Six teams in Tropical Park have a winning record, with another two teams sporting a .500 record. Another six teams in Miami Lakes have a winning record, as well, with teams 3-6 being separated by a mere .5 points in the standings. And while every team in Miami Lakes has played its minimum 8 games for the season, scheduling quirks have created a pretty big difference in the total number of games some teams in Tropical Park have played (for example, Life’s a Pitch has only played 5 games this season while every other team has played either 6 or 7 games). Why am I bringing these random facts up? Because all of these factors combined made me struggle greatly with how I voted in this week’s Commissioners Poll. Honestly, I easily can understand how different teams might argue that they deserve to be two or three spots higher (or how other teams deserve to be two or three spots lower). Keep that in mind when reading the poll, and remember, maybe this week’s results offer your team a great chance to move up or down in the poll; make the most of it! This poll was written by Rene Medina. Enjoy!
- Goon Squad – 2 first place votes. 29 points; previously 1st. Remember when two weeks ago I wrote in the poll that they were my dark horse team to win Tropical Park and how I voted them higher than Jason and Gio? They only responded by beating Life’s a Pitch 4-3 and turning Tropical Park standings upside down. Well, this week, I almost switched my vote and put Goon Squad at number two overall, which would’ve placed them second overall in the league. However, I think the Tropical Park league is better than people realize, and I’m still going to give them credit for defeating Life’s a Pitch and for having only one regular season loss (with one playoff loss added in there) in the past two seasons. They still have my number one vote in the league… for now.
- White Hot Pitches – 1 first place vote. 27 points; previously 2nd. Stop me if you’ve heard me say this before, but have you seen how White Hot Pitches have defeated every team this season at Miami Lakes? They have a run differential of +70… +70 (or +8.75 run differential per game)! I don’t think that any team has come close to beating them this season, and the only problem they may have right now is that they have not played a single close game this season, which means they may not know how to react in the playoffs when games are usually much closer and the stakes are higher. That’s honestly the only thing I can nitpick for them.
- Life’s a Pitch – 25 points; previously 3rd. I’m sure they’re upset they’ve been dropped to third overall in the poll. One loss in three seasons, and this is where they get dropped the last two weeks. It’s just that, without White Hot Pitches or Goon Squad having any losses this season, I just don’t know how they’ll move up in the poll. Consolation? They have four games left in the season, which gives them plenty of time to skyrocket up the poll (and up the standings). And they can always hope that Goon Squad suffers an upset loss that would give Life’s a Pitch a chance to win the league regular season Commissioners Trophy outright.
- Wolfpack – 21 points; previously 6th. Here’s the best kept secret at Miami Lakes. Very quietly, without anyone really noticing, Wolfpack has collected what may possibly the best females in Miami Lakes. Don’t believe me? Look at their roster, and, specifically, look at which players have replaced some of their players this season. Add that mix to the combination of Akins, Anthony, and Gualberto, and I think that Wolfpack has the best chance of any team not named Ballbarians to defeat White Hot Pitches. Which begs the question…
- Ballbarians – 18 points; previously 5th. …why don’t we have Ballbarians higher? Easy. They have two losses, including to teams they feel they should have defeated. Consolation for Ballbarians? They are the highest ranked two loss team in the league (for example, Commissioner’s Pole also has two losses… but before Jose starts complaining, he should note how his team only has 4 wins, while Ballbarians have 6 wins). Also? They’re probably the team in the best position to potentially defeat White Hot Pitches with Fidel and Jason co-leading a talented and speedy roster.
- The Warriors – 11 points; previously 4th. No shame in suffering their first loss against Goon Squad. This team has the inside track at a top three spot in Tropical Park, and, to be honest, that’s an incredible accomplishment no one saw coming at the start of the season. Like I wrote last time, The Warriors are just the latest example of how a team that keeps playing and developing good chemistry can improve from one season to the next, so don’t lose hope if you’re not playing to the level you want to play! Only one question remains unanswered for this team: can they upset one of the teams above it for a chance at Tropical Park’s playoff trophy?
- Can I Kick It – 11 points; previously 8th. At 5-1, this team has expressed to me that they feel disrespected by where they’ve been getting voted in the poll. I certainly understand how they feel. However, let me provide a closer, in-depth analysis to hopefully show this ranking is fair for them. Compare their +13 run differential over 6 games (good for a +2.16 run differential per game) with other Tropical Park teams in the rankings: Goon Squad (+5.86 run differential per game), The Warriors (+3 run differential per game), Life’s a Pitch (+6.4 run differential per game), and, below it, Free Balling (+3.43 run differential per game). Remember that three of those four of those teams have only one loss this season (with Free Balling having two losses). This team is good and resourceful, but I just don’t feel comfortable voting them higher than this in the standings for now. The good news for them? They still have a chance to climb the rankings, especially after Week 8 matchups against The Warriors and Life’s a Pitch. Win those, and they’ll definitely grab our attention.
- Free Balling (Tropical Park) – 10 points; previously 7th. Good teams don’t lose to teams they’re better than, and, over the course of the last two seasons, I don’t remember looking at Free Balling and ever thinking they lost to a team they should have defeated. However, while this team takes care of business against the teams they should beat, to get to the next level, this team needs to beat the teams that are ahead of them in the Tropical Park pecking order. Having said that, it’s a credit to this team that they avoided the usual hiccups that new teams experience when they first play together, and they still seem to be one of the teams that has the most fun out there week in and week out.
- High Rollers – 9 points; previously 9th. They’re sitting pretty at number four in the standings in Miami Lakes through eight games, and they still have an impressive tie against Wolfpack to hang their hat on (in a game that I know they felt they should have won). However, tough losses against White Hot Pitches and Pitch You Don’t Know Me have left a bitter aftertaste in their mouth. Let’s see how this team responds to their last regular season game and the playoffs this week.
- Sit On My Base (Miami Lakes) – 4 points; previously 10th. They have the second-best run differential in Miami Lakes after White Hot Pitches at +31 (+3.88 run differential per game). So why are they rated so low? Well, part of the reason their run differential is so high is because the numbers are slightly skewed (they destroyed one of their opponents earlier this season), and they also have three losses this season. However, this team is experienced and smart, and I firmly think that teams around the league should not forget that the core of this team was in the Miami Lakes league championship game not too long ago.
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!