Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2012 NPPL Championships: Final Thoughts

First, my apologies for not posting daily during the event. It wasn't that I was off helping to support Vegas's faltering economy in the manner it has become accustomed to by losing my shirt at some enticing but utterly quixotic gaming table--I left that to Jason. Nor was it because there just weren't enough hours in the day. Strangely Vegas has 24 hours each day like every other place--I think the problem must be too often you just can't remember a lot of the lost hours afterwards. No, my excuse is I was pondering a decision that probably should have already been made. As a consequence this will be my last post that is aggressively critical of any league a team I am affiliated with is competing in or may compete in in the near term. The simple fact is only the PSP is sufficiently professional to deal with criticism appropriately and I am convinced the views expressed here have had a deleterious impact on my team--which means I have to stop. (I also waited an extra day--to post--to make sure my comments are consistent with reality and not the result of frustration. I also wanted to review the webcast to make sure I heard and saw what I thought I heard and saw the first time around. And there was also the matter of some video offered for my use in illustrating some of the officiating incompetence (or bias) on display.)
But no matter. What's the point? I sound like a broken record to myself and since absolutely nobody else will go on the record--despite nearly universal private agreement--I'm done. Officiating remains a joke. The supposed oversight is apparently just another form of cover-up. Nothing has changed. It's too bad really because most of the refs are trying, I think. It only takes a few to taint the whole process. It's too bad as well for the teams that want so badly to compete and succeed to always have the taint of suspect officiating detracting from their efforts.
I must say though I found it more than a little amusing that one of VFTD's most vociferous haters got completely screwed in such an obvious and blatant fashion on Sunday. I wonder if I'm still the bad guy for pointing out the problems and if he still has his hands firmly covering his eyes, ears and mouth--a real feat with only two hands. (His team needed to get screwed in order to keep Damage from winning the series title--a fact discussed by some NPPLites on Saturday, including PA announcer Chris who said how bad it would be for the league, or words to that effect if Damage won given how critical the team [VFTD] has been of the league. A conversation that ironically occurred just before we lost our only prelim match on a major penalty called after we had received a point and the horn had sounded that retroactively took our point away and resulted in a swing point despite the fact the penalized player called himself out and was walking off the field and nobody saw him get hit including the ref who made the call and subsequently changed his version of events three times. But nevermind. It was surely just a coincidence.)
FYI with respect to seeding the governing rule is 25.01. I mention it because it was ignored in order to put Phoenix Contact into the same prelim bracket with Impact & XSV when, according to the rules, it should have been Houston Heat. No doubt that was simply an oversight.
In post-event news there's a rumor that the brand new to Vegas slippery as ice turf won't make a second NPPL appearance. Rumor also has it that's a $125K mistake but in looking at turf pricing I doubt that sum. Of course if one rumor is as "accurate" as the other it may be used at HB next spring too. Of course some pro teams were using metal spikes or studs to improve their footing. I was told--when I asked--that the league was enforcing the no metal rules but it was an uphill battle as more teams were attempting to use them each day.
Ed Poorman has departed the NPPL after two events. In his parting remarks (on Facebook) he took the high road but it's clear that something went wrong given how dedicated Ed was (is) to contributing to the game he loves.
The highest live viewer totals I observed on Sunday were 1583 viewers during the finals.
The webcast was the best the NPPL has offered to date. By comparison to the PSP it remained a modest effort that didn't reach the same levels as the last DPL (German league) webcast I saw. The Millennium's Paris-Disney webcast will be produced by the same crew so I expect, even with the improvements, the NPPL still comes in third among the big three.
Finally I would like to offer congrats to all the divisional teams that competed, win or lose. And I sincerely hope the tournament was a good experience for all of them. The same goes to the pro players who are, for the most part, just like every other paintball player, determined to live the dream whatever the cost.


Anonymous said...

It's sad that you don't feel comfortable speaking the truth, but completely understandable. Paintball has definitely lost an important voice in the community that helps keep others informed.

Anonymous said...

Interesting Paul,

Are you saying that officiating hasn't improved since the regime change?

Or is it as bad as your previous rants over the last few years?

I think that most teams opinions would be that with the addition of Tony and team that it is headed in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

The addition of Tony couldn't have made it any worse, but hasn't made it any better.

But it's hard to tell when the officials are intentionally screwing you or you are just a victim of the 50% of the time a particularly shitty call (of which NPPL officials appear to make many) just happens to not go your way.

Reiner Schafer said...

It’s always difficult when you are wearing two hats.

If you are not going to aggressively critical of leagues your team is affiliated with, I’m feeling sorry for Millenium already.

EC Lil Baller said...

As an admitted 'noob' to tourny paintball I noticed a difference in officiating in the NPPL Webcast from what I've seen on the PSP webcast and in person. It seemed a lot more hits and wipes were let slide in this last event. I also saw many more refs run up to players and pull them away for what were more than pack hits than ever before.

It seems in the PSP if a ref has to run up to you and point out your hit, you're getting a penalty. That was not what I saw on the webcast this past weekend nor from HB. Perhaps having 7 players per side on the field makes things trickier but it definitely seemed like you could play on more in the NPPL. The announcers even alluded to amount of loader hit wipes people were getting away with.

In sum, NPPL's reffing hasn't give me the confidence to spend my hard-earned dollars at their events. Hence why my team played PSP MAO rather than NPPL DC.

ChuckF said...

I echo the already stated regrets that you won’t be offering honest and sometimes funny opinions on current league operations. It’s a shame because that is always interesting and informative. I personally always look to my critics to point out my failings at work, paintball and in life. It’s helped me get better. It’s tough to get truly honest appraisals. But it’s completely understandable since it’s not just you that is affected but also the team. Bummer!

dan. said...

what?!?! you have haters?!?!

but seriously, you are doing a great job. I've watched your "likes" grow from 300 to just over 1,000 now. You are doing a lot of things right. Just a shame that the overall larger picture is lost on so many people.

Baca Loco said...

10:09 Anon
I'm not gone just yet but it will narrow the scope of the commentary.

10:38 Anon
The issue is less about Tony than the refs themselves. It would be interesting to see an event by event breakdown of who the refs on the field were and where they came from.
I can't speak to the other fields but the two worst officiated events this year were HB & Vegas. Chicago was very ticky-tack but more consistent.
In years past the primary issue was political. There were some very good refs working the NPPL but they were mostly relegated to outside fields because they weren't friends of Head Ref Perez.

2:32 Anon
True enough

Not so fast. I have no reason to believe TBD is returning to Euroland any time soon but there are some other options.

EC Lil Baller [ :) ]
Good call

It's the potential team backlash that matters. They can't do anything to me and I've been threatened with lawsuits and physical violence before--of course that was of the good ol' boy variety--we know where you live and we could show up on your doorstep one day.

Anonymous said...

There's another option - just don't play NPPL. It's interfering with your practices for the real paintball league anyway.

Anonymous said...

I have to wonder whether, if I was a ref in the NPPL, and regularly read this blog, whether I too would rule in favor of the opposing team on any 50/50 or even 60/40 calls involving Damage.
I would like to think 'no' of course, because it's inexcusable given the job description, but the truth may be different...

Anonymous said...

Isn't the whole point that the refs can't tell what the call is SUPPOSED to be in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Baca - has good ol boy Lane threatened to show up at your door and beat you down? Is that what your saying?
You could take him by simply overwhelming him with size. But I have heard he has fancy footwork and a good jab. And he carries a knife.

Dan said...

anon 4:17
Doesn't that become a self fulfilling scenario... a downward spiral? Ref makes 50/50 call. then complaint. then retribution calls at events. more complaints. etc etc?

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think you, Joey, and your team talk more shit online than all the other franchise teams put together. I rarely disagree with your views but those views, Joey's interview, and similar statements are definatly a liability. Should that have affected Vegas... ?No

But I'm sure it did... ESP after the JRab temper tantrum at HB this year. They see damage doesn't respect the league, it's refs, and it's employees. It was better to see Dynasty win.. Or XSV or legend etc. For the league and paintball fans.

I mean.. "Damage victory speech: we are the best team in the world... Yalls league and refs are shit... If we would have lost it would have been play on and bonus balls for everyone and a nasty write up on bacablog!"

TBD needs to get over themselves, show some composure, and show some professionalism. You guys went from classiest team in paintball 2009 to arrogant and opinionated 2012.

I hope Heat or Dynasty or the Russians smash you at cup. Then it will be the PSPs fault because you are the best team in paintball. I watched you guys ever since Fierce was rolling. Slow your role, stop talking shit, fire Joey amd Ramsi, and play good paintball....

For now.. Karma is a bitch

If it was the refs who impeded on your success ... What was heats excuse?

Anonymous said...

Re: heat and contact bracketing...
Who cares, they both were 0-4.. If anything I'd want the harder prelim bracket.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that people would have a problem with you for writing your views. I don't always agree with them either, but you always make a case and the case usually has merits.
I'm not surprised that Joey's interview has changed peoples perception of the team though. It changed mine, and not for the better. That guy should be kept waaaaay in the background.

Anonymous said...

Yep Dynasty is old and rotting Joey..

Baca Loco said...

Anon 9:34
The point isn't what ultimately happened. Hindsight is 20/20. Nor is what you claim you'd prefer relevant. Given that a team with a similar roster playing as "Aftershock: last year won Vegas and Heat has been strong this year plainly influenced how the brackets were constructed and they were constructed to favor Impact & XSV.

Anon 9:18
Really? I will grant you Joey's interview revealed strong opinions but I have a hard time seeing where either I or the rest of team have done the same. But whatever.

Anytime I believed the refs impacted our ultimate results I've said so--did I say that about Vegas? I did not. A ref cost us a prelim match but we still played Sunday. We just didn't play well enough. That of course has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality or consistency of the officiating.

Anonymous said...

Ok fair enough. I see how the brackets could favor NPPL XSV and how it should have been Legend vs Dyn in the finals. I don't think the players, CJ, or you have ever crossed the line. Rivalry and shit talking is what makes for exciting matches. But Joey makes enemies... Who seem to be refs and the employees in charge of bracketing. All in all I think his raw, fuck you fags, type interview is a liability to Damage.
(But he doesn give a fiuuuu)
Much more so than your criticism of anything.
TBD has always been my favorite team.

Anonymous said...

Bring back Carthy amd his silly visor

Ken said...

I'm curious Baca, when will "To get a fare shake, I have to stop criticizing the league" turn to "To get a fare shake, I have to praise the league". How far down the slope do you expect to slip?

Is there a point when you decide that it's not worth attending if the league will not act professionally?

Off topic: I was too busy too catch you in Vegas, which is a shame as I really wanted to hear about the tennis incident. I'll have to try better in HB.

Anonymous said...

I echo the already stated regrets that you won’t be offering honest and sometimes funny opinions on current league operations. It’s a shame because that is always interesting and informative. I personally always look to my critics to point out my failings at work, paintball and in life. It’s helped me get better. It’s tough to get truly honest appraisals. But it’s completely understandable since it’s not just you that is affected but also the team. Bummer!

Well said ChuckF!

Baca Loco said...

Different situations. Most of the MS nonsense was rooted in teaching the Americans a lesson. It's the sort of thing they do to each other over there and while many are currently in a state of denial about the influence of nationalism in their officiating, it is what it is. Maybe the new conduct rule book for refs will help--but I doubt it.
The NPPL is some incompetence and some bias. Which is nothing new. To keep it impersonal think back to the Dynasty--Joy final a few years ago. The Euros thought it was anti-Joy bias but what it really was was pro-Dynasty bias. Same result but different motives.

No need to become a sycophant. And it may not make any difference. I'm not making this decision based on an expectation of better reffing but because I owe my team their best opportunity to succeed.

Anonymous said...

Greenspan seemed to have some motivational words on Twitter after today's play.

:Fu#k penalties and these shit euro refs from the #millenniumseries 14 penalties in 2 matches is insane! There goes our title! Thnks europe

Anonymous said...

Legend shouldn't have been in the finals. Legend shouldn't even have played on Sunday. NPPL rule book says only 6 teams should have advanced and they fucked it up.

Baca Loco said...

The NPPL advanced 8 teams to Sunday all year.

Anonymous said...

They advanced 8 teams all great because there were to prelim brackets. Vegas has 3 prelim brackets and the rules say you take 6. Legend should not have played Sunday.