Monday, June 17, 2013

Dallas League Tennis – The Way It Should Be

So with the season wrapped up, and the QT around the corner, let’s have a recap of the season. 

First, my predictions at the beginning of the season, followed by the actual winners :
(Flight winner, followed by 2nd place team going to QT, 3rd place in parenthesis)

 Predicted:                                                                 ACTUAL:

Flight A – GTC, Eldorado                                         Eldorado, GTC  (LB Houston 3rd) 

Flight B – 3 way tie Brookhaven, T-Bar &             2-way tie - T-Bar, Oak Creek
                 Oak Creek                                                (Springpark 3rd)
Flight C – HP, Fair Oaks                                             Fair Oaks, HP

Flight D – Canyon Creek, Royal Oaks                    Canyon Creek, Royal Oaks

Flight E – McKinney, Greenhill                                McKinney, Greenhill; (Huffhines 3rd)

With the exception of my dyslexic calls on Flight A & Flight C, you have to admit that was pretty good.  So the question begs to differ, out of having 45 teams and close to 700 players, has regular season play in Dallas tennis really become this predictable?  I only know a handful of players and made speculative guesses on many of the flight calls.  But to get it this close before a match was played?   

What I liked about this season is that the top 20% of teams and players are pretty well equal and competitive with each other on any given day.  What I got wrong was not giving enough credit to the core of Dallas tennis, and giving too much credit to the leaders of the past.   Congratulations to Eldorado for beating Sisk and team Corey for defying the odds and beating Le.  (Looks like Terrell earned his pay for those 2 Miller Lights.)  What looked like was going to be a flawless season for Bazan in Flight E , was disrupted by Hackberry with an end of season spoiler and raising concerns with some of their doubles strength.   The only team to emerge having a flawless season with no losses was the boys at Canyon Creek.  Congratulations and well deserved.  While impressive, enjoy things while they last, because I don’t think it will be that easy for you come Cities.  

So what appeared to be a foregone conclusion (a city finals with Sisk & Le) now turns to the battle in QT with only one of those teams emerging.  That is, if one does emerge.    While each of those teams have a handful of exceptional players (Le has Weimer & Glasgow; Sisk has Flora & Baker), they aren’t stacked.  The remainder of their rosters (while seasoned) appear to be on equal footing with other team rosters coming to the dance.  This was proven to us throughout the season by other teams with no hired guns on their roster able to take lines from each of these teams.   Also, the late additions to both of these rosters by both captains tells me they are still needing depth.  Sisk added a couple of self-rates so not sure if their losses are real or planned.  Le has recruited additional computer rated players, going as far west as to Fort Worth.  My question is why?  

In addition, will all of their players be available for the QT weekend?  I am sure when the season began the QT was not on either of these captain’s calendar.  This is an unexpected weekend they are having to play, and having to get their top players clearance for two straight weekends in the midst of summer vacations might be challenging.  The question is will Sisk need to get clearance from any parole officers for his newly recruited self rates?   

Even if one of these teams does emerge, it is a difficult task taking a team through 4 matches in the QT and then playing the following week in Cities.  In fact, I do not know of a team in the past that has won the QT to go on and win Cities.      

What becomes even more interesting and a topic of debate  is how the DTA will determine the flights.   I know I was disappointed this year with Roland Garros seeding 1-3, 2-4, which gave cause for the true final occurring in the semis.  The US Open did the same seeding.  However, if you look at the Australian and Wimbeldon, they seeded 1-4, 2-3.  In looking at years past of Dallas City Playoffs, I don’t follow any pattern.  If you look at the last time there were flights in City, which was 2011, it appears they seeded based on lines won, not matches won since two flights only had 7 matches as opposed to the other 3 flights having 8 matches.  That year, they were flighted 1-3, 2-4.  If you look back to 2010, it is a bit more confusing.  All but one flight had 8 matches.  If you look at matches won, they seeded 1-2, 3-4.  If you look at games won, there is no pattern as 2-3-4  were all in the same flight.  Rumor has it that they have been known to do “blind” draws if some teams had unequal amounts of matches.  Perhaps that’s what they did in 2010.  This year, all teams from all flights played 8 matches so I don’t think that would be the case.    Regardless, if you look at matches won or games won, it still seeds Le as 1st and Sisk as 2nd.

To make matters even more interesting, this is the 1st time they have given 3rd place teams a seeding in the QT. The  QT has typically been round-robin with no flights, so there is no real precedence here.   Given the wacky Fall play-off format we had, I think any seeding is possible.  What if the DTA actually tried to level the playing field some and for the QT seed 1st and 2nd place in the same play-off flight, followed by 3rd and 4th place in the opposing flight?  I’m not saying that is going to happen (although that’s how it was flighted in 2010), and would be surprised if it does, but that would mean you would have the GTC/HP showdown before Sunday.  Now wouldn’t that be amusing. 

My understanding is that schedules won’t be released until the week of play-offs, so we will all be in a quandary until then.  If it is 1-3-5-7 and 2-4-6-8, it will be Le, Ohl, Brauer & Walters in one flight and Sisk, Head, Parsons & Prather in the other. Regardless of how the flights are determined and seeded, the difficult part is calling a winner.   Whether in the same flight or not, I still believe we will see a GTC/HP match.  Given the recent roster adds, with Sisk having a few self-rates as unknown commodities, and Le’s added computer rates while good but not overly impressive, I have to go with Sisk winning.  I think Ohl makes honorable mention, if not for finishing 3rd, at least for keeping me hydrated out there watching.  Greg- your cooler is safe with me! 

As far as Cities, we will look at that once we know the QT winner.   I think this year it is anyone’s to grab. 

Good luck to all teams playing in both events.