Monday, June 19, 2006

Screw you guys....

....I'm going home. - Eric Cartman

So, I'm sittin' at home watchin' the Daily Show tonight, and they have a bit about some softball league that's played in Washington City. I thought it was a joke piece, as the Daily Show is want to do. The story goes like this: Republican and Democrat staffers have their own softball league in DC. Because of a dispute over the way the playoffs of this league are played, many Republican teams have decided to 'secede' and form their own league. Ha ha funny, thought I.

Then Jerz Knows All (the roommate) pipes up with "that really happened."

Unbelieving, I turned to the computer for answers. The DCCC blog, the Stakeholder, had this to say. A Technorati search yeilded more.

Luckily, I found this gem from Better Traction, which pretty much says it all:
Playoffs were for the few, absudly serious teams. Absudly serious means teams that thought winning was more important than making sure someone showed up with beer. If there are enough teams today that care more about who goes to the playoffs, let alone wins, than who's bringing the beer, to cause a complete rift in the whole league, this partisan politics problem is even worse than I thought.

When terms like liberal and conservative can be used, with a straight face, to criticize softball rules, well then, its become obvious that neither of those concepts has any traction with the rest of us.

I guess someone never explained to the Cartmans in the Republican Party that there's a difference between buddy games and blood games.

And if you're into blood games, fellas, pick something other than softball.


Dante said...

Don't spend much time in amateur sports leagues do you, Pat? Splits are pretty common. If there is a conflict of interests and there are enough teams to form their own league over this conflict, they will. In pro sports, this doesn't generally happen because it would hurt the teams' bottom lines. In amateur sports, there's no bottom line to hurt. If you can consistently keep about 20 teams in an amateur softball league, you're doing pretty darn good.

From what I gather, the Republican* teams that seceeded are better at softball. Looks to me like they just want to organize a league that takes itself a bit more seriously. That's why most municipal adult leagues usually have two or three skill levels.

*Republican in this case means Republicans and Democrats but in Pat's (and Mr. Stewart before him) attempt to make this into a partisan argument, only the Republicans are mentioned. To be fair, it is mostly Republican.

S.A.W.B. said...

Just so we're all on the same field here, it wasn't just Republican teams that left the league. It was something on the order of 100 of the 190 teams that left to form a new league, with a playoff structure that made some semblence of sense.

Remember, why play if you're not going to try to win. And before you pipe in with the 'buddy game' scenario paT, exactly how many $5 buy-in poker tournament games have you thrown, just because you wanted to just be there drinking beer?

Patrick Armstrong said...

The whole reason I play cards at that level is because I enjoy hanging out and drinking the beer. While winning the money on the table is fun ("I'm goin' to Sizzler...") the most pleasing thing about winning is the smack talking involved with doing so. Otherwise, there would be no song about "takin' Pat's money" composed by one SAWB.

Even if I loose all my money ($10-15, tops) there's nothing more economical for my entertainment dollar. (Renting movies is the one thing that may cost less.) And the worst thing about loosing at this level is getting songs sung about you. That still didn't make it any less fun.

We even, as I recall, paid out to more than just the last man standing. Sometimes, if you came in third place, you didn't win the game but you won some money. No one, to my knowledge, ever got mad at the distribution and decided - because of that - that they were going to form their own card game.

Dante said...

"No one, to my knowledge, ever got mad at the distribution and decided - because of that - that they were going to form their own card game."

In poker, that would be foolish because there's a direct correlation between the size of the pot and the number of people playing. That makes it more akin to a professional sport than an amateur sport for comparison purposes.

If you had 190 softball teams come over to your house to play in a tourney and about 100 of them didn't like your rules, there's a good chance they would just break off into their own tourney and come up with their own rules.

You can continue to try and cry wolf here, Pat, but I think we can all see now that there is no wolf. There's just an overcrowded softball league that decided to split into two more managable leagues. Since a lot of Republicans are part of the faction that's splitting off, this has been turned into some sort of Republican crybaby story.

Patrick Armstrong said...

No, it is because, when they left, some Republicans complained about the bracketology being too liberal, and gave that as the main reason for their leaving. Then, when the Daily Show went to inteview them about it, they walked out of the interview.

I guess it is too much trouble to repeat "We just wanted a more serious league."

That's the complaint here.

Laddi said...

"Even if I loose all my money ($10-15, tops) there's nothing more economical for my entertainment dollar."

I myself usually lost the money I brought, but you hit the nail on the head on why I played at all. For $10-20, the entertainment was better than most anything else I could do. "Buddy" tables are completely different from "real" tables. And sawb, you're right. I rarely "threw" a hand (usually out of boredom with that particular type of game), but in general I stink at cards and I know it. The difference is being there for the fun of it (even if you know you're outmatched) or being there, playing hard, not knowing you're outmatched (and thereby being a sucker, ala Zorn). The buy-in for me was like the entrance fee to a concert or Six Flags, I know I'm not getting money back at the end of the day, but damn if I don't have fun.

To the softball crisis, whatever. If these folks who split are this competitive, who cares? dante's right, "that's why most municipal adult leagues usually have two or three skill levels." Some folks play for a reason other than drinking because maybe these other people suck to drink around.

Laddi said...

btw, pat, have you ever played in a regular open league (non-intramural) for any type of sport? Disputes like this happen ALL..THE..TIME. Cripes, a whole 4-man team walked out of the bowling league I'm in at the beginning of the season because the league wouldn't reduce the weeks from 32 to 28. They just up and left. And this is BOWLING. For fun. Not a money league. Gone. And then when they could find another league, they came back as subs midseason.

laddi said...

"when they could NOT find another league"

Dante said...

"Then, when the Daily Show went to inteview them about it, they walked out of the interview." (emphasis mine)

It's not very uncommon for politicians to walk out on Daily Show interviews. Probably because Daily Show is not a real news program and has a pesky habit of catching politicians both off-guard and out of context. One of these days, Pat, there's going to be a real wolf out there and you're going to cry about it and we're not going to listen.

dadvocate said...

In my experience many people take sports more seriously than politics or religion. If you have a game at the same time as a church service, which one to you miss?

How many times has a fight broken out or almost broken out between parents or coaches over a 4th grade game? I've seen it come close several times.

If the comments above are accurate, it sounds like someone wanted to spin this story. If you've never heard Georgia boy, Tim Wilson's "Church League Softball Fist Fight", find it and listen to it. I couldn't find a full version on the web.

Patrick Armstrong said...

I sleep quite easliy at night knowing that if primarily Democrats had left the league because it was "too serious" and "because conservatives only want to win," I would have also heard about it on the Daily Show, and SAWB would have made a post entitled, "Boo Hoo" complete with a graphic of Mr. Garrison, mmkay?

I don't have a problem with the league splitting. I have a problem with those Republicans politicizing the split. I think that is small, whiny, petty, spoiled brattish behavior and I don't mind saying so. What really set me off was going to Technorati and reading posts defending the split on political grounds.

Remember, when I first heard about this (and it is an old story) I thought it was a joke.

liberalandproud said...

"In my experience many people take sports more seriously than politics or religion."

Well if this thread isn't proof of that! Don't you guys have a World Cup game to watch?

Are we really shocked that the partisan divisiveness in DC permeates even the sacred softball field? Did we honestly expect these politicos to put aside their differences and just engage in friendly competition?
Give me a break.

patsbrother said...

For something that has generated 12 comments in 3 hours (this will make it 13 in 4), I really had my hopes up this string would be worthwhile.

I want my money back.

Politics, play-offs, and pettiness, and you guys can't be more entertaining than this?

Damn. And now I'll have to create my own blog. Jeez.

petallic said...

I'm seeing something of similar variety within my faculty. The entire Social Studies Department is in a huge feud at the moment, and it boils down to political sides. I thought it was all fun and games at first, but I have since learned otherwise. They are now expecting other members of faculty to choose sides. In a faculty that's much like a family, it's not just divisive, it's poisonous.

I see what Pat's saying, and I don't think he's crying wolf. Nuts are nuts, on the field and off. What better way to express your ire than on an athletic field, or by taking your ball and going home?

S.A.W.B. said...

Allow me to throw this into the fray:

paT, taking from the card-game example. Imagine if you would, a $5 buy-in NL Hold'em 'tournament', very much like the ones we've played deep into the night. 8 people start, and, as one would expect, he who holdeth the best cards, collecteth the chips. We whittle the 8 down to the final two.

Here's where we throw in the softball-league twist.

Once we get to heads-up, we redistribute all the chips, and bring everyone back into the game, regardless of whether they went all-in on the first hand with three-pair, or got beat on a miracle suck-out on the river to miss out on heads up. It's like cutting the first 6 people to lose never happened, and to top it off, everyone is still in the running for the money.

Now, it's still a $5 buy-in table, and it's all for fun, but don't you think you'd be a little pissed if we went through the rigamarole of cutting from 8 to 2, only to bring everybody back in for the 'playoffs'?