Monday, February 24, 2014

The APL: the feel good league

The first APL event is in the books. Or rather the book. Granted, it's a very short book so let's call it the cliff notes edition on tournament paintball. I debated (with myself) whether or not to simply ignore this event--and gave myself some excellent reasons why I should (ignore it, that is)--but in the end the APL story has a lot of interesting elements; unfortunately the paintball being played is the least of it.
First the good. The webcast was a big improvement over their efforts last season. It still wasn't great by any reckoning but it wasn't terrible either and after the offerings last season (that helped finish off the NPPL) this webcast was a singular surprise. Okay, that's it for the good. Well, unless you include the venue given that Camp Pendleton is a decent place to play some ball. Otherwise the competition was a joke. It was gold star paintball for the competitively timid. Affirmation and prizes for the inept. Right now I'm just waiting for the inevitable PBN sigs proudly announcing their team's recent success in the APL. Of course there were 4 divisions of competition where everyone who competed finished on the podium because there were 3 or fewer teams competing in those divisions. (It would have been 5 divisions except "semi-pro" had 4 teams.) And frankly that's simply appalling. That's not a competitive tournament at any level much less one that has national and pro division pretensions. On the other hand teams with "Camp Pendleton" (or CP) in their names did quite well. (At this point I also have to wonder if all the CP teams paid in full or simply helped to puff up the total number of teams to a massive 32 total teams engaged in competition across 7 divisions of play. The Pro (or did they call it Open?) division had 10 teams with flotsam like NPPL cast-offs Flashpoint and Contact plus a couple of throw together teams that included more than a few name players in Shooters & Looters and Black Sunday.
The simple truth is if the APL can't make a dent in Cali they won't be able to establish a toe-hold in the tournament marketplace anywhere--unless of course all the CP teams follow them around the country--which I personally would pay a couple of bucks to see for the sheer absurdity of it all.
Speaking of the absurd Dynasty and Heat gotta be kicking themselves today don't they? A glorified practice and a pay-day turns into a win for--wait for it--Shooters & Looters--a once upon a time NPPL D1 team if I remember correctly. Admittedly sporting some solid pros but seriously ... isn't it still just a little embarrassing?
A quick word about Dynasty. Playing safe in big games is a habit they've fallen into in recent years and it seldom serves their interests. A team can short play a breakout and still be engaged in aggressive play but that requires making the necessary series of follow-up bumps from the initially "safe" primaries. Now it could be that's what Dynasty has in mind when the take those "safe" primary spots looking for early, quick kills but whether or not they get those eliminations they can't continue to sit back. I really dislike seeing it if only because I remember what they are like at their best.
Enjoy the APL while you can kids. And if you're looking to drop a couple grand on a $10 dollar trophy make sure you sign up for the next event before all those spots fill up.


NewPro said...

What better way to shake off the rust for Dynasty/Heat Coach? If their egos can handle it, isn't this one step above a practice in your eyes...<---- srs question

Baca Loco said...

No, it's at least two steps below. Wrong sized field (for PSP) means they are practicing and playing for lanes, shooting OTB and working for different angles all over the field. And of course the PSP layout was out, unexpectedly so but still available for real practice. Both teams have had a number of practices already. They didn't need to play APL to get trigger time.

Anonymous said...

Coach you are correct on the trigger time. However, it could help with team cohesion. I understand this isn't a psp, but beating dynasty in a close match with viewers on a webcast watching could help heats new roster gain some much needed confidence going into this 2014 psp season.

Who is to say heat didn't play the Dallas layout last weekend?
Because they did.

Unexpectedly? Yes it was, but seems a little funny that they released the layout the same weekend of the APL. Maybe to take some attention of the small venue?
Is this going to be the norm for the 2014 season?
Is this a good thing?
Seems like it will hurt the teams with small budgets. If they could barely afford the tournament and 2 weekend of practice, how the hell are they going to afford 3 weekends?
Seems like a move by the psp to control when and where the players play.
May also just create a larger gap between the haves and the have nots...

Anonymous said...

The real question is what's the psp scared of? Releasing their layout early to to stem teams from using the Apl as a warmer for the psp.

It's crazy to say the lanes etc will have any bearing on the psp but for a team that wants to get in a competitive environment it's a great way to do it.

Plus don't forget some people actually enjoy paintball and will play as much of it as they can get.

Anonymous said...

The Webcast was GREAT.
The commercials not so much...

Everything was pretty good other than the format, it just needs "the" tweak and the PSP will have a reason to be worried.


Anonymous said...

Shoulda let it be! You sound like a fan boy for psp. Why is it soo bad.. that they got to play an event and still practiced for psp on another field at cp?. I mean, I don't like Shawn either, but to say it wasn't worth it and the lanes bs sounds like your digging for reasons to hate. Shawn got a small +1 in my book, sorry.

Dave Baines was locking Heat down in the snake,Troll was a key to Heat beating Dynasty.. and Dave stopped that in finals. Dynasty losing Dalton hurt and you could see that with no Lang they were hurting (Bshort didn't fill Ollies shoes well enough that sunday). Siewers/Moorhead did well, but so did Shooters D side. Dave locked up that win by shutting down snake. A-rod and Dalton were on point as well

Mark said...

For the love of the paintball gods DO NOT start the "longer the layout is released the more it hurts the teams financially" bullshit!!!!!

As if the 2 weekends of 2-day practices just before the event, while most players are trying to work more hours to get the time off for the event (let alone to afford it all), was some kind of money saving grace.

When the layout was out for a month, teams wanting to do things on the cheap could practice one Sunday each week for the same amount of practice days, but at least the extra 2 weeks gave most one more pay check. Clearly whoever came up with the 2 week idea never looked at it from all angles. Which is typical for PSP.

Oh, and if you play competitive paintball, you should be a "have" to begin with.

NewPro said...

Im not sure why you would value the APL event less than a "formal" practice in regards to preperation but given your EXP>Mine, ill defer but would you not agree that a team "practicing" when a game is on the line beats going through the motions of regular practice

Reiner Schafer said...

You are probably right Mark. The only way real savings might be made as far as layout release dates go, would be not to release the layouts at all in advance. This has other problems associated with it though like leaked information to certain teams (but that could probably be taken care of by having several layouts and then having a lottery just before tournament setup).

Baca Loco said...

729 Anon
If I were the Heat I'd be more concerned with what Shooters & Looters did than squeaking out a win over undermanned Dynasty.
I don't know why the early release but it will be the norm the rest of the year.
I doubt it had anything to do with the APL simply because their registration was closed and the layout release occurred about 36 hours before the tourney started. Not enough time to impact APL participation and not much lead time for PSP teams to practice that same weekend.

935 Anon
I hate to be the one to have to tell you this but the aspect of the APL event that matters for the future was 22 teams in 6 divisions of play--not Dynasty or Heat or an improved webcast.

Rig the question much? Going thru the motions is seldom productive but then the same applies to losing.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Don't release layouts until they are opened for walking the day befroe the event - problem solved :)

Releasing the layout ahead of time only benefits the less talented who have, over the talented that don't.

Anonymous said...

Problem - people complain paintballers aren't as good as they used to be.

Problem Multiplier - releasing layouts in advance so players basically "study the test" and figure out the bare minimum moves and lanes to shoot to play reasonably well. Top teams will still win, but talent will not improve in the aggregate because the players aren't increasing in talent per se, but just gaining proficiency under certain layouts. Naturally, some aspects of technique will excel in this situation, but the field awareness, knowledge of the game, etc. is reduced to talking about "edging" or "bumping" or other micro-techniques.

Solution - hold layouts back, so teams have to practice and think about the macro, big picture obstacles to winning, rather than the technique.

It would seem to me Baca, one of your previous issues is that talent is stagnating. You have partly blamed this on the classification system in the past, but I think it's more the nature of the beast. We have every incentive to put all of our energy into practicing a layout and receiving a marginal growth in talent, rather than focusing on improving talent that can excel on any layout.

I realize the complaint was that some fields claim they lose practice revenue. I think that could be overcome if the PSP released 3 different layouts and one would be chosen at random the night before (a drawing on PBA perhaps!) or not releasing them at all and just accepting that fields will always complain about something.

Baca Loco said...

658 Anon
All true Anon excepting I long ago advocated not releasing field layouts for the express reasons you mention--and I am also inclined to think teams will still practice regardless of whether or not they have the layout or not. We're still not too many years removed from the days when teams played multiple layouts per event with no advance release.

Mark said...

I would like to lodge a complaint about the allegation that fields will always complain about "something".

Couple of things to consider, you know: looking at things from all angles stuff.
What of the 5th team in a 5 team bracket playing their first game against a team who's already played a game? Want to talk complaining then? Seems an added scheduling issue to ensure no one team gets the five-hole more than once a season, but what if it proves to be a near guaranteed loss?
What if PSP goes ahead and produces their own race-to fields as rumored? What field is going to need to buy one if there is no pre-release. What team will really NEED to play it then?
Sure would keep the door open to Sup-Air if US fields see no need to have an exact PSP field. Then maybe a price war will result. Win, win for the fields.

Complaint withdrawn. ;-)

Reiner Schafer said...

Mark, couldn't it be said that the 5th team has an advantage because by the time they play their first game, they would have been able to observe how the field plays and what works and what doesn't work, while the first teams did not have this advantage?

J.Stein said...

The first team will have had that advantage by the time they play their second game (against the 5th team, in their first game).

However, you could argue that the 5th team gets to watch the 1st team play, so they'll have some idea of how they play, what bunkers they break out to...

People are miserable unless they have something to be miserable about.

Anonymous said...

you must be in someones pocket. view from the deadbox is a joke.

PRO sinceNXL said...

its pretty clear psp has kiccked out funds for u to promote it and its teams.....