Photo by Bob Durling – Ultiphotos.com
End Times … Uglimate … High Standards … Assists in Context … Block Verification … Per Game Numbers … Hubris and Gods … Update the Record Books … Kramer vs. Kramer … San Francisco’s Big Adventure … Top Three Teams in the West
Short Sips of Hot Bitter Blackness. A hint of far-off stone-fruit sweetness. A smoky thickness lingers from the roast.
What in the heck was going on at the end of that Philly at Boston game?
Over the last 10:30 (fourth quarter plus overtime) Philly scored one goal and Boston scored five (three breaks). That sounds like a slow but effective run for Boston. Which to some degree is true. But, if we dive in and look at the overtime specifically, we can see that it was as much a failure on Philadelphia’s part as it was strong play on Boston’s part. In overtime Philly attempted a total of 16 passes spread over 5 possessions for 3.2 passes per possession.Which is quite low. But it gets worse: In the Spinners’ first possession in overtime (they were pulled to), they threw seven passes, which means that there were nine passes over six possessions. To be fair, the last one was a heave with mere seconds left on the clock. So, we’ll call it eight passes over five possessions. That’s 1.6 passes per possession. Which is ridiculously low. While we could tack on two more passes (both incomplete) which were both called back on lack-of-continuation calls from the refs, that would only bring the team’s passes per possession up to two.
Philadelphia has played a lot of good to great ultimate over this season. They have been purposeful, aggressive and disciplined. However, the second half of this game showed that they are vulnerable. In other words: The East is in play, folks.
This is not a travel (That was his second step! MLU thankfully doesn’t count “turning the corner” as a travel.)
As you can see, I fully disagree with the calls made on the field, but refs miss calls just like players miss throws and catches and announcers miss names. The larger issue is that the MLU and ultimate in general have a traveling problem. We’ve never consistently held players to a high enough standard that everyone’s fundamentals are impeccable. Not only have we played too long without flawed fundamentals resulting in a turnover, but if “the ultimate community” is shown these two plays, it will not agree on which is/( a travel and which is not.
Say what you will about the way travels are called during basketball games, but if “the basketball community” watches replays of travels in slow motion, there will be overwhelming agreement on what is and isn’t a travel. We should aspire to this level of agreement.
Tastes good so far. Future health consequences are sticky.
However, this should be understood within the context of the way the New York offense rumbles toward the goal. As San Francisco learned, the Rumble attack at its best is breakmark and quick-disc-motion offense (though if you let Brownlee rip it to Mott… there is no need to attack the breakside). This means primary (or even secondary) handlers, get many touches near the goal line, particularly as the deep shot becomes less of a threat. Weintraub’s results were in part the beneficiary of simply throwing passes near the goal line (The Dogfish capitulated by providing multiple short field scoring opportunities). This is in no way to denigrate his accomplishment. Seven assists is tied for the third-highest total in MLU history. It is more to point out how statistical events like this occur within specific offensive structures.
Games can be changed by a single tipped disc. The commitment to maintain focus on what may happen next just after getting a block can also change the result of games, but often goes unnoticed as it goes down as just another block.
Ah, the core of the non-vegan breakfast. Boiled. Scrambled. Poached. Fried. Loco Moco’d.
Let’s take a look at some per-game leaders from the season (we did this in week four as well) on offensive points, defensive points and overall (Two game minimum; All percentages are completion percentages):
Goals + Assists:
Khalif El-Salaam (Seattle, 7.00)
Lloyd Blake (D.C. 4.80)
Brad Houser (Seattle 4.40)
Cody Bjorklund (Portland 4.17)
Delrico Johnson (D.C. 4.00)
Carter Thallon (Boston 2.50)
Khalif El-Salaam (Seattle 5.50)
Lloyd Blake (D.C. 3.60)
Cody Bjorklund (Portland 3.00)
Tad Jensen (Portland 2.67)
David Brandolph (Philadelphia 2.50)
Delrico Johnson (D.C. 1.40)
Raphy Hayes (Portland 1.17)
Marques Brownlee (New York 1.14)
Four tied at 1.00
Thomas Lasseter (San Francisco 30.25, 90.91%)
Erik Salmi (D.C. 4.25, 88.03%)
Jared Inselmann (Boston 3.50, 86.36%)
Khalif El-Salaam (Seattle 3.50, 88.14%)
Victor Cheng (Vancouver 3.50, 87.27%)
Three tied with 3.00
Goals + Assists:
Peter Woodside (Portland 2.83)
Matthew Neeley (Seattle 2.80)
Evan Klein (Seattle 2.75)
James Sheridan (San Francisco 2.67)
Cam Bailey (Seattle 2.50)
Peter Woodside (Portland 2.50)
Evan Klein (Seattle 2.00)
Brian Penner (Portland 1.80)
Cam Bailey (Seattle 1.75)
James Sheridan (San Francisco 1.67)
Greg Martin (Philadelphia 1.67)
Matt Weintraub (New York 1.57)
Thomas Pineda (San Francisco 2.25)
James Sheridan (San Francisco 2.00)
Antoine Davis (D.C. 2.00)
Mitchell Dozzi-Daigle (Vancouver 2.00)
Evan Klein (Seattle 1.75)
Cam Bailey (Seattle 1.75)
Eddie Feeley (Seattle 16.60, 89.16%)
Grant Cole (Portland 15.80, 87.34%)
Henry Phan (Seattle 14.75, 93.22%)
Taylor Cascino (San Francisco 13.33, 80.00%)
Isaiah Bryant (Philadelphia 12.80, 84.38%)
Grant Cole (Portland 1.80, 87.34%)
Brad Houser (Seattle 4.60)
Timmy Perston (Portland 3.17)
Matt Glazer (Philadelphia 3.00)
Evan Klein (Seattle 3.00)
Peter Woodside (Portland 3.00)
Brad Houser (Seattle 2.80)
Kyle Khalifa (D.C. 2.80)
Raphy Hayes (Portland 2.83)
Marques Brownlee (New York 2.43)
Mitchell Dozzi-Daigle (Vancouver 2.25)
Thomas Pineda (San Francisco 2.25)
Four tied at 2.00
Lloyd Blake (D.C. 41.80, 92.34%)
David Whitney-Brown (Vancouver 39.00, 92.31%)
Sascha Lo (Vancouver 37.40, 94.65%)
Jared Inselmann (Boston 34.50, 86.96%)
Khalif El-Salaam (Seattle 33.00, 89.39%)
Victor Cheng (Vancouver 3.50, 87.27%)
Veggies? Fruits? Yogurts?
Something light and possibly a positive decision.
While I have no idea how Bryant didn’t see the ref standing in the path of his throw, I do know that the ref, like all humans, consists of matter and as such the disc cannot pass through him.
Waffles or Pancakes?
Choose… but choose wisely.
Another week, another gain in the standings for me! I’m sure with this display of hubris it will stop post-haste, but I am but a man, and all men offend the gods. At least some of us do it willingly rather than willy-nilly-ingly.
W: Picked Winner Correctly
Tot Var: Total Variance. Total amount by which four values per game (Winning Score, Losing Score, Margin of Victory, Total Score) were inaccurate. Lower is better.
That Will Curb is still the leader with respect to picking the actual winners of games, but man he’s got no nose for the scores of these contests, ranking last in exact picks and second-to-last (one of only two over 350) in total variance.
By virtue of being the presiding (and only) official in this kangaroo court, I’m calling Luke Ryan the top soothsayer in MLU through seven weeks. We still have time to dethrone him as he hasn’t built up an insurmountable lead, but he’s second in picking wins/losses, has the most exact values, and has the lowest total variance.
Now, of course, by lauding Luke, I’ve lumped him in with me in the “Offends the Gods” category. Which gods? The Ultimate Gods (known in simpler times as “The Frisbee Gods” which is actually their preferred nomenclature, but so long as you respect them, you can call them anything you like. For capricious gods, they’re not caught up in name games. Odd gods indeed.)
Beverage of Choice
Players or matchups to watch.
Portland versus Boston
Based on the video I’ve seen, it takes a whole team effort to top Portland. When Seattle beat them in the playoffs last season, it was near-perfect execution of a gameplan from Seattle. When Vancouver beat them in the playoffs the year before that, it was a matter of a Furious 3-0 first quarter (all breaks) for Vancouver who then held on for a victory with a break to win with 49 seconds left. In order to beat the current edition of the Portland Stags, the Whitecaps will need to do so as a team. Which, fortunately for the Whitecaps, seems to be exactly what Boston excels at. Should be a compelling game today.
Whitecaps and Stags versus the Record Book
Perston is two goals from being the first MLU player to reach 100 career goals. Bjorklund is five assists from being the first to reach 100 career assists. Hatchett (44 blocks) is one block from the career record (45, held by Morgan Hibbert). Meinershagen is two blocks from the career record. Topher Davis is three blocks from the career record. Peter Woodside is seven blocks from the career record. Four of the top five block-getters in MLU history are playing in this game! And that leaves out Rob Baker who holds the single season block record with 23.
New York versus New York
Sure, the schedule says “D.C. Current” but even within a sport of errors, the 2016 Rumble stand out as an exceedingly self-injurious group. While we don’t fully track “unforced errors,” in simply watching the games it is clear that drops and uncatchable throws are what divide the good Rumble (like your train rolling into the station) versus the bad Rumble (like your stomach being empty for the better part of a week). Even in single games different Rumbles can make appearances. In both of their wins, the Rumble played one strong half and one weak half. In their previous win against DC, the Rumble waited until the second to play well. In their win against the Dogfish last week, they jumped out to an immediate lead. If the Rumble put a whole game together, the Current could drop to their lowest point in MLU history.
San Francisco versus a Busy Weekend
This is San Fransisco’s first two-game weekend. They’ll also be playing as many games this weekend as they played over the first four weeks of the season. This is due to the MLU’s unbalanced schedule, which I think is fantastic for a league with eight teams in two conferences. It makes the beginning of the season last until week seven, and it makes the end of the season a staggered-start sprint. Like spotting stones in Go, it shapes the layout of the whole competition. Unlike spotting stones in Go, it has nothing to do with the relative ability of the competitors. San Francisco can leave this weekend in as dark a place as 1-5 or as light a place as 3-3. They play the Nighthawks (the only team they’ve bested over the season) and Seattle (who, no matter their quality, is no Portland).
The Place to Be
Personally, I’ll be…
… catching the top three West Coast teams in action in one weekend! I’ll get the pleasure of calling the Portland visit to Boston with Mr. Poster, then in the morning I’ll hop on a plane bound for Seattle to meet up with the Dogfish for their visit to Portland. I’ll not be calling that game, but rather it’ll be one of the rare experienced when I am allowed to kick back and watch the game… as a journalist/analyst/writerguy/media member. It isn’t quite so free as being a spectator or supporter, it is still an enjoyably calm way for a feller like me catch the game. As I say often in this space: What a world!