KitKat’s Victory Overshadowed by The Big Bad Wolf

15 August | MUD Headquarters

Not to take anything away from KitKat. They played their two playoff games excellently. Captain Karina Ray, true to form, grabbed her second championship in three seasons as a captain (her third championship overall). And she brought the new kid along with her. Kevin “Baywatch” Hsu became the fourth captain to win it all as a first-time leader (the third was Ms. Ray). In the finals, rookie Ella Park-Chan and flown-in Sean Petterson played out of their minds. Park-Chan got her first championship (along with KitKat’s 12 other rookies). Petterson got his seventh in 16 seasons. David Liu got his third championship in four seasons, and league-founder John Kim finally got another big win after a 12-season drought.

But this other team called “The Wolf” screwed up. And screwed finals up for everybody.

In 26 seasons of this competitive league, there have been 1615 games. 173 of those have been playoff games. Impressively we average fewer than three forfeits per season. And nine seasons have seen zero forfeits. This season had five forfeits before last weekend. The Wolf gave away two of them. Then, about 18 hours before pool play was to begin for MUD Summer Finals, which would have guaranteed every team–and the 60 players who had never played MUD before–two playoff games, The Wolf’s embattled, orphaned captain sent this email

From: Mark DQ on August 13 at 6:54pm
It’s shitty, but we need to forfeit. Sorry everyone.

And thus playoffs was reduced to a single elimination affair where at least two teams summed up their 25-or-more-game seasons with a 90 minute, hard-capped game.

Some blame the captains. And not just DQ. Sure he probably should have never even brought up the idea of forfeit, and tried instead to rally even a few players to at least give a kind of warm-up game for the sufficient teams in his pool. Maybe other captains could have tried to reach out to Wolf players or suitable pickups.

Of course, the psychologists will blame Andy Eklund. As discussed previously, his abandonment discolored the standards of acceptable attendance. At least when he did it to Werblin and Wet Hot last summer, that squad showed up just above savage and took five points on the eventual runner-up.

Others blame the rookie-saturated nature of summer league. We averaged ten rookies per team this summer, but The Wolf had the most at 15. That’s 55% of their team. Of the six worst forfeiting teams in MUD history, five of them were in a summer season, four of them had rookie captains, and they averaged nine rookies each. The most forfeits by a single team was in Fall 2009, when Cinco de Layout forfeited six of their 16 games. That rookie captain tended to put her club team first, so her MUD team started to find fun elsewhere.

Priorities are everywhere from club teams to vacation to brunch in the summer. Still, captains need to draft with such priorities in mind and lean on veterans and each other to encourage attendance. We may draft strangers, but let’s work to make them community. 1,235 players have thrown our discs. We’re coming into our tenth year. Protect it.


Who’s coming to Summer 2016 Finals?

12 August | MUD Headquarters

Goodness, miss me? What’s The Latest these days? It’s not that we’ve got three new captains this season, none with losing records, and one team that lost its captain, yet again. It’s not that we drafted the most rookies since MUD’s first summer (8 years and 25 seasons ago). It’s not that there are four new centurions, one new centurion captain, and one new double centurion. It’s not that a team set the record for worst start and worst streak in MUD history. It’s not that this season, for the first time, every team either tricked or got licked by the league, and one team almost did both. It’s not that JB’s face is on the disc, though more on all that below. The Latest is that Finals are upon us, and The Wolf may not even show up.

It’s predicted that Finals this Sunday will be hot. However, Wolf captain Mark DQ says his team plans to throw some shade at the proceedings. Absences may determine the victor this weekend, which is a rather poor way for a season, especially one so loaded with new faces, to go out. Let’s hope we get some true games on Sunday, and let’s help DQ encourage his team to show their new and old faces. He is the defending champ from spring after all.


Rookies Lead the Way

11 August | MUD Headquarters

This season brought us three new captains and they all dominated. Of course, we’re talking about KitKat’s Kevin Hsu, Thanks Obama’s! Aly Martori, and Trapper Keeper’s Stephen Schaffenberger.

Hsu has had a banner season. He led his team, with his co-captain Karina Ray, to a top-seeded regular-season finish. KitKat has the best differential and the best average margin of victory (2.9). KK tricked the league, actually winning six in a row (which was only the third-best streak this season). However, they threw down five victories of ten points or more. While Hsu is a rookie captain, he’s a 15-season veteran player. So he knows how to play this league, and every one does well with Ms. Ray in the huddle.

Aly Martori has dominated marque matchups for four seasons now. She jumped in with Frazer this summer and has led Thanks Obama! to a 13-10, third-seed playoff berth. Obama won a league-best 8 in a row, getting a league trick in the process. That impressive feat was even sweeter considering they were two points away from a league licking at the beginning of the season. Aly just won the finals in the spring. But let’s see if she can get another for Frazer. He hasn’t won in five years.

Stephen Schaffenberger just rolled through his sixth season, and during this one he rode in a captain’s seat. (He and Jeannine might have to fight over who gets the sidecar.) While Schaffenberger wasn’t a losing captain this season, he and J9 didn’t quite bring Trapper Keeper over .500 either (much to Steve Kramer’s heartbreak). Nonetheless, they’ll go into the tournament as the fourth seed, and they’ll remember they had a +7 differential and a positive average margin of victory. They should also recall that time they won seven in a row and tricked the league. And a four-seed won the finals last season.


Frazer Goldberg, 100 Captained Wins

7 July | MUD Headquarters

You may remember Frazer’s story of getting 100 wins as a player: last game of the Sp14 season, 99 wins, 99 loses, several Centurions in attendance, terrible pressure, but he did it. This season Frazer faced a similar dramatics as a captain. Frazer has now captained 13 teams, and he began this summer needing to win 10 games before he lost 7 in order to become a Centurion Captain before he became a Mega-Loser Team Leader. This time, the league got the better of him. Nonetheless, Frazer becomes the league’s third 100-win captain. He got there in 202 games, but he finishes this regular season at 103-103. The Phrase has led three teams to the finals so far, but the only one he won, famously, was as a rookie leader.


Kelsey Brooks, 100 Well-Deserved

7 July | MUD Headquarters

Kelsey has been at this for 15 consecutive seasons now, and that’s the current longest streak for women in this league. When she became a centurion, she’d played 228 games and 4,959 points, not counting playoffs. Chances are pretty good that Kelsey played every one of those points. She’s got one finals victory in her tenure, which happened four and a half years ago in Spring 2012. She’s been to two other finals, but the last one was eight seasons ago. Kelsey is due. And if her team, Thanks Obama!, can maintain the winning ways they put together in the end of the season, Kelsey may see another title, which even Obama is rooting for.


Alex Becker waits for 100

17 July | MUD Headquarters

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

10 July | MUD Headquarters

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 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 Lives Up to the Hype

7 July | MUD Headquarters

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

28 June | MUD Headquarters

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

26 June | MUD Headquarters

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

23 June | MUD Headquarters

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

17 June | MUD Headquarters

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

6 June | MUD Headquarters

At least, greener than we have in a while. At the end of June we’re ditching the dust and ditches 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 60 new kids, we’ve got 82 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 Now

4 June | MUD Headquarters

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.


Fall 2016, Summer 2016, Spring 2016
Fall 2015, Summer 2015, Spring 2015
Fall 2014, Summer 2014, Spring 2014
Fall 2013, Summer 2013, Spring 2013
Fall 2012