Alex Becker waits for 100

New 100 Club Member Alex Becker was first ballot in everyone’s mind this season. He began the season with 98 wins and a spring championship on his back (his third finals win). No one guessed it would take Becker 17 games of this summer to get those final 2 wins. You wouldn’t wish that suspense on anyone. Well, you might wish it on Andy Eklund. Serial deserters should be repeatedly disappointed. When Becker finally did lock up the 100th win, he’d been around for almost 13 seasons, and it took him 203 games. He’s captained five MUD teams, including this season’s Cream Cheese with Hunt Clark, and we’re all happy when he makes his appearances.

John Kim is good for 200

The last time a face was on a disc it was John Kim’s handsome mug. On July 10th those discs doubled in value when John Kim got 200 wins in this league with his team, KitKat. John, of course, is the founder of our league, and has been a seven-time captain who led five of those teams to the finals. As a captain and a player, he’s been around for 25 seasons and in that time he’s been to nine finals and won three of them. John is a guy you want on your team. He obviously brings wins, but also, he provides wisdom, and it’s a guarantee that if he makes finals, he’ll sponsor at least 200 shots.

Cream Cheese Is the Hype

This evening Cream Cheese played Tomatoes!!! and lost. They confirmed captain Hunt Clark’s assertion that his team is “meant for a bagel.” In fact, Cream Cheese just made NYC proud. This is the biggest bagel we’ve ever seen. Cream Cheese has now lost 12 in a row (to start the season!). We’ve never seen worse than that. Jake Hall and Eric Kuo can rest easy. Their ten-loss streaks in Fall12 and Sm10, respectively, are ancient history.

Actually, that Fall12 team included KitKat’s co-captain Kevin Hsu, a PoopStar through and through. And on June 29 of this summer, when Cream Cheese was 0-10, Hsu faced off against the Cheese with a chance to win and get out from beneath that worst-ever shell. Here’s what he had to say about the game.

“History was made last night. Cream Cheese tried their hardest to avoid the schmearing of their name in the annals of MUD. SmileCrab PoopStars alums can rejoice, as they will now only be remembered for their unique, emoji-inspired team name.

“Kit Kat had an embarrassment of riches, starting the game with 13 men and 5 women to Cream Cheese's 7 men and 0 women. In an effort to play a real game, KK lent two of their women to CC, even with the knowledge that history could be made and a PoopStarred stain could be lifted from one of their captains’ past.

“KK took half at 8 to 4, with CC looking gassed. The tide certainly changed after half though, as KK was generous once again, this time with multiple drops and throwaways.

“CC knifed through the KK lines, taking the lead at 9 to 8 with lots of short quick throws through their handler-heavy line. KK scored the next three, making it 11 to 9. Then a cocky Sean Petterson attempted to teapot a wide-open hammer from his captain in the end zone. Emotionally devastated by the drop, KK allowed CC to tie the score up at a very KitKat bar-like 11 to 11.

“With the cap now on, KitKat broke off two pieces and took the game, 13 to 11. Game of the week, indeed.”

Josh Zukoff, 100 too soon

You had to be there, and Zukoff wasn’t. At 99 wins, he pleaded with his team not to win while he was away on business. Tomatoes, of course, won the very next game and gave Zukoff one of the league’s many “not present” Centurion welcomes. But Josh Zukoff’s record is nothing to be sore about. It took him only 162 games to get to 100. This summer is his 11th season, and he’s won 3 titles out of 4 finals appearances. All three of those titles have been in the summer. In fact, Zukoff hasn’t lost a MUD summer tournament yet. Tomatoes better make sure he’s around on August 14th.

Karina Ray, 100 in no time

It took Karina only 160 games to receive her Centurion club card. She did it amid her 11th season, and did it with KitKat, her third captaining gig. Karina is the fourth fastest to 100 (best is Steve Carpenter’s 148), but, interestingly, the fastest five centurions feature three other women in addition to Karina. Can you name them all?

Karina has an awesome record in this league because she is awesome. Though she’s won just two MUD titles, she’s been to the finals six out of ten times. And considering that she makes the finals 60% of the time and that she got to 100 this quick, she’ll need to make more room on that trophy shelf soon.

Discs Have Arrived

Johnny Broadcast returns, this time in plastic. At last, you can catch, hold, be seen with, and even dump Johnny B, just like he did to us after our 2012 romance. No hard feelings though. Throw him far and write him in on the ballot in November. See your captain for details.

Eklund's Backward Priorities

Again this summer, Andy Eklund, the Scott Asher of summer league, abandoned his team, the league, and his co-captain. While Mark DQ has cultivated a lone wolf image and personality, Eklund made it markedly true this summer. The once first place Wolf probably won’t change its name, but they may suffer a lack of identity like what happened to Eklund’s last team. Andy’s in the movie business, and this summer, like last, his craft has taken him away. We can’t blame a man for seeking his living, but we might take issue with the timing. At least Andy left us a write-up of that one time The Wolf beat KitKat.

“The Wolf began the evening down a player. Lauren Arnesen was the only woman to arrive on time for The Wolf. At the start of the game, captain's agreed to a 6-1 or 5-2 offense dictates. Kit Kat received the first pull. The Wolf could not convert after a turnover, and KitKat scored the first point. The Wolf would hold their own until 3 to 3 when one Sara Toguchi arrived. It would be The Wolf's game from there. Half was 8 to 5, and The Wolf never looked back.

"Massive Huck's from Ethan Witkovsky rained down for Wolf receivers to pick up, while MUD newcomer Calvin Deng aptly commanded the field.

"You can't talk about The Wolf without speaking of Danny and Jan, who play their own game in service of The Wolf.

"Mark Andrew and Andrew Mark, the Romulus and Remus of this pack were most pleased with this win.

"The final score was 15 to 8. The Wolf feeds on victory and will sleep well tonight."

MUD Goes Green

At least, greener than we have in a while. At the end of June we’re ditching the ditches and dust at Inwood for Van Cortlandt’s soft pastures. We’ve got ten games scheduled for East River’s fading, but still green turf. And though we still have to deal with Riverside’s bald façade, we’re welcoming 61 rookies this summer. That’s 43.6% of us. Not since MUD’s first summer, back in 2008 has there been such an influx, and we’re all better for it. But we are wary of Fred Merkel’s famous line: “In summer, you live and die by the rookie.” Mateo’s Tomatoes are the most green with 14 newbs, including seven (all) rookie women.

What’s the rest of the league look like? In addition to the 61 new kids, we’ve got 79 veterans, seven of whom have played 20 or more seasons. 65 of those veterans have been to the finals (82%) and 54 have won (68%)—Trapper Keeper has the most players who have won finals. There are nine players returning who just won finals in Sp16—The Wolf has the most of them. We’ve got 19 Centurions and 11 players with a chance to get 100 wins this season (early predictions are that seven will get there).

Summer 2016. Now.

There's a day at the beginning of every week (or the end). It is called Sunday. This year there are 52 of them. And one of them, just one of them, is the start of MUD's singular Summer League. The next Sunday in the history of the world is that Sunday. All possibility commences on June 5th.

Sp16 Finals: Everyone loves a BBQ

In anticipation of Memorial Day, Alex Becker and Mark DQ hosted a league wide BBQ and cooked and ate everyone. They started with The Chosen Ones, and keep in mind they lost this game. But seriously, where's the fun in winning your pool outright? Ask MTA how that worked out.

Against The Chosen Ones, BBQ was sluggish and rusty. It was 10am, but defending champs Sean Petterson and Karina Ray seemed amped to transcend their 5th seed and reach the finals. Chosen welcomed the second appearance of MUD rookie but New York legend Isaiah Bryant, a much-needed talent, considering that Matt Wiener was still on IR and his quick and suitable replacement Elias Kahan was dinged up and out as well. Ben Graf even showed up for Chosen, his first appearance of the season. Chosen played great and BBQ played like they had never seen their opponent before. The final was 13 to 9, Chosen.

In the other pool, MTA was having their way with bottom-seeded JAWS. The subway had beaten the shark all season. And round one was no different. Travis kept his team elevated and ran over Josie and Werblin's fish out of water, 13 to 8.

BBQ next met the top-seeded Rejects. Undeferential, determined, and undeterred, BBQ came out smoking hot. Mateo's The Rejects lacked everywhere. Throws were off, cuts were shut down, and soon confidence waned. It wasn't until the second half that The Rejects scored two in a row. And then only once. BBQ sealed it, 13 to 7, putting themselves up by two points in the pool.

MTA now faced the second-seeded wooloohooshoo. Sakon and EGrad's team suffered a first-round bye fate similar to The Rejects. MTA was still accelerating from their first victory, and WLHS was loitering on the tracks like a bunch of high schoolers. Smash! MTA's Ryan Drost and Devin Erickson-Sheehy were unstoppable. Amy Jin and Sherry Li were unyielding, and MTA's 13-9 victory was inevitable. Bring the finals.

Meanwhile, all was unsettled elsewhere. BBQ tensely prowled the sideline as The Chosen Ones and The Rejects played the last consequential game. A Chosen victory would send Sean and Karina back to the finals (Petterson and Wiener were actually vying for a record 7th consecutive finals appearance). The Rejects had a shot at it too, but they had to win by 8. BBQ would advance with anything in-between. Chosen started with purpose and despite losing Bryant to club tryouts, they went up 4-1. BBQ started to sweat. Timeout. The Rejects knew if Chosen scored 6 points, it was over. In their huddle, Rejects announced it was universe purgatory: the score was really 12 to 1 in their minds, but they took the field believing they had a chance. The Rejects scored the next 8 in a row. BBQ started to panic. Chosen at last made it 9 to 5. And a few points later, BBQ sighed when Chosen made it 10 to 6. Sean admitted he was hoping The Rejects would just roll over after Chosen scored the 6th point, but it was not to be. The Rejects won it 13 to 8 and sent BBQ to meet MTA in the finals, the first finals to not feature Mateo and or Sean in two years.

The Finals was really a battle of the benches. The top players on each team neutralized each other. Jan Vanous described his experience being guarded by Ryan Drost as "in a box." Drost, after an AUDL game (the day before), two MUD pool games, and club tryouts, was a bit like the B train: reliable, but not so much on Sunday evening (also, running local). BBQ scored early and often, and never surrendered the lead. In a clever captaining move, BBQ asked Chris Giblin to cut instead of throw cross-field hammers. Giblin pulled down 8 scores. Aly Martori and Danny Siegel made their marks as well; both playing some of the best ultimate seen this season. The final was 15 to 10. And it was the first time a four seed won the whole thing.

Congrats to BBQ and to all. Including the 17-16 consolation game between WLHS and JAWS on Sunday, we officially played 1323 points in 75 games at 6 locations in 2 1/2 boroughs this spring. That's a job well done. And speaking of good work, Orion Burt just finished his first season as commissioner. We all owe him and Commissioner Suntaree a warm handshake. Surely they'll settle for a cold drink at the bar. After that, summer.

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