After getting a chance to make a guest appearance at the Crisp Springs Fireworks Home Run Derby, where I mowed down Ansley Mullican and held her to zero home runs, I got to thinking about what other All Star festivities the Westwood Wiffleball Association could look into in the coming seasons.
Obviously, there is no need for an Old Timers game – basically every game is just that. I’m not sure there would be a need for a Graves Family Pharmacy Good Hands Challenge either because defense can sometimes be optional at Wiffly Field (otherwise known as Skeeter Field after sundown).
Maybe the league could look into having a hardest throw challenge, ripping off the A&L Fair game that probably resulted in 5-10 rotator cuff surgeries every year. It would be a young man’s game, with some youthful arms trying to shatter the radar guns, but something tells me the veterans of the league would try to muscle up for one night to touch 70 MPH.
I’m sure there are plenty more things to add (and our readers will let us know), but at the end of it, you have to have an All Star Game to make it an All Star weekend. My question is, who would’ve been this year’s All Stars?
If you didn’t know, the Westwood Wiffleball Association has two five-team divisions, the National League and American League. If you followed the MLB All-Star game rules, then each team would need a representative, but you also want the best of the best there.
Because teams can only play four players in the field, I don’t think you’d want a huge roster. I’d say max it at eight players and play five innings (with no pitcher allowed to throw more than two innings). Maybe there could be a league vote for the starters, the league commissioner assigns three more players (making sure every team is represented) and then an online fan vote for the final spot.
Just from the outside looking in, here is what my rosters would have looked like for this season (starters have an *):
American League – Logan Underhill* (Smashing Pumpkins), Matt McColloch* (Acuna Matata), Casey Hertwig* (El Nino’s), Coty Grissom* (Smashing Pumpkins), Merek McColloch (Acuna Matata), Will Vance (Sharp Shooters), Bryan Matheny (Wifflesnappers), Richard O'Connor (Smashing Pumpkins)
National League – Layne Roberts* (Benchwarmers), Wyatt Wilson* (Benchwarmers), Ryan Jennings* (Purple Reign), David Martin* (Walk Off Warriors), Caleb Graves (Grumpy Old Men), Jax King (Walk Off Warriors), Jeff Chisam (Playground Legends), Park Hilliard (Purple Reign)
I’d have the National League as HEAVY favorites in that game, even if the league’s MVP front runner (Underhill) and last year’s Cy Young (Matt McColloch) are on the other side.
It’s just a thought – I’m interested in seeing how this league continues to evolve. As Richard O’Connor said on a broadcast Tuesday night, this could be the best Wiffleball league in the state. And if there’s somebody out there saying it’s not, then bring your community team and play the WWA All-Stars.
Before we jump into the Week 4 Power Rankings (which I think will be moving to Wednesday from now on), here are some scores from a busy last three days in the WWA:
Tuesday, August 24
Acuna Matata 3, Grumpy Old Men 0
Grumpy Old Men 9, Acuna Matata 1
Walk Off Warriors 8, Benchwarmers 1
Benchwarmers 4, Walk Off Warriors 0
Monday, August 23
Smashing Pumpkins 3, Benchwarmers 2
Smashing Pumpkins 6, Benchwarmers 5
Purple Reign 11, Wifflesnappers 8
Purple Reign 1, Wifflesnappers 0
Sunday, August 22
Walk Off Warriors 6, Sharpshooters 5
Walk Off Warriors 12, Sharpshooters 2
Grumpy Old Men 16, El Nino's 5
Grumpy Old Men won, El Nino's lost
Smashing Pumpkins 8, Playground Legends 1
Smashing Pumpkins 5, Playground Legends 4
Benchwarmers 12, Wifflesnappers 8
Benchwarmers 4, Wifflesnappers 3
Now, here are the newest power rankings (be sure to read the breakdowns because we have some other lists mixed in):
1. Smashing Pumpkins (11-3)
Last week’s rank: 2
Richard O’Connor has been pushing teammate Logan Underhill for the MVP (and he should be, unanimously), but Richard showed he’s still got some game as well. O’Connor’s walk-off home run to beat the Benchwarmers Monday should go down as one of the biggest swings in league history. He also was one the mound when his team completed the sweep – that’s just a virtuoso performance from the elder statesmen of the Smashing Pumpkins.
This team is fully loaded. Coty Grissom, who hit a two-run bomb before O’Connor’s heroic final swing, is great too. Alex van Vuuren is a nightmare on the mound. They have no holes.
As far as the MVP race, here is my quick take:
1. Logan Underhill – he’s hit 21 homers, plays some of the best defense in the league and would be one of the best pitchers if he needed to be.
2. Wyatt Wilson – The No. 1 overall pick has looked the part after a slow start. He’s legit.
3. Layne Roberts – Yes, I think the Benchwarmers have two of the best three players in the league right now. That’s how impressive Underhill and the Smashing Pumpkins are.
4. Ryan Jennings – I like his two-way game (particularly as a hard-to-hit lefty on the mound).
5. Pick a Grumpy Old Men player – I’m not sure who their best player is, but they deserve an MVP candidate.
2. Benchwarmers (10-4)
Last week’s rank: 1
Presented with a chance to put a stranglehold on the top spot for the foreseeable future Monday, the Benchwarmers fell on their face. Smashing Pumpkins came in and took the spot from them, sweeping the most anticipated series of the season.
I don’t think this team, which is still loaded and should be a favorite for the World Series, is going to forget this mighty swing anytime soon:
That was a no-doubter, just like the decision to move the Benchwarmers down a spot.
3. Grumpy Old Men (9-5)
Last week’s rank: 4
They just keep creeping up the standings little by little. They’ll have a big chance to steal the National League’s top spot next week in a clash with the Benchwarmers. Don’t think these “old men” can’t compete with the youngsters though.
Grumpy Old Men split with the Smashing Pumpkins last week, showing that they have the pieces in place to beat the best of the best. By the end of the season, this group may have the claim of being best of the best.
4. Walk Off Warriors (8-6)
Last week’s rank: 5
Last week, the Walk Off Warriors looked like they were in trouble. The team had fallen to 5-5 and really wasn’t playing well. Since then, they swept the Sharp Shooters and split with the Benchwarmers. Even in that loss, Jax King ripped what looked like a potential game-tying Grand Slam with two outs in the bottom of the third, only to see Wyatt Wilson rob him by reaching over the fence for the final out.
Good week fellas! That is much more of what I expected from the Martins.
5. Purple Reign (7-7)
Last week’s rank: 7
During the Tuesday games, Purple Reign team captain, WWA league commissioner and Facebook Live lead broadcaster John Bryan O’Connor started pushing for a Wiffleball podcast on the WC Sports Authority feed. I’m all for it. If you guys didn’t play pretty much every day, we’d get this thing done swiftly.
I could easily go solo with me and JBOC on the pod, but I don’t think this league can be summed up by just two men. I started thinking who to add and I came up with this ranking of the best players to ask to join (we have 4 mics, so we could easily take two more people):
1. Bryan Matheny – He already talks a lot. Also, I heard he has a pitching set up for wiffleball at his own house so he can practice, so he obviously cares (a little too much, perhaps).
2. Jeff Chisam – It may be confusing with two Jeffs on the pod, but Chisam always has some good stories to tell. It could also serve as the traditional broadcaster transition, going from the field to the booth.
3. Dylan Keith – Anybody bold enough to label themselves the league MVP when they probably aren’t the best player on their own team (probably isn’t needed as a clarifier there) would have some awesome takes to put out on the pod.
4. Nick Stern – He’s already been on the pod for golf, but I’ll talk any sports with Stern at any time.
5. Wyatt Wilson – The No. 1 pick has turned into a bit of a chatter box on the field, which was only amplified when he won the home run derby. I didn’t hear as much talking when his team got swept this week – maybe I could ask him on the pod why that was.
6. Jay Medley – He was at a game on his anniversary. That’s an unheard-of level of commitment to the WWA.
7. Richard O’Connor – He really should just come host it with JBOC and they can cut me out. The father-son tandem on the broadcast has been dynamite lately.
8. Chad Graves – Good guy. Good ball player. He’s a sponsor of both the WCSA and WWA, so he probably should be No. 1 on this list.
9. David Martin – If we wanted to get into the mechanics of the game, then I want coach to walk us through it step by step.
10. Any Sharp Shooters player - I don’t want them to know where I live in case they decide to take retribution at some point (which is deserved, honestly).
Oh yeah, Purple Reign has clawed back to .500 in stealth mode. I noticed – the league may want to start paying attention to the people in purple too.
6. El Nino's (4-8)
Last week’s rank: 8
I had a conversation with a player on the El Nino's last week and he asked how their team could move up in the standings. I told them I was just going to keep disrespecting them as much as possible, mainly to see how mad I could make Ansley Mullican. By Sunday, when Ansley was telling me to get out on the field and try to play when I was giving her a hard time again, I realized we had reached a breaking point.
Luckily, I found out a way for the El Nino’s to move up in the standings – have other teams play poorly and topple backwards. Enjoy the bump guys!
7. Playground Legends (4-8)
Last week’s rank: 10
Has one win ever counted so much for one team? The Playground Legends were 3-5 when they were ranked last in the Week 3 rankings. Since then, they managed to win just one of their last four games, but beating Acuna Matata meant vaulting out of the basement.
Maybe it is just the benefit of not playing as many games yet, but I’m also jumping the Playground Legends – who, frankly, should be better with the young athletes they have – above both of the teams that now have 10 or more losses in the league too.
8. WiffleSnappers (4-10)
Last week’s rank: 6
Let’s put it this way, the difference between the WiffleSnappers being No. 8 and No. 5-6 on this list was as close as this play in a recent game:
Yeah, it wasn’t close.
9. Sharp Shooters (2-12)
Last week’s rank: 9
The Sharp Shooters were the first team to reach 10 losses (though not the only one in the last week), as I predicted in the last power rankings. They aren’t going to the bottom though, so that’s a relief.
Simmons vs. the Sharp Shooters has turned into a simmering rivalry in the WWA. I really like all the guys and I’m rooting for them. They just haven’t found a winning mix yet – and they may not until the draft next season.
10. Acuna Matata (9-5)
Last week’s rank: 3
The rules were simple – if you lose to the team that was No. 10 in the previous power rankings, you become the newest No. 10 team. Acuna Matata lost to the Playground Legends the day after the Week 3 Power Rankings came out, so they go to the bottom.
(Let’s not start the cascading effect that they turned around and beat Grumpy Old Men last night – It’s too complicated and I make the rules. File your complaints to the Power Rankings Committee of One so they can be properly stored in the trash.)
Acuna Matata has a chance to send the No. 1 team this week – Smashing Pumpkins – to the cellar Tuesday, Aug. 31. If they get swept there, then I’m sure the Sharpshooters will be ready to trade places with Acuna Matata.