It’s official – the power rankings are SERIOUS! You can’t go to a game at Wiffly Park behind Westwood Church of Christ and catch a Westwood Wiffleball Association game without hearing about the rankings. Somehow, every team is being looked over – I don’t know how that can be!
I knew the rankings were already a hit with the league just based on the website views and the comments, but I really enjoyed hearing them brought up on the broadcasts last week (Yes, the league has broadcasts on Facebook – it’s sponsored and everything!). WWA commissioner John Bryan O’Connor was able to gas up some of the biggest matchups of the week by comparing the ranks and those games didn’t disappoint.
Although I’m fond of O’Connor’s calls – I even jump in there with him from time-to-time just to add a little color – I really enjoy the players talking about it. After a loss last week to the previously winless Sharp Shooters, I heard Jeff Chisam say, “I probably just dropped us to the bottom of the power rankings.”
Well Jeff, you can scroll on down and see if your prediction is true. But before you do, let’s look at the most powerful message coming from a league member on the power rankings:
I guess when you take two from the defending champs, you can make big-time demands. Before I jump in and we see if Wyatt Wilson got his wish, here’s some scores since our last publication:
Monday, Aug. 9
El Ninos 7, Walk Off Warriors 6
Walk Off Warriors 4, El Ninos 2
Acuna Matata 7, WiffleSnappers 1
Acuna Matata 4, WiffleSnappers 1
Tuesday, Aug. 10
Sharp Shooters 7, Playground Legends 4
Playground Legends 7, Sharp Shooters 6
Bench Warmers 6, Acuna Matata 3
Bench Warmers 8, Acuna Matata 2
Thursday, Aug. 12
Smashing Pumpkins 2, WiffleSnappers 1
WiffleSnappers 5, Smashing Pumpkins 3
Grumpy Old Men 19, Purple Reign 7
Grumpy Old Men 6, Purple Reign 3
Monday, Aug. 16
Acuna Matata 5, Sharp Shooters 4
Acuna Matata 9, Sharp Shooters 2
Purple Reign 4, Walk Off Warriors 3
Purple Reign 6, Walk Off Warriors 2
Now, here we go with the Week 3 Power Rankings:
1. Bench Warmers (7-1)
Last week’s rank: 4
When the No. 1 draft pick in the league speaks, you have to listen. Here you go Wyatt Wilson, you’re No. 1. I don’t think this giving in to an internet call out either. The young guys have earned it.
Really, should we be that surprised this team is excelling? Nobody in District 6AAA could hit Layne Roberts in the spring – how are some (being generous here) seasoned vets supposed to hit him? Wilson is also rounding into form after looking like he’d need a boat oar to hit early in the season.
Here’s the thing though – it’s easier to play as the underdog. Everybody likes that role – especially young guys trying to prove themselves in an adult league. Now they’re going to be hunted every time out – good luck.
Also, shoutout to Jay Medley, who earns the Graves Family Pharmacy Good Hands Play of last week by turning a key double play to preserve the sweep over Acuna Matata.
2. Smashing Pumpkins (6-2)
Last week’s rank: 1
They are still firmly atop the American League standings (you can see the full standings below), but something troubled me about their last outing. I would have predicted that the Smashing Pumpkins, led by my early choice for league MVP Logan Underhill, would have no trouble with the WiffleSnappers.
Instead, Smashing Pumpkins barely squeaked by Game 1, winning 2-1, before falling 5-3 in the second game. Now that could be that I’m underrating the WiffleSnappers, but I had to drop the Pumpkins when I combined the impressiveness of the Bench Warmers with their lackluster split.
3. Acuna Matata (7-3)
Last week’s rank: 2
Sunday’s rain, giving me time to rethink and watch a Monday sweep, kept Acuna Matata in the top 3. If I would’ve done the rankings on Sunday, they may have been docked a little more for getting swept last Tuesday by the Bench Warmers.
It was billed as one of the marquee interleague games of the year – the young up-and-comers from the National League targeting the defending champs. It turned into a scary game if you’re banking on a repeat, one that gave me more pause after already worrying about the McColloch’s ability to play under the new speed-limit rules.
Fortunately, they were able to bookend those embarrassing back-to-back losses with a pair of sweeps. Acuna Matata took care of the WhiffleSnappers last week and held off the Sharp Shooters Monday.
4. Grumpy Old Men (5-3)
Last week’s rank: 6
Ahead of the pace! I expected this team to be a tough out by the playoffs, but they’re already showing signs of life in the regular season. Their sweep of Purple Reign was a statement, especially a 19-run outburst in the first win.
Everybody on the team has a good eye, they all can throw strikes and they don’t make a lot of errors in the field. That’s the perfect prescription for wins – no shocker from a team full of Graves.
I’m also happy to see John ‘Willy’ Wilson was back hitting the ball hard at wiffleball. Rumor has it he didn’t have a great Sunday in a recent tournament – albeit with a different white ball – so putting that behind him and getting some wins had to feel good last week.
5. Walk Off Warriors (5-5)
Last week’s rank: 3
The Walk Off Warriors are in the midst of a slide. Once considered a favorite to win the National League, the veteran-laden squad now finds itself in third place and sitting right at .500 with a 5-5 record.
Monday’s two losses to Purple Reign are going to be tough to take, even if they may have taken the field at one point with just three players. Purple Reign was in a tailspin, but righted the ship just in time to shake up the Warriors.
I’m sure David Martin has seen all the ups and downs during the dog days of summer, but he’s going to have to summon a big pep talk for his team. Fifth in the rankings and sitting at .500 is not good enough for this team.
6. WiffleSnappers (3-5)
Last week’s rank: 7
I really could have flipped a coin between these next three teams, but I’m giving the WiffleSnappers the No. 6 spot for one reason: they beat Smashing Pumpkins – my current pick to win the World Series.
Instead of dinging Smashing Pumpkins for losing to the WiffleSnappers, maybe I should just realize that it wasn’t that big of an upset. WiffleSnappers could’ve easily won both games (and a few more of their five losses).
I’m also giving them a bump for Bryan Matheney’s good commentary last week – I think he ranks No. 1 on the guest commentary list, even ahead of me. My guess is he’ll be the first player who is mic’d up in a game this season.
7. Purple Reign (4-6)
Last week’s rank: 5
If I would’ve done these rankings Sunday, Purple Reign would’ve been even lower. They were just destroyed in last week’s matchup with Grumpy Old Men, falling to a disappointing 2-6 for John Bryan O’Connor and his crew.
Monday’s sweep of Walk Off Warriors helped keep them holding firm in the middle of the pack instead of knocking on the door of the cellar. Maybe they found something and will turn it around – I still think they have plenty of good talent.
Also, I have to mention this – I recently found out that I’m actually older than the Notorious JBOC. I don’t know if it’s the kids, the fact he feels like a professional (he’s got a job and runs a serious wiffleball league) or his game that looks plucked right out of the Tom Emanski instructional book, but I just figured he was my senior. I was wrong – I am old.
8. El Ninos (2-4)
Last week’s rank: 10
Poor El Ninos. Last week, I would’ve said their split with Walk off Warriors was really impressive, then WOW come out this week and get swept by Purple Reign. After that, I had to reevaluate if El Ninos’ win over the Warriors was legit or just a sign that they caught an aging team on its downward stretch.
Let’s put it like this: If you beat the 2016 Warriors with Curry, KD, Klay and Draymond in their primes, it means something. If you beat the 2021 Warriors with Superhero Curry and a team full of Robins (that may be generous), it’s expected.
I don’t know which Warriors the El Ninos beat, so I’m putting a holding pattern on the team’s attempted storm up the rankings.
9. Sharp Shooters (1-9)
Last week’s rank: 10
Welcome to the Westwood Wiffleball Association guys! That first win had to feel sweet, especially when Adam Wood crushed that three-run homer in extra innings to seal the deal. I’m happy for the guys in green – it was looking like a long, long, long league year with lots and lots of Ls.
If they’re the first team to reach 10 losses, the Sharp Shooters could be back in the No. 10 spot soon.
10. Playground Legends (3-5)
Last week’s rank: 9
Yep Chisam, you were right. When you lose to the only team in the league that hadn’t won a game before the matchup (and hasn’t won since), you get a first-class trip to the cellar. That is the new Power Ranking rule – you lose to the last-place team, you become the last-place team for a week.
Are you listening Acuna Matata and Smashing Pumpkins? You’re up next for Playground Legends – you can fall off from that top-3 perch quick this week.