Monday, March 24, 2014

Baca's Mailbag: In the Penalty Box

Mike writes in:
As a player and a spectator I have a suggestion based on the new penalty rules. With the most recent change the penalized player is pulled and removed from the field while a teammate is pulled and sent to the box. Good change, logical and prevents the penalized player from rejoining that same point if the penalty expires.
My suggestion is the next logical step. Assuming the point ends before the penalty expires the original player who incurred the penalty should be placed in the box to serve the remaining time. To me it doesn't make sense that the penalized player can come out and help "kill" his own penalty while a teammate is in the box serving the time for him!
Would love to hear your thoughts.

Mike isn't the first person to question the new rule--or offer a similar "solution". This very issue was discussed repeatedly at Dallas. From the earliest NXL days there has always been a trade-off when it came to serving penalties. Until this year the thinking was that you may on occasion make an eliminated player 'active' again but if the penalty was to serve its purpose the offending player needed to serve the penalty and in the case of majors the time often rolled over multiple points played.
Two factors came into play this time around; safety concerns and the potential for directly violating our own rules given that the rules are clear that no eliminated player can regain 'active' status during the same point. In addition no one wanted to put a hot gun or excessive ROF gun back on the field either so the decision was made to reverse previous policy and remove the penalized player from the field.
On Friday in Dallas I spoke with the stats guys to see how much data they were accumulating and if the change posed any problem. They knew who committed each penalty and knew who was in the box serving the penalty. Given that fact Mike's "solution" seems like it could be instituted.
We also ran into the unexpected issue of what to do when the penalized player was the last player on the field for his team. While not currently outlined in the rules (it's a fix that should be in place by MAO) we chose to simply put the offender in the box at max time to begin the next point.
Taking it one more step and transferring the offender to the penalty box for any follow-on points both makes sense and can be accomplished logistically so why not?


Dave Painter said...


What if the Penalty time didn't start till the beginning of the next point. You could always put the offending player in the box and not run the risk of re-entry during the same point.

Of cource, this would potentially extend the impact of a penalty. At least a major. A minor could still possibly come off the board if your opponent scored.

danny d said...


Baca Loco said...

That option would certainly be easier logistically but without someone in the box a minor would be a non-penalty under those circumstances. Delayed enforcement also strikes me as kinda confusing.

One of these days my preference is to restructure the penalties completely. The core penalties are for the most part relics of tournament paintball from 20+ years ago. We play a different game and the penalty system ought to reflect the kind of game we're playing now.

Anonymous said...

By that, are you referring more in regards to Section 6 or Section 9? I look forward to a post/comment with ideas on it. Thanks.

Baca Loco said...

Section 4

Mike said...

Thanks for the answer Baca - appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

why do I comment when my posts get deleted this is why I don't post here

Baca Loco said...

The comments aren't even moderated and the only ones I ever remove are plainly spam. Are you familiar with the term 'toolbox'?

NStoer said...

Just throwing out ideas -

Players who receive minors cannot re-enter play on the same point they were penalized.

So if the penalty expires on the same point it was received, the player goes from the box to the pits.

If your team wins the point with time still left on the minor, you can now enter play during the following point once time has expired.

And if you lose the point then same as always, start with 5.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Before people get lost in the details of when someone can re-enter the game or not, it might be an idea to qualify why the penalties are there and what their purpose are.

First of all, I have always been a strong believer that the rules of the game are there to make the game "fair".

Obviously "fair" is a very loaded word, but for lack of a better word, that should be the purpose of any rules, in any game or sport (except ofcourse those covering gross misconduct or something similar).

The rules are - IMHO - not there to punish or to teach lessons.

BTW, I think this "philosophy" is very important, as it will also go some way in teaching refs, that their main function is to make the game fair - not to run around on powertrips punishing people.

With that in mind, I honestly don't really care if it is player A, B or C serving the penalty, as long as the penalty serves the purpose of balancing out the game, after someone gained an unfair advantage by breaking the rules.

What I DO care about, is that the advantage gained by breaking the rules of the game, is (at least) matched by the disadvantage of the penalty.

Secondarily, I care that the rules and their penalties, are easily managed at any level of our sport, so that the punters entering a local Supair field a random Sunday, get to play according to the "official" rules of our sport, as seen on TV (webcast).

Now, specifically on the penalty boxes, we have to remember their sole purpose is to allow players to enter the game during play.... if they can't do that, there is no point to having a penalty box.

If we want to keep the penalty boxes,we thus have to keep a system that allows penalized players to rejoin the game.

Alternatively, simplify, and just go back to straight 141s, 241s and 341s.

Personally, I enjoy the entertainment value of penalty boxes, as it adds another level to the game.... but the downside is the extra technology and personnel needed, to run that particular solution.... which is a hinderance at lower levels of the sport.

Anonymous said...

The local drag racing strip doesn't have all the same perks as a NASCAR event.

Kids football doesn't have instant replay either.

Just sayin'

The penalty box

Nick Brockdorff said...

Nobody is talking perks and instant replay.... we're talking about game rules.

If we start making rules from a standpoint of spectator entertainment, rather than fairness and the athletes feeling they have a level playing ground, we become Pro Wrestling.

Baca Loco said...

His point I think Nick is that nobody expects kids hanging around an outdoor hoop to play by NBA rules. It's not necessary to either enjoy playing basketball or reaching new players.

The much bigger issue than the penalty box is that rules in a meta sense aren't about punishment or fairness--they define the game being played. The so-called level playing field is of interest to most competitors because there's little point in competing if the decked is stacked, one way or the other.
What eventually needs to be addressed is the fact our current penalties are mostly relics of a different game and far from balancing things out tend to be determinative of outcomes depending on the number of calls made. But that's a long way from where we're at now.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, I fail to see the difference between "fairness" and "level playing field" - but there you go ;)

I honestly don't think we are too far off the penalties being right.

If you are shooting your gun after you should have been eliminated (playing on), you are removed from the game and so is a teammate. Logically because there is a theoretic chance you eliminated someone "illegally".

Seems pretty fair to me.

The problems mostly occur when playing on results in multiple eliminations or when it decides a point or indeed match.... in those instances, the penalties under the current system are far from severe enough in my view.