The PSP has gotten such a positive response to their off season changes it seems the NPPL has decided to emulate at least one of them by changing their bunker set. (Link is in the title.) The U is gone as are 2 Cakes and 1 Small dorito. In their place two 5 foot cubes and two 8x8x5 foot wings (triangles). Independent of the other changes this may work out fine and the new bunkers may prove popular but I can't help viewing this with a jaundiced eye. (I wasn't always so cynical. Oh, who am I trying to kid, of course, I'm cynical.) Look, here's how the league press release reads, "The goal is to provide larger bunkers on the field making it harder to get eliminations off the break and promote longer games." What that means is hey, we want all those old, fat & slow players to come play NPPL instead of PSP. If they really wanted to make it harder to eliminate players OTB then don't let anybody shoot OTB. Simple. Or have a no laning zone around the start bunker so that no one can shoot until they are outside the no shooting zone. And seriously whose idea was this really? C'mon, the leagues are not driving these bunker changes. The manufacturer is and the leagues go along with it.
What's next? Widen the field 10 feet on each side? Allow pit-side coaching?
UPDATE: I have been taken to task for being somewhat too cynical and all-inclusive in my closing comments. In the interests of accuracy I need to clarify a couple of points. Chuck initiated the NPPL bunker changes this year as the league decided to get rid of the enormous U. The specifics were decided in a dialogue between the league and the manufacturer.
Additionally the argument was made that some modest changes are good in general in that it gives players new shapes to learn how to play and provides fresh creative inspiration. Which I think is a fair argument to make in favor of regular change. Otherwise I will stand by my claim that the prime mover in adding, changing, modifying the bunker sets is the manufacturer and I'll leave it you to decide if that's a good, bad or in-between thing.