Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We're going to try a little something.

With any hope, this won't mess up the podcast feed. If it does, you'll likely not see this.

So. New season of home teams. Last season, I did some pre-writing at the myspace account. Since I've got some space here with the podcast blog, I'll try that out here and just do the cross-link thing.

Four teams. Five games. Seven thousand sports cliches. One Golden Skate.

The sane and the brief would take a look at the MNRG All-Star roster and simply ask for the Rockits to play the Garda Belts so we can get this over with. You can make a strong case that the teams are the most likely to reach the finals in April.

But you know...that's just a lot of nay-sayery, to quote the immortal David Sedaris (#3 on the NPR list of people to riff off the name of if Garrison Killer ever gets pulled from me for some reason - I'll let you work out #1 and #2)

But let's show the work for the case anyway. It's my party. The core of the MNRG All-Stars have been Garda Belts and Rockits this season. With Stella and Roxanne receding from sight, the Dagger Dolls had exactly two players since Regionals put on skates against some really outstanding teams in WFTDA bouts, Candi Pain and rookie breakout Wonderbroad. The Bombshells have also been loosely represented, although it's clear that Misfit Maiden is a very, very serious part of the MNRG blocking staff (Cleo and Mitzi have also been showing their work, of course). But when you see enough Rockits to almost make a full team out there with enough Green to have a good showing at the Saint Patty's day parade, it means that the Red and the Green are getting some unique experience out there. And many of those same women are the new captains of their units. Dudezilla and Harmony? Captains of the Rockits. Suzie and Citi? The same for the Belts. And that's not even counting the depth of experience in both of their rosters.

And yet. And yet. Mitzi and Misfit - new captains of the Bombshells - are also all-stars; both women had parts to play in the all-star season, not exactly warmers of the bench. And the Dolls may no longer have a strong presence in the All-Stars (for which talent is only one of the qualifications for - another is ability to be available to spend weekends away from the Cities), but there's a lot of veteran talent there.

Let's look at the matches.

First of all, we'll see the Grudge Match post-championship. The new Rockits - outfits et al - are almost exactly the same unit that last left the Roy in April. They've got one new rookie (last year they had none). Harmony, Dude, JB, Scarmen, 25 to Life, 808 (how do you like Kanye's album, Killahertz?), LXIX, Frau, Abbie...geez, they've all been playing with another all summer. Add back in Gretzky, Rizzo, Coochie, Mean, and the rest, and you've got a hard team to beat.

Harmony and JB were both playing around with new ways to start as a jammer during regionals and the KillBilly game. Watch for them to be trying these out to get a pop from the crowd. It's hard to read a home bout; there's the aspect of the game where players want to win, but there's also the question of keeping the crowd happy. I think easy money says that the closer the game, the more we'll be seeing lines filled with all-star vets, past and present. Coochie did a bang-up job during the first two exhibition bouts; I'd be surprised to not see her rotating regularly as a pivot. Also Frau, who continued to impress during the fall as a blocker and pivot. It'd be nice to Soylent jamming this year.

The Dolls - yes - have their work cut out for them. Of all of the teams, they probably have the biggest mountain to climb to arrive back at the finals. They play the champions twice this year, and - to the fans - they're probably the biggest mystery. Kim Jong Kill, Stella, Roxanne, and Scootaloo have not played at all during the first two bouts. That's three of the Doll jammers that are nowhere to be seen and a damn good specialty blocker.

Now...that doesn't mean we won't be seeing them, but that's four known quantities that are MIA. On the other hand, we _have_ seen Sparkle Ninja and Mary Tyler Roar kick some ass as jammers. No, let me correct that. MTR and the Sparkly One were all over the track in the first two bouts. Ninja had some great play, and Mary is definitely entering into marquee player-land for the Dolls.

Fact is, we're starting to depend on inspired play from many of the individual Dolls - Fixie Chic, Sweet Justice, Lydia, and Norah all come to mind from my narrated tape of the second bout; it remains to be seen how cohesive a unit they are this year. I have to say...they were damn fun to watch last year. Candi and Barbie seem to run a good ship with the Dolls; I just hope that they have enough quality jammers coming to the line this year, because I expect this bout to be won and lost by the skill of the jammers to make it through the pack without falling afoul of WFTDA 3.1 rules. We saw the All-Star contingent playing tricks on Arkansas by dinking them out into track-cutting trouble; it's absurd to think that a properly-motivated Rockit blocking pack (again, full of vets) won't test the Dagger Dolls' jammers by putting them into similar situations. This is perhaps one of the great problems of having a competent ref staff; if Spike and co want to, they come down like a hammer on penalties. Honestly, it might be a better idea to start now rather than save it for the championship bout where they will likely be pulling no punches.

Hey, look at that. It's getting late. Just like old times, I'll wait with the second rundown (ABS v Garda Belts) until later. But in short, the Rockits have all of the edges on paper. The Dolls have the staff to surprise; hope they do, because a march on the Rockits this early in the season is going to do them good when they return to this bout in a few months.

And for yet another year, the Dolls have a passel of new players.

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