Aside from the competition there were a couple of interesting results at HB. (Besides the rumble in the VIP--no it wasn't a fight, it was the floor taking a fall. I don't know the upshot but I'd guess a few paying customers weren't very happy. At a minimum standard for a functional Heaven I'm thinking there needs to be floor that will, you know, actually hold up.) While related one of the interesting results makes me personally happier and a bit more mellow (hopefully.) (I can't really afford to lose any more hair.) The other result should be of interest to competitive ballers everywhere. You see, this HB turned out to be something of a novelty. It very likely made a few bucks. (Which would be a real change of pace. And a real big deal.)
The accounting isn't complete--or it wasn't last Friday--but there was substantial confidence that the final numbers would show a modest profit. [For those keeping score at home some of the owners are, let's just say, a bit reticent to have me around--which is completely understandable but our current understanding is that I won't use sensitive inner workings of the league knowledge as blog material unless or until it otherwise becomes public. So if you're wondering if that compromises my objectivity, I don't think so. It limits what I can tell y'all but I do that anyway. Either way you be the judge.] The change from last year's losses are many; lessons learned from last year that reduced unnecessary costs, a lot of work done by voluntarily by members of the owners, no deals or under the table discounts from Frank the Tank, more teams than last year and the NPPL i.d. cards. At a guess I'd say the cards alone are the margin of difference.
That news has inspired the owners group and provided fresh motivation to keep on plugging, keep on working to make the NPPL work. So much so I'm going to get my wish too--actual, serious practice for future 7-man competitions. This new confidence has extended to my team as well and just showing up is no longer acceptable. If the league survives then the results matter. If the league is a success then taking the competition seriously becomes mandatory. How we're going to work that out I'm not sure. I'm not sure there's a complete 7-man field in Florida and there isn't anyone to practice and extra days and traveling practice will pose a hardship on our current roster--but if there's a will, there's a way. I hope.
I know what you're thinking. Does that mean Baca is changing his mind about the NPPL? No, it doesn't. And I don't know where you people come up with that kinda stuff. It's basic reading comprehension. I've always favored team ownership over industry ownership with respect to the league(s). I've also always favored competition over monopoly. But none of that ever meant that I didn't see problems with both leagues--and still do. I wrote in the post on March 30, "Chicago will tell--at least better than HB. Just as the PSP fortunes for the season may rest on the Chicago turnout so too will Chicago NPPL give us a much better indication of the health of the NPPL than HB will." And I stand by that 100%. And I still wonder if the format can be revived--at least in the way big league events have been structured all along. And I wonder how the hell you keep the format alive when you can't even find a NPPL field to play on around huge chunks of the country.
Despite all that HB keeps the dream alive. The owners have demonstrated the capacity to learn and improve. There are new ideas and a new optimism to drive those dreams. Time will tell if it's going to pay off or not but it's a little bit closer today than it was this time last week.