Dirtyard Classic: Sunday, August 14
Tailgate: 12 PM EST
First Pitch (Game 1): 2 PM EST
Stream: ISC Sports Network https://www.iscsportsnetwork.com/circle-city-wiffle-ball
We're just two days from a mega heavyweight showdown at the Dirtyard: 8 Balls vs Moonshots. The 8 Balls, making their 5th title appearance, are looking to become the first CCW franchise to win 3 Dirtyard Classics. The Moonshots are trying to #RunItBack and be the first team to win back to back titles. Will Smithey and Taylor Carpenter, locked in a tight (?) MVP race, are each trying to prove to us that they're 2022's most valuable player. Austin Alles is attempting to make history and become the first rookie to win Silver Slugger.
Oh! And for the first time in league history, we'll have a live game streamed on television. So, ALLLLL of this juicy drama will unfold LIVE in front of the eyes of millions (rough estimate) of viewers at home.
There's a LOT on the line here, people! Let's use the treasure trove of advanced analytics and data that we have available to analyze and predict a winner!
Hitting: The Shots are right at league average in most of the offensive categories, right where the top team should be in a newly “balanced” league. Enter Austin Alles, who decided balance is just not something he’s interested in this year. Thanks to his surprise production, the 8 Balls are miles ahead of the Moonshots (and the rest of the league). I think Smithey will neutralize some of this offense’s effectiveness, but it’s still the best lineup in the league.
Advantage: 8 Balls (1-0)
Pitching: The 8 Balls have the advantage when it comes to depth, but the Moonshots have the best arm in the league in Will Smithey. Oh, by the way, Smithey “felt like crap” last Sunday and still spun two shutouts to get his squad to this point.
Advantage: Moonshots (1-1)
Fielding: Both squads feature top-tier fielders in Church and Carpenter. The problem for the 8 Balls is that Carpenter is also the starting pitcher for games 1 and 3. Aside from those two, the next best fielder is Moonshots’ Tyler Gregory. With Speek inactive and Carpenter’s limited defensive innings, the 8 Balls just don’t match up.
Advantage: Moonshots (2-1)
Experience: The 8 Balls have Speek, and his experience goes a LOOOONG way, but the Moonshots entire roster (minus Witty) was in this series last year. They have the reigning MVP (CCW & NWLA) plus 3 CCW OGs in Church, Voris and Gregory.
Advantage: Moonshots (3-1)
Drunkenness: Will Smithey simply does not drink during Wiffle. The pressure here is on Taylor Carpenter, who gets better as the Diesels go down. However, I worry that the pressure of this series might cause him to drink less. Does he have a teammate who will be willing to slap him and tell him to walk over to the cooler in between ABs?
Advantage: Moonshots (4-1)
Looks: Ironically enough, if these two teams were playing in a good looks tourney, this would also be the championship matchup. Headlined by Carpenter, Voris, Speek, Gregory and Church, there are like 18 guys in this series that have a legit chance at cracking Ashley Hopkins’ 2023 Top 10 hottest CCW players. Gregory’s dad-bod is only improving, Alles, Witty and Voges are emerging as breakout candidates, Smithey and Ball bring a ruggedness that can’t be taught. It’s truly amazing. The cameras are in for a treat.
Advantage: tie/the women watching from home (4-1-1)
Work/Life/Wiffle Balance: I’m pretty sure Smithey works about 8 remote hours per week and spends the other 32 hours cutting Wiffle balls, honing his pitch command and wiggling his mouse so that his boss thinks he’s still there. Who knows what Carpenter is doing at this point - Librarian? DJ? Yoga instructor? Whatever the case, he may spend more time at the Dirtyard than anyone in the league. Church’s dad— erm, boss just gave him unlimited vacation days. Speek’s Amerifence schedule is actually built AROUND Wiffle, not the other way around. Alles is likely a bodybuilder whose main career goal is to single-handedly keep Wiffle in business from all the replacement balls we have to buy after he hits them. Tyler Gregory watched the NWLA Championship live stream while HIS CHILD WAS POPPING OUT!! Every single player in this series was born to Wiffle. They’re dawgs and there’s a reason they kicked the rest of our asses all year long.
Advantage: Tie (4-1-2)
Jerseys: The 8 Balls will roll out not one, but TWO b-e-a-utiful, hard-to-go-wrong-with black and red jerseys.
Advantage: 8 Balls (4-2-2)
Rooting Interest: Hm… the 8 Balls lost a LOT of their hatability with the addition of Carpenter, and this section revolves entirely around him. With the Moonshots almost all having a title, I think it would be cool to see Taylor finally get his.
Advantage: 8 Balls (4-3-2)
Calves: Austin Alles
Advantage: 8 Balls (4-4-2)
Knowledge of the League Rules: Whichever team has Mike Speek loses this one. We love you Mike, but GET THIS MAN A RULE BOOK!!!
Advantage: Moonshots (5-4-2)
If The Game Were to Break Out Into A Brawl: See “Calves”. I’m fairly certain that Alles would simply pick people up and snap them over his tree trunk legs. Then whoever’s left standing would get RKO’d by Voges.
Advantage: 8 Balls (5-5-2)
After all that advanced analytical analysis, we’re TIED!? Unbelievable and in no way scripted. It looks like you’ll have to make your way to the Dirtyard on Sunday at 2 PM to see how this one shakes out!
Jokes aside, both teams are loaded with awesome players and this series has the potential to be one of the best our league has seen. Whether in person or via stream, DON’T MISS IT!