I want to comment on a handful of things, two of which have already been covered, the Riverside venue and the Ton Tons' hot guns. I was perhaps too dismissive of the venue. The fields were more consistently level than lots of place the PSP has been before. The set-up was compact and accessible with paint trucks close by and a shady tree-lined boundary between the fields and the vendors. The only real downside, beside the expectation of late summer heat, was the hour plus drive from LAX--and that was at night when there was not much traffic. Bottom line, the Riverside venue was better than average--by a smidge. (FYI, a smidge is more than a pinch and less than a dollop.) Among past Cali venues San Bernadino had the best grass, perhaps ever but the rest was worse across the board. The Pomona events had good grass but uneven fields, long walks, parking fees and, oh yeah, a deluge (or two) of Biblical proportions. Then there was the Home Depot Center with its unpadded, ultra slippery turf looking to steal a little of that NPPL NFL parking lot panache. Okay, so by comparison Riverside was pretty legit.
Have you read the "apology"? (The Ton Ton's official statement regarding their hot guns at Riverside.) VFTD paraphrase: 'We're sorry y'all have blown this outta proportion and did we mention how hard it has been for us to compete around the world at the pro level?' Spare me the crocodile tears and emotional appeals. Bottom line the problem occurred on a Sunday, not on Friday. Despite the PSP's statement the refs got involved because opponents complained and PSP officials observed "peculiar" conduct which led to the discovery of 4 hot guns three of which merited major penalties or worse. Guns that were apparently hot all weekend--until they were penalized. There was (apparently) no proof of intent but there is circumstantial evidence. For example in the Ton Tons statement they say the gun that eventually shot 350+ originally received only a minor penalty--and if you watch the video you will see Tony (the ref) pull the trigger more than once. Then, after the other guns were checked Tony retested the first gun and it was hotter--and he tested it a third time and it exceeded 350 fps. The claim was made this was reg creep caused by a nicked or damaged o-ring--except that ain't how reg creep works. Every time you pull the trigger everything, naturally, resets starting the firing process all over again. Reg creep requires time to builds up the excess of pressure that results in a hot shot yet the '350' gun got hotter with less time between checks.
On the plus side I fully expect the PSP to once again maintain a more rigorous standard in regulating guns during events.
Did you notice the penalty boxes on the pro field at Riverside? The three wall, two door inflatable box from Chicago was still in use on the Challengers field but the webcast (Champions) field was reduced to an inflatable wall with a painted box on the grass behind the wall the penalized player(s) were to serve their time within. Is this another "improvement" or just an improvement over Chicago? And why another change? The rumored reason was that it helped improve the view for the folks in the VIP but nobody seemed to know for certain. One thing I know is that while the new "box" is supposed to offer the penalized player a better chance--which way will he exit the "box"?--the one place nobody goes anymore is the back center bunker--if there is one.
Finally a remark or two on the entertainment value, for lack of a better expression, generated by the play at Riverside. (Along with a prediction.) Admittedly there were lots of exciting back and forth matches with the great majority going to score instead of time. And I'm sure this is being viewed as a very positive outcome after the concerns of the recent past about slow, drawn out points and dull to watch matches. But--in a very real sense the results were manufactured or manipulated by the field layout. (In my next post we's gonna break down the Riverside layout to demonstrate how and why it played the way it did.) So while this was exciting this time--and the design principles are easily duplicated--will it remain exciting time after time or eventually come to seem predictable if in a different way than the slow point matches? (My prediction is that without additional changes this form too will become "boring" in time.)