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

A Look Ahead at 2014: The Little Changes

As is always the case between seasons, WSEM is looking at some upcoming changes. We will announce a couple big ones in the next month: one that will shake up the 2014 season, and a second that will have a huge impact come 2015. For now, though, let us look at the two smaller tweaks being made that will improve the WSEM experience next season.

6 Innings

Starting with the 2014 season WSEM games will bump up from five innings to six for a regulation game. Five innings is a holdover from early tournament days when it was necessary for time constraints. When we started league play in 2011 our attention was focused more on the logistics of setting up league operations than any adjustments to games rules that were already in place. Increasing to 6 innings puts us in line with the format used by most other leagues, as well as the NWLA Tournament. The change will increase average game time from 45 to 54 minutes.

Some of you are probably preparing messages about how this will upset the record book, but let us be honest: our record book is something of a dirty little whore. Everything in there already comes from many different places. In 2012 we added the rotation rule, which drastically changed the look of pitching numbers. Then in 2013 we brought in bigger bats and increased the pitching distance, which this time effected both pitching and hitting numbers. If anything, the additional 14 IP or 30 AB may provide an opportunity to break some of the single season records set during 2012 with all of its extra inning marathons. Bottom line, the change actually brings us right in line with every other season when it comes to potential WSEM records.

With the inning increase our pitching rotation rule will modify slightly. A pitcher will still be ineligible for the next game after throwing one pitch over 2 innings. However, the two-game ineligibility will now come after throwing over 8 innings, which is the new equivalent of one game plus two additional innings.

Our mercy rules are also being adjusted. The new numbers are 10 runs after 4 innings, 15 runs after 3 innings, and 20 runs after 2 innings. Basically, the old version pushed back an inning with 20 after 2 in place to limit wildly egregious stat padding. All changes related to the innings increase have already been made to the rulebook, in sections 8a and 9.

Set Postseason Schedule

For the first time WSEM will utilize a set schedule for league games. Scheduling for the 2014 season will remain the same way it was handled this year - set by week with day decided by the teams. While there are some hiccups, this system works much more smoothly during the season than it does for the playoffs. Therefore, the dates for all 2014 postseason activities - Championship Playoff series, For the Thrill, and the All-Star Game - are already set on the calendar.

 Sat. 8/2  - 4 vs 5 Play-in Game @ 1 seed
 Sat. 8/2  - 1 vs 4/5 Best of Three Series @ 1 seed
 Sun. 8/3  - 2 vs 3 Best of Three Series @ 2 seed
 Sat. 8/9  - Championship Series, Games 1 and 2 @ low seed
 Sat. 8/9  - All-Star Game @ Championship Series field
 Sun. 8/10  - For the Thrill @ TBD
 Sat. 8/16  - Championship Series, Games 3 - 5 @ high seed

Note: the 4 vs 5 play-in game is accounting for a ten team league. Should WSEM consist of only eight teams in 2014, then the 1 vs 4 first round series will be played that day on its own. The biggest change, aside from the set dates, is the packaging of the All-Star Game with the first games of the Championship Series, after two years of it being paired with For the Thrill. The ASG will be played after game two, making it possible to see three games on both days of the Championship Series. The repackaging is an effort to match up All-Stars with a date and place more of them are likely to be, as well as increase attendance at Championship Series games.

-   -   -   -   -

Aside from the increase to 6 innings and the accompanying adjustments to the rotation and mercy rules, there will be no changes to rules or parameters of actual game play. So, a 2014 game will look just like one from 2013 - just about 10 minutes longer. Off the field, though, change is coming that will greatly impact the dynamic of competitive balance within WSEM. Check back September 1st for the details about this year's "big change."
Batting Champion
  Nicco Lollio
  El Diablos
   .448 AVG

Country Strong Home Run King
  Dennis Pearson
   22 HR

Walker Texas Ranger
  Michael Sessions
   53 BB

Great Lakes Stealer
  David Castle
  Holy Balls
   22 SB

Rookie of the Year
  Nicco Lollio
  El Diablos
   Batting:  .448 AVG,  .493 OBP,  .925 SLG,  8 HR,  36 RBI,  20 R,  5 SB,  16 GP
   Pitching:  3.43 ERA,  2.14 WHIP,  27 K,  15 BB,  11.2 IP

Most Improved Player
  Jason Hewlett
  King Friday
   2013 Batting: .267 AVG,  .445 OBP,  .700 SLG,  12 HR,  33 RBI,  29 R
   2012 Batting:  .100 AVG,  .336 OBP,  .211 SLG,  3 HR,  10 RBI,  9 R

  Kyle Tomlinson
  El Diablos
   .429 AVG,  .618 OBP,  .810 SLG,  10 HR,  41 RBI,  56 R,  4 SB,  28 GP

Clown Shu
  Craig Skinner
  El Diablos
   0.37 ERA,  0.72 WHIP,  9 W,  144 K,  33 BB,  2/4 CS,  54 IP

Diamond Digits
  Nick Coffee   Greg Brannan
  King Friday   King Friday
  Joel Crozier   Chris Paquin
  Wicked Aces   Holy Balls

Gameday, 8/19: Championship Series, Games 3 - 5

 Day     Two
1 Game 3 0
 WP: Skinner (1-0) LP: Fisher (0-1) 
0 Game 4
(if necessary)
 LP: C. Phillips (1-2) WP: E. Bischoff (3-0) 
HR: Bortmas (2) 
Game 5
(if necessary)
Wicked Aces win WSEM Championship in 4 Games
Mon. 8/19  @  6 PM Poolside Park Ottawa Lake, MI

Game 3

Game 4

Gameday 8/11: WSEM Championship, Games 1 & 2

 Day     One
1 Game 1 0
 WP: A. Bischoff (2-0)
 HR: Crozier (2)
6 Innings LP: Skinner (1-1) 
2 Game 2 0
 WP: E. Bischoff (2-0) 7 Innings LP: C. Phillips (1-1) 
Sun. 8/11  @  6 PM Pervis Memorial Southgate, MI

For the Thrill and All-Star Festivities

Wiff-Hill Grounds
Mercure Park
31973 Fort St
Rockwood, MI
Saturday August 10th, 2013
10 am  -  6 pm
★ ASG at 4 pm ★
$1 HR Derby 10 am - 2:30 pm

* Home team for round robin games will be decided by coin flip or whatever crazy backyard way the teams want to do it.

The 2013 John Hill For the Thrill extravaganza and All-Star Game will be held at the Wiff-Hill Grounds at Mercure Park in Rockwood, home of Belgian Wiffles. The four teams to miss the playoffs are invited to participate in what is commonly referred to as, "the most fun I've had playing this game." The Ducks had to back out. So, joining the Belgian Wiffles, Islanders, and King Friday will be a team of free agent players. Each team will play the other three once, and the two teams with the highest aggregate scores will then play in the For the Thill Championship at 5 pm. The free agent team will play the Ducks round robin games, but will not be allowed to move on to the championship game.

  1. New bats available as game progresses
    1. 1st inning - traditional yellows
    2. 3rd inning - C271s and ProStix
    3. 5th inning - Loco and Nerf Swerve
  2. The quadrants made by the crossed bats on the strike zone will be numbered and used to denote the drawing of a "gimmick" bat to use for the remainder of the at bat.
    1. If a pitch hits the number quadrant of the corresponding inning (1 - 4), the batter must randomly select a “gimmick” bat
    2. A random quadrant will be selected for the fifth inning
    3. 8 papers will be stuck in a wiffleball with different "gimmick" bats on them, a player will choose on of these
    4. If the active quadrant is hit on strike 2, the following batter must choose a "gimmick" bat for their AB
  3. Reverse baserunning
    1. Batters will run clockwise around the basepaths; i.e. run to third base out of the batters box.
  4. Each team will get 1 mulligan per game that can be used to replay 1 pitch.
  5. To walk or not to walk...
    1. When pitched ball 5 the batter has the choice to either take the BB or swing at one soft toss by a teammate with the hole-less ball.
    2. If he takes the soft toss
      1. A ball hit in play is live and played as normal
      2. Hit foul or missed, the batter is out
    3. If the BB is taken, the following batter must randomly select a "gimmick" bat
  6. A team will get 5 steals to use during a game
As is the way of the Thrill many of the rules let run wild. Different (bigger) bats become available throughout the game. "Gimmick" bats and a strike zone to distribute them play the ever-giving role of Jack Skellington's Santa so well. Steal attempts are increased to five per game. Walks are very frowned upon, and batters get a soft way out of them. Accessories and obstacles on the field are an encouraged guarantee, and this year we're even changing up an aspect of the field: baserunners will go around the basepaths in the opposite direction. Teams will also get one mulligan to use on one pitch they deem a necessary do-over. Any rules not stated to change will remain the same as in the WSEM rule-book.

What the full list of "gimmick" bats are will not be announced until Saturday. Rest assured, though, the fan favorite racquets will be returning. There's also a special treat in there for the guys who like to relax during games.

Another new element added this year is a home run derby. From the start of festivities at 10 am through 2:30 pm a derby field will be set up, and everyone is welcome to participate. It will cost $1 to enter for 10 outs with a C271 or ProStix, and you may re-enter as many times as you like; your best round will be counted. The top 4 contestants will then put on their display for all eyes on the Wiff-Hill Grounds at 3 pm, in between pool play and the All-Star Game, to decide the home run derby champion. The winner takes all the prize money home - or possibly some establishment where singles flow like gold.

The derby finals are followed by the All-Star Game. Normal rules, but ten of the best players in the league! The Ringler Division is represented by the 5 players who were voted onto the team. Chris Paquin and Austin Bischoff as pitchers; Evan Bortmas, David Castle, and Jason Hewlett as hitters/fielders. On the other side, Garcia has had to dig into its alternates list with Ryan Alexia and David Buhr joining Dennis Pearson, the only available fielder as voted on. However, the two Garcia pitchers that were voted on, Craig Skinner and Will Mundel, will be in attendance; that alone can guarantee an exciting game. Ringler will be the home team due to winning the season series 47-17. Everyone expects this year's offering to be a much better sequel to 2012's ASG.

The day's festivities come to a close as the two teams with the highest aggregate score from the round robin play for what many consider the greatest title WSEM has to offer, the For the Thrill Championship! One last salvo of shenanigans, unpredictable fortune, and hysterical heroics as the cherry on top of a successful 2013 season. Hope to see you as out there as a fan or playing for the thrill of the game!

Picking the Championship Series

There were a lot of ups and downs in the 2013 Picks. Okay, that's not true. After the first four weeks, Rich and Chris had separated off into an upper strata at 12-5 and 11-6, while David and Alex settled into the lower tier at 7-10 and 6-11, respectively. Within the two groups, however, there was a fair share of give and take, ebb and flow, applying of pressure, and the occasional lead change within the two groups.

Week 5 saw the introduction of the "Lock of the Week," which counted for double, and allowed for more impact in those little movements. At 6-3 on the season, Chris had the most success playing his lock. Alex was tied with a .667 percentage, however, his 2-1 did not quite have as impressive of legs. To be fair, he did try to play a fourth lock on the season during week 7, but the pick was excluded due to a dog bite injury incurred by Sessions. That alone may be the best summary for Alex's season with the Picks. Finally, both Rich and David went 4-5 with their locks. David finished the year strong, going 4-0 on his lock during July; he was also the only Picker who dared to lock down anything from the two Ohio tournaments in week 13. Unfortunately for David, you cannot help but notice how that means he went 0-5 on his lock to start the season. For Rich, the lock is the only thing in which he performed under .500 on the season. If he had it to do over, a smart wager would be that he'd never use the lock again - unless he said with complete confidence, "no way I use the lock," at this point.

As alluded, Rich put together winning week after winning week and led the way most of the season. Until week 11 to be exact. That was when Rich put up a 2-4 record, just his second losing week of the season, and Chris posted his second consecutive 5-1 week to make him 14-1 over the previous three weeks. That put the two in a deadlock for the first time since week 6. Then, week 12 saw Rich drop back-to-back losing weeks for the first time all year. Chris put together a 3-2 week and took his first outright lead of the season. He then padded his advantage in the win column by 1 during the Ohio tournaments (or .02 percentage points). It all came down to the "Final Jeopardy" of Week 14; a format that gave anyone a shot.

Leading the way, Chris played it safe on his wager: putting just 5 points on his team to score 30 runs. Behind him, Rich wagered a little bit steeper: 13 points on Mundel and the Aces pitchers to rack up a ton of Ks, which they easily did with extra innings involved. As should be expected from those trailing, David and the Mayor, standing in for Alex, put up all the points they had - 27 and 25, respectively. The Mayor lost all of his betting on Belgian to quiet the Balls bats; something Alex later lamented, "Oh man. Sounds like a mayor..." On the other hand, David doubled up his number with the correct pick of Ks in the Aces/Isles series.

Final results on the season:   Obviously, Alex - assisted by the Mayor - came in fourth place. His final record: 26-92 (.295). Despite the big boom in the final week, David still finished third with a 58-43 (.574) record. Second place goes to Chris, bitten by his safe play in the final week, with a 51-29 (.638) record. Thus, your 2013 season WSEM Pickers champion is Rich with a 56-31 (.644) record!

Why end there, though? The WSEM Championship is kind of a big deal. We figured let's get these guys involved with it and give three of them a shot at redemption, while letting Rich have a chance to strut his stuff. Just three picks. Quick and simple. For the first all year, though, the picks feature odds. So, the balance of playing the favorite and looking for a good payout becomes key. Here are the guys picks, and below them a breakdown of how they appear to be playing it.

(58 - 43,  .574)

(56 - 30,  .651)

(26 - 62,  .295)

(51 - 29,  .638)
Who will win the 2013 WSEM Championship, and in how many games?

Aces in 5

El Diablos in 5

Aces in 5

Aces in 4
Who will throw the most strike outs in the series?



C. Phillips
coming in because Skinner can't go on after he falls into the moat (you guys have one of those right?)

A. Bischoff
Who will lead the series in batting average?



M. Phillips


Boom. Let's jump in with the two guys employing polar opposite strategies. On the wild side, Alex is essentially saying, 'I'm gonna fucking go for it!' At 1,000:1 if he hits on Mark Phillips leading in average, this competition is over and Alex looks like a genius. I'm not sure how Austin feels about Pete Rose, but there could be a nice payday in here for him if he let Mark go 1 for 1 and retire. Just saying. Also, Alex picks another darkhorse in the younger Phillips to lead in Ks, as Chandler is slated to pitch in at most two games and has a KpI 0.3 below the favorite. Still, the possibility of extra innings always looms and makes the 50:1 payout enticing. By comparison to those two, Alex's pick of the Aces to win in 5 is tame; it has the second highest odds on the book, in between Aces in 4 and El Diablos in 5.

Odds to Win
WA in 4 3:1
WA in 5 4:1
EL in 5 9:2
EL in 4 7:1
WA in 3 18:1
EL in 3 25:1
On the "tea and crumpets" side, Chris apparently has no problem with the results of his safe play in week 14. He has taken the favorites across the board in the Championship Series. Aces in 4 (3:2), Austin to have the most Ks (3:2), and Bortmas to lead in batting average (3:1). Questioned about not learning his lesson, Chris responded, "Maybe so, but that's what's going to happen. Can't pick against logic." He's right; if each of those hits, he wins. However, if just one misses it will be hard to amass enough points to have a shot.

David and Rich both pick Skinner, the second favorite at 4:1, to lead the series in Ks. Not a bad pick at all, and one that could pay off big. Both Pickers also choose a Diablo down the list to lead in average, too. Rich has Lollio, the 2013 batting champion, taking it; the reason Lollio is at 10:1 odds is the uncertainty of his playing time. David takes Ladouceur at 6:1, who has struggled these playoffs, but is a hitter capable of a breakout series at any time. Finally, for the big one, David echoes Alex in picking the Aces in 5 (4:1). Rich is much more unique on this one, as the only Picker having El Diablos to win the series. He has them going the distance and winning in 5, 9:2 odds. Hitting this would not only give him a big edge in this round, but give him a bold pick to gloat about all offseason.

There are some patterns on the board that might possibly help us foresee the winner. Rich won the 2013 season picks challenge, and his entire lineup features El Diablos. David and Alex have Whiteford winning, but then give both other picks to El Diablos. Chris, runner up on the season, is the only one to have an Ace for every pick. Just saying.