Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Major League Paintball Held Hostage: Weekly Update

Like a David Copperfield illusion in reverse teams continue to appear on the list of competitors for the MS's Malaga event beginning in a couple of days. London Shock appeared overnight on the CPL list bringing the total to 15 teams leaving the division only one U.S. team short but surely the Dynabrat/Arsenalisti crew will make a rockstar appearance at the final moment. (It has been suggested that SP may have handed the spot over to Dynasty as part of their sponsorship compensation this year which doesn't seem unreasonable. Either way SP mostly gets out of it what they want--their guns in action on a world stage.) And Shock wasn't the only last minute appearance as both the SPL and D1 have added two last minute entries to push their division totals to 28 respectively. That would mean both divisions are only down 4 competing teams each over last season.
Also appearing recently was a gun sponsor listing at the MS website including WDP, Luxe and Regency as gun sponsors only while the rest are also either Gold, Platinum or Diamond league sponsors. Missing is Proto which may simply be an oversight and is anyone actually competing with Tippmann or JT markers? I'll need to see pictures--and even then I may not believe it.

Registration is open for the USPL DC Challenge eastern regional until April 7th--and it's a good thing because so far there are only 30 teams signed up including the 8 eastern conference pro teams with nobody paid except those same pro teams. Quickly calculating a rough estimate in my head zero teams paid isn't a good thing. Going by the norms of tourney paintball most events have more registrations than teams that ultimately pay and compete. Any east coast 7-man teams that hope to have a national league need to play this event.

Word from the former Eastern Bloc suggests the Grand Tour kids are having trouble filling up their Warsaw event. If you know anything about the series or this event post it up in comments.

Registration closes today for the PSP's MAO event beginning next week. There are 173 teams registered as of this morning with 117 paid with a lot of last minute payments coming in. The number of paid teams was in the 90's yesterday. If a similar number make payments today the total should be about the same as Phoenix and in the ballpark of last year's MAO.
The PSP also announced a last minute enticement for D3 teams by upping the time limit on their Race2-4 matches from 10 minutes to 12 minutes. While I'm all in favor of more paintball for more teams and players I wonder if that's a dangerous precedent to set or if we'll see more incremental give-backs later in the season.
And finally, I cannot let this pass without comment. Looking at the PBVipers semi-pro roster there is an amusing anomaly. Matt Pelto has been rostered with a pro team twice. Period. End of story. One of those times was this season's Phoenix Open. Also on the Vipers roster are Hamen Chapman and Chris Lasoya. Hamen has been rostered on a pro team--mostly Russian Legion--nearly 20 times in the PSP alone and Chris has been a recognized pro player for what seems like 3 decades now. Only one of those three players is ranked pro by the PSP. (You know where this is going, don't you?) If you guessed Pelto give yourself a shiny gold star. Just one more result of the fairest and bestest classification system ever.


Baca Loco said...

Originally posted by Hippo in a different--please note I didn't pass judgement and say WRONG--comments section.

Hippo said...
In regards to the classification....since there is a purposely conceived stranglehold on "pro" teams, one could argue you should only be ranked pro if one of said teams feels you are good enough (if you will) to play for them. In Pelto's case, during the last event that occurred in this league, one of the pro teams saw him as fit to represent them. Thus, I don't see any way around ranking him as pro.

A player isn't really pro if no pro teams will pick them up, right? If you believe Lasoya, for example, is better than one of the players on your team, then make a cut and pick him up. You even have the Dye thing covered...it's a match made in heaven.

But alas, it seems you don't feel that way.

How can anyone be considered a professional at something they are no longer deemed good enough to participate in?

Of course....I'm on pins and needles waiting for Raehl to come in and discuss this. Hopefully he will address why, at any given time, he will argue with you 'til he's blue in the face about why a player can never go backwards in classification and how they should've thought of that before ever agreeing to play for a team in a higher division etc...while at the same time dropping player's rankings left and right from "pro" to "semi-pro".

It's not that I disagree with the rankings of the people you mentioned on PBV...I completely agree with it. Why that type of rule doesn't apply to the rest of the divisions is the better question.

April 21, 2009 2:00 PM

Anonymous said...

psp changed everyone to semi pro at the start of the year, pelto is the only one to actually play a pro event in 09 and thats why hes ranked pro.

Baca Loco said...

Two things Hippo; 1) you are the first recipient of the coveted and never before awarded VFTD Medallion of Excellence in Commenting (hereafter known as the MEC) and 2) the Pelto thing was simply aimed at highlighting the obvious. However, there is a huge difference, particularly as you move up the divisions, between being a good player and having what it takes to compete at the highest levels. I do not know Mr. Pelto and I'm not passing judgment on him or his ability--obviously X-Factor likes him and if they had room on a slightly larger roster they might very well want him back. I don't know. What I do know is that you can't make a final determination about a player until they have an opportunity to compete. The world is full of practice players but not all of them are game day players.

And just so your point is clear, Hippo, let me spell it out. If Pony is now semi-pro in the PSP because there is no pro roster spot for him why isn't Joe Bob McGee D2 when there is no D1 roster spot for him? (I know what the raehl faction's reply will be but let's give him a chance, shall we?)

Baca Loco said...

Identifying the mechanism doesn't respond to the issue or its relative merits.

Don Saavedra said...

I thought one of the purposes of the Semi-Pro division was to catch those pro players who, for whatever reason, don't get on a pro team roster in 09. So, isn't this just the system working as intended?

Baca Loco said...

Agreed, Don, there is an element of that at work here because, in part, there is some sympathy on the part of the PSP for displaced players. Which is swell. (What you might find interesting though Don is just how many of those players reside in the APPA database.) And the objection, mine at least, isn't to semi-pro ranked players. It is the lack of consistency and coherence in the overall system with the Pelto anomaly simply being a shorthand way to highlight the potential for absurd results.
Another question worth asking is pro/semi-pro really a distinction without a difference? And is the league's primary interest the players or an artificial line of demarcation to create a scarcity that doesn't necessarily really exist? (Which begs the question is a pro player by definition only a player currently on a PSP recognized pro roster or is a pro player denoted by his proven ability to play the game?) Lots of ways to go with this one.

magbma said...

The funny thing is that yes, everyone was rostered as semi pro if they were not on a pro roster. Everyone except Damian Ryan. He was too good not to be pro, so he must be better than all the pros on Vipers. I also find it funny that with all of the players in Florida, that Vipers can't find 8 players from their state.

sdawg said...

Also, maybe Lasoya is no longer a Spring chicken and is not up to Pro-caliber in today's fast-paced game of kids with cheater machine-guns?

Anonymous said...

Everyone please remember to check your common sense at the door. The PSP/Raehl group will never let a little thing like that get in the way of an idiotic, arbitrary rule.

Sure, it would benefit everyone involved. So what?

Baca Loco said...

While Chris doesn't need me to defend him I can respond to that on a couple of levels. (Since Chris probably won't comment himself given the little known fact he is illiterate.) As Hippo suggested could happen--I did speak with Chris in the off season--and while it didn't work out I never had any concerns about his ability to play the game. But it does help highlight some of the issues currently at play. He is restricted by sponsorship issues and a lot of teams are restricted by limited resources with issues like flying players in for practice for example being much bigger obstacles than they were before.

ViperLeader said...

In my opinion, I think it would be more appropriate to address this issue to the correct people, the ones who made the rules. The rules that effect the players, either in question on my semipro teams roster or on other semipro teams rosters, is not the fault of those players or the result of something caused by those players actions. I do not see where Thomas or Rich from XSV are mentioned, or any of the players currently rostered to play with the rebirth of Tramua. With the 'demise' of the NXL, the ruling was passed down that there were no longer any pro ranked players at the beginning of the 2009 season (with one foolish exception, but thats a totally different discussion) any player that was rostered on a pro team for Phoenix would be ranked pro and would stay pro. Pelto played with X-Factor in PHX, so hes a pro, simple, that was the rule and it was applied. Hamen has not played a pro event in 2009 nor has Lasoya, Telford, Troll, Blackburn, Fason, Humphrey, Porterfield.... you get the point. There is not simple solution to this issue, we have all discussed it and this was the best solution that the PSP came up with. So now I live with it along with the rest of the semipro team owners until such time as the PSP sees fit to revise or change it. I read this blog often, in most cases I agree with most of whats written, and when I dont I still respct the opinions, rights and ability of those who post to do so. However, it does get terribly frustrating to continually read about all the things 'wrong with paintball' and not much mention of offers, ideas, or thoughts to solve those issues.

Lasoya came asking if there was a chance to play with us based on his desire to play, and his contractural requirements with Dye. We're happy to have him. In response to the question of why I dont have more high end talent on the team from FL, the answer is simple. I put the players on the team that I want and that I feel will be most beneficial to the program. Thanks for reading. Im happy to address any other questions.

AIM - pbvipers
email - ken@palmbeachvipers.com


Baca Loco said...

Good to hear you're at least a semi-regular and thanks for commenting. I don't think anyone, with perhaps the exception of magma, even implied anything negative about the Vipers but I certainly understand the impulse to support your team and players.

With respect to your frustrations let me suggest two things; A) apparently you've missed more than you've read and B) there are plenty of other paintball sites with happy paintball stuff like fun videos. This blog is about competitive paintball and frequently deals with what some might characterize as the "negative" largely because nobody else does it.
It's probably not for everybody but then it isn't intended to be.

raehl said...

Sometimes I don't comment for the very simple reason that I may have more important stuff to do than create content for Baca's blog.

I will be the first to state that the classification system does not perfectly classify every individual player. The rules in place are the result of the best effort at creating the overall best result. Are the classification rules less than perfect? Absolutely. Are they the best we can do with the information we have available? I think so. I may be wrong. But so far, while lots of people have complained about the rules, no one seems to have come up with something better.

Can the rules be adjusted to improve any particular situation? Sure. But the rules are not written for a few particular situations; they're written for the system as a whole. And if a change that improves one particular situation messes up a whole bunch of others, it's not a positive change.

The truth of the matter is that bitching about the rules misses the problem. The problem isn't the rules; the problem is the lack of data. Until very recently, at the national level, we didn't even know what events players were playing half the time. Even now, we only know what teams players play on, but for the most part, we don't know how many games they played, or how many of the games they played were won. THAT is the problem, and the rules are about as good as they are going to get with the data available.

raehl said...

Actually, I missed one other problem:


The second paintball decides that the only divisions with prizes are Pro, Semi-Pro and maybe D1, all this classification stuff will become a distant memory.

Anonymous said...

clearly, you have never seen pelto play.

APPA works.

MissyQ said...

Why not let everyone play wherever they want to? Scratch classification altogether. What would be the effect of that? Would the players that consider themselves Pro/Semi-pro suddenly decide to play D3, with no-one watching, and fade into 'paintball obscurity', with the upside that they get to shoot some plebs and win barrel-covers?

What do Pro's do if they get dropped, or are just way too old (like LaSoya) and are crap at coaching? Do they quit playing altogether?

raehl said...

IF you just scrap classification without also scrapping prizes for lower divisions, everyone lays the lowest division possible, because you're paying them to.

Pros said...

Everyone knew with the new rules this year that more pros would start showing up in the semi pro rosters. The rules are being followed by PBV.

Every team has to make their own decisions about who they want on their rosters. Aftermath II didn't load up and jumped up from D1. Vicious is mostly local Nebraska kids. Some of the others Semi pro teams have pros from another league, but not pro in PSP.

Every team has to make the decision of what is best for their team. If you want people who whould have been pro last year on your team, put them on. The rules say you can.

I would think it would be very hard to have been a pro and lose your ranking. Brandon Mayo is on a D2 roster, and I'm sure you can find others like him that have had rankings changed.

raehl said...

Mayo didn't have his class changed. He's D1 because that's what the rules say he is. You'll likely find other players who used to be Pro but are now D1 because that's what the rules say they should be, but you will find no one who was a Pro who has been reclassified down.

MissyQ said...

Who's Brandon Mayo?

You see - it's happening already....

The Vipers are right to play around within the confines of the rules. If the rules blow, it really isn't their fault.

Pros said...

Chris, quit taking it so literally. His ranking changed. Mayo used to be pro and now he is D1. That is a change. I did not say that you guys reclassifed a pro player so he could go play D2.