Sure the Draft League playoffs start tonight. That’s exciting stuff, pitting some of BoPo’s best against each other in a showdown for cash and glory. The thing is BoPo is so close and so fast approaching that Draft League loyalties, while not exactly being pulled, are a little weakened. Some team will pull it together and get real tight over the next two weeks on a big run, but will anyone even remember? Quick, name the 2011 Draft Champs? It’s odd because it’s really a battle of great teams but its finals are subsumed by the building BoPo hysteria every year. BoPo is coming, people. That said the team that pulls this off will remember it, and it counts as one of four Bayside Major titles each year. Only the six folks who win are still alive to capture the first ever Bayside Grand Slam (Draft, BoPo, Mens/Womens Doubles (happening), King/Queenshit). Several have done two in a year. As of yet no one has reached three though, so even that would be notable and grant some serious bragging rights. Anyway, enough rambling intro.
Forgive the “actual sports page” vibe of these writeups, it’s just where my head’s at
Clam Hands Mafia (4-6) -1 vs The Bustas (4-6): These two managed to eke out postseason bids over the other four 4-6 teams due to their high averages. In this league the difference between the all the teams is pretty negligible, so though these teams have an extra step to take they enter the night knowing they are each capable of a run to the semis. The Clam Hands had to sit and watch in week 10 and didn’t clinch their spot until Precious missed a strike in the 10th frame of the last game. They are psyched to be in, and will roll a formidable lineup. Cheddar obviously anchors the team and was one of a group of 6 bowlers that really distanced themselves at the top this season. Leadoff man Cookie is a team-first guy who really want to win. Steff Infection or Sasha would prvide an extremely solid score leaving Dill as the wildcard. He’s capable of giant scores and has had playoff success. On the other side Busta has the ability to dominate on any given night. He’ll roll South Paw, the Cape Elizabeth lefty who has burst onto the scene this fall with a power hook and a sweet stache. Beaujolais has already been through multiple playoff games in the last month and won a title. His wildcard is Nurple (unless Bijou shows up?) who just signed with UREA! So that’s my one point spread, Dill over Nurple.
#5 In-N-Out (6-4) -2 vs Play-In Winner (5-6): BIAS ALERT! BIAS ALERT! Yeah, even without knowing the opponent. In-N-Out enters confident. They have six BoPo titles, 2 Draft titles and 1 Kingshit between them. McQueen alone has 4 majors. They have gotten by without much of a season from Hungus, but McQueen and Hungus just played in a money tourney in Waterville to practice for this one. Space Farmer has been strong all season picking up the slack with Hungus scuffling. The Dude has come on of late with The Berserk and provides great depth. Captain Slow Roll finished sixth among women with more than a couple games. She’s drafted a team with a chance to make a deep run.
#6 Touch Me Ralphie (5-5) -2 vs #11 Shatner Face (5-5): I had this at -3 until I saw Shifter’s beard today. Have you seen that thing? It’s stupendous. That is Shatner Face. I have no idea how Shatner Face got into the playoffs with down seasons forom Hot Sauce and Walter and Shifter gone most of the time. Yet they found ways to win, thanks in a huge way to Xander Rolle. I’m not sure how he did it but he put up a great average and carried his team when they need it. Now they’re here and they have as a good a shot as anyone. Touch Me has got a team that I picked early on for a finals run, though, so tough draw. When Captain Ralphie rolls well these guys can be the best squad in the league. They have interchangeable #1s with E-Minor and Dwayne Luther, and if you average those guys’ normal facial expressions it’s a smirk. They’ve got a rejuvenated Booth playing like it’s 2009. Then they’ve got the ultimate hype and energy guy in Rick Vaughn, and a solid 2nd woman in Wen Diesel. It’s a potent combination. They just need to keep E happy.
#10 Lazercats (5-5) -1 vs #7 Preemptive Strikes (5-5): These are pretty evenly matched teams, but as I was saying to someone at the lanes tonight “when in doubt, go with Bama”. Bama is the top bowler going in this one and has the potential every match for a 700 series. T-$ hasn’t found it all year and I’m not sure there’s time left, but a down T-$ is not bad. Then they have Gutterslut who has perhaps been their most consistent roller. T-Square also drafted a traditionally clutch roller in Rufio. The Strikes are an interesting mix. Pauly and Tango are pretty intense rollers, though in different styles. Tango had a monster season finishing in the top 10. The big surprise has been Ishmael who has been hot down the stretch. That won’t be enough against the big guns of the Lazercats I’m afraid.
#9 Imminent Threats (5-5) -1 vs #8 Dick’s Pick’s Vol. III (5-5): Game of the round. These are two excellent teams that I’d pick over most of the others rolling tonight. The Threats are paced by Jerk, and despite his down season by his standards would you be surprised if he averaged 210 in the playoffs? He’s got great backup in former bowling instructor, soon to be Gun of Brighton Jon “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNN” Moon” and the ol’ Cap himself has been tossing 200s on the regular. Nugget enters her first BoPo associated playoff with a scary intensity and an assassin’s steady hand. That concentration will be firmly tested by Dick’s band of merry men. Dick created the best environment for success for himself by surrounding himself with the calming influences of Roadhouse, Bowldemort, and Dick’s own wife Coucou. Savvy drafting. He’ll still get his team some shots, but that’ll just be followed by a round of awkward giggles and then complete focus on the lanes. This as a close one. Bowloff potential: moderate to severe!
#5 In-N-Out (6-4) -1 vs #4 HHH (6-4): Do I need to rebroadcast it? BIAS ALERT! BIAS ALERT! These teams had a classic batle in the INO’s season opener with Cheese taking down Hungus in the final frame for an 8-7 win. That was the regular season. It won’t happen here. Mr. Stiffy has been putting up some big games lately, and Hexy and Skittles are game for the fight, but as I mentioned above I think In-N-Out is primed to roll.
#6 Touch Me Ralphie (5-5) -1 vs #3 Wet Bandits (7-3): Strange pick here, as Stevie Strikes flat out dominated the league this season. Valley Girl has been just as dominant on the other side of the gender ledger. I just don’t trust their surrounding cast entirely. Herk needs to step up big time as the Captain for this team to advance, because Probie and Samsquampch are two of the most erratic bowlers in the league and could roll 220 or 71, literally.
#2 SODA (7-3) -1 vs #7 Lazercats (5-5): The first (and only) top 4 seed I’m picking to advance. Diesel has proven to be a pretty strong playoff bowler and he’s ably backed by the Yay boys. Coco Lopez has seen it all and been to Finals, and this team seems to really enjoy winning. I’ll take them to edge the Lazercats who maybe wear out a bit by game 6.
#8 Imminent Threats (5-5) -1 vs #1 Blurred Lanes (7-3): Sure Natro seems to have bounced back from his case of Beer-foot (he bowled in the Biz playoffs Tuesday), and perhaps the Dentist will be fine not having bowled in a couple weeks, but it’s hard to go with the team with question marks for both of their top 2. Maybe Jewdy has one of those odd big Jewdy night and maybe McStriker dominates Nugget, but I don’t like so many uncertainties. I’ll go with the 2013 Top Dawg, The Bowling Instructor, and The Guy Who Is Here Every Day.