Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Masters preview

Since no one else is doing it, and there is a vast demand for it, here you go.

I got no clue, either. O'Dowd did a preview for the Newsletter. In his original version, he mentioned me and Alex, but what it got past the editor, they took us out and put in Mooney, who had been on loan to Above and Beyond the last couple years. O'Dowd will get his.

Masters was really hard to seed, since there was almost no Masters play this year outside of the series, and there was a lot of turnover from last year. Four of the Regionals winners did not play at Nationals last year (hmm, two Open winners did not, either, which has to be the most in some time). In figuring out what I would send in, I looked at how teams did in Open play this year, but that task was made more difficult by the Score Reporter not reporting what these teams RRI was in Open play. I ended up trying to find equivalents for those teams, opponents against whom they may have had close games, and tried to guess from there, but that too was error-prone. Masters teams are even less likely than Open to have full or near-full rosters at any event, sometimes even Regionals.

We played four Open tournaments this year. Clambake didn't make it to the Score Reporter. For the other three, we were listed as Big Ego Ultimate. At Sectionals, we lost by 1 point to the team that finished 4th at Open Regionals and split with the two teams that finished 5/6 (but won the pool by point differential). The most we had was 20 or so at Sectionals. We had about 15 at Clambake, about 12-13 at Boston Invite, and 8-11 at White Mountain Open. That's another thing about Masters; players tend to be available for only part of the weekend. We had at least four guys who showed up only for Saturday. Another guy showed up for our first game, disappeared for a few hours to go to his daughter's soccer game, then reappeared for part of our game before a bye (this same fellow showed up on Saturday of Clambake moments before the last point of our last game of the day). I think we have 31 at Nationals, three of whom are missing the first day (plus another 3-4 will presumably get hurt on the first day and miss the rest).

Even looking at the rosters won't necessarily help determine how strong a team is (several of you wienies are already jumping up and down saying that should have nothing to do with seeding). "Oh, this guy is great. Well, he was great. 10 years ago, when he played. Hmm, I wonder if he can still walk." At the other extreme, some teams might have a bunch of 33 year olds who either never happened to live in an ultimate mecca or perhaps were never that much as Open players but have hardly aged compared to their peers (and elders). The Senior Golf tour has had several of their top players come from the lower echelons of the regular tour or even from outside the ranks of the pro tour (Allen Doyle didn't even turn pro until 46, played on the mini-tours for a few years before turning 50, and has won more than $11M since).

So, in the end, seeds are based on previous Nationals. Our #3 seed, for instance, probably has a lot of basis in the 1994-1999 Nationals. OLDSAG didn't play last year, choosing to go to Worlds instead, and is seeded 4th. Troubled Past just formed and is #1, based mostly on winning the NW but also probably a little on Double Happiness' success in the 1990s (which is why I argued for the #1 seed based on head-to-head).

Of the 31 on our team attending Nationals, we have 15 guys who played on the championship teams of the '90s, anywhere from 10 to 13 in a given year. 6 of the 8 who played for all six champs will be there, as will 4 of the 6 who played for five of them. Last year, I told a bunch of people, "We're getting the band back together," and I wasn't sure exactly how much of a competitive team it would be, and how much of a reunion tour it would be. I held off on inviting some good players because I wanted to see whether it would be a total reunion tour (maybe not the best move).

But then partway through the year, it wasn't looking at all like a reunion tour. I think only three of old DoG attended White Mountain Open, and maybe only five for Boston Invite. We had good participation at Masters Easterns, but still not overwhelming. I built up the team with other recruits, though, and even without the vintage players, it was looking like we would be at least nominally competitive. It wasn't until the (nearly) full army showed up at Regionals that things really started to come together. Even with our random sampling of 12-20 at previous tournaments, we were holding our own against those young guns, even the ones who ran.

So, I like our chances. And they just got better, because Dick Brown is already frothing and sending out inspirational emails to the team.

Yeah, baby, it starts in a week!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,

It has been a while since I read your blog, but it is as always interesting and entertaining. My friend Dave Barkan from Troubled Past says that they have a really good team this year so I expect you will have a tough match or two against them.

Here from Israel we can only follow via the score keeper but we will certainly do so. Remember to warm up carefully (not only throwing). The muscles are much more fragile in the 40's as I painfully discovered tearing my calf 2 months ago (I am 43). Starting to practise again tonight. Halleluja.

Good luck,

Carsten - Israel