May 9th, 2015

krazy koati

Of the beginning, of the beginning

Lansing Pinball League has all its players play each of the four or five tables for the night, and awards points for how many people your score beats that night. That's different from our other leagues, which instead group you with three other people of about the same skill level and award points based on how many of them you beat. Lansing's method has some strengths, including that it's easy to make up a game if you have to come in late or miss a night, and that you aren't going to be stuck playing the same several people after the first two competitions of the season.

In the other leagues if you miss nights, you're still awarded points, based on your mean score. Your standing drops a bit but you'll still be playing people close to your skill level. In Lansing, well, you just sink and that's all. And that didn't matter in previous seasons when the final standing was just your ranking. If you missed a night you did worse in the league than you otherwise might have, and if you decided something else was more important than your standing, that's fine; that's your choice.

With the playoff system put in this season, though, and the two-division scheme, there's suddenly potential to game the system. A good player who misses most of the nights would be ranked in ``B'' Division, but be skilled enough to dominate it in competition. bunny_hugger and I had joked about GRV, the quite-good if inconsistent player who knocked both of us out of the Brighton Arcade league finals, coming to the Lansing finals to take the B Division trophy but we didn't expect he would. Indeed, he did come to hang out (he carpooled with MWS and there's more to that story, to come), but he didn't play. Lansing's machines don't meet his exacting standards for tournament play anyway.

However. Another guy who is, really, an A-class player but who'd only played twice this season, did show up. And he did play and, per the rankings, did so in ``B'' Division. bunny_hugger was heartbroken at this --- she declared it ruined any chance of her winning her division --- although people came over and talked with her and her mood started to improve.

She would lose to him (after her first-round bye thanks to her top seed). She started winning her way back from the Consolation/Losers/Second-Chance Bracket, though. Unfortunately she'd lose to someone else in the division. That player's generally weaker-than-her, but he can still have a good night, and he was having a good one. As a result bunny_hugger took home the third-place trophy in ``B'' Division.

That's heartbreaking, certainly, although it helps a tiny bit that most everyone agrees bunny_hugger --- and for that matter everyone else in ``B'' --- was cheated. They might have felt this way just because of the suspicion of sandbagging, but something else happened, probably securing public opinion.

Trivia: The Philadelphia Athletics in 1883 passed a club rule that ``No member of the team while dressed in his uniform shall be permitted to flirt with or `mash' any female or lady.'' Source: The Rules of Baseball: An Anecdotal Look at the Rules of Baseball and How They Came To Be, David Nemec.

Currently Reading: Beggar Thy Neighbor: a History of Usury and Debt, Charles R Geisst.