Just when you begin to believe there are things in this world you can count on, like police brutality, that lowbrow celebrity culture can't sink any lower and that the MS will find a way to screw up (again) something happens to turn your world upside down. The Millennium announced their latest changes for the 2011 season and--and (I can't believe I'm saying this) it doesn't look half bad. Regular readers know I enjoy taking shots, cheap or otherwise, at the MS and while it has often been like shooting fish in a barrel I have no shame. The easier the better. Of course I could say something about the pompous know-it-all members of the board who think Paintball owes them a special debt of gratitude or about the interpersonal skills of Obersturmbannfuhrer (Ulrich Stahr) Klinkenhoffer but what would be the point? Okay, other than a cheap laugh. Which is its own reward. While I might have done some things differently the MS's moves this time around merit a real discussion. (The post title links to the press release.)
I like the concept behind the longer term additions, the assorted Cups (Ladies, Youth & Nations) under the auspices of the EPBF & national federations. And I'm looking forward to hearing more about how it will work. Given the way the majority of sports are organized in Europe this move looks like a sensible, progressive measure aimed at helping build the essential structures of a recognized sport while laying the foundation for continued cooperation between the MS and developing federations.
The relative centralization of events with a second Paris-area event makes sense and could be a real plus if it measures up to the claims being made about the location.
Regarding format and game play changes it's kind of a mixed bag. Removing the designated coach from the spectator sideline doesn't remove "coaching;" it simply moves it into the crowd. Maybe that's enough but if it isn't the MS will need to consider some means of enforcing whatever it is they're trying to accomplish. On the other hand, unlike the PSP, it allows the players to remain actively involved from inside the pit area.
EDIT: [Widening the field ... ] For no reason I can fathom I assumed the stated change in field dimension widened the field. (I didn't even check the math.) It doesn't. It narrows the field marginally, from 125 ft. to the current PSP 120 ft. Given the actual nature of the change it's not a particularly consequential move. It probably could have been implemented with no one the wiser. Unlike the changes made to D3's format which will better serve as a Race 2 transitional format between M5 and full on Race 2-4 than the quasi-Race 2 played last season. And lastly there is what the league will continue to do; release the event layout 4-5 weeks in advance. My argument on this issue stands; it will force a battered CPL to continue scrimmaging the layout while driving the pre-event demands down the divisions just like it has in the U.S. With similar results, declining numbers of lower division participation. It will also, in time, prove advantageous to the ongoing development of U.S players over Euro players just as the gap was beginning to close. Even so, agree or disagree, it appears that across the board the MS has taken a thoughtful and measured approach to change this off season. Still the devil is in the details and we don't know some of those just yet.
Finally there are a couple of items that haven't been addressed yet. The May MS event overlaps the May NPPL event. Does that mean the MS doesn't expect a Dynasty team to compete this season? And if not that would be a sixth CPL team loss between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Is there a chance the MS won't relegate any CPL teams this year because of the extra openings? Will SPL & D1 remain locked divisions? And on a related topic does the MS plan to do anything about U.S. pros filling roster spots down into D2? Inquiring minds want to know.