This season of K.O.A.L.A. Kickball probably features the best competition that we’ve ever had between both of our leagues. This kinda makes sense – with 28 total teams between both our leagues, and with many of those teams having some kickball experience playing together, you’d expect games to get more competitive. In my opinion, the last two weeks have seen some huge upsets, but I personally think that there are many great teams not currently leading the standings that are serious contenders (and, quite frankly, maybe even favorites) to win the K.O.A.L.A. Kickball league trophy. This version of the Commissioners Poll was written by Rene Medina, and, because I like adding to the 2-3 hours it usually takes me to write this poll, I’ve decided to make a comparison of each team to a NFL team from a given time period. Enjoy!
- Balls and Dolls – 1 first place votes. 28 points; previously 1st. Team Comparison: 1998 Minnesota Vikings. Randy Moss. Chris Carter. Randy Cunningham. I mean, wow. This football team was stacked from top to bottom. The 1998 Vikings scored the most points in NFL history (556 points) up to that point in NFL history. But they failed to break the curse of the Viking (Super Bowl record: 0-4). And as my fellow Commissioner Lorenzo once wrote in a Commissioners Poll where he quoted the movie Moneyball, ““If you don’t win the last game of the season…no one gives a sh*t.” This team boasts amazing talent from top to bottom, no seemingly obvious weaknesses, the best run differential in Miami Lakes (at +33), the most total runs scored, and the least number of runs allowed. They’re great. But the million dollar question, will this team finally get over the hump (a task complicated by the loss of two of their incredible females for playoffs)? Here’s one thing I can tell you – they’re unanimously confident they will.
- Life’s a Pitch – 2 first place votes. 28 points; previously tied for 2nd. Team Comparison – 1972 Miami Dolphins. My favorite Dolphins team of all time gets overly scrutinized by many football analysts for different reasons: soft schedule, different era with worse teams, blah, blah, blah. I don’t care. It was the greatest football season ever assembled. My thoughts about Life’s a Pitch? They’ve got the best guys from the historically best two teams at Miami Lakes, and they have some experienced (and underrated) girls playing on their team. They’re being somewhat overlooked in favor The Only Tenn’s They’ll See, but they’re at an incredible +40 run differential. They’re undefeated so far in the regular season, and they probably feel they have a great chance at going undefeated in the regular season for the first time ever at Tropical Park. My thoughts? Well, I labeled them the ’72 Dolphins for a reason!
- The Only Tenn’s They’ll See – 24 points; previously tied for 2nd. Team Comparison: 1969 The Minnesota Vikings have a long, storied history, as Pablo Prieto (former captain of the Purple People Eaters, a name taken from the famed Vikings D-Line of the late 60’s and early 70’s) can probably tell you. They have made the playoffs a total of 26 times (tied for third most in NFL league history). They have played in four Super Bowls. But they have also never won it all. The Only Tenn’s They’ll See has a legitimate argument for being ranked first in the poll. They have a +44 run differential. They have the best girls in the whole league (no disrespect to Alcohooligans). Pablo and Gio Lorenzo are dreaming of winning both leagues, and, quite frankly, maybe they will!
- District 28 – 22 points; previously 5th. Team Comparison: 2004 Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were a fantastic team throughout the 2000’s. Realistically, I could have named used any almost Colts season from the 2000’s, and the comparison to District 28 would have stuck. Their QB, Peyton Manning, had the most prolific season by a QB in NFL history, according to Football Outsiders. However, there was always one team that stood in the way of the Colts in the regular season and playoffs: the New England Patriots. This feels the same with District 28 and PSN Slidaz. District 28 has never beaten a Garsha led team (I almost compared PSN Slidaz to the New England Patriots, but I hate the Patriots too much and like Garsha and Lorely too much to have given them that comparison. But for purposes of District 28’s ranking, imagine them playing the role of the Patriots in the early 2000’s.). They’re in contention for a regular season trophy (and a league trophy), but a Garsha-led team just suffered a huge upset at the hands of Ball Liquors. And just like how Tom Brady plays his best when he’s most upset after a loss, PSN Slidaz play their best when they’re most upset after a loss (trust me, I personally know this). The good news for District 28? The Colts did eventually beat the Patriots on their way to a Super Bowl in 2006. Will this be their season?!?
- Kickball Team – 14 points; previously 7th. Team Comparison: 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars. The 1999 Jaguars shocked the NFL by sporting a 14-2 regular season record in only their fifth season in existence (also, this team broke my heart and made me shed rivers of tears when they pummeled the Miami Dolphins 62-7 in the AFC Divisional Playoffs in what was the last game of Dan Marino’s career). Kickball Team reminds me exactly of the 1999 Jaguars. They’re a relatively newish team that is not overwhelming teams in the regular season (similar to the 1999 Jaguars). But they simply keep winning their games. At what point are we underrating this Kickball Team?
- Team No Name – 14 points; previously 6th. Team Comparison: 2007 New York Giants. 2007 The Giants were one of the worst teams to win a Super Bowl in NFL history. They had a -10 turnover differential, outscored their opponents by a total of only 22 points (with only two teams in NFL history reaching the Super Bowl after outscoring opponents by such a small margin), and accumulated only a 10-6 record in the regular season. While Team No Name’s record is absolutely significantly more impressive, I get the sense that people still overlook this team in favor of more well-known names in Miami Lakes, and their +13 run differential through five games is nothing that screams overwhelming force of nature. However, the 2007 Giants caught fire in the playoffs and played against what many experts consider the best team ever assembled in the 2007 New England Patriots. Despite losing to them in a close Week 17 game, the 2007 Patriots stunned the football world by defeating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. So if you continue the analogy between Team No Name and the 2007 New York Giants, then what I’m saying is… I can’t wait to see Team No Name take on Balls and Dolls!!!
- Always Pitching – 10 points; previously 8th. Team Comparison: 2010 San Diego Chargers. The 2010 San Diego Chargers led the NFL with the #1 ranked offense and the #1 ranked defense, and they had high hopes for Super Bowl aspirations after going 13-3 in the previous season only to lose the New York J-E-T-S (SUCK! SUCK! SUCK!) in the playoffs. Yet, somehow, beyond anyone’s comprehension, they failed to make the playoffs after a 9-7 season (ok, fine, here’s an explanation – bad timing by their poor special teams play doomed their season). This team sometimes looks like an incredible juggernaut, just like how they tore up the Tropical Park playoffs last season on the way to playing in the league championship game, or how they defeated Gattaca!!! in the interleague championship series after an incredible late game comeback to play New Kicks on the Block in the championship round. But this team is still prone to bouts of head scratching plays and losses. Could they win it all? Absolutely. Will they? I don’t know if they even know how to answer that question.
- PSN Slidaz – 9 points; previously 4th. Team Comparison: 1974 Miami Dolphins. The Miami Dolphins went 11-3 in the regular season after having won the 1972 and 1973 Super Bowls (and after having lost in the 1971 Super Bowl), but they ended up losing in the 1974 playoffs to the Oakland Raiders in a game frequently described as the best game ever played (although the Dolphins fan in me disagrees). Just like those Dolphins, PSN Slidaz are an incredibly talented, battle tested team. They’ve won four regular season Commissioner Trophies and the first ever interleague trophy between the winners of Miami Lakes and Tropical Park. However, they suffered a surprise loss to Balls and Dolls and an even bigger upset to Ball Liquors for the first two loss season in their team’s history, and face an always difficult matchup against District 28. Will they suffer the same fate as the ’74 Dolphins? I say no. This Commissioner still has them as the prohibitive favorites in Miami Lakes.
- Green Tea Baggers – 7 points; previously unranked. Team Comparison: Early 2000’s Miami Dolphins. Did you know that the Finsider ranked Jay Fiedler as the #66 best player to ever don a Dolphins uniform? Sorry, I got sidetracked by that piece of trivia. Anyway, these early 2000 Miami Dolphins suffocated opponents with a stifling defense, but always managed to have only a lukewarm offense. These Green Tea Baggers have allowed the fourth least runs scored in Tropical Park at 15 (for a great average of 2.5 runs allowed per game). However, they have only scored 18 total runs (for an O.K. average of 3 runs allowed per game). Hopefully they’ll have more success at having a more productive playoff record than these early 2000 Dolphins did. They have the speed and talent to absolutely make things interesting in a competitive Tropical Park league.
- Ballbarians – 5 points, previously unranked. Team Comparison: 2011 Denver Broncos. The 2011 Denver Broncos were a team that didn’t look pretty when they won games. Former Florida Gator great Tim Tebow started at QB for the Broncos, and people constantly overlooked him and his team’s offense as gimmicky and lucky. However, Tebow somehow managed to compile an 8-5 record as the starting QB for the Broncos, and in that run, he pulled six come from behind wins in the fourth quarter/overtime. To top it off, he led an overtime drive against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an insane wild card game that remains one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. We know Tebow is about the nicest human being on Earth, and I see the similarities in human decency between him and Ballbarians team captain Fidel Betancourt. We also know that these players have played several times together for a team that made a name for itself for upsetting higher seeded teams in the playoffs. Can these Ballbarians string along a few upsets in playoffs and make shock the world?
Others receiving votes – I’d hit that han (1 point).
Quick Reminder on How the Poll Works: Once both leagues have played at least 2 games each, the Commissioners each cast an anonymous ballot for the teams that they think are the top 10 in K.O.A.L.A. Kickball across our Miami Lakes and Tropical Park Leagues. The first ranked team in each ballot gets 10 points, the second ranked team in each ballot gets 9 points, and so forth all the way to the tenth ranked team in each ballot, which gets 1 point. The points that each team gets from each ballot are added up, and then the 10 teams with the highest total number of points are declared the Top 10 in the Commissioner’s Poll. Remember that this poll does not affect standings or playoff seeding in any way; it’s only for fun!