Monday, September 8, 2008

4.5 Week 2

With only two playoff spots per flight, which seems a bit low, these matches this weekend will start to let us know who is rising to the top and some teams that drop to 0-2 might just be out of the mix already.

Brookhaven v. Greenhill should be a good match. Brookhaven has been a contender lately but if they lose to a good Greenhill team it could be all but over in this flight for them.

Boverman v. Northwood has the same type feel to me with the winner getting in that upper echelon mix in this flight to try and contend with the Branch split squads.

I like Northwood and Greenhill to make it out of these matches.

In flight B there are some similar matches:

RO v. Springpark is interesting since without Gonzales and Bui Royal Oaks has dropped down a bit and Springpark looks to be improving but we will see if they have improved enough.

Lakes v. TBar, after a playoff showing this year TBar lost their opener while the Lakes team got out to a good start. Lakes has a lot of 4.0 bump ups but they are good players and this should be a good match.

I like Royal Oaks and the Lakes.


  1. I think some people are underestimating Nancy's team. They're prettty solid top to bottom and Nancy does a good job with her roster/lineups. Nancy's guys will beat Oak Creek/Bovermann and challenge Barnch this fall.

  2. I will take Branch over Noel.

  3. So Branch gets to tank matches against Noel this week? Sounds great, can't wait to hear the stories. The Brookhaven story has peeked my interest this Fall for all Branch matches...

  4. Next week for Branch v. Noel. I hope he tanks all five lines. That might be the only chance we have to beat them. :)
    I will pass all of your compliments to Nancy anon 8:47. You're making her blush.

  5. Tanking = losing on purpose.
    Tanking does not mean winning 75,75 instead of 62,62.

    If you can win at 75% effort, then so be it.

  6. Who says you have to give 75% to beat LaSalle, more like 25% these days. Until Jeff loses all of the weight he has added and gets in shape - he needs to get used to it. He is too out of shape to play competitive at this point.

    I would say if Kiron and Stone only beat those guys 5 and 5 - they were being compassionate to Jeff LaSelle and should be awarded the sportsmanship cup this season.

  7. geez I gues for semantics sakes, Anonymous pusses is that word understandable?? Scratch tanking and put sandbagging as that is exactly what Stone/Kiron did.

  8. Since their seems to be some confusion in Jeff LaSalle's mind as to what tanking and sandbagging is, let me clarify.

    Kiron/Stone beating LaSalle/Ramos 7-5 7-5 = Sandbagging

    LaSalle losing to Rob Arts 2 and 3 (who is a 4.0 and has never won a 4.5 match, until he played you know who)and then laughing about it afterwards = Tanking

    Pot calling a kettle black = Jeff

    Just one of my fond memories of Jeff while he was playing for Hackberry.

  9. How cute, the defensive Branch team is BACK! We missed you guys after your introduction to the site when your slimy leader was called out after Sectionals. Now someone finally stands up to your antics during a match and you guys are back again.

    Good for Ramos/LaSalle to actually call them out, if only others would do the same we could get rid of these guys or at last have them stop. They're all good players, it's just unfortunate they won't play at their appropriate level. Then again if this is the only way they can feel superior to others (playing down a level and beating the competition - when they aren't throwing matches) then maybe we should all let it go and just feel sorry for them.

  10. When branch's team makes it to nationals, then you can say they should be bumped. Until then, this discussion about sandbagging is a waste of time. Branch's best line-up could not get them to nationals this year, or the last 5-6 yrs for that matter.

    Just stop complaining and face the fact that Branch's team is filled with the top 90th percentile of 4.5 talent in DFW and nationally.

    Everyone else, including LaSalle and Ramos, should just realize that they are not in that exclusive top tier of 4.5 players nationally...very few are by definition.

    If everyone would just be realistic for a moment about your own level of play you might be able to deal with it when you lose to better players. There is nothing wrong with being a mid-level to strong 4.5 - DFW is lucky enough to offer all of us tons of competitive matches each week. After all, isn't that what we all are looking for when we play USTA? No one is training for the US Open so just deal with it when you lose and stop crying about sandbagging.

    Remember, someone is always better - in DFW that means Branch's team on a typical Saturday.

    P.S. I have nothing to do with Branch's team.

  11. I apologize for the lengthy blog, but I have read about this issue too many times. Here are some of the current issues (with tanking/sandbagging)that I have bore witness to, they fit loosely into three categories:

    Those that cannot be proven without admittance:
    There are players who purposely adjust their level of play in certain matches to avoid being moved to a higher level.

    There are players that want to play at a level below where they are rated, so they adjust their level of play in certain matches to lower their computer rating.

    Those that can be proven (if reported by opponents):
    There are players that report inaccurate scores to their matches to make matches appear closer than they were to lower the impact of a win on their rating.

    Those that might be able to be proven (if enough evidence)
    There are players that knowingly self rate incorrectly to a skill level below their own.

    Players instinctively like to win; playing in a level that is likely below their skill level increases the chances of winning dramatically.

    Players see it as the only way to compete with others employing these tactics.

    Why it is difficult to police:
    The ratings system is subjective, meaning that there is no clear cut way to place a player into a specific rating. This creates gray areas as to what rating a lot of players should be playing at.

    Player's level of play varies from week to week. This makes it easy for players to explain losses to less talented players one week, yet victories over far better players then following week.

    Players will continue to abuse the system due to the motivations listed above and the fact that the abuse is difficult to prove.

    In my opinion, the system will work only as well as the players using it. While I feel that the large majority of players go out week in and week out and play their best, I know that their experiences are soured by those that choose to abuse the system.

    I feel that players who abuse the system lack integrity and are disrespecting the game. The excuse that they are doing so to compete with others who choose to do so does not fly with me, that is a bogus idiom that only points to their lack of competitive spirit.

    These players hurt the game and those they play against by being less than competitive when it suits their selfish needs, and then hurt the same group of players later by playing at a level above them when it counts. Disrespectful.

  12. This idea that paul and I tanked is ridiculous. I was underhand served to the entire second set by Ramos. My partner Paul Kiron lost about 5 points on his serve the entire match. I did not double fault once in the match and I held more than I was broken. We won the match 7-5 7-5. Ranos and LaSalle made it known they did not like me from the start, although I had no idea who they even were. They got in my face during the match and all I could do was ignore them. They would not shake my hand after the match. It means nothing to me to be called out on tanking by them. It isn't true and they can say whatever they want. What's funny to me is that Paul and I went up 3-0 and they told us we were playing too hard. Then we got to 3-2 and I was accused of tanking. Outside of the fact that Ramos underhand served, I felt they were trying to win the match as well. Every single time I missed a shot they got angry because they felt I did it on purpose. I am flattered that they believe I am so great, and maybe next year they will petition for me to get a wild card into the U.S. Open. Unlike them, I will not hide under the anonymous blog and I look forward to what's left of a fun and competitive fall season.


  13. Very typical of Ramos and LaSalle

    They are like Beavis and Butthead.

  14. Miss-hit - that was quite a ramble. You have mastered the art of the obvious with your categorizations.

    Bottom line is that Branch's team COULD NOT WIN AT SECTIONALS. They have some of the top 4.5 players in the area, but they are are still 4.5 players.

    Behaving like Ramos and LaSalle did (if true) is worse than any perceived tanking. Just be polite and play the game. It isn't Wimbledon.

  15. To September 11, 2008 6:58 AM

    "Bottom line is that Branch's team COULD NOT WIN AT SECTIONALS. They have some of the top 4.5 players in the area, but they are are still 4.5 players."

    That's like saying 'Bottome line is that Somabut/Walters team COULD NOT WIN AT SECTIONALS. They have some of the top 4.0 players in the area, but they are still 4.0 players.'

    Somabut/Walters crew grew some balls and moved up to play 4.5, Branch's team should do the same.

  16. I think other than Keller and Davis there was no one on those rosters that was playing far and above others at 4.0 sectionals, probably Hai Nguyen as well.

    I don't know if the guys on these teams "grew balls" but their dynamic rating grew enough that their appeals wouldn't go through anymore.

    I do hate to hear about this story of obvious tanking in what could be a fun fall season.

    But here is the thing if you 4.5 guys are sick of Branch, then pool together and kick his *ss to the curb or shut the f**k up about his team. I am still hanging at 4.0 for now so maybe you all can get it done before 2010 and if not I guess I can take him out then for you. Yep Rusty I am challenging you as of April 2010, mark that down Mr. "Ugly" Strokes.

  17. I think 4.5 is a bit more of a melting pot than 5.0 or 4.0 is. I see where you are going and understand the point, but there is VERY good competition at 4.5 and every year 4.5 gets tougher and tougher and becomes even more of a melting pot.

    Also, I know of several 5.0 players that would love to get down to 4.5 - not say they could dominate, but bc the league is more competitive, more fun, has more players, more lines played, etc etc. Contrary to popular belief, I would say for the most part - guys play for the competition, but also for the fun of being able to compete in a league where everyone cares.

    You lose that quite a bit at the 5.0 level and you can just about ask anyone who has played both and they will tell you the same.

    I am not justifying ANYTHING, so don't go there, but am saying that 4.0 and 4.5 leagues are much more fun than 5.0. 5.0 has become a bore that few enjoy playing in.

  18. Cary Bazan - just looked you up on the USTA website. Your 2-8 record in 4.0 dating back to fall 2007 means you are much more likely to be headed to 3.5 than to 4.5. Not sure where you get the idea that you are close to a 4.5 level player given your poor 4.0 record.

  19. I don't know who Walters is, but Somabut is most certainly a 4.0 player. period. If he couldn't get past sectionals either, then that just supports the argument that he is rated where he belongs.

    I doubt Somabut "grew some balls" and started playing 4.5, he started playing 4.5 to demonstrate to the computer that he belongs in 4.0

  20. Dear Annon - September 11, 2008 10:59 AM

    Why hate on Cary. He was having fun and joking around. Has to be something more important to research than Carys 4.0 record.

  21. thanks for the support but that was just Rusty getting scared about our match in 2010.

    I am OK with my record, I feel my game gets better with time which I would think anon could see from looking at my record from years ago as well. I lost matches at 3.0 back in the day!!! I just try my best to get better and win at whatever level I play at. I will be honest being cap does take your game down a notch depending on the team, I was lucky in 2007 to have a bunch of dependable players so I could focus on my game and I believe the same is true for this Fall season which is why i signed up to play 4.5 as well because I knew our team didn't need me as much, if at all.

  22. wait - you won a whopping 2 times out of 10 matches at 4.0 and you thought to yourself, "yes, I think I'm ready for those boys who play 4.5"?????

  23. Yep I am stubborn that way but I did join the FW league so hopefully I can win one match where I pull out all my tricks before that city figures out my limited skills. :)

    Hopefully they don't read this crappy blog.

  24. carey - these comments about your record are not coming from mr. ugly strokes. i get blamed for enough on this dang blog.

  25. No wonder some people on this blog think some 4.5's are sandbagging. When a low level 4.0 player plays up to 4.5 and sees a truly exceptional 4.5 stud, they are blown away and think that he must be sandbagging, when in fact, he is just a top tier 4.5.

    The USTA should have a rule prohibiting anyone from playing up a level unless they have at least a .500 record in the current level.

  26. I feel sorry for any 4.5 FW player that has to play a borderline 3.5/4.0 player - not the kind of competition they were looking for and probably a wasted Saturday afternoon.

    How about thinking about someone besides yourself?

  27. If you knew me better you would know I love myself. To quote TO, "I love me some me!"

    Anon, I think you should have post your border 2.5/3.0 name if I got undefeated this season. BTW, I don't think Trivitt would have taken me on if he thought I was at the 3.5 level.

    And another thing I have never complained about better players in a league I have played in. I have given bad beatings (last weekend) and have taken them before (Tri Level) and it all made sense to me and I never griped about it.

    I don't think playing up in doubles is that big of a stretch for me or many 4.0 players in our area but if I ever play 4.5 singles check me into an institution.

    OK I have to look like I am working now.

  28. Cary sounds like a Kirby starter kit. Always thinking he can hang with the better players. You wouldn't even make the roster of the better 4.0 teams unless you were captain. Look what happen to Kirby when he wasn't captain.

  29. We have already discussed Kirby at full length (lol). Kirby is cool. Leave him a-long. Nice guy!


    Anons' President:)

  30. why do you think playing up to 4.5 isn't a big deal if you are very low level 4.0? Your ego is out of control and you are making life miserable for any true 4.5 players that play you in league.

    I met a guy at a party who was telling everyone how great he was at tennis. He said he was a 5.0 tennis player. I later found out he was a 4.0 - what a jackass.

  31. Here are the results from one of the few matches played today. Lakes 4.5 beats T-Bar 3-2! Pretty impressive.

  32. That is a shocking result. I would like to give credit to the lakes but that makes me think T Bar is saving up for the spring. But they say the wind is the great equalizer.

  33. You should have gotten a clue when they beat RO last spring. All it takes is a few more strong players.

  34. That sounds kind of lame, a team that went to playoffs, is saving up for spring? Saving what, they had a strong line up today...

  35. Corey, what wind? They probably played indoors.

  36. why is that people who have never done anything with their sports careers start calling out people on a stupid blog? LOL at anyone calling out lasalle and ramos. they're good guys, period. the only thing serious about them is that they seriously like to have fun. i've never had a problem with them.

    i'm looking forward to playing 4.5 next summer.

  37. i think the 4.5 Lakes team might just outdo the 4.0 team they left behind. I did pick this one although I was way wrong on the BH/GH match. I thought that would be closer. I keep trying to get a GH/Stoner bandwagon going but I keep getting thrown off. :(

  38. I don't think their lineup was that strong compared to last season. I doubt the match was played indoors but it's possible. What new players did the Lakes add that are so great? They will still be lucky to finish in the top 4 of the flight. I would love to see them make the playoffs but I don't think that's realistic.

  39. It's pretty easy to see what happened if you just look at the results. TBar had their two singles guys and won both singles but they didn't have a lot of their top doubles guys while the Lakes had a pretty solid doubles lineup and the Lakes swept the dubs. Doesn't speak to spring vs. fall, just who was available for a given match and possibly TBar took the Lakes a little too lightly.

    Does shed some more light on how weak the spring 'B' flight was given TBar dominated that flight last season and is now already 0-2 in the fall. The Lakes finished last in the 'A' flight last season although they did beat RO with RO missing their top three for that match.

  40. i live far west but it was raining when I woke up yesterday so i am pretty sure that was an indoor match as was BH v. GH.

  41. With all that rain, there is no way they played outdoors yesterday, they played indoors for sure.

    You play the hand you are dealt, and you play with the players you have on any given weekend. That's just the reality of the league. It's not like Lakes brought in their best line up either.

    I see two new players on their team - oberg and wagner.

    Also, you guys don't seem to get it, the 4.5 league had more parity than other leagues and there was not much difference between the top and bottom teams last spring, at least not as much as you make it to be, with the exception of branch's team.

  42. I'm on TBarM and the match was indoors. The Lakes played well and deserved the win. They were a good bunch of guys - good luck the rest of the season.

  43. Oberg self-rated but looked like a 5.0. Anyone know his history? Is he foreign, or did he play his tennis here?

  44. I'm not so sure about the comment about parity in 4.5. Our team won multiple matches last season 5.0 and already the first match this season 5-0. I think there is more depth at the top but the bottom is still very weak. I do agree that there are more teams that can win the 4.5 than other levels but there are fewer teams so the talent is less spread out.
    But I don't think the parity comment is accurate when virtually the same teams make the playoffs every season.

  45. As we see more and more people bumped this season from 4.0, (USTA master plan) I think you will see some good 4.0s making some contributions upwards.

  46. HP Pham's ex-4.0 bump-ups will be tested this week against Springpark. We'll see how they stack-up in 4.5 against a decent team.

  47. Corey, with parity all I am saying is, how equal or close to being equal the teams are - again with the exception of Branch and some of the 4.0 loaded teams that are in the 4.5 league this fall.

    When you take a couple of players out of the roster from a playoff team (say Royal Oaks) and add a couple of strong players to the bottom team (say Lakes) then there is an equal chance for either team winning on a given day.

    That's definitely not the case with 4.0 or 3.5 leagues.

  48. I would think 95 percent of all teams would be vulnerable to losing without their top 1 or 2 players, we saw that this week with Lifetime. The Lakes has obviously gotten better, but I think T bar probably tried to give some weaker guys some playing time and it backfired.

  49. I think not, try taking two guys from HP/Somabut and give them to Stonebridge/Muniz or Garland 2. That number is much smaller in 4.0 & 3.5, than in 4.5.

    Even if we went with your argument about 95% not winning or winning with 1 or 2 players, I think you just agreed with what I said about parity.

  50. Cary,
    I think you may underestimate the level of 4.5 doubles. It's a little tougher than you think.
    Maybe you can get a warm-up match with Slezak and Williams (please, please, please) and I'll come and watch. Trivitt may have wanted you on his team because he only has nine other players. Anyways, please let me know when you're playing over in Ft. Worth so I can come say hi.