Must See Matchups: Playoff Weekend #1

The Must See Playoff Matchups from Day One

Round 2 are projected games

First Round:

(16) Los Matadores vs (17) Johnny’s Tavern
YSC #2

Johnny’s finds themselves in the 16-17 game for the second consecutive season, winning over Jazzhaus last year, before bowing out to the #1 overall seed Wildman in the second round. Johnny’s is hot, winners of six in a row, on the back of the second most prolific offense in the league, averaging nearly 18 runs per game. Los Mats have had a solid season, most impressively they’ve hung with both JDE and Muddy Waters, losing to each opponent by three. Los Mats have only scored 20 runs in one game this season, so they’re gonna have to have a strong defensive effort to get this win. The loser is the favorite for the Princess Diana Plate.
Johnny’s – 13
Los Matadores – 8

(13) Red Legs vs. (20) Jazzhaus
YSC #6

Very different levels of confidence and momentum here, Red Legs hasn’t won since Week 5, while Jazz has won four of their last five. Red Legs has had a major problem scoring runs, averaging a paltry four runs per game in rank play. However, the Jazzhaus defense is a little more forgiving than what RL has seen in previous weeks, so expect them to break out here, they will certainly need to because Jazz is young, fast, and brash. Jazzhaus has a few hot heads on their team, so Rick needs to keep them focused and on the ball should they fall behind early, or else it could snowball on them. YSC #6 is one of the smaller fields in the league, so there is some out-of-the-stadium homerun potential on both sides.

Red Legs – 11
Jazzhaus – 10

(10) Red Lyon vs. (23) Free State
YSC #4
These longtime frenemies meet again, with extra layers of intrigue added this year. Lyon has gotten healthy offensively the past couple weeks, scoring 38 runs combined, after hitting a bit of a midseason slump. As everyone knows, Red Lyon is a tournament team, but their path to the championship is a fucking war zone, assuming all the favorites win they have to play: Free State —> D-Holes —> Shirt Factory —> KTC —> Jackpot! If they pull that off, shut the damn league down, nothing would ever be that impressive again.

Free State is the hottest team in KVKL, winners of seven straight (they haven’t lost in nearly two months), though back-to-back one run wins over Lucky Berry and AsteroidHead have been less than impressive. A win for Free State here means their season is a success, as this would be one of the biggest upsets in KVKL history by seed, and a loss sends them to the left side of the bracket where they would have to feel good about potential matchups leading to the Diana Plate. Red Lyon knocked Free State out of the playoffs in ’16, the Growlers are looking for some payback.

Free State – 12
Red Lyon -11
Extra Innings

(14) Rats vs. (19) Woost
YSC #8
A rematch of their Week 8 matchup, when Woost upset Rats 11-4. Rats had all the momentum in the world leading into their previous game, and perhaps got caught looking ahead to their upcoming game against Muddy Waters. I assume they learned their lesson, never overlook a team with Dan, Dave, and Jackie, or you’ll get beat. Woost hasn’t won since that Week 8 game, and have been giving up too many runs on defense lately, but they’re a veteran team so they should tighten up in time. The winner has the honor of playing KTC in the next round, while the loser will be one of the favorites for the plate.

Rats – 14
Woost – 8

Second Round:
(5) Love Garden vs. (12) Muddy Waters
YSC #6
The premier matchup of the first day, these two teams are loaded with talented players. Love Garden was the highest scoring team in the league, putting up an astounding 192 runs this year, while Muddy Waters finished third at 173 runs scored. Muddy’s defense was markedly better, only allowing 48 runs all year, LG let 99 runners cross the plate. Granted, LG was playing in the #1’s while Muddy cruised in the #3’s. Each team is coming off an uninspiring performance, Love Garden was held to two runs by KTC, and Muddy Waters only won by three over Los Mats, their closest result in quite some time. If you’re not playing or reffing at 9:30, head over to YSC #6 for a big time kickball game. The loser here is the odds on favorite for The Twain.

Love Garden – 11
Muddy Waters – 10

(2) Lawrence Shirt Factory vs. (15) Kicking Assets
YSC #3
These two teams met in week one and Shirt Factory demolished Assets 34-3. Nobody really ever wants to play LSF, but facing them in week one as a relatively inexperienced team is a recipe for disaster. I’ve seen Kicking Assets play a few times this year and they have some very good kickballers, including Ben Wright. While I don’t think KA are going to pull off the huge upset, Happy Shirt shouldn’t be sleeping on them.

Lawrence Shirt Factory – 16
Kicking Assets – 8

(7) D-Holes vs. (10) Red Lyon
(Yes I realize that I picked Free State over Lyon in round one, but consensus is that RL will advance to this game, so I’ll write about what is most likely)

Red Lyon knocked D-Holes out of the tournament last year en route to the Twain, but D-Holes got the better of them in their week 8 matchup, pulling out a 9-2 victory. That was during Lyon’s offensive swoon, which they seem to have corrected. D-Holes had an argument to jump into the top six seeds and avoid such a tough second round opponent, but it’s now a moot point and they have to go out and at least make a run to the quarterfinals to validate all of the regular season success. I’m betting they do so, and Lyon continues their assault on the Twain bracket.

D-Holes – 12
Red Lyon – 6

(6) Goeser’s vs. (11) Ladybird)
In terms of pure athleticism, this might be the best matchup of the weekend. GGN showed some serious moxie in their week 10 GOTW loss to Lawrence Shirt Factory, while Ladybird has quietly righted the ship and enter the playoffs on a two game winning streak. Whichever captain can keep their young team calm and focused during the second game of the day will move on. I think GGN gets it done, but Ladybird is a confident bunch right now.

Goeser’s Good Neighbors – 13
Ladybird Harpies – 11

Week 10 aka I’m Saving the Good Shit for the Playoffs

A few teams I wanted to highlight for their exploits on the field this season (all numbers through week nine)

Highest Scoring Offenses:
1. Love Garden Squids – 190 (highest total in the league since we started putting stats online in 2012)
2. Muddy Waters – 164
3. Johnny’s Tavern – 160
4. Kansas Tree Care – 155
5. Lawrence Shirt Factory – 147

Stingiest Defenses:
1. Lawrence Shirt Factory – 34 (if they pitch a shutout in week 10, they are statistically the best defense in KVKL history. KTC gave up 35 in 2016)
T2. Muddy Waters – 42
T2. KTC – 42
T2. John Denver Experience – 42
5. Jackpot! – 52

Longest Winning Streak:
1. Kansas Tree Care – 8
T2. Free State Growlers – 6 (ACTIVE)
T2. Jackpot! – 6
T2. Chalmersiz – 6
5. Six teams tied at 5 wins in a row

Biggest Improvement (Rank Play)
1. Kicking Assets from the 6’s to the 3’s
2. Repetition from the 6’s to the 4’s
3. Drop Stoppers from the 5’s to the 3’s

Biggest Improvement – Win Total (’18 win total / ’17 win total)
1. Sacred Sword +3 (4 / 1)
T2. Hurtz +2 (8 / 6)
T2. JDE +2 (8/ 6)
T2. Corksuckers +2 (5 / 3)
T2. Grandstand +2 (2 / 0)

Pick ‘em challenge picks (I plagiarized myself wherever possible from last weeks column)

Hurtz Donut D-Holes (8-1/4-0) vs. John Denver Experience (8-1/4-0)
YSC #1, 7:00 PM
The winner of this could jump one, or even two teams in the #1 seeds depending on how everything plays out. D-Holes seem to be peaking at the right time, shaking off that bludgeoning at the hands of KTC at GOTW, while JDE is putting up better offensive numbers in Rank Play than they did in pool play, though they only scored six runs in 15 innings against Red Legs, so the boots can still be hit or miss. I still think Hurtz has a bit more talent than the Goats, but this should be a tight affair.
D-Holes – 9
John Denver Experience – 7

Brewballers (2-7/2-2) vs. Grandstand (2-7/2-2)
YSC #3, 5:00pm
The winner of this games finishes third overall in the #6 Pool, which is old hat for Brewballers but would truly be monumental for Grandstand. Grandstand had never before won multiple games in a season since 2012, and are now already sitting on two W’s with a chance to grab a third and head into the tournament on a winning streak. Brewballers are better on paper, but confidence is a hell of a thing and the Glasskickers are full of it right now.
Grandstand – 12
Brewballers – 9

Johnny’s Tavern(6-3/4-0) vs. Jazzhaus (6-3/4-0)
YSC #4, 5:00 PM
We are in for a doozy of a matchup to decide the winner of the #4’s. Johnny’s won the #4’s last year and are 14-0 in Rank Play since their inception in ’16, while Jazzhaus took a slight step back this year, dropping from the #3’s to the #4’s. This is also a rematch of last season 16-17 matchup in the playoffs, won by Johnny’s. There are going to athletes galore on the field for this one, and the winner has a chance to hurdle a couple of teams in the #3’s. I’m going to go with the veteran team here.
Johnny’s – 16
Jazzhaus – 12

The Most Important Games Remaining In Each Pool

The Most Important Games Remaining In Each Pool

As we close in on the playoffs, these are the games that will have the largest impact on seeding:


Jackpot! (7-1/2-1)vs. Kansas Tree Care (8-0/3-0)
Week 9
Hobbs Park, 7:00 PM

A rematch of last years epic championship game that was won by Jackpot (née Wildman) in extra innings, this is the stiffest challenge KTC has remaining on their quest for a perfect regular season and the #1 overall seed in the tournament.  A win for Jackpot here and they have a decent shot at the #1 seed, depending on what happens with Lawrence Shirt Factory from here on out. If you’re not playing at 7:00 on Sunday, get out to Hobbs early, this has potential to be the best game of the season.
KTC – 9
Jackpot! – 6

Goesers Good Neighbors (5-3/0-3)  vs. Lawrence Shirt Factory (7-1/2-1) 
Week 10
Hobbs Park, 9:00 PM

The intrigue here is two-fold, depending on what happens in the KTC-Jackpot game mentioned above, Happy Shirt has a chance to get the #1 overall seed in the tournament with an impressive performance under the lights.  GGN plays Love Garden week 9 at Holcom right, a brutal field assignment against one of the most high powered offenses in the league, so week 10 against Lawrence Shirt Factory might be their last chance to get a win and prevent them from falling like a rock in the tournament seeding.  The last #1 seed that went 0-5 in rank play was Free State in ’16. They dropped to the #8 seed, and had two one run losses on their resume.  GGN hasn’t been particularly close in any of their losses thus far, if that trend continues, could they fall out of the top 10? 
Lawrence Shirt Factory – 14
Goesers Good Neighbors – 4

Jackpot! (7-1/2-1)  vs. Chalmersiz  (6-2/1-2) 
Week 10
YSC #1, 5:00 PM

Chalmersiz beat Goeser’s in Week 6, but are staring down the barrel of finishing on a four game losing streak, potentially with some large margins of defeat.  They just lost by 11 to KTC, take on Lawrence Shirt Factory in Week 9 (who they have historically had zero success against), and then finish up with Jackpot.  Rank play has been unkind to Chalmersiz strength of schedule too, as their best wins so far (GGN and Red Legs) are a combined 0-6.  I think getting a win in the one seeds almost assures them of a top five seed in the playoffs, but Hurtz and JDE are looking mighty impressive in the #2’s and are eyeing a jump if Chalmersiz gets blown out a couple more times. 
Jackpot! – 10
Chalmersiz – 4 

*Love Garden, you’re the only team I didn’t write about because I feel like you’re pretty much locked into the #4 overall seed unless something drastic happens. However, your once commanding lead in overall runs scored is starting to dwindle, do you have enough to hold on?


*Disclaimer: I picked the #2 seeds so horrifically wrong in my Rank Play Preview, all of this should be taken with a gigantic grain of salt*

Hurtz Donut D-Holes  (7-1/3-0)  vs. John Denver Experience  (7-1/3-0) 
Week 10
YSC #1, 7:00 PM

These two are on a collision course so long as they both take care of business in Week 9.  As mentioned above, the winner of this could jump one, or even two teams in the #1 seeds depending on how everything plays out.  D-Holes seem to be peaking at the right time, shaking off that bludgeoning at the hands of KTC at GOTW, while JDE is putting up better offensive numbers in Rank Play than they did in pool play, so I’m looking forward to seeing this revamped lineup on Sunday at Hobbs under the lights.  I still think Hurtz has a bit more talent than the Goats, but this should be a tight affair. 
D-Holes – 9
John Denver Experience – 7  

Red Legs  (4-4 / 0-3)  vs. Ladybird Harpies (4-4 / 0-3) 
Week 10
Lyons East, 5:00 PM

Not at all where I thought these two teams would be, the loser of this game is almost assuredly getting jumped by Muddy Waters and maybe the Woost if they finish strong and the board looks past their forfeit loss that was actually a win. Flying Hellfish finished 0-5 in the #2’s last year and dropped all the way to the #14 seed, so it’s not out of the question for that to happen again this year.  Either way, these two teams have plenty of young talent and I think whoever wins will have some good vibes heading into the tournament and be ready to make a serious run at the Twain. 
Ladybird – 12
Red Legs – 11  

Red Lyon (5-3 / 1-2)  vs. Pawsh Wash (5-3 / 2-1) 
Week 10
Hobbs Park, 7:00 PM

First and foremost, hats off to Pawsh Wash, most prognosticators picked them to finish 0-5 in the #2’s, and here they are staring at a top 10 seed in the tournament and squarely in the discussion for the Twain. They had a three game losing streak in the middle of the season (Love Garden, Free State, and JDE) and it looked like their season was headed down the drain, but they’ve responded in a big way, posting back to back wins over Ladybird and Red Legs. A win over Lyon ensures them a top half of the #2’s finish and the most successful season in Filthy Animals history.  Red Lyon has had an up-and-down year, with their offense seeming to desert them lately, only averaging six runs/game since week two. They play solid defense, but they need to get the boots working if they want to make a patented Red Lyon type run in the postseason.  
Red Lyon – 8 
Pawsh Wash – 7


Rats (5-3/2-1)  vs. Muddy Waters  (6-2/3-0) 
Week 9
YSC #4, 5:00 PM

This game lost a bit of it’s shine when the Rats were upset by Woost last week, but it still seems like this could be the stiffest challenge that Muddy will face in Rank Play. Muddy hasn’t had a game finish within single digits thus far in the #3’s, while outscoring their opponents 68-17 through three weeks. The Rats still have the inside track to finish second overall in the #3’s, but they got handled by Woost last week and now will likely finish 3-2, not a good enough record to jump anyone from the #2’s. A major question for the board is how high can Muddy climb? Chalmersiz finished 9-1/5-0 in the #3’s in 2016 and were awarded an #11 seed, can Muddy do better than that?
Muddy Waters – 18 
Rats – 8 

River City Matadores (4-4/1-2)  vs. The Woost (4-4/1-2) 
Week 9
Holcom Right, 7:00 PM

In an alternate universe without forfeits these teams are both 2-1 in Rank Play and looking to finish 4-1 and potentially jump the last place team in the #2’s.  As it stands now, they are fighting to stay out of the basement this week. Los Mats have some incredibly talented players, and they’re not a team a #1 seed should take lightly come playoff time, but Woost is putting together one of their better seasons in recent memory and are coming off their best win of the year last week.  Look for Woost to keep it going. 
The Woost – 11 
Los Mats – 7

Drop Stoppers (3-5 / 1-2)  vs. Kicking Assets (4-4 / 1-2) 
Week 9
Holcom Right, 7:00 PM

On the other end of the forfeit spectrum, these two teams benefited from lineup issues from their opponents, but have yet to actually record a win on the field in Rank Play.  If either of these teams goes 1-4 in the #3’s, with their only win by forfeit it will be very interesting to see how the board seeds them.  A 5-0 team from the #4’s would likely jump them, but would a 4-1 record be enough too?  It seems like they probably should, but there’s an argument to be had. As for this game, I think Kicking Assets has the talent to get this win pretty handily and keep themselves firmly in the 15-16 seed range come tourney time.  
Kicking Assets – 14 
Drop Stoppers – 7 


Johnny’s Tavern(5-3/3-0)  vs. Jazzhaus (5-3/3-0) 
Week 10
YSC #4, 5:00 PM

As long as neither of these teams stumble in Week 9, we are in for a doozy of a matchup to decide the winner of the #4’s.  Johnny’s won the #4’s last year and are 13-0 in Rank Play since their inception in ’16, while Jazzhaus took a slight step back this year, dropping from the #3’s to the #4’s.  This is also a rematch of last season 16-17 matchup in the playoffs, won by Johnny’s. There are going to athletes galore on the field for this one, and the winner has a chance to hurdle a couple of teams in the #3’s.  I’m going to go with the veteran team here. 
Johnny’s – 16
Jazzhaus – 12 

Bunt N Grind (3-5 / 1-2)  vs. Reboot X (4-4 / 2-1) 
Week 10
Holcom Left, 7:00 PM

Assuming Bunt N Grind can get by the Ghosts in Week 9, the winner of this game will likely finish third in the #4’s. Bunt N Grind will need to pick up their defense, as they have allowed double digit runs in six out of their eight games thus far.  Reboot has had a few offensive explosions this year, scoring over 20 twice already, and if BNG doesn’t tighten things up, this one could get out of hand. 
Reboot X – 14 
Bunt N Grind – 9

Ghosts (2-6 / 0-3)  vs. Repetition (2-6 / 0-3) 
Week 10
Lyons West, 5:00 PM

The battle to stay out of the basement of the #4’s is going to be fierce.  The Ghosts got their premier win of the season in Week 4 when they surprisingly took down AsteroidHead, while Repetition beat Rockets in a fantastic GOTW in Week 5.  It’s been tough sledding ever since for both teams, combing for an 0-6 record thus far in Rank Play with a combined run differential of 114 – 48.  My pick is the team that has played a bit better of late, The Ghosts, but both of them are in real danger of getting jumped by the winner of the #5’s. 
Ghosts – 13
Repetition – 9 


Lucky Berry (3-5/2-1)  vs. Free State Growlers  (5-3/3-0) 
Week 9
YSC #3, 5:00 PM

Lucky Berry has been playing quite a bit better as this season has gone along, winning two in a row and holding the high powered AsteroidHead to nine runs in their previous game.  Free State has the second longest winning streak in the league behind KTC, winners of five straight and outscoring their opponents 71-16 in that stretch, including a win over Pawsh Wash that continues to look better and better. If Free State wins here they lock up the #5’s, but their sights are set much higher, looking to finish 5-0 and jump as many as three #4’s.  I’m not sure that a team has ever been placed above three teams from a pool above them, but because of common opponents there is an argument to be made. 
Free State Growlers – 13
Lucky Berry – 7  

Corksuckers (4-4/2-1)  vs. AsteroidHead (2-6/1-2) 
Week 9
Holcom Left, 5:00 PM

Corksuckers have had a very solid season, only allowing double digit runs in two games all season, while AsteroidHead has only held two opponents (Grandstand and Screamers) under 10 runs, so this will truly be a game of conflicting styles.  Normally I choose the defensive team, but Holcom Left plays to AsteroidHead’s strengths, and last time Cork played on a small Holcom field they gave up 17 runs in their worst showing of the season, so I’m calling the upset on this one. 
AsteroidHead – 15 
Corksuckers – 11 

Nick Lerner’s “Homies” (2-6/1-2)  vs. Screamers (1-7/0-3) 
Week 9
YSC #1, 5:00 PM

Without the benefit of a forfeit, this would be a matchup of two winless teams in Rank Play with a combined season long record of 2-14.  That being said, there are some very solid kickball players on each team.  They’re both averaging about 5.5 runs/game over their last three games, so don’t expect this to be a shootout, but rather a tight, low scoring affair.  As Cougar would say, “Homies by one.” These two teams must have their eye on winning The Boot.
Homies: 8
Screamers: 7 


Brewballers (2-6/2-1)  vs. Sacred Sword (3-5/3-0) 
Week 9
YSC #1, 7:00 PM

Brewballers are the only team other than Sword with a chance to win the #6’s, and they’ll need to bring their A-game (and a full lineup) to do so.  They should be 3-0 too, but “lost” on a forfeit, so this really is the heavyweight fight in the #6’s.  Brewballers have outscored their opponents 30-23, while Sword has gone 42-12, so they look like the favorite in this one.  Again, these two teams could easily end up playing for the Cougar Cup in a few weeks. 
S-Word: 14
Brewballers: 10 

Rockets (2-6/2-1)  vs. Leafy Greens (0-8/0-3) 
Week 9
Lyons West, 5:00 PM

This looks like Leafy Greens last best hope to get a win in the regular season, but unfortunately for them the Rockets look like they figured out their offense last week, Hate Fuck Kickballing™ their way to 32 runs against Grandstand last week.  The Greens have some decent players, and only lost to Brewballers by four last week, so there is hope, it’s just gotta happen this week. 
Rockets – 15
Leafy Greens – 9

Grandstand (1-7/1-2)  vs. Liberty Hall(1-7/1-2) 
Week 9
Lyons East, 5:00 PM

Both of these teams have a win already, so they’re playing with house money. Liberty didn’t put on their best performance at GOTW, but they were missing a few key players so I don’t put too much stock in that loss.  Grandstand has never won two games in the regular season (dating back to 2012) so a win here would be monumental. 
Grandstand – 9 
Liberty Hall – 7 

Week Seven Viewers Guide

Viewers Guide to Week 7

Assuming time and distance aren’t factors in travel this would be the perfect Sunday, July 15th for a KVKL fanatic.

Kanas Tree Care (6-0) @ Goesers Good Neighbors (5-1)
YSC 1 – 5:00pm
Kansas Tree Care was put on notice last week by Lawrence Shirt Factory, no matter how many great athletes you collect in the offseason, you still have to come out and prove it on the field.  A stirring walkoff win over The Shirt’s ought to compel them to come out guns blazing this weekend, while Goeser’s should be trying to land an early blow and get KTC on their heels. If Goeser can score a few early runs, they have a chance to swing the upset.  I don’t see it happening. 

KTC – 14
Goesers – 8 

ReBoot X (3-3) @ Jazzhaus (3-3)
YSC 2 – 5:00pm
Depending on what happens with Johnny’s, this game could very well determine who wins the #4’s. Both teams had solid wins last week, particularly Jazz which dropped a 30-spot on Ghosts, nearly doubling their runs scored on the entire season in one game. Two young athletic teams, this will come down to whichever team plays more fundamental defense. 

Reboot X – 15
Jazzhaus – 14  

Lawrence Shirt Factory (5-1) @ Jackpot! (6-0)
Lyons West – 5:00pm
Both of these teams played 11-10 games last week, Jackpot pulling out a win while Lawrence Shirt Factory suffered a tough loss.  The Shirt’s are looking to avoid starting out 0-2 in their pool, which would make getting a top three seed a tall task, while Jackpot! is aiming for their third win in a row against Happy Shirt. I’m going to assume no team has ever had a three game winning streak against The Shirt’s, this would truly be historic. It’s gonna be a slugfest, but Tyler and the squad are due to get one.  

Lawrence Shirt Factory – 9
Jackpot! – 7 

Pawsh Wash (3-3) @ Ladybird Harpies  (4-2)
YSC 1 – 7:00pm
Watching the top of the order for the Harpies, it’s not hard to squint and see the base of a future champion, they’re that fast. However, to be a really good team you have to play solid defense, and Ladybird is still in the mode of outscoring everyone.  Pawsh is a solid KVKL team, but if Ladybird wants to show they are for real, they need to come out and win this game by double digits. The first 15 minutes of gameplay will go a long way in determining if they will or not. 

Ladybird – 16 
Pawsh – 9

Woost (3-3*) vs. Muddy Waters (4-2) 
YSC 2 – 7:00pm
Due to an unfortunate forfeit, Woost is probably not going to end up taking the threes, but that doesn’t diminish the incredibly solid start they’ve had to their season.  Playing a fun brand of kickball, they are actually 4-2 and have a chance to spring a major upset against what could be a depleted Muddy Waters team. Muddy probably has more talent top to bottom, it just depends who shows up, as well as how Woost responds to their lineup snafu. 

Muddy – 13
Woost – 7  

Free State Growlers (3-3) vs. Corksuckers (3-3) 
Holcom Right – 7:00pm 
This game will probably decide who wins the #5’s. While Corksuckers has been a bit more impressive on paper, the Growlers have the best win on the season between the two, having beaten Pawsh Wash.  Free State is on a three game winning streak, and since allowing an unsightly 46 runs in their first two games, they’ve settled in allowed only 20 since.  These two teams have quite a fun rivalry, expect another exciting chapter.

Free State – 12 
Cork – 8 

John Denver (5-1) vs. Red Lyon (5-1) 
Lyons West – 7:00pm 
John Denver put up a masterful performance last week, allowing Pawsh Wash’s first batter of the game the score, and then pitching a shutout after that.  27 outs in a row without allowing a run is a hell of a feat, hats off to you guys and gals.  Red Lyon continued their mastery over the Red Legs, only allowing them to score in one inning.  Based on those numbers, this shapes up to be a defensive battle, where one crucial error will likely swing the game.  I say that Red Lyon is less likely to make that error. 

Red Lyon – 7
JDE – 5  

Hurtz Donut D-Holes (5-1) vs. Red Legs (4-2) 
Hobbs – 7:00pm 
D-Holes pulled out a thrilling win last week against the Harpies, scoring runs in every inning except one and coming back from an early 8-4 deficit to win 13-12.  The Red Legs couldn’t get the boots working against Lyon, and they’ll certainly have to change that if they plan to keep up with the D-Holes consistent offensive attack. I think the Donuts continue their ascent to a top seven team with another W here. 

D-Holes – 10 
Red Legs- 7

Love Garden Squids (5-1) vs. Chalmersiz (6-0) 
Hobbs – 9:00pm 
We’ve had exactly one game Game of the Week that has been decided by single digits, but barring some crazy shit, that is sure to change this week. This will be a great matchup of contrasting styles, with the offensive minding Squids ready to take on the more defensive Chalmers.  I usually opt for the defensive squad in these types of matchups, by Love Garden has played in a number of big games over the past few years, while this will be Chalmersiz biggest in quite some time.  

Love Garden – 12 
Chalmersiz – 10 

2018 Rank Play Preview

2018 KVKL Rank Play Preview:

#1 Seeds

  1. KTC
    KTC already had one of the best collections of talent in KVKL history, then they added the premier lady in the league (Angela Finch) to the mix and have been the odds on favorite to win the title ever since. Elite athleticism combined with veteran kickball instincts make it hard to imagine this team losing a game, even against the best teams in the league, but then again the regular season has never been the problem for Kansas Tree Care…
  1. Jackpot!
    Reigning champions and masters of Hate Fuck Kickball™ deserve more respect than getting slotted in at #2, but that’s how good KTC is. Not to be outdone by their nemesis, Jackpot also picked up a top 5 lady (Sarah Riley) this offseason, furthering the arms race that is the #1 seeds. Some of the best veteran leaders (love ‘em or hate ‘em) in the league play of this team and keep them laser focused, even against lesser competition, so you know they are bringing their A+ game every single week during rank play.  KTC vs. Jackpot will unfortunately not be a GOTW, but damn if I’m not gonna do everything in my power to watch that finals rematch/preview. Shoutout to the homie CJ, you’re alllllll sick at hosting podcasts, 505 Por Vida!
  1. Lawrence Shirt Factory
    There has been a lot of talk about how stingy KTC’s defense is, but KVKL legends Lawrence Shirt Factory have given up only 6 runs in pool play, and are looking to regain their crown after a semi-final loss to Jackpot last year. Steady as ever, a lot of Happy Shirt’s season could come down to Chris Ford getting eligible and showing up for playoff games, he’s a game changer that they will need against the other elite teams in the league.
  2. Love Garden Squids
    Love Garden made a statement last year in the #1’s beating Wildman, Shirt Factory, and Goeser’s, showing that they truly are one of the best teams in KVKL. Their performance in pool play has done nothing to change that thought, as they gone scorched earth on the Kelly Corcoran division, outscoring their opponents 141-36, and never really being tested. The defense hasn’t been as solid as some of the other #1’s, but the offense has been clicking on all cylinders. The completion bumps up significantly, but Love Garden is out to prove that last seasons Final Four run was no fluke.
  3. The Salvador Pereziz presents The Mario Chalmersiz
    In their last 35 regular season games (2015-present) Chalmersiz is a mind boggling 32-3, with one loss each in ’15,’16, and ’17.  Equally astounding is that with a record like that, they have been in the #1 seeds exactly zero times.  After having feasted on the #2’s and #3’s for years, Chalmersiz finally broke through and will be facing top flight competition for five straight weeks. They will almost certainly not have a sparkling 9-1 record heading into the tournament again, but will be much more battle tested and ready to make a run at The Cup.
  4. Goesers Good Neighbors 
    Talk your shit Bryson! The man with the biggest mouth in KVKL came into the season boasting about his squad being a contender for The Cup, and up until this point he has been nothing but right. However, the real work starts now.  A solid 2-3 showing in the #1’s last year proves that they can hang here, but someone has to finish #6, and unfortunately for the Good Neighbors, they’re the pick.  (Feel free to throw out some shade on the next podcast, I know it’s coming)

#2 Seeds

  1. Red Lyon
    Red Lyon was destined for the #2 pool as soon as the divisions were announced, as they are consistently an upper echelon team, but utterly incapable of beating Lawrence Shirt Factory (just like most teams in the league). Their magical back-to-back runs to the championship game are starting to feel further away, and they have settled into the 6-10 range. That being said, they seem to match up well with everyone in the #2’s, and still have the athleticism to beat back some of the younger up-and-coming squads. Always be on the lookout for Lyon come tournament time, they’re a threat to spring an upset or two.  Shoutout to the Homie Nick Lerner, 505 Por Vida!
  2. Red Legs
    I’m never quite sure what to make of the Red Legs, they seem to have all the pieces in place to be a top team, but then they’ll have a performance like Week 2 where they only beat Corksuckers 4-3.  I was on their bandwagon since day one, and I still think they have the talent to make a jump and win the #2’s and be a top six seed in the tournament, but that might be their ceiling.
  1. D-Holes
    The D-Holes are a consistently consistent KVKL team, always with enough talent and moxie to beat the teams that they should, but never quite able to get over the hump and make the leap into the #1’s.  Obviously KTC put a beating on them during GOTW, but KTC does that to most teams so I don’t hold it against D-Holes too much. I’m not sure what the missing ingredient is for the D-Holes, but unless they find it they are destined for another run at the Twain, when I’m sure their sights are set higher.
  2. Ladybird
    Ladybird has been the feel good story of KVKL for a few years now, rising from the absolute bottom of the league all the way up to the #2’s.  That being said, it’s time to see what they can do against the big boys. I was able to catch a few innings of their game against the Ghosts and they have all the speed/athleticism/talent you can ask for, but at times it seems like something is off.  Personally, I think they have too many players.  With 17-20 people on the team, it’s hard for anyone to get into a rhythm, and when it comes to tournament time, do they have a rock solid defensive 10 that can get a shut down inning when needed? The Twain is a realistic goal for Ladybird, but they’ll have to make some tough calls on playing time if they want to achieve that.
  3. John Denver Experience
    JDE has shown some solid defensive chops the first five weeks of the season, only giving up 23 runs so far, but they’ll need to get the boots working if they’re gonna make some noise in the #2’s.  Since KVKL switched to the Five Division/Five Rank Play model in 2016, JDE has yet to win more than two games in rank play.  I’m confident they will beat Pawsh Wash, but they’re probably underdogs in every other game on the schedule.
  4. Pawsh Wash
    Pawsh Wash is a solid kickball team with some excellent KVKL talent, but they might be punching above their weight class in the #2’s. That being said, they were a #4 in ’16 and won the #3’s last year so this seems like a natural progression for them.  They are entering the #2’s with no expectations, so pulling off an upset or two will make their season an unmitigated success.  Let’s just try and keep the Dikembe Mutombo finger wagging to a minimum, ok? 

#3 Seeds 

  1. Muddy Waters
    There seems to be a team every few years that falls into the #3’s and just lays waste to the entire division, and on paper Muddy certainly seems to fit the bill.  An absence aided loss to Ladybird sent this team tumbling down the standings, and anything less than a 5-0 record here will be a disappointment. Caught a few innings of their game against Jackpot a few weeks ago and saw a fresh alignment, four players patrolling the outfield, including two ladies.  I’m all for new defensive formations, keep up the innovation Muddy, that was fun to watch!
  2. Rats
    The Rat’s were picked to be in the #4’s by most KVKL prognosticators before the season started, but a big upset win over Johnny’s in week four vaulted them to the #3’s, their highest placement in franchise history. However they shouldn’t have a happy-to-be-here attitude, as they have the ability to make some noise and finish with a top 15 seed come tournament time.  They have a solid core of veterans and should have their targets set firmly on The Twain.
  3. Los Matadores
    I wanted to rank Los Mat’s #2, but they still seem to have problems with fielding a full team (maybe they could acquire a few Harpies in the offseason?). Without consistent attendance, they will suffer a loss to a team that they probably shouldn’t lose to, but alas, that’s the life of Los Matadore’s. Goeser Bryson is firmly on Los Mat’s bandwagon, and that’s enough of an endorsement for me to place them in the top half of the #3’s.
  4. Woost
    The Woost has some of my favorite players in all of KVKL and are always a blast to play against (even when they have their music turned Up To Eleven and opposing fielders can’t hear each other call a ball in the outfield). They emerged from the four team scrum in the middle of the the Kelly Corcoran division with a with a couple of hard fought victories (9-8 over Free State: 8-6 over Reboot X) and now have to kick it up a notch to hang in the #3’s. I can see them finishing anywhere from second to fifth, depending on their ability to keep pulling out close victories.
  5. Kicking Assets
    Kicking Assets has been on a hell of a tear since week 6 of last year, sweeping the #6’s and running all the way to The Plate and following it up with an impressive first five weeks in 2018 (34-3 ass beating to Lawrence Shirt Factory aside). Jumping from the #6’s to the #3’s is no joke, and they’ll have to bring their A-game every week, but I think the improvement is real, and this is a team to watch out for in the coming years.
  6. Drop Stoppers
    The Drop Stoppers got their signature win of the season in week one, beating the Corksuckers 7-4.  They finished as the #3 due to winning the tiebreakers, and their reward is playing a tough slate of teams for the next five weeks.  In the long run it will make them better, when they look down in the standings and see fellow James Naismith division members Bunt-N-Grind and Corksuckers stringing together wins, they might think “what could’ve been?” 

#4 Seeds 

  1. Johnny’s
    Being placed in the #4’s can only be viewed as a disappointment for Johnny’s Bravo.  Thus far this season they’ve only beaten The Homies and The Late Fees, not exactly building on last seasons solid performance, which included sweeping the #4’s. I reffed their 18-16 loss to the D-Holes and saw a team with the athleticism and legs to hang with a top 10 squad, not sure what has happened since then, but they need to put together a few impressive performances to get the momentum headed back in the right direction. I’m betting they can do it.
  2. ReBoot X
    ReBoot could’ve easily finished in the #2’s, only a couple of close losses (to Pawsh by 4, and Woost by 2) knocked them down to the #4’s.  Thomas has quietly done a good job rebuilding on the fly, and they certainly kicked the shit out of my team in week two.  They’re going to surprise some people in the #4’s and are primed to make a run at The Diana Plate.
  3. Jazzhaus
    Rick has done a solid job of rebuilding Jazzhaus, as they were one close loss (15-13 to Kicking Assets) away from being in the #3’s. The athleticism is there, let’s see if they can make good decisions on defense and cut down on their errors. Last year was the first time they’ve finished .500 or above in quite some time, now it’s time to make it two in a row.
  4. Repetition
    Shoutout to Repetition and Rockets for giving us a great game of the week, there’s nothing like watching two evenly matched teams trading punches on a Sunday night at Hobbs Park! I was the head ref, and both teams were incredibly cool despite some close calls, so hats off to both of you.  Repetition is a great story, they entered the league in 2016 and took their lumps, got much better in ’17, and are now already a player in the Free Agent market, snagging a few players from other teams this offseason.  Obviously the #4’s will be a challenge, after never playing above the #6’s, but what I saw on Sunday gives me hope they will sneak out a few W’s.
  1. Ghosts
    The Ghosts beat the teams they are supposed to beat, but rarely jump up and upset a team that’s better than them on paper.  Their victory over AsteroidHEAD this season was impressive after some of the offensive prowess that A-head has shown off in previous seasons, but not a true upset.  Katie, Diana, Mike and the gang will probably end up with two wins in the #4’s. 
  1. Bunt N Grind
    BnG eked one out against the Drop Stoppers this week to keep themselves out of the #5’s, where they have been the past two seasons.  They’ve won three games in rank play the past two seasons, but I think that streak comes to an end as the competition gets bumped up.  Sorry, I haven’t see you guys play yet this year and just don’t know much about your team, prove me wrong! 

#5 Seeds 

  1. Free State Growlers
    The Growlers have had a precipitous fall since they finished in the #1 seeds in ’16, but a convincing win over Pawsh Wash last week has to make Free State feel a bit better.  Had they beaten Woost (one run loss in week 3) they would’ve ended up in the #2’s, but as it stands now they have a chance to get their confidence back in the #5’s.  Anything other than a first place finish in this division will be viewed as a disappointment.
  2. Corksuckers
    Also a victim of bad tiebreaker luck, the Corksuckers probably never thought they would end up in the #5’s this year, especially after only losing to Red Legs by one in week two. They’ve played the best teams in their division extremely well, only losing to Chalmersiz by five this week, and more impressively they put up eight runs against them. This veteran team has the ability to hang with anyone.
  3. AsteroidHEAD
    AsteroidHEAD is the most consistently inconsistent team in all of KVKL. They go toe-to-toe with Ladybird in the early contender for game of the year, falling 23-22, and then a few weeks later they show up completely flat against the Ghosts and get beaten.  They can easily beat any team in the #5’s, but they also have virtually no chance of going 5-0 because they don’t bring it every week.
  4. LuckyBerry
    I’m not sure what to think about LuckyBerry, their only win of the year was in a game where no bunting was allowed, they lost to Repetition on a walkoff, but then played Goeser’s relatively close this past week.  Perhaps its’s a sign that the talent is starting the jell, but until they win a game played with traditional KVKL rules, it’s hard to rank them higher than fourth.
  5. Nick Lerner’s Homies
    The Homies have the worst defense of any team not in the #6’s, having given up an astounding 95 runs through five games.  For them to have a chance to win anything in the #5’s they are going to have to improve that dramatically.  The good news is they can score some runs too, putting up 12 against a decent Johnny’s defense last week.  Cougar, you of all people know that defense is what wins in KVKL!
  6. Screamers
    For the Screamers, offense has been the problem, only putting up 13 runs through five games.  They played Jazzhaus close in week three and then beat Sacred S-word in week four, but they’re going to have to significantly improve their offensive output if they have hopes of winning anything in rank play. 

#6 Seeds

  1. Rockets
    REPOSTED FROM ABOVE – Shoutout to Repetition and Rockets for giving us a great game of the week, there’s nothing like watching two evenly matched teams trading punches on a Sunday night at Hobbs Park! I was the head ref, and both teams were incredibly cool despite some close calls, so hats off to both of you.  Rockets play a fun brand of kickball, and they should cruise to a 5-0 record in the #6’s and pad some stats.
  2. Liberty Hall Late Fees
    The most fun team in the KVKL has already given up a mind boggling 134 runs (nearly 27/game).  Obviously that number will come down now that they are playing a similar level of competition, but my goodness that’s a wild stat. All that being said, I’ve got them primed to win three games in the #6’s.
  3. Brewballers
    Picking the middle of the pack in the #6’s is a fools errand, I have no idea how 2-5 is going to shake out, so I gotta go with my beer brethren as the pick here.
  4. Sacred Sword
    Sacred S-Word is playing acceptable defense, but the offense has only produced eleven runs in five weeks, so they’ll need to get the boots working to make an impact here.
  5. Leafy Greens
    One of the most memorable individual performances of all time at week one GOTW from Khaki Shorts dude aside (he seriously checked his phone while in the field during GOTW??), the Leafy Greens haven’t done too much this season.  Jordan is solid out in LF, it’s too bad he can’t play all three OF spots.
  6. Grandstand
    C’mon Grandstand, get a W!

Movie Poster Monday, pt. 2b; or, Second Fiddler on the Roof

People say not to live in the past. To which I say, “The past was fun as hell.” Of course the present is amazing, and the future unsure and uninsured, but here we are, forever in the present, the now, the moment—until we’re not.

Ah, just kidding. I won’t do another deeply dark Sundays in the Shade post. But here I am, listening to Metallica’s Fixxxer,” and the thought comes to me: “When was the first time I heard this song?” And it makes me wonder—What other firsts do/can I really remember?

I have an entire playlist dedicated to the first song that I heard of most every band I listen to regularly. (A work in progress.)



And I remember the first CD I ever owned: . . . And Justice for All by Metallica. And the first song I played completely on drums (“Cantspeak” by Danzig), and on guitar (“To Live Is To Die” by Metallica), and on bass (“Money” by Pink Floyd), and on melodica (“This Guy’s In Love With You” by Burt Bacharach).

And my first memory was being carted down the hallways of a nondescript hospital hallway with green walls with my parents by my side. My first drink—a Jack & Coke at Henry’s at the ripe old age of 23. My first car was a shitty ’86 Chrysler LeBaron and the first time I drove was at 9 years old in an white Honda Vista. (It later died and the joke among my family stemmed from the old restaurant Vista on 6th St., a burger joint that had the appropriate slogan, “Make the Vista Run!” It never ran again.)

I remember the first KVKL game I ever played in. It was against the old Creation Station team in 2010, pre-Game of the Week, and I pitched. We (Wildman) won, handily, like, 32-2.

Yet, for the life of me, after all these other (relatively) insignificant firsts, I cannot remember my first pitch, or first kick, or first out—anything. Maybe because, at the time, it didn’t seem like it would have as much of an impact on my life as it has. Hell, I remember the first week of dodgeball, and it was only a couple months prior to my first KVKL game. And I remember my first memory in life more clearly. (It was more of a nightmare.) I recall meeting everyone on that team for the first time—even the people who barely played again—which says something of the lasting memory of interaction as opposed to action—but the storied firsts of that first game have since been forgotten (maybe for the best).

So I wonder, further, since we have players who’ve been in this league way longer: What are some of your first memories? Be it the plays you made, the people you met, the games you played—any of it.

In that regard, [one of] the first music videos I recall seeing (that wasn’t Faith No More’s “Epic”), that had a lasting impact, was Metallica’s “One.” Inspired by Dalton Trumbo’s novel Johnny Got His Gun (and the film that eventually followed), it’s the inspiration for this week’s (second) Movie Poster Monday: Johnny’s vs. Corksuckers.



gg johnny’s.

Movie Poster Monday, Pt. 2a; or, The Six Million Dollar . . .

My first memory of Simon Skinner was about 7 1/2 years ago, before I’d ever played a kickball game, and before I even really gave a shit about kickball. I was a member of the Goats’ dodgeball team—during the Bleeding Kansas Dodgeball League’s inaugural year—and, for what I can only believe was conspiratorial, he reffed effectively literally every single game of ours.

And I loathed him. Much like, as I recall, he loathed me.

We both played on competitive teams replete with aggressive and argumentative athletes, and neither of us ever wanted to lose. And, I’m guessing in part because we didn’t have the kickball-buffer so many other players in the BKDL had, we only had that aggressive I’m-going-to-throw-shit-at-you-as-hard-as-I-can-in-close-quarters relationship so many others hadn’t experienced (unless, of course, you were on Das Boot or the Goats in the early kickball years), so it was only semi-natural we didn’t exactly get along. People didn’t hang out after dodgeball outside of with your teammates; there was no Replay/Harbour party—though we tried Taproom on a handful of occasions with limited success (I blame the bartender, Soobaru).

So it wasn’t really until the second season of dodgeball, as I recall, that Simon and I really had a chance to acquaint with one another. (Outside of that time in the BKDL’s first Final Four when I bent over to pick up a ball and he blasted me as hard as he fucking could into my defenseless left ear and I went deaf for what felt like eight goddamn years.)

These things kinda happen between eventual friends.

Since then we’ve gone on to help build a championship KVKL team, develop a litany of inexcusable and entirely unfunny inside jokes, forget who owes who the next drink, ND NU, and accept Matt Cosgrove as a friend.



And in my nine years of KVKL-ship—which isn’t exactly a lot compared to so many others—it’s easy to lose sight of ultimately the most important part of this league. I’ve written about community on here before—maybe two years ago—but when you see (or in my case hear about) a good friend going down and going to the E.R., your first thought isn’t about that team’s score or how you played that day or the upsets around the league—it’s about your friends and colleagues with whom you share an unhealthy obsession for kickball and beer. Also winning.

Yeah, sure, maybe we’ve all, in his words, wanted to kick his teeth in at some point or another. But we all know no one really wants that—for him or anyone—even the people we say we loathed when we met them.

There are proverbs for everything. And one I will forever share is from William Blake: The bird a nest; the spider a web; man, friendship.

So here’s this week’s (first) MOVIE POSTER MONDAY:



I’ve had the pleasure of playing on the same team and winning championships with you; the displeasure of playing against you and getting my ass handed to me by you; MG&Cing and Battlefield & Chilling together; spent hours looking for Jalen Rose with you; lying about getting married and then going to Brothers with you; and making a genuine ass of myself because (and with) you for (probably) too many years.

So. Here’s to (probably) too many more, ya douchebag.


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