazy for this league, unless he’s able to play all his games at the barn. The only player to consistently hit shots from below the table line was three-time champ Scott who loved to hit choppers from down there. But Cedar is doing a between-the-legs and sometimes cross-legged slam from the lowest point he can realistically hit the ball. At my house, there’s just not enough space for that shot to arc back onto the table at full strength. And that’s why I say I’m not surprised he lost to Keegan in the barn which must feel like a chicken cage to him. He was clearly taking something off his slams so they wouldn’t go long. And he hit the back wall numerous times, as though he was trying to physically will the wall back a few inches.

After Haynes took the first one 21-11, Cedar adjusted and was able to get his shot falling pretty well to win the next two. Cedar also had to contend with Haynes’ insanely colorful shirt that he’d be hiding under his sweatshirt all night, but finally revealed it. Hard to describe it, but it was a sublimation explosion of graphic design. And I’m sad I didn’t take a photo of it.

We had the third 5-set match of the night, but Cedar finished it off even though Haynes started mounting a nice little comeback starting at 20-14 that got the sideline pretty excited, only to see a shot just go a hair to far over the back left side of the table to end it.

Next Sunday will be myself, Dot, Garrett and Yosh. And after that’s over, I’ll do the final seedings for B.

But here’s the seedings for A and my explanations for each.

#1 Feeney

The only two people who could realistically be here are Feeney and Brian, winning the regular season with 10-2 records. Brian obviously dominated on PPI. His 1546 is much higher than the next closest person Ethan at 1477 and 146 points above Feeney at 1400. Because it’s that much higher, I have to take it into account, but PPI is flawed as it doesn’t take match wins into account. It was copied over from USAU’s RRI and so it only factors in game results. But it still has value, and especially when it’s 146 points ahead of Feeney. That’s not really close at all. Head-to-head Feeney beat Brian in 4. In Record Against Common Opponents (RACO) Brian wins 8-1 to 6-2.

Note: Brian played 3 matches against Cody, and won all of them, so in cases like that for RACO I treat it as only one win since Feeney only got to play Cody once. But Brian’s two wins against Grant are both counted, because Feeney also played Grant twice, and lost one of them. Brian’s two games against Ethan are both counted because he won one and lost one, while Feeney beat him in the one game they played. This is why Brian shows more games than Feeney.

When it’s close like this, I sometimes also go to individual Games Against Common Opponents (GACO). (In the case of Cody, I used the average of the three matches.) There Brian wins 26-7 to Feeney’s 20-11.

I’ll go one more place.
Brian’s average margin of victory in his 26 wins in GACO was 6.22. Average margin of loss in his 7 losses was -5.25. A difference of +0.97
Feeney’s average margin of victory in his 20 wins in GACO was 6.7. Average margin of loss in his 10 losses was -5.82. A difference of +0.88

Also, despite playing a harder schedule than Feeney, Brian’s overall game winning% is 75% to Feeney’s 70% and overall point diff. favors Brian 3.5 to 2.7

So in conclusion, all numbers favor Brian except for the one I put the most value into, which is head-to-head. And that head-to-head match happened in the last round. If it was a 5 game win, or earlier in the season, I’d weigh it less, and the other advantages Brian had would win out. But that round 4 victory can’t be ignored, because at that point both players had to know the stakes, which makes the match result have high significance. I admit this is a tough one. Am I putting too much value on head-to-head? Let me know. I could be persuaded on this one. I might even open this up to the equivalent of API, where you guys can vote on it if you want to, since I’m kind of torn. As a reminder, here was the results of the head-to-head match:

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Brian 16 19 21 18 0
Feeney 21 21 14 21 3

#2 Brian

This is a clear case for Brian here. Not only does he win in PPI over everyone, he also beat everyone below him, with the only loss being against Ethan. But he also beat Ethan. They won 3-2 over each other 10 days apart in November. RACO favors Brian over Ethan 6-1 to 5-2.

#3 Ethan

Ethan’s only loss not to Brian or Feeney, was to Keegan. He beat Grant and Cody head-to-head, and both Grant and Cody swept Keegan in straight sets. Ethan beats both Cody and Keegan in RACO, but loses to Grant in RACO 6-3 to 5-3. Looking at GACO, it’s even closer where Ethan was 19-13 and Grant was 20-14. Here’s Ethan’s head-to-head plus his 90 point advantage in PPI gives Ethan the nod.

#4 Grant

This is another easy one as Grant’s four losses were only to players listed above. Two to Brian, one to Feeney, one to Ethan. He beat Cody and Keegan head-to-head and beats them both in RACO. He also has the PPI advantage. All-in-all, an easy call.

#5 Cody

Both Cody and Keegan beat Cedar, the only other person I’d consider for this spot. Cody swept Keegan head-to-head. Cody has the PPI advantage 1313 to 1278. And in RACO, they are tied 3-4. In GACO, it’s also super close with Keegan squeaking out the lead 11-15.5 to 11-16. (This is due to me averaging Keegan’s two wins over Cedar that went 3-0 and 3-1 since Cody only played Cedar once.)

I also looked at average margin of victory in GACO (explained in the Feeney/Brian debate above.)
Average margin of victory for Keegan’s wins was 6.35. For his losses was -7.06. A difference of -0.71.
Average martin of victory for Cody’s wins was 7.67. For his losses was -6.27. A difference of +1.4.

So all of that is close enough that it’s a win for Cody. The head-to-head sweep in Round 2 carries the day.

#6 Keegan

All of these last few were decided last night. Keegan swept the night with wins over Haynes, Cedar and Steve that cemented this spot. Keegan’s 1278 PPI is 91 points higher than the next closest person in Haynes. His 7-5 record is better than Haynes, Cedar and Steve’s. He does however have the same record as Corey, and lost to Corey in straight sets. But Corey lost to both Cedar and Haynes, and Keegan easily beats Corey in RACO 5-2 to 2-5.

Just for good measure, Keegan beat Haynes in RACO 4-4 to 2-6. And he tied in RACO with Cedar 4-4 apiece. In GACO, Keegan wins it 14-17 to 13-17 over Cedar. But ultimately, Keegan actually beat Cedar head-to-head twice. So that’s enough to do it, but all the other stuff is in Keegan’s favor as well anyway, so it’s actually pretty easy to put Keegan here.

#7 Cedar

Cedar’s only losses are to players above him on this list. He beat Haynes, Corey and Steve head-to-head, so Ethan’s comment last night to Cedar that “you 100% have this spot” is pretty accurate. The only thing that puts up a question mark is Haynes’ 1187 PPI over Cedar’s 1149. But that’s not nearly enough to do anything, considering Cedar also beats Haynes in RACO 2-4 to 1-5.

#8 Haynes

So here’s where it gets interesting. The battle for the final spot in A includes a loop where Haynes beat Corey, Corey beat Steve, and Steve beat Haynes. The only other person you could possibly consider for this spot is Van, who beat Steve. But Van lost to both Haynes and Corey. So we’ll just focus on Haynes, Corey and Steve.

So the first thing we need to do is remove one player from this equation.

PPI gives the edge to Haynes 1187 to Corey’s 1145 and Steve’s 1134. Overall record gives the edge to Corey 7-5 to Haynes’ 4-8 and Steve’s 3-9. If we only focus on games played against the other A players, Corey holds the advantage. He was 1-4 thanks to his win over Keegan. Steve was 1-5 thanks to his win over Feeney. Haynes was 0-6.

So when looking at RACO, Corey beats Steve 2-4 to 1-5. And Haynes beats Steve 3-5 to 2-6. Corey beats Haynes 3-2 to 1-4.

Also, when looking at record just in the head-to-head contests between these three, it was Corey at +2, Haynes at -1 and Steve at -1. All in all, you have to drop Steve out of contention for this spot. Overall record, PPI and RACO takes him down.

That leaves us with Haynes vs. Corey. We know that Corey won in RACO 3-3 to 1-5. And he takes overall record. Haynes holds PPI and head-to-head, and it’s important to note that the head-to-head match was a 3-2 win for Haynes. But the two wins Corey got were 24-22 and 21-18, whereas Haynes’ three wins were 21-9, 21-10 and 21-5. All blow-outs.

So just to add another layer to look at, we’ll consider average margin of victory in GACO.
Haynes’ average margin of victory in wins was 5.43. In losses, it was -6.5.
Corey’s average martin of victory in wins was 5.33. In losses it was -9.33.
That’s a clear advantage to Haynes.

As you know, I highly value head-to-head, and similar to the Feeney vs. Brian debate, the fact that the win came in the 4th round has even more value to me. Especially in this case because all the players knew what the stakes were last night.

So that makes the quarter-finals look like this, assuming you all agree with my assessment of Feeney’s fourth round four set win over Brian being enough to trump all the other advantages Brian has over Feeney.

#1 Feeney vs #8 Haynes

#2 Brian vs #7 Cedar

#3 Ethan vs #6 Keegan

#4 Grant vs #5 Cody

2018-2019 Day 20

Yesterday we had a rare afternoon Ping Pong day. That’s cause we were trying to get it all in before the Oscars. The four players started out right next to each other in PPI, the 11-14 seeds, and they remained that way afterwards, just changing positions a little. It was mostly a seeding round for the B tournament, since everyone in this group will end up in the B tournament, it’s just a matter of where. And not much was decided to be honest as Van, Matt and Tim all beat each other in one of those cyclical things that makes you go “alright fine, I’ll just let PPI decide it” between those three. Here’s the results:

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Matt 21 19 23 22 3
Van 13 21 21 20 1

This was the only rematch of the day. Matt beat Van in four sets in the cave when they met in Round 1 in November. Different table this time, but exact same result. But actually better performance by Van this time around, taking Matt to OT this time in back-to-back games. Funniest thing in this match is that Matt did a lot better when I was distracting him. After falling to Van 21-19 in game 2, we started talking about the LAOUT Hall-of-Fame award which I gave out Saturday night to Rich Hart, and we were talking about people who would be good choices for the next couple years. Names like Jeff Landesman, Nicole Belle Isle, Brent Russell, Alex David, Canada Gordon, Rich Gallagher, Katie Mares and Mike Tamada were bandied about. It was a fun conversation, but what was more amazing was how Matt was winning his game all the while talking through the whole thing. He was up 15-10 when Erin said I should probably stop distracting them. Fair point. So we stopped, and then Van started catching up again. I’m not sure how to explain that. Van actually probably would’ve taken game 3 if not for a lob shot from Matt that just barely kissed the back side of the table on its way down.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Bama 19 21 24 21 13 2
Tim 21 11 26 14 21 3

This was a match that was scheduled for last round, but Tim didn’t make it, so it didn’t happen. And so it made sense to replay it, since it was an important seeding match. As you can see from the scores, all five games were won on the same side, and game 3 was one of the highest scoring games ever.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Bama 15 12 10 0
Van 21 21 21 3

This was actually an amazing match to watch even though it went straight sets. Van was hitting even faster than normal, and his shots were falling the best I’ve seen, and he just seemed unstoppable. A ton of low liners actually from both sides in this one.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Matt 18 21 14 18 1
Tim 21 17 21 21 3

This is the first match-up between these two since B semi-finals in 2017. Tim won that one in 4 sets, and did the same here. I can’t say for certain yet, but there’s a very strong chance these two will match-up again in the first round of this year’s B tournament. But it’s too soon to say that. Still just speculative.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Bama 21 21 16 11 19 2
Matt 19 18 21 21 21 3

This was a rematch of their January 3 match which Matt won in four sets. Game 5 was pretty exciting as Matt held the lead throughout most of the game but Bama finally came back to overtake him late, before Matt finished it off at the very end to complete the 0-2 comeback.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Van 21 19 21 21 3
Tim 18 21 4 15 1

That 21-4 game is just crazy. I don’t know what happened there. But I didn’t say any of this Cave Match, so I have nothing for you.

Next up is this coming Sunday when we have six players facing off in Cedar, Corey, Ethan, Haynes, Keegan and Steve with the final 3 spots in A division still up for grabs. Ethan’s already captured one of the spots, along with Brian, Cody, Feeney and Grant. So 3 of the other 5 players here all will be making their final push to get in.

2018-2019 Day 19

Unfortunately, Tim couldn’t make it. Wedding stuff. So we trudged on with the just the three players. I’ll make this short. All the matches played out on the main table.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Bama 21 22 22 3
Clint 14 20 20 0

Missed the whole match cause I was warming up Garrett. But back-to-back 22-20 games shows how close this was. Could’ve gone either way.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Bama 21 14 21 19 21 3
Garrett 15 21 18 21 16 2

Another one that could’ve gone either way. This is the fourth time these two have played each other since last year. They split the matches last year and almost did that again. Bama won when they faced off on November 4. The rematch was close, but Bama took it again. The lower side, the one that has the uneven ground, that’s the side that won all five games.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Garrett 10 15 19 0
Clint 21 21 21 3

Clint looked in control the whole way other than the last game where it was dicey and back and forth with Garrett holding the lead for awhile but ultimately Clint took it.

Here’s the final round 4 groupings.

Group S
Brian, Cody, Feeney and Grant have already finished

Group T
Cedar, Corey, Ethan, Haynes, Keegan and Steve are still working on a date

Group U
Bama, Matt, Tim and Van (It’s unfortunate we didn’t get the match-ups between Tim and Clint, and Tim and Garrett. I still would’ve liked to do those, but Tim makes the most sense to be in this group. Clint has played Bama, Matt and Van already. Garrett played two of them already and I played two of them already, but Garrett needs to play me. So Tim has to go into this group.)

Group V
Andy, Dot, Garrett and Yosh

Group W
Alex, Brach, Clint, Liverpool, Spike and Thies (this is an attempt to get as many original match-ups as I can because Clint hasn’t played anyone in this group except Spike. Alex and Spike need to play, and Thies and Brach need to play.)

I’ll send out separate emails to those groups.

2018-2019 Day 18

These games played out on Tuesday, so sorry this is late. I was ridic busy yesterday, whereas today I’m only luda ly busy. Tuesday was the coldest night on record in the PPPL. I know this, even though I have no data to back it up at all, because it’s the only time so far that I thought “the jacket I’m currently wearing is not warm enough, I need my ski jacket”.

The last four PPPL days in a row have been all the top players, so it’s nice to get some players who are more my speed. The game’s a little slower. There’s a lot more slamming easy shots right into the net, wildly whiffing on returns and general drunkenness. My people!!!! Let’s get to it. I have to get back to these stupid reports I need to put together for the company that’s taking over my company because why have one gigantic movie studio when you can have two?

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Yosh 22 21 21 3
Brach 20 15 17 0

Game one saw a huge comeback from Yosh, down 19-14 to win in OT. It was the first of the four 22-20 games Brach played. He played four overtime games. Every one ended 22-20. And that’s not the first time that’s happened. Haynes did the exact same thing earlier this season at the Barn. What’s the most overtime games someone’s played in one night? I have the answer for you.

Five. Matt and Scott each did it in year 2.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Spike 21 21 21 3
Liverpool 13 18 7 0

Cave match. It was nice to have Spike back. He’s had a whirlwind of a last couple months.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Spike 20 14 21 22 21 3
Brach 22 21 19 20 19 2

Four games that were decided by two points. Two OT’s. Spike with the nice 0-2 comeback. There were also a couple of late comebacks in two of these games. This had everything you’d want. Brach’s two wins in this match was also a high for him in his rookie season. It’s weird to see Brach and Spike in the same room and everybody’s clothes are on and nobody’s about to pass out from consumption. I guess we’re getting older.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Yosh 21 21 21 3
Liverpool 10 13 8 0

Another cave match. I didn’t see any of them.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Spike 16 21 10 14 1
Yosh 21 19 21 21 3

Brach wins in the cave. It was his first match win of the season, and guarantees that no player this year will go winless or undefeated.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Brach 21 21 20 21 3
Liverpool 12 12 22 6 1

Best match of the night for pure comedy. Spike went all Larry Bird in the first game with his trash talking. He admitted to feeling a little more at ease after he had to really focus in the last match down 0-2. I do love the table talk, so it was happily amusing. Spike kept trying to slam his forehand and NEVER HIT ONCE. I think he went 0-20 or something like that, but he wouldn’t give up on it, and it definitely cost him at least game 3. But Spike’s backhand slam to the corner was on fire, and kept causing Yosh to slip on the wet ground. He never completely fell over though, cause he’s a pro. And he even returned a couple shots WHILE FALLING.

Yosh was the King of Edges. (Is that a tarot card? Mike would know.) He hit more shots off the edge, but even more amazingly saved shots that hit the edge against him. He had so much edge, he’s Taron Egerton.

taron

By game 4, they both completely changed strategies and were only chopping it back at each other. It was a total chop battle which doesn’t sound funny at all as I’m writing it down, but trust me, if you were there, comedy gold.

Spike missed a wild forehand slam to end it, which was fitting, and Yosh took it 3-1.

Next up is the final matches of the third round this Sunday when Bama, Clint, Garrett and Tim face off.

2018-2019 Day 17

Last night was the first of the Round 4 match-ups. Although we’ve still gotta wait for Ethan’s final games (date still to come) barring something crazy happening in his games, it would be likely the top 5 seeds for A Bracket would go Feeney, Brian, Ethan, Grant, Cody. I’ll have full explanations for that after Ethan’s group plays. That would make the 3rd time Feeney finishes as the #1 at the end of the regular season. But he lost both of the first two to #2 seeded Scott in Finals.

Here’s the results of the games at the Barn last night. We have more 3rd round matches though tonight when Brach, Liverpool, Spike and Yosh play in very wet conditions at the Potomadome.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Brian 21 21 21 3
Grant 19 11 19 0
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Feeney 21 21 21 3
Cody 17 19 13 0
Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Brian 21 21 8 21 3
Cody 18 12 21 9 1
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Feeney 20 14 15 0
Grant 22 21 21 3
Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Cody 21 11 18 17 1
Grant 17 21 21 21 3
Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Brian 16 19 21 18 0
Feeney 21 21 14 21 3