7/8 7/12 7/13 7/13 7/13 7/13 7/13 7/27 7/27 7/27 7/27 7/27 8/2 8/3 8/3 8/9 8/9 8/16 8/23
FS 3|3 FS 0|0 HB 0|2 BW 0|4 EL 1|1 ON 0|0 IS 0|13 EL 1|1 IS 0|0 WW 0|0 ON 3|0 KF 6|3 KF 0|1|0 FS 0 BW 1|2 EL 1|2 R★ 2 BW 0 The
WW 0|0 WA 1|1 KF 1|3 KF 1|10 HB 0|0 WA 3|3 WO 11|8 WA 0|2 WA 3|3 ON 3|3 WW 1|1 WO 0|0 EL 4|0|1 BW 2 WA 0|1 BW 0|0 G★ 0 EL 2 Thrill

Announcement: John Hill for the Thrill!

This league needs a massage. What better than a slow, sensual reminder that we are out here to have a wild time playing a wacky game? So, after many ever-snowballing drafts of what John Hill For the Thrill could be, the fun-for-all system for this postseason extravaganza has finally been set. Admittedly, during the mid-to-latter drafts I even got lost in the points system and what you needed to pull an opposing pitcher, steal a base, "power up" your bat, and the gambling system involved in calling your shot. Fear not: the points system is entirely gone. Here are all the "rule changes" that will be in play during this tournament for the six teams not advancing to the semi-finals in August.

1) Performance Enhancing Bats

   This is one that everyone is going to be excited about: getting your hands on those big, thick bats. The bats that will be used are the official Wiffle yellow, aluminum WifflePro Black Magic, Louisville C271 (Griffey), Easton Pro Stix, Nerf Swerve, and Screwball. Early on the plan was to accrue points for things like hits, rbis, strike-outs, diving catches, etc. and "buy" the upgrades for your team. That is math. F*ck that. The way the bats will be used is as follows:

1st InningOriginal Yellow
2nd InningAluminum WifflePro Black Magic
3rd InningLouisville C271, Easton Pro Stix
4th InningNerf Swerve
5th InningScrewball * GTSOH handle variant shown; barrel is identical

   You may choose to use a bat from a previous inning if you find it more comfortable or have a romantic attachment to it. Similarly, if a game should go to extra innings all bats are available for the remainder of the game. There is a decent chance WSEM may use one of these bats (hint: the likely choice rhymes with gooey bill, like the money you get from a cashier whose hands were under the counter the whole time he took your order), so this is a chance for you to test drive the fuuuuuuuuuturrre.

2) To Walk or Not to Walk; That is the Question

   Walking is boring. Walking sucks, but when you are looking down a barrel you will take what you get. Well, you do not have to settle for a little bat flip and shuffle down to first in the John Hill for the Thrill! The count will remain 5-2, but when a pitcher throws ball number five in an at-bat you will have two options. 1) You may either take the walk and head to first. 2) You may soft toss the ball in the air (or have a teammate soft toss for you) and take one swing of the bat. When you hit the ball it will be live and in play as normal, but the batting practice soft toss will increase your chance of doing serious damage. There are a couple risks taken with the soft toss swing, though: A) Obviously, the defense can record the out, and B) additionally, a swing and miss or foul ball will be an out. It is a calculated risk/reward scenario. Besides, anything to swing the bat, right!?

3) Stealing is NOT a Crime

   That is right. Stealing will be in play. Do not worry about the lack of a catcher, that will not make it any easier for the runner. First, a team will have five steal attempts in a game. An additional attempt will be added for each extra inning, and will carry over if unused. Second, this is how a steal will happen. During a pitcher's delivery the runner must shout "STEAL!" and leave the base, or even charge forward hard for added effect if they desire. If the pitcher misses the strike zone the runner is safe. However, if the pitcher hits the zone the runner is out. If the batter fouls the ball off the runner must return to the base. No matter what the result, one steal attempt will have been used for every runner trying to advance on the play (i.e. double steal = two attempts). Just like with the Walk/Free-swing, there is calculated risk/reward at play in this scenario. No guts, no glory or grass stains, right!?

4) Let's Make This Interesting

   I mentioned in the OP that the gambling system got confusing, but that is just because you have to let the gamblers breathe! During For the Thrill you may are encouraged to place side bets on anything at all: a specific pitch, calling a shot, whether you can hit a ball with the bat between your legs, etc. What is at stake on these bets may also be whatever you want: runs, players on your team (for the game), bottles of Gatorade, loser bats wrong-handed rest of game, etc. Throwing these into the games will add another festive layer to the thrill of it, and will no doubt make it that much more interesting!

That is it for the gameplay changes. Pages for both The Thrill and Playoffs will be online later in the season, but here is how the John Hill for the Thrill Postseason Extravaganza will be set up:

  -  Regular season finish closer to tenth place will be treated as the high seed for each best-of-three series.

  -  During the first round of the Championship Playoffs, teams nine and ten will compete in a three-game series utilizing aggregate scoring: total runs from the three games wins the series.
     -  The team with more points gets first and third selections of teams knocked out of the Championship Playoffs to be placed on their side of the bracket.
     -  The team with less points gets the second and fourth selections.
     -  Teams nine and ten will have a first-round bye.

  -  The rest of the tournament will be best-of-three series.
     -  Common dates and sites will be set for all teams to play each of the opening round, second round, and the championship series.