Table Setting

Hop on out of the end zone … 61 by 61 … Cold starts … More midfield OB pulls … Float around the uprights … CALLAHAN!!! … Rainmakers going on runs … and Vancouver too??? … Canadian Guts … Celebration vs. Admonition … Another perfect pick … Rearranged Spinners … New York, New Yawk …


Short Sips of Hot Bitter Blackness. A hint of far-off stone-fruit sweetness. A smoky thickness lingers from the roast.

Does Weintraub have Salmi’s number?

Yes, #61 is not just for pre-Bonds (aka Roger Maris) Home Run Records anymore. Weintraub and Salmi tend to see each other a lot on the field as Wientraub tends to cover offensive handlers, and Salmi is, well, an offensive handler.  The thing is, not only has Weintraub joined the small club of players who wear the #61 jersey, he has announced hostile intent to the other members of the club by erasing Salmi’s high around break passes: 

If you see more #61 vs. #61 action when New York and D.C. next clash, be ready to dial in on the battle between the mark and “the mark.”

Ya gotta get out to a good start one of these times, right, Vancouver.

Not only is it that the Nighthawks never held a lead over 80 minutes of ultimate this past weekend, this also means they always conceded the first break.

If we look at the game versus Seattle, by my (unofficial) count, of your eight first-quarter turnovers, six were unforced. One other was a defensive play, and the remaining was a 50/50 assignment of action: The defender made a good read, but the offensive structure was such that he was put in a position to make said play as an open cutter was cutting into the area of a stationary offensive player and his defender.

In other news from the Vancouver vs. Seattle game: Four more midfield pulls were put out-of-bounds. Tack this on to the list mentioned in DDL this week. What we have here is the sort of thing which makes coaching madness.


Tastes good so far. Future health consequences are sticky.

McKibben throws the swing pass in his own end zone out and around the uprights.

That is the throw of the week in my book.

The first Callahan of the Season

…Goes to Luke Jesperson of Seattle in their game vs Vancouver to go up 6-3. Of all the nit-picking I do about the rules in the MLU (and all other rules of ultimate) I should stop here to say that I love the MLU Callahan rule which allows the team which just scored a Callahan to also receive the next pull. I like the switch of advantage, and I also like the attendant weirdness. Pulling teams are accustomed to just having scored. Receiving teams are accustomed to just having been scored upon. To see the opposite of that is telling both in terms of team make-up and individual mindset.

The Rainmakers went on another near-unbelievable run against the Nighthawks this past weekend. Over 10:02 from the end of the first quarter through 5:48 elapsed in the second quarter, the Rainmakers went on a 9-1 run. Unless your opponents go on a similar run this sort of run is a game changer.

That the Nighthawks were able to go on two decent runs (5-2 in the 3:10 to 6:29 of the third and 6-2 in the 2:11 to 7:11 in the fourth) was a sign that the Nighthawks had no quit in them, but in the end the points gained were merely cosmetic.


Ah, the core of the non-vegan breakfast. Boiled. Scrambled. Poached. Fried. Loco Moco’d.

Talk About Imbalanced Pull Play Sets

There are two basic pull-play types in MLU this season which get called the majority of times by all teams:

1. A side stack with an isolated cutter on the opposite side from the stack and an offset thrower.
2. A split stack with 2-3 players on either side of the field with a centered thrower.

In the former, it is almost painfully obvious which way the disc will go and to whom. This makes it no easier to stop, as the field is large and the disc’s potential flight paths so varied.

The the latter, the disc can go to either side, but often it goes to whichever side has two potential receivers rather than the side with three. This makes it a little more versatile, but also harder for some offensive players to read as throwers too.

Both of these are really subsets of the same spatial concept: Create an imbalance on the field. That is, you want the opponent’s defenders to be concentrated in one area of the field while you focus your attack on another area of the field. This seems simple, but using underlying similarity in concepts is what helps us group ideas together, which in turn helps us respond quickly to offenses which, on the surface, seem different.

This sort of thinking is what makes both offensive and defensive pattern recognition a sign of good field awareness. Whether developed over years consciously or unconsciously, what often seems like great anticipation is actually accurate pattern-matching.

The pattern of offenses on pull plays is to take the defense off-balance.

Then the pattern of the defense on pull plays should be to stay on balance.

And this is what leads to short-term zone defenses to start points. Or even long-term zone principles in a defense.  The goal is to maintain field balance.

Veggies? Fruits? Yogurts?

Something light and possibly a positive decision.

D.C. vs. Boston

All these Whitecaps trying to crash into the end zone: 

Seven points for awareness, zero points for goals, three points for assists. I think it is a smart play but also very silly. 

Celebration for the goal from Neeley or admonition to Houser for sending him to the turf?

I’ll have a little from column A and a little from column B, please.

Michael LeRoss was either trying to scare the Dewey-Valentine out of playing defense or has been watching too much GUTS.

Waffles or Pancakes?

Choose… but choose wisely.

Another week, another perfect pick. This one from Tim Brubaker who picked Boston’s 22-17 win over D.C. That was the only exciting moment of the week with everyone accurately picking every game.

ScoresWLEXTot Var
Luke Ryan15211224
Tim Brubaker1529251
Garrett Miley1525234
William Curb1525269
Matt Ruby1525298
Tom Levy14311217
Paul Des Marais1438255
Geoff Poster1347221

The key here is that we want more wins, fewer losses, more exact picks and a lower total variance.

The good news is that I’m no longer sharing a basement apartment with Poster. I’ve moved up from the commentator division to the content division. I trail the lead group, but am making up ground and have the highest exact pick numbers of anyone who has failed to pick a game perfectly.

Yeah. I know. Grasping at small victories.

This week’s picks have some upsets with a handful of folks picking both San Francisco over Portland and Vancouver over Seattle. In the East, everyone is riding that Spinners train and many expect Billy Sickles to have a big game.

Beverage of Choice

Players or matchups to watch.

Return of the Phan

With four assists (three in the first half) Henry Phan returned in style for the Rainmakers. Could this be the break that their break offense was in need of? If Phan can provide a spark for Seattle after they force a turnover on defense, the rest of the conference will be on notice. If Phan can keep the Seattle counterattack on track, the Nighthawks will likely lose large again this weekend.

Philadelphia’s Offensive Machinations

The Philly offense has changed in 2016.  More space, more cutting, less handling. That said, reset offense is the cornerstone for any meaningful process of building a robust forward attack. With Michael Panna and Nick Hirannet out this weekend, the Spinners will need to rely on different players to gird the loins of their offense. While the Spinners have more than enough competent players to fill this role, every change is a potential advantage for their opponent. If the Rumble find a way to exploit a hesitation here and there, the Spinners could well be surprised with the result of this match.

The Place to Be

Personally, I’ll be in…

New York, New York.

My first visit to this year’s Rumble home stadium was cold and wet and the first D.C. win. Could this weekend be warm and sunny and the first Philly loss? Based on the weather forecast (rain, sun, clouds and a high of 61 degrees) and my pick (a 26-17 win for Philadelphia), I don’t see it. But that’s why weather picks and sports forecasts are exercises suffused with error.