Wifftober IX Preview - No matter where you go, there you are

Wifftober IX Preview - No matter where you go, there you are

Yes wiffle fanatics, with Wifftober IX a mere handful of days off, it's like deja vu all over again. Wifflers are reading the fine print of their Wifftober contracts and signing up one by one as I type. I want to thank all those wifflers for making this day necessary. The big game is not too far off, it just seems like it is. As is a contractually forced tradition, I, famed wiffle journalist Hugh S. Wifflerton, am here to provide a graduate level course in Wifftober. While others try to imitate my preview style, they cannot copy me.

The Fields

With the loss of two cornerstones of the LowBall map, the Friendly Confines and Burnham Field, many speculated that the future ain't what it used to be. Well if the world was perfect, it wouldn't be. In the place of fields past, a pair of three fields have emerged and for the first time in history, Wifftober will be played across three brand new fields.

Whannywood - front 6
The first 6 innings will be played in Waitsfield at Whannywood, forcing the LowBus to take an uncustomary Eastward journey. There is a worry that wifflers, already horrible at orienteering, may not know where they are going and as a result might not get there. If they do arrive, they will find one of the most unique fields in LowBall. The field is a sloped bowl that sucks otherwise foul balls into fair territory. This combines with the tall fences to work to the pitcher's advantage, keeping with the tradition set by Burnham to piss off batters in the front 6.

Dos Balsas - middle 6
You can observe a lot just by watching. Unfortunately I did not observe jackshit about this field because I had a hangover the size of Mount Wifflemore during the inaugural match. Wifflers speak of deep fences and odd inanimate objects that force fouls back into play. It appears to be another pitcher centric stadium, but take that with a grin of salt, half the lies wifflers tell about fields aren't true.

The Rock Garden - back 6
A mere stumble from Dos Balsas lies the Rock Garden. If you are able to avoid the flaming accoutrements, this is the one field of Wifftober that will make the batters happy. Of course, as always, the back 6 has a bit more tension as it gets late early. Given the pitcher centric fields for the previous 12 innings, there could be some real fireworks at the Rock Garden, figuratively speaking, this time.

The big question around the fields is how the field owners will fare with the elevated home field disadvantage of Wifftober. In the previous eight Wifftobers, the owner of the final field has only been victorious twice (Black Cloud in WI and W8). The very thirsty Unshod One has stacked the deck against his quest for his first Wifftober victory, but to be fair even Napoleon had his Watergate.

The Wifflers

Wifftober is ninety percent about showing up, the other half is winning. Going into this year's big bash, only four wifflers have been sober enough to play in every game - Black Cloud, Lonichiro, The Ox, and Tremendous. It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future, but I would hazard to guess that all four will enter WX with their record of Wifftobers at nine. Of course, some will point out that I predicted the Surgeon to be part of this exclusive club of nerds in last year's preview. Come on, we all know that I really didn't say everything I said.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is. We can see this universal principle illustrated through the two advanced statistical analyses that Gordon Wiffnoski prepared.

Player Chart.jpg

In the above table, we see what team each wiffler has played for in each Wifftober (represented by blue for Loggers and gold for Lagers) and whether they won or lost (green for a win). First off, one should take notice of the Surgeon's remarkable run of five straight wins from WII to WVII. That is a record I would expect to stand until it is broken, which will not happen this year, or next. Also one should notice that the Lagers have not won since WIV, making them overwhelming underdogs coming into this year's game.

Surgeon and Cloud are atop the standings with five wins a piece, but there are five wifflers tied at four victories. Depending upon how the Supreme One's magic eight ball team selections shakes out, we could have a large group of wifflers tied with five going into WX. You have to think Lonichiro, Mr. Wiffle, has the best shot, I mean he hits from both sides of the plate, he's amphibious. Given the importance of having a team with deep depth, we looked at how many times each wiffler has played with one another and how many shared victories that resulted in.

Player Matrix.jpg

I think that table really speaks for itself.

The Keys

Traditionally we have assumed that pitching always beats batting - and vice versa. Last season we saw that fielding may just beat both of them. In Wifftober, little things are big, except for El Guapo's grand slam last year, in that case big things were big. The Loggers proved that if you avoid too many wrong mistakes in the field, you can drink famously warm beer from a tarnished chalice of fake silver. Of course, the Lagers may take issue as they publicly stated following W8 - "you wouldn't have won if we'd beaten you."

As we all know, the game isn't over until it is over, to win you have to give 100% in the first half of the day and if that isn't enough, in the second half, you have to give what's left.

Play Ball.