VFTD interrupts its regularly scheduled post--whatever it might have been--in order to comment on the latest from the PSP including the Phoenix field layout. Today's post is brought to you by the color yellow.
Last week the PSP announced the hiring of Camille Lemanski. This is a move that only makes the PSP better. Camille is capable and efficient and knows the ins and outs of organizing and staging a major league event. She will be up to whatever tasks she's assigned and who wouldn't rather talk to Camille if they have a problem. (Sorry, buddy, but you got to see how it is.) The NPPL's loss is the PSP's gain. For all the good work Keely did this is a step up. (And for those curious as to how this all came about the gossip from the rumor mill suggests the NPPL was a number of months in arrears in paying her salary. Which, if correct, adds another straw to the camel's back.)
This week the PSP released the Phoenix field layout and officially restricted the use of the color yellow on playing gear and equipment. And, in order to ease the transition, have offered the possibility of a one year exemption on jerseys that would otherwise be in violation. I'm good with the option of an exemption given the strictness of the qualifications. It is a far cry from a carte blanche to wear yellow for an extra year and will likely see no more than a handful of teams meet the qualification standards. So an exemption exists but it won't be (hopefully) a back door to getting around the general rule restricting yellow. I do have some concerns with the general rule though. I'm tempted to call it the Dynasty Exception. Is it reasonable for the PSP to try and find a middle-ish ground that doesn't interfere with sponsor logos and the like? Sure, but-- Where does it really end? Will each field have a qualified yellow ref who carries a 5 centimeter square cutout to check for legal use of yellow? Or will the application be haphazard, field to field, ref to ref, with the end result being there will be players and teams trying to game the rule. For a blatant example look at Vicious last year, black jersey with yellow print vertically on the sides of the jerseys? Really? Can anyone argue with a straight face that had any other purpose than to potentially obscure recognition of a hit? Is that potentially still a legal use of yellow? The fact that there isn't an outright ban simply changes the nature of the problem and assures that the result doesn't match the intent.
UPDATE: In the comments Karen from Vicious objects (with a straight face) to my remarks. For another view make sure you check it out.
The Phoenix layout introduces yet again more new bunkers and a rearrangement of the number of certain bunker types available; for example the 2010 set includes 5 MDs and only 2 SDs (unlike previous years) and adds 4 tall cakes. I do not oppose changes in bunkers or their numbers but I do have an issue with the PSP with regards to when, how and why these changes are made. Adrenaline Games can make, promote and sell whatever sorts of bunkers they choose and far as I'm concerned it's all good. (As a proposition separate from whatever the legal ramifications might be of the situation vis-a-vis Brimstone Enterprises.) The place where I question the PSP is when the commercial interests of Adrenaline appear to dictate part of the league's competition practices. The field matters. The bunkers matter. Their arrangement matters. It all has an impact on the way the game plays and I think the PSP has a higher responsibility to the game and the players than it does to a sponsoring company. It's like Spalding telling the NBA what size basketball to use or how big the hoop will be. That said, it wouldn't surprise me if no one had really given the issue much consideration before. (After all, I haven't brought it up before.) And that said I don't think it's a huge deal but it is an issue that will have be addressed at some point.
As to this specific layout it is very xball conventional in the way it will play. It does have a couple of features that will help separate the men from the boys (that goes for you girls too) but overall there isn't anything new here. I find it a bit disappointing but I readily admit I'm probably not the best judge of what the majority want and at this stage of the game that matters as long as we're all playing the same layouts. As for how it will play my principle objections would be in the placement of corner bunkers which will tend to produce overlapping running lanes for wide runners. Spatially it will allow the lane shooters to potentially be able to cover both a corner runner and a snake runner with the same lane of paint. (The same being true on the other side as well.) In fact the field is so condensed it looks almost like an attempt to design a field to demonstrate that 50 cal paint has no competition drawbacks (by shortening the distances between bunkers everywhere.)