Sports leagues work in waves. Sometimes, it appears that for a few seasons, one team is dominant and a heartbreaker for other teams trying to rise to the top of the pole/poll (think of Michael Jordan standing in the way of too many other basketball All-Stars and preventing them from ever winning a championship). Sometimes, several teams are even in one league, and any team seems to have a chance at winning the trophy. I would tell you that it appears as if White Hot Pitches has taken over the top spot at K.O.A.L.A. Kickball in Miami Lakes in the absence of a Garsha/Lorely Miami Lakes team, with several teams playing the role of severe underdog, while in Tropical Park, all eyes are on Goon Squad and a couple of other teams to see if they have a legitimate chance at defeating Life’s a Pitch. How did we rank the best teams from each league? Keep reading to find out! This poll was written by Rene Medina. Enjoy!
- Life’s a Pitch – 2 first place votes. 29 points; previously 1st. Their undefeated steak remains intact. They continue winning every game, and no game has particularly been close. But are there signs of cracks appearing beneath the surface? They’ve already allowed more runs through three games than they had all of last season. I still voted them one overall (and will continue doing so for the duration of their streak), but I don’t think they’re guaranteed a regular season or playoff trophy this season. They haven’t shown me that (just yet).
- White Hot Pitches – 1 first place vote. 27 points; previously 2nd. I always value run differential highly when judging teams (the sports stats nerd in me knows that, historically, run differential is the best predictor of future success). And their +44 run differential tops K.O.A.L.A. Kickball. They’re certainly the favorites to win it all in Miami Lakes; however, I personally believe that…
- Goon Squad – 25 points; previously 3rd. …is right now more deserving of a higher position in this poll, and am the only commissioner to think so. Am I crazy? Am I really suggesting that a team with Jason is underrated? Yes, to both questions. Look, I just feel that Tropical Park has slightly tougher competition this season. And it’s tough to argue against some of the results that Goon Squad is producing. They’ve allowed only 3 runs total this season against a tougher schedule than White Hot Pitches. I feel that this team has pieces that have played more kickball than many other teams. I’ll always worry about these goons can remain composed under pressure, but the truth is… they’re my dark horse pick to win the league at Tropical Park. And, no, this is not a reverse jinx or affected by the fact that my Tropical Park team plays them next (scout’s honor)!
- Ballbarians – 20 points; previously 5th. They’ve got the veteran pieces. They’ve got the ability. I just will never know whether this team has the killer instinct necessary to put away pesky opponents that play them tough. They’re hot and cold (or at least as hot and cold as you can be when you’re undefeated with no ties in a kickball league). But their +11 run differential after four games played could be better. This team is not, in my respectful opinion, just yet a juggernaut, but the scary reality is that they can always play well against any team and defeat anyone, anywhere.
- Pitch You Don’t Know Me – 16 points; previously 7th. The return of Valen Torres, now a proud father, for this season has seemingly sparked this team to new heights. They’re playing the best stretch of kickball I have ever seen them play, and their record shows it (4-0-1). Their run differential at (+9) and their total runs scored (19) could be better, but this team has historically had a good defense, and I feel that if you play good defense, you always have a puncher’s chance. Look out for this team moving forward.
- The Warriors – 16 points; previously 9th. I am beyond IMPRESSED at how this team has pulled together and started playing teams very well this season. This sophomore team got their first ever win this season after not winning a game in their first season, and then they just kept winning (and now stand at 3-0). Also, their +18 run differential after 3 games is incredibly noteworthy, and, to me, it shows a team that right now is underrated. Will they continue their Cinderella run this season and knock down some Goliaths along the way? Time will tell!
- High Rollers – 14 points; previously 4th. They took a bit of a nasty loss last week against White Hot Pitches, but, honestly, there’s no shame in that. They’ve gotten better every season (I remember when many of them did not know how to play!), and I feel that they have high athleticism that may propel them to winning games that the rest of the league may not have felt they should win. Proud to say that I taught many of these players how to first play kickball (although I remain heartbroken that they left me).
- Wolfpack – 5 points; previously 10th. They fight teams like a pack of wolves. Seriously! When they first start pouring runs in, they don’t let their foot off the pedal. I feel that this team has also come a long way when it comes to team chemistry, enjoying themselves, and staying patient with one another. They might be the second best team in Miami Lakes, but they need more wins before they can make a more definitive argument on that.
- The Commissioner’s Pole – 5 points; previously unranked. We’ve seen them in these polls before, guys. So while the wise guys (seriously, The Commissioner’s Pole? That may be my favorite kickball team name ever) from Tropical Park have remained a regular mainstay in these polls, have they fully ditched what I have always called their “Jekyll and Hyde” reputation? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I definitely was impressed in how they defeated the next team on this list last week.
- Free Balling (Tropical Park) – 5 points; previously 6th. Free Balling was one of my favorite teams to watch last season at Tropical Park because it felt that all that they cared about was genuinely having fun. Don’t forget your true identity now that you’ve experienced success against good teams and you have higher expectations! You’re one of the best teams at reminding us constantly that we ultimately play kickball to have fun, and, if you win a championship for ringless Gio in the process, great… but, if not, don’t take it to heart! He hasn’t won a league championship in 25+ kickball seasons!
Other’s getting votes: Sit on My Base (Tropical Park… 2 points) and Can I Kick It (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. If there’s a tie for points, then the team with the most number of Commissioners voting it higher than the team they tied will receive the higher position. Remember that this poll does not affect standings or playoff seeding in any way; it’s only for fun!