W8 - The Wifflerton Preview

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Aright let's do this you wiffle wonks, it is finally that magical time of year when a bunch of middle-ish age men play a child's game for an entire day. Yes my friends, it is finally Wifftober 8 and I for one have drank enough Wild Turkey 101 to be excited. For only the eighth time ever, this year's big game will pit the Lagers of Lincoln against the Loggers of Lincoln. A coalition of the willing wifflers has been sent via embossed bubble gum wrappers to the office of the commissioner and now we lay in wait as the Supreme One retires to his sweat lodge retreat to bump knuckles with the wiffle moose and Lord Wiffle willing fabricate the line-ups for W8.

As the wifflers sit about sipping their High Lives and nibbling upon pork products, Rory Mon is feverishly examining every shred of weather evidence available via sustainable channels to determine whether to sport 36 or 37 layers of down. Yes, once again the weather figures to be a factor, as it should be, in this season's conclusion. Our perceived friends at Accuweather are optimistically calling for a start at 44F and climbing to a balmy 58F. And if that was where it ended, we may see a rare Wifftober void of wiffler weather whining (www). Unfortunately, while I, best selling wiffle journalist Hugh S. Wifflerton, am slugging back the Hennessy I stole from the Big Clubowski, dry beneath an oversized umbrella, the wifflers will most likely be bitching about a constant drizzle. Praise be to Lord Wiffle.

The Fields

Let's get this out of the way right now, right here, the league is not in mourning. Yes, El Guapo is dead, long live El Guapo, the Friendly Confines is likely getting sold for condo development and Burnham Field is becoming a dressage facility. All gut punch type news, but far from the death bell the mainstream media would have you believe. I happen to know there are little Clubowskis on the way, new fields to pillage. The league is as strong as a semi sober Hugh has ever seen it.

All that said, we need to take a moment to tip our Bulleits to the two fields that have played an integral part in the league's mediocre rise. Following W8, we will bid a fine farewell to Burnham Field and the Friendly Confines.

Burnham Field - all three fans of LowBall owe Burnham a great debt of gratitude. Season IV was the end, the league was truly toast. Wifftober was looking unlikely until the Gap stepped up to host an Oct. 30th game. And then a snowstorm hit, f'n feet of snow, it was an epic disaster. Out of the wicked weather, Burnham field stepped up and hosted the greatest LowBall game ever played, yes the greatest. Beyond that league saving 9 innings, Burnham has countless epic games in the books, including the lightning game that nearly killed half the league, and I mean that literally.

With the wet weather this week, you can expect a very soggy and cold Burnham. Combine those elements with a narrow and deep field and you cannot expect a big score coming out of the front 6.

The Friendly Confines - today the Confines are known for the extravagant wiffommodations but back before THE wall and the flagpole, it was just another field. Just another field that played host to the very first tournament in LowBall history, the Summer Classic. It is that tournament that really laid the foundation for the eight years of ridiculous that has followed. The level of ridiculousness was never greater than the two Wiffsolstice Epics. It is a field filled with memories, clear and hazy.

I was up at the Confines the other day thieving artifacts and can tell you that the field will likely be a bit slow. Expect a gang of Swinging Bunts to go with the always abundant ding dongs.

HST Dubbed the "hidden gem" by the new wifflers, HST has apparently been hiding in plain sight. Out of all the fields in LowBall, GapBridge and HST have participated in the most Wifftobers (5). HST has been the closing field for Wifftober three times, also the most. Luckily for the league, these close out games only happen once every three years or so. The wifflers could not afford the relationship debt that comes with taking the trophy to the bar. Of note, El Guapo has won both of his Wifftobers when closing out at HST while the Black Cloud has lost every game closing at HST since WiffI.

I stopped by HST the other day to take a leak in the outfield and I have to tell you the grass is trimmed tight. The groundskeeper Billy MacBubbles told me, "Yah, we got one of dem wicked riders off salvage and been trimming it down real slow like, it's like a real fine rug from the Home Depot sale tent." It is going to be really fast.

The Wifflers

A league in transition, that is a fact you cannot escape. Nearly half of this year's wifflers will be playing in only their second Wifftober ever. Make no mistake, these wifflers have every bit of the LowBall spirit that makes the grizzled veterans so infamous. Let's take a look at the standings.

Plastic Surgeon - 7 played, 5 won
Black Cloud - 7 played, 4 won
Lonichiro - 7 played, 4 won
Ox - 7 played, 4 won
Chin Music - 5 played, 4 won
Tremendous - 7 played, 3 won
J-Mac - 5 played, 3 won
El Guapo - 5 played, 2 won
The Drifter - 1 played, 1 won
Rory Mon - 1 played, 1 won
Whanny - 1 played, 1 won
Bad Science - 2 played, 0 won
Bento Box - 1 played, 0 won
Unshod One - 1 played, 0 won
Puss'N Boots - 0 played, 0 won

It looks like all five players that have survived every Wifftober will fight through yet another. This is the most important streak in LowBall and I think everyone, even the miniature horse from Wiff II, is thrilled to see it stay alive. The Plastic Surgeon sits atop the wins column looking smug in his trademark fuzzy pants, but he can feel the pressure of the four wifflers knocking on his red cooler. Of those four, you have to take notice of Chin Music. He lost in Wifftober III, his first post season, but has drank from the Chalice every year since. And it is not an accident, he puts runs on the board in Wifftober, earning Player of the Game in W6. He may just be Mr. Wifftober, we will see this year. This means he has won four straight, one away from tying the streak set by the Plastic Surgeon.

It is difficult to make up a power rankings for this year, mainly because I am sick of typing. One thing I will state, the Jackson brothers are climbing fast. Both had break-out years with some absolute dominant play. It will be quite interesting to see if the Supreme one pairs them up.

Predictions

There will be an epic argument about some shady double play and one team will score more runs.

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