For some of you, too much Weak Sauce with your french fries!!!
JANUARY 23, 2008 (10:30AM) -- UPDATE: The Bay Function captain chimed in to say that he felt Greg Hom wasn't a ringer in the sense that he's played 3 regular season games, but my point was that Hom, who can hit treys and drive to the basket at will, probably shouldn't be playing in the REC. However, this is probably Hom's first season in the league, so he wouldn't have really cared which division he played in.
Incidentally, if anyone objects to be called "weak sauce", by all means email me and I'm happy to post your rebuttal.
JANUARY 22, 2008 (8:00AM) -- The playoff brackets have been updated with winners from 1/20. Next up: scores+recaps from 1/13, scores+recaps from 1/20. But before we get to that, we must address something that has been running rampant in the playoffs in several divisions.
Some teams have not been abiding by our 3-regular-season-games-played playoff eligibility rule. Curiously, we didn't really have this much finger-pointing last season, but I tend to think it's because we've been doing a better job thru the league homepages of keeping in touch with teams and making the discussion more from me to you, so now dreamleaguers are more apt to communicate back to the league some of their transgressions, than in seasons past.
So without further adieu, I hereby initiate the Weak Sauce list. Just keep reading and you'll get it...
WEAK SAUCE:John Kim of East Bay Cardinals, Sqad Up, and Young'N fame playing for the REC-Oakland Black Catz, at least in the championship vs Bay Function this past Sunday. Guys, this is REC. If you can be a starter of an NL-caliber squad such as the Cardinals, why are you wasting your time in the REC? PROBABLE EXCUSE: "It's just my competitive juices." I'm not sure who invited Kim, probably captain Rady Khean, but despite the respectable desire to win, you're also breaking the spirit of the REC. What about teams like What Would Wat Do? or the Warriors who simply don't have any connections with star players like Kim?
WEAK SAUCE: Bay Function captain Gino Sy bringing on ringer Greg Hom, although Hom didn't play well and with a whole bunch of early missed treys and drives to the hoop, essentially put Bay Function in a hole they could not recover from, against the aforementioned Black Catz. What's worse, I knew Hom was not the same player as written down on the scoresheet, Byron Portades, so I asked him point blank what his last name was and, sure enough, he said, "Portades". At that point, I also knew that John Kim was a ringer for the other team, so quite frankly I didn't care if there were impostors because that was a foregone conclusion. I just wanted the damn stats on the website to be right. PROBABLE EXCUSE: Competitive juices again. Or maybe the real Portades is gone for the season. Who knows.
WEAK SAUCE:Somtee Phol also playing for the Black Catz. You thought I didn't notice that one?
WEAK SAUCE:Just Say Yes To Life captain Yuki Yamazaki picking up former NL MVP Ryan Dunn in Sunday's quarterfinal game against Five Ten. The worst part about it was, Five Ten only had 5 guys available and they stuck with their 5. Officially, Dunn replaced the missing BJ Kang, but JSYTL still had 7 total for the game. So anyways, it was the old 3-time NL champion Pacific Coast Real Estate team all over again, now playing 2-3 years later under the guise of AL-E JSYTL, with the addition of NL all-star Johnny Liu to boot. PROBABLE EXCUSE: Five Ten actually could or should have won the game. As I told veteran Five Ten player Pin Chou, sometimes it's better to concentrate on things under your control. Refs and ringers weren't under their control, but I wouldn't go so far to say that Dunn won the game for JSYTL. And btw, Kang has been playing great lately, so maybe Dunn's highly skilled impact was the same as Kang usually would have done. Then you've got the real captain Chris Hong whose hoops career is over due to a spinal injury, which means JSYTL is sort of going full speed ahead without a skipper -- I had talked to Hong about roster issues way in the beginning of the season and have never talked to Yamazki or Dunn about it. Anyways, there's a lot going on here and I think JSYTL just needs to realize that certain roster moves -- and they really look like an NL team all of a sudden -- can look quite shady.
WEAK SAUCE: I'm not going to name names on this one, but there are a few teams in the REC-S that have been finger-pointed for having players that don't belong in REC. Even my team was mildly scrutinized in the beginning of the season, but all along my team has had 3 players that NEVER played organized ball before or that have very subpar stats in upper divisions -- and we ended up losing to the team that mildly scrutinized us. Anyways, it's not my team that's being finger-pointed at in the playoffs. In an ideal world, we would not allow anybody who could be an all-star in a higher division, but that's not a blanket rule we can make. For example, NL all-star Taraz Lee played with a bunch of his buddies in AL-P and they only won 1 or 2 games. So sometimes it's the other players on the team, like on my team, who bring the roster back down to earth. But the bottom line for REC is, it's supposed to be the no-drama league. I don't give out championship awards here and especially for REC-O, I'm sure glad I don't. REC is for guys wanting to have a good time in a structured environment. Sure, during the game you want to win, but when it's done, who cares. So all of you who for whatever reason want to sign up for the REC: just remember that if you are too good for this division, people will think of you as a sandbagger.
I'd rather be Charles Barkley (zero rings) than...
WEAK SAUCE:Mike Meehlieb of 6-foot tournament fame playing for a depleted SF Quakes team. Yep, that might explain how a #16 beat a #1. #1 PDST is probably fuming as they read this, but like I said, this type of stuff is really hard to police. There's not much to be said beyond the fact that I would have named Meehlieb MVP of the recent Gold Rush tourney if Jerico Camasura's Bay Area Select team had somehow beaten the eventual champion Delano Renegades, of which Junior Pagalan has been named MVP (although I might not have announced that on the Gold Rush homepage). PROBABLE EXCUSE: Quakes captain Vince Morales referenced last season when I allowed a team to pickup players to avoid a forfeit, but I had to tell Morales that there were two differences: (a) that team told me about it, and (b) that team didn't pickup any ringers. Well, anyways, the Quakes ended up forfeiting this past Sunday. I think this goes back to the secret of dreamleague. The secret of dreamleague is to pickup players who will commit to show up each and every week. Don't get seduced by the allure of good players who you don't know if you can trust. Drop flaky players immediately. It's really as simple as that.
WEAK SAUCE: Any team that brings in a significant impact player who doesn't look one iota Asian, yet the team doesn't volunteer any information about the player's ethnicity, which only makes that player more suspect. So from this point on, these teams will be subject to my moving them up a division to level the playing field. If you don't want to be subject to that, then please have that player provide valid documentation.
WEAK SAUCE: Any team that complains about a non-Asian who has, in the past, brought on players who did not immediately appear to be Asian and did not volunteer proof of Asian ethnicity. I mean, if you bring a guy who does not look Asian, when you don't bring paperwork, then that makes it seem even more like he's not Asian, even if he turns out to be Asian. What's worse is when the guy doesn't have an Asian or Filipino-sounding last name. So anyways, if you've brought a guy like that in the past, how in the world can you be complaining about another guy like that on another team now?
WEAK SAUCE: Any team that complains about anything when I have gone out of my way to accommodate that team. Look, it really just boils down to hours spent on the league for regular stuff and for extra-curriculur stuff. Be it scheduling you at a special time or addressing these Asian ethnicity or roster issues, it's still my time. I don't mind spending my time on issues pertaining to the league, but when it's above and beyond the regular call of duty, then it's simply above and beyond the regular call of duty.
SEMI-WEAK SAUCE: I'm gonna be a little harsh on this one because being older than you, I've been through a lot more than you have and have become a little wiser about the game of basketball. Except for probably the teams in the higher divisions, I cringe whenever I hear a good team that is running the table or nearly running the table in any division say, "We just want to get one under our belt." Hey, that's great for your garden variety city league, but in dreamleague we have ten divisions for a reason. So anyways, I don't want it to appear that I'm hell-bent on parity and secretly despise teams that go 10-0, and this issue probably doesn't even belong on the Weak Sauce list, but every now and then I hope to preach that winning championships is not a measure of how good you are, in my book. Go get your championships in those vanilla city leagues. In dreamleague, it's your chance to truly build something, to climb that proverbial mountain. It's like the Golden State Warriors last year. Quite frankly I think their satisfaction level far exceeded that of the Spurs. In my book, our GSW's accomplished more, even though I won't argue with you that, yeah, the NBA championship should be the most important thing in the world. Only, it's not, but you can't realize that unless you think it is. Weird. I guess what I'm saying is this: (1) the most important thing in basketball is teamwork and the development of a team over a certain period of time, and (2) if you know your team is going to go 10-0, what's the fun in that? If you had no idea your team would go 10-0, ok, I can't blame you for singing up for this division and I hope you will consider the challenge of taking your teamwork to a higher level by tring for a higher division next season.
...Darko Milicic (1 ring under his belt)
WEAK SAUCE: Guys who don't honor the late fees. Yup, I get short-changed a few times on the checks or cash late in the season. Hard for me to police when I'm not there to look over our refs and scorekeepers' shoulders. Then when I'm there, I get the "aw, c'mon, how long have I know you" treatment. I don't know what's worse, being there or not. For those of you who haven't figured it out yet, the thing that's on the top of my list for perfection is the payment system. As most of you have come to realize and because payment systems are what keeps all rec leagues alive, I'm a miser -- downright Mr. Scrooge -- when it comes to league fees. For better or for worse, I have a hard time mixing other transactions with league fees, such as corporate grants or what have you. This is because in my mind, the league payment system is the most important piece of infrastructure. If there's a leak here, you go paranoid hoping there's not another leak over there, and that they are independent of each other. With our system, we don't force captains to dish out the whole team's fees on Day One, but this requires big responsibility to be spread out. To make a long story short, through dreamleague's money market account, I could easily make 4% interest on our net income, so the late fees on the delinquent/missing payments are actually quite fair.
Back to the original point of this diatribe, unfortunately, I don't have the resources to police our rules. It's like getting a traffic ticket. There will never be enough cops to watch every street and sometimes there are worse crimes being committed. One example in dreamleague is that we have done a pretty good job, thanks to the lead of the NBA, of curbing fighting. We've seen it all and we've seen it very recently. Even spectators fighting at a dreamleague game. But with the well-publicized suspensions and the spectator waiver forms that are available at each of our gyms, I think 99.9% of dreamleaguers are comfortable about the very low chances of a fight happening. Some might even have learned as much to caution their teammates on the spot, thereby nipping things in the butt.
We're not there yet in terms of the process of educating dreamleaguers as to what is fair what is not fair when picking up players during the playoffs and we have no role model for that, as you don't hear about the NBA having a problem with ringers during the playoffs. Sure, we can go look at old scoresheets and find out who has played 3 regular season games or not, but then what's to prevent a team from bringing in a ringer under the name of someone else who already played 3 games? I've been running dreamleague for 6 years now. I have a pretty good sense of what's going to be a time sink and what's not. It's pretty clear to me that digging around old scoresheets and tallying up games played will be a huge waste of time.
Checking drivers licenses at games would also be a huge waste of time, let alone a logistical nightmare for all parties involved, which I'm sure you can all agree.
So what's left? Well, let me remind you that dreamleague is all about the community. It's even almost a family. The more you see each other, the more you don't do stupid things like fight or forget to pay your fees week after week after week, the more you are accepted into the community, the more you find out that differences can be resolved by communication, the more you respect each other -- instead of disparage each other -- for the things you agree and disagree on.
Incidentally, this also spills into my vision of what an "Asian" league is supposed to be. Over the decades, I've grown up in a very exclusive Japanese league, then gone to tournaments that accept both Asians and Pacific Islanders, to dreamleague which now accepts all Asians as defined by the Asian Games, which stretch as far as Palestine -- in fact, the Asian Games were recently held in Qatar in the Middle East. It's not a far cry to see this opening up more and more, to the point where we reach full circle and we have so many divisions that all ethnicities are welcome in the "Asian" league. Maybe what we do to get there is accept non-Asians into our community so long as they respect members of our existing community. For example, I'm really, really close to letting our scorekeeper extraordinaire Everett Johnson ("EJ") play in our league. I mean, you see him at the scorer's table every week. What more does he need to do to be accepted by our community?
And isn't that what we've done already with certain players in the league already? C'mon, you know who you are. I just never bothered to kick you or your homie out because (1) you were or he was already accepted by the greater community even though you are clearly not Asian, and (2) it is really stressful for me as a compassionate person to throw down the hammer based on a birth certificate. Now, this doesn't mean all of you reading this can go out and recruit the next all-star non-Asian guy you see at the local gym. Again, let's be fair about this. Let's honor the rules as they stand.