Thursday August 5th, 2021

Chicago – "Windy City" Tournament Preview and commentary about bats


The "Windy CIty NIT"

Tournament Preview

The "Windy City Busch Light NIT" is played outside of Chicago in Joliet, Illinois at the Inwood Sports Complex.  They have 6 fields, all with 300 ft fences and rock hard – white dirt infields.  Bring your mouth piece, maybe one of those Wilson helmets as this tourny will be the exact opposite of Houston last week where hitting it down and hard usually meant an out on grounders.

Usually the games in Chicago are wind games.  Depending on which field you are on you might be check swinging solo homer's or struggling to hit 2 in a game.
These are comments by DW and are done all in fun.  Remember I always root for the underdog and would prefer to see maybe a Darkside vs TCP final or EWS vs AJS.

2nd Round Picks:
Darkside over AJS – AJS in my opinion is the better team at this point in the season but they seem to love the loser's bracket.  I think AJS will recover to finish ahead of Darkside by the end of the tournament though.  Of course Darkside has to get passed a Paul Davis Restoration team that is usually pretty good and this could be the best 1st round game of the tournament.

EWS run rules Wisconsin Worth – EWS hasn't played a bad tournament all year and they are on their home turf against a struggling WW team.  Wisconsin Worth will have their hands full with P&P 388 in the first round who quite frankly has a 50/50 shot in this game if they come to play.

Resmondo run rules Precision – I like Precision and former Ropeclub utility man Dave Schaff and it looks like they have Dan Hall from EWS? but 10 Dave Schaff's wouldn't prevent a run rule against a Resmondo team that is primed for an undefeated weekend.

Hubs Pub over TCP – I'll take the upset? in this one.  Does Hubs have everyone?  TCP is lacking infield depth at a park where top infielders often look like t-ballers, and Hubs usually comes out of the gate with a 25-30 spot.  TCP did play Dan Smith very well in Chicago a year ago however.

Shoppe over Midwest Swing – Midwest is due for a big upset but that may have to come deep in the loser's bracket.  Midwest needs to quit worrying about clean uniforms and get down and dirty in this tournament or it may be 2 and q.  No better time than against a Shoppe team that has been inconsistent at best.

Sinister over Hell Yeah – Sinister should handle the local but if there is some wind blowing in could make it interesting for a few innings.

Dan Smith over Creative – if this is on the main diamond where the wind gusts straight out most of the time, look for an early flip flop and a DS run rule.

GTL over Blitz – No Jeff Hall for GTL and Blitz may have Jamison back.  Could be a good game but Blitz has been dead flat in Conference this season.

Elite Eight Picks:
EWS over Darkside – That top 8 section of the bracket looks like a nice 'B' tournament and we know EWS is on a season long roll.

Resmondo over Hubs – Jr, Rainwater, Purcell make big plays early and Hubs folds like a tent…lol.  I think one of the keys to Resmondo is to act like you are 10 down from the beginning even if you aren't.  Just survive 7 innings and see what happens.

Sinister over Shoppe – If Sinister has all of their guys like McGavin and Joerling then I'm taking them.  There is something missing right now with Shoppe, maybe they are waiting for the lights to go on in Orlando at the 'A' World?

Dan Smith over GTL – In a rematch of last weeks championship in Concord, California, look for Dan Smith to knock off GTL on the main field.  If the wind is going out though, the better homerun management could prevail.

 Final 4 Picks:
 I'm not a big fan of running the 2 semi-final games on two different fields in Chicago.  Let these guys slug it out under the same wind conditions they will play under during the finals.  (Watch…it won't even be windy this year.)

Resmondo over EWS and Dan Smith over Sinister would be the easy out picks…

So I'll go the easy route and take the two Major teams to meet in the finals.  Resmondo gets Bobby Hughes back in center field.  His energy should help.  Dan Smith allegedly gets back pitcher Scott Brown and OF/IF Scott Kirby.  Both teams rosters are as loaded as any two teams since 2008 and I believe reasonably healthy.

Championship Picks:
I'll take Resmondo to beat Dan Smith in the winner's final and the championship.  Their infield defense is too good.  Turning your head but still fielding the hard shots is key here.  I'll take Smith to finish 2nd, Sinister 3rd, and Shoppe 4th.  I'm still having a hard time putting 'B' teams in the final 4 and I've been wrong about that most weeks.
Hopefully Lama will be there so I can use his great photo's again, like this one of Brian Wegman, although with my new camera I hope to give him a slight challenge…not!

Commentary about Bat Testing:
Bat testing is rumored to be happening this weekend.  After discussing bats and testing with many people in and around the game for a few weeks now, I've come to the conclusion that the only way to do true bat testing is the following:

There are 35 teams in the tournament.  When they come in Friday night, you test every bat on every team and put the bats in that particular teams own garbage can.  Cans are kept in a Uhaul truck or storage room under guard by off duty umpires all weekend and only released to the umpires that are umpiring the game in which that team plays.  Cans are placed at the backstop behind homeplate.  When the game is over the garbage can with bats is wheeled back to the storage room.  Bats are kept in this fashion until the team loses their second game and are then returned.

If the above bat testing is not done at this tournament or any other tournament and you are playing and know "for a fact" that a player is using a shaved bat.  Then you should intentionally walk that player.  If that player wants to clear his name and feels wrongly accused he'll give his bat directly to the off duty umpire at his field and ask the umpire to take it over for testing.

If teams don't request that this all inclusive testing be done and/or they don't intentionally walk the illegal bat users, then it will be hard for me to believe that we truly want the Conference tournaments to be clean.

Make it happen.  Force it to happen.  Call an impromptu vote of all Conference teams present in Chicago and say you want this testing procedure with the cans to be enforced.

If your team puts up 20 bats for testing and only 5 of them pass because the other 15 are just well broken in and not illegal, so be it.  Use the 5 bats.  Don't complain, just accept that you wasted your bats life by "breaking it in" in practice.

A note about USSSA tournament participation.  I ran some quick numbers on 'C' and higher teams with points for 2010 as compared to 2009.

    2010  2009
'M'   2         3     Long Haul is the differnece here
'A'    9       13    This is actually about the same when you consider there were bumps to 'A' last year.
'B'  52       42
'C' 279    281

So it is only June and we already have more teams with USSSA tournament points than we did in 2009 at the higher levels.   Unfortunately Long Haul is gone and other teams we miss like Linedrive, Diamondblade, O&S, T&R, and Showcase to name a few.

See you at the fields.

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