Registration closes for the PSP's upcoming MAO in a couple of weeks. To date there are 152 teams registered with 64 paid. That total includes only 3 pro teams (which were supposed to have paid for their season in advance.) Hard to say at this point how the final numbers will look--Phoenix looked a bit thin until the last minute. Keep an eye on both D1 and Semi-pro; D1 is showing signs of falling off from a decent season opener, or maybe I'm being too pessimistic. And despite some new blood in semi- the division isn't exactly swamped with teams so far. Hey XSV, coming back to defend? Xball has gotta be looking pretty good right about now, yes?
Over in Euroland the days are also ticking down to the MS's season opener at Malaga Beach. While the registration numbers look solid and the locked divisions have seen some additional teams listed in the last couple of weeks it's still unclear if all the teams listed are paid and will be competing down in sunny Spain.
Looking at the CPL--which currently has 12 teams registered in a division locked at 16--it's interesting to compare who ought to be on the list and who is. The two teams promoted from the SPL are ready to play. The Tontons are back (Was that the spot Shockwave was playing in last year?) but so far Joy, the Smart Parts spot and the Moscows, Phoenix and Caste, are missing. It looks like musical chairs with possibly 5 teams but only 4 spots. Perhaps more importantly 3 of last season's top four aren't on the list--yet. Do gun sponsorships have anything to do with the missing teams? And, once again, I can't help noting that all the payment deadlines have passed.
In the SPL only 3 of the 4 teams promoted from D1 are on the list as are both demoted teams from the CPL. Otherwise at least 6, and probably two or three more, are missing from last year's SPL teams. Both SPL and D1 have 26 teams listed as of today but 26 is not a workable number given past prelim practice which required divisions divisible by four.
Yesterday I promised a bit more from the USPL's HB event and since registration for the DC Challenge hasn't opened yet I might as well include the follow-up here. But first--did you realize that the DC Challenge is 5 weeks and a couple of days away? It is ambitious scheduling and the USPL needs to get that ball rolling. (And they know it so I expect registration will open very soon.)
As I mentioned yesterday I thought the event was a solid players event but less successful as a public display of our game. Which is okay unless the new league is harboring some of the old NPPL's schemes and dreams. The fields were about as accessible to the public as the port-o-johns were to the players. And I'm confident the players were far more intent on reaching the port-o-johns than most of the passersby were to "experience" big time tourney ball. Still, my view is it's more important to get the tournament right than it is to provide a spectacle. The new scheduling, which was similar to the way the PSP works their prelim groups, was a significant improvement. The most common post-event complaints; refs, sand, limited vendors, paint distribution and distant port-o-johns are par for the course. I don't know what the reffing was like on the outer fields but, as usual, some of the complaints probably have some truth to them and others don't. I have yet to attend the mistake free event. Dragging heavy gear bags through the sand was probably a real drag (yes, I did that on purpose) especially when at least half the players were smaller than their gearbags. But that's the beach, isn't it? Complaints about limited vendors is a subjective complaint and, more than anything, demonstrates the cluelessness of the complainer. Trust me, the USPL worked hard to get every last vendor who attended. While we got our paint without any complications I heard there were some issues with the distribution despite the league's best effort. (Re: Frank Connell) All things considered it turned out to be not unlike many another NPPL event.
However, once again I can't let the gun issue go. The so-called semi-auto play remains a joke and also consistent with the old NPPL. Nobody cared to try and police the guns with any semblance of seriousness and nobody seemed to find it objectionable but then almost everyone had ridiculously fast guns. One other thing, now that I think of it, was the chrono policy. There was a standard radar chrono in the field access/ref tent but official chronographing was done by hand-helds on the field. The problem with that is the different types of chronos aren't consistent with one another. And never have been.
Unfortunately the ability of the USPL to actually put on a good tourney will not be the deciding factor in whether the league is a success or not.