- WELCOME TO THE GIWA OFFICIAL WEBSITE YOUR ONE STOP FOR THE BEST WIFFLEBALL ACTION IN NORTH JERSEY
- "ADVERSITY CAUSES SOME MEN TO BREAK; OTHERS TO BREAK RECORDS"
- "YOU CAN BECOME A WINNER ONLY IF YOU ARE WILLING TO WALK OVER THE EDGE"
- DW...DO WORK
A Look at the GIWA's Aces
Pitches: Slider, curve, 2-hole fastball, screwball/reverse slider, riser
Signature/strikeout pitch: the Widowmaker(slow hard biting curve)
Strengths: pounds the zone, tons of experience, great movement
How to beat him: look for a slider or screwball up
Pitches: curve, slider, sinker, riser, 2-hole fastball, changeup, knuckleball
Signature pitch: "Smitty City" a perfectly placed inside slider that is tough to hit in fair territory
Strengths: changing speeds, hitting spots, utilizing different arm angles
How to beat him: Be aggressive, foul off the junk. ?He'll throw a lot of strikes, many of them on his terms. ?Battle through until you get yours.
Pitches: slider, "12-6 style" curve, 2-hole fastball, changeup, riser, sinker
Signature/strikeout pitch: ScrewUball(a screwball that comes right at a righty before dropping low and away)
Strengths: changing speeds, hitting corners, movement
How to beat him: hit him early in the count when he throws the most strikes 0-2 and 1-2 counts mean nasty stuff, often outside the zone. ?Look for a hanging slider on the middle of the plate. ?Learn to go oppo.
Pitches: 2-hole fastball, slider
Signature pitch: "Dirty knuck" (Flexer's knuckle curve that dances and dives. ?Thrown 60-70% of his pitches)
Strengths: quick pitching, pounding the zone with the dancing knuckleball
How to beat him: he'll get lazy at times.. Look for ANYTHING up in the zone, especially the fastball or slider
Pitches: Curve, slower curve, slowest curve, 2 hole fastball, changeup
Signature pitch: "The Snake" (the slowest, highest looping curve you've ever seen. ?Designed to ensure you can't hit it fair. ?Placed in the up and in portion of the k zone)
Strengths: changing speeds, hitting spots, incredibly intelligent
How to beat him: look for a slow curve that he misses on and throws out over the middle of the zone
Pitches: Slider, curve, 2-hole fastball, riser, changeup
Signature pitch: Slider(uses his version to break into the zone very late, right around the hands)
Strengths: keeps hitters off balance through location and movement. ?Mixes inside and outside pitches well
How to beat him: look for pitches over the heart of the zone that he'll occasionally miss with, especially later in games. ?He's Nasty for 4-5 innings and then beatable. ?Beat him late.
"The Ode" by Billy Wolfrum
A man drilled holes in a ball instead of his wife
This new ball was given to his son as a gift,
Who discovered it could be used to make his dad ?whiff?
Sinkers and curves would fall just like Niagara,
While others would rise just like Viagra
This game would become a new backyard classic,
A way to get back at your brothers for getting your ass kicked
It could even be played by drunk uncle Ed
Who was in the corner vomiting next to the shed
Some people wrote wiff off as just a game,
But those who stepped between the lines were never the same
But it wasn't until a new wiffle ball league
That the sport would be Seagaled and taken under siege
Friends gathered and played after school at Court K
And the future was written and branded as G-I-W-A.
They pleaded to the groundskeepers but they just couldn?t please em
And they were kicked out of their new roman coliseum
The tourneys were attended by thousands of fans
Who all heard the tales of grandeur and walk off grand slams
The tourneys grew and grew, the players got better
The home runs went farther, the groupies got wetter
All day you'd see slurves and balls that bend more
Than a Russian Olympic gymnast looking to score
The teams would find the feeling's fantastic,
To clear the bases with one crack of plastic
Once on the field legends were made,
Control was taken and heavy debt was left unpaid
Though they sound like candy, it's sure not a joy
To go out and get shelled by the great M&M boys
The original team the well respected Domers,
Wolfrum makes widows and Prisco rakes homers
One of the founders Drew has more gold than Schiff
Also the great wifflers the Yosts and Rob Smith
And a toast to our fearless leader of course the Cos,
Who can talk wiff til he's stiff in the jaws
Some pundits complained the league would go straight to hell
If the GIWA let in teams from the B.W.L.
But the 93 Phils and Upper Deckers proved they were more than lucky
They were Penn Staters who crushed more balls than Sammy Sosa
All for the taste of $3 champagne for the winning team,
Which is sweeter than the sweetest nectarine
Instead of "play ball" the ump makes it clear,
After the games he decrees "party beer"
10 years of iron just like Lou Gehrig
This 10 will still have fewer curves than Bo Derek
For 10 years we've battled and taken our stand
To compete for the most prestigious trophy in all the land
So remember the thrills and the chills from the last 10 years
And the ones we don't remember after all of those beers
I can't wait for the next 10 cuz it will always be a blast
To strike all you out and watch you all fall on your ass
5 Thoughts on the 10th Annual GIWA Championship
1.) M&M Boys - 10 Titles between them. 3-0 together in championship games. 14-2 over the first three years of the tournament. Few things more could be said about the greatest team of all time... or is there. Let's take a look at a few things that could make them end up being the most over-hyped teaming (or re-teaming) we've ever seen.
a.) Their championship runs(at least two of them) were in a different era for the tournament. The game didn't evolve into what it is now for at least another year or two. Keep in mind, the first two tournaments were fast pitch.. and played in the fall, not the summer.
b.) There were less teams when they won, and the last year that they played together was the first year the Yosts, Rob Smith, and Kyle Kennon all played in the tournament.. let alone the Nick Wade's, Bryan Younghans, and James Bucci's of the wiff world.
c.) The pressure to win this tournament may be greater than any team has ever faced. They will have extremely high expectations, and massive bullseyes on their backs. It is the highest stakes tournament in GIWA history, and everyone wants to win it.
d.) No one knows how Rob Herrera will recover after the most disappointing performance of his career. The 8 time finalist never failed to reach the final game last year, when he failed to get out of the first round. Many question whether he'll be able to recover from such a disappointment.
e.) Their split in 2006 was bad, perhaps the ugliest in wiff history. Their friendship has long been back on track, but only time will tell how strong it really is when they're on the field.
2.) Domers - Billy Wolfrum underwent major heart surgery earlier this year and it was questioned whether or not he'd be able to contend this August, or ever again.
He made a guarantee in the very beginning of the Spring that he would be back and ready to go for the Big One. But that doesn't mean that he's going to be at his best.. The Domers made it to their first semi final game in 4 years in 2011. Bill did an excellent job in helping to make that happen by being his usual dominating self on the mound. As has been the case for the Domers in years past, the team seemed to have run out of gas during the semi final game against the eventual champions, Wiff My Balls.
The question that begs to be answered on 8/25 is, "will the heart surgery mean that the team will finally have the energy to make the final push into the championship game, or will the continuing recovery from the injury mean that Wolfrum may run out of gas earlier?"
3.) Someone is about to be elected to the GIWA Hall of Fame. Will that mean complacency or will he/they elected still maintain the fire in their belly?
We know that of the candidates half have won the Cup, and half have not. So does that mean if Herrera, Flexer, or Pulitano get in, having achieved all that their is in our game, that there's nothing more to work for? How could that potentially affect the M&M Boys if one gets in this year and the other does not?
4.) Rob Smith is still without a partner. The GIWA is finally ready to release the fact that his partner WAS to be Dennis Arvidson. A deal brokered by the commissioner, as an attempt to add more pagentry to the 10th tournament, Arvidson was to fly in the morning of the tourney and arrive to an over-the-top entrance, thus reuniting one of the MOST popular, and least likely duos, "Smiggy".
Unfortunately, despite having booked his flight, and having the contract details with Smith finalized, Arvidson's career in film ultimately is keeping him in Florida.
The GIWA is very sad that our good friend, and long time competitor, Dennis Arvidson will not be able to attend. We look forward to seeing his return, and his name as an addition to the H.O.F. Ballot in 2013.
If you or someone you know is interested in teaming with two-time GIWA Champion Rob Smith, please contact Pete or Rob.
5.) Here's the five games we're REALLY looking forward to seeing in 2012(predictably, 4 of them feature the same team. guess who..):
5 - M&M Boys and Wiff My Balls - the defending champions, and most unlikely of undefeated tournament champions in history against the team they'd love to be, the ONLY back-to-back(-to-back) champions in GIWA history. You can bet that everyone would be hoping to have the time to watch this one, and that it would be a largely unfavorable crowd for the team from Bergen County.
4 - Domers and M&M Boys - Perhaps the most epic championship game of all time was played by these two ORIGINAL GIWA teams.. temperatures in the low 40's, perhaps the single most dominating tournament pitching performance in history (by Wolfrum), and carryover from the greatest come from behind tournament win in history(by the M&M Boys) led to this 17 inning CLASSIC. How great would it be to see it replayed, maybe with a different ending, after all the years of frustration that the Domers have gone through in just trying to get back to the title game?
3 - M&M Boys and ORIGINAL M&M Boys - Casey Cullinan returns to the GIWA as a replacement for Mike Yost, and brings with him the claim that he and Brian Yost were the original M&M Boys back in Lake Parsippany as kids. Herrera and Flexer won't even comment on the subject(or were not available for comment at the publishing of this article). One has to imagine that this will amount for one more major bullseye on the backs of the tournament's undisputed # 1 seed.
2 - 7 Oaks Killas and M&M Boys - Herrera. Flexer. Cosentino... and welcome Nick Wade to what has been the greatest (often 3 way) rivalry in wiff history. Great friends off the field, these guys HATE each other on the triangle. Herrera and Flexer won the first championship in the most dramatic of fashions, a walk off grandslam. The ensuing celebration was utter madness as Flexer ran shirtless through the street. Cosentino hasn't forgotten, and neither have his opponents. Flexer is yet to beat the 7 Oaks Killas. Herrera is yet to play them. Both Flexer and Herrera have said they'd love to see Pete win it in the 10th tourney, but it's hard to believe that sentiment would carry into a game with him, and uber-competitive partner, Nick Wade.
and the #1 game we hope to look forward to.....
1 - '93 Phillies and the Upper Deckers. Oh boy is there bad blood here. Three years ago, it was doubtful Nick Pizzi was going to play after a major back injury nearly sidelined the PA Ironman just days before the big one. Joe Marascio's surprise teammate was to be his ex fiance, Iris. In 2011, Marascio returned to the tournament as a single man.. James Bucci, of the '93 Phillies, did not. Iris was now his girlfriend. The two were dying for a chance at playing each other on the fields where many other disputes have been settled, and have even come full circle(see Flexer and Herrera 2006 vs 2012). Unfortunately, the matchup never happened. These two teams have risen to the occasion of playing for the biggest prize in Wiff each year, becoming two of the best up and coming squads in recent years. We'd love to see them battle it out in a quarter final matchup this year... for PA pride, for personal vendettas, and for a shot at the cup. Pizzi's pitching, Joe's bat, Bucci's defense, and Bocella's all around play could make for the best game of the year....maybe the last 10.
WiffSTRONG wins second championship together! Herrera makes it a full hand worth of rings (Results)
1.) WiffSTRONG... 3-1
2.) LP Wifflers.. 3-1
3.) 93 Phillies.. 2-2
4.) Domers....... 2-2
5.) Wiff My Balls 0-4
Zach 'Whiskey' Jameson Division
1.) 7 Oaks Killas 4-0
2.) R & D........ 3-1
3.) Upper Deckers 2-2
4.) Wiff This.... 1-3
5.) RUPC......... 0-4
3.) Upper Deckers @ 2.) LP Wifflers - Winner LPW
3.) 93 Phillies @ 2.) Rippin & Dippin - Winner R&D
LP Wifflers @ 7 Oaks Killas - Winner LPW
Rippin & Dippin @ WiffSTRONG - Winner WiffSTRONG
LPW @ WiffSTRONG - Winner and champion, WiffSTRONG
Nick Pizzi, PA's ironman, throws out back, seriously doubtful for tournament
Cosentino commented that, "Pizzi is the epitome of CPTP and stands for everything this tourney is about. If he can get there Saturday, playing or not, it'll be our honor for him to throw out the first pitch."
Marascio is actively seeking an experienced replacement. Please contact Pete or Joe if interested or you know someone who may be.
5 time champ Flexer questionable for tourney
Meet the 2010 Teams
10.) Wiff This
Led by Imran "the Indian Outlaw" Chowdhury(Reading, PA - BWL), Wiff This looks to build on Chowdhury's success in 2009 and display what cannot be denied as one of the faster defenses in the GIWA. Newcomer, Eric Gauer(K.O.P., PA - WWL), will have big shoes to fill as Imran's teammate. He will have to make up for the experience and presence of Nick Wade, who was lured away in the offseason by a big money offer from the Cos Industries ownership team.
Defensively, this team should be decently strong so long as the two can show soft hands. Their unmistakeable weakness will be the lack of pitching and moreso, a Championship quality ace. None the less, if they can keep the ball in the park, and make the plays they should, they should be able to stay in most of their games. Wiff This will benefit offensively from Chowdhury's south paw bat. Gauer is relatively unproven against grade A pitching but reports out of PA indicate claim he can hit for some power. We'll see Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: 1-3 in pool play, and competitive performance in 2 of their three losses.
9.) '93 Phillies
Named for the team that lost to the Blue Jays in the '93 series, James Bucci makes his return to the National Championship tournament for his 3rd appearance. Remembered for his ballsy play in the 2007 tournament in which he and then-partner Nick Pizzi came up just short of a trip to the final 4. Perhaps one of the most memorable images of recent championships was that of blood gushing down his leg that very year. He has quietly epitomized what CPTP is about and looks to bring that back again this year. For a player of his experience level now, he is perhaps the least known player in the GIWA. Speed, solid D, and an ever-improving bat could make 2010 the year he's recognized as a marquee player.
His partner, known in PA simply as "Bobo", brings a good deal of hype along with him. Joe Marascio of the WWL has called him a rising star with good stuff on the mound and a halfway decent bat. Another source with knowledge of his talent has called him a "poorman's version of Pete Cosentino" on the mound, "the movement and similar pitches coming from the left side.. without the ability to locate or the knowledge and experience". The '93 Phillies like Wiff This, the Long Valley Boys, and of course the L.P. Wifflers benefit from having one bat from the left side, and one from the right - a factor that is certain to keep their opponents off balance.
Prediction: 1-3. Playing in the difficult Schmolze Division, they'll be lucky to come out with a win. It's likely that win would come against Wiff My Balls, but James Bucci has been a part of some special games in the past and who knows if they can pull off two wins and have a shot at moving on.
8.) Long Valley Boys
He's back! After disappearing from wiffleball for 6 years, Gerald Murphy is back to right the wrongs of his last appearance.
Unfortunately he has to do it without his Smash n Gas partner. But Murphy is confident in the lefty that he has brought in to replace him, Pete Arvay. Arvay was a standout at West Morris Central HS in baseball. He hopes to become yet another baseball-turned-wiffleball star. Arvay is expected to be the regular outfielder for the team, which means that Murphy will have to step up and be an ace.
The last time we saw him on a mound, he suffered a loss in one of the biggest upsets in tournament history. Now he's going to be trusted with carrying his new team through a stronger, more experienced field of teams than he ever saw in 2003 or 2004. Murphy has been working hard for this, though. He's been training very hard at the new SnG training center in Arlington, VA with his former partner to learn to pitch. The biggest question mark remains, however, can he throw strikes consistently and locate at strong enough level to perhaps compete in a spot not just in the final 6, but maybe the final four.
Murphy's arm remains a big question mark. But perhaps just as important, is how will Pete Arvay - another lefty bat adapt to the best junk of the GIWA's aces. One thing's for sure, if given the opportunity, with Murphy's bat, the duo should score some runs!
Prediction: More questions than answers for this team, unfortunately. 1-3 if Gerald cannot throw strikes. 2-2 if he can. 3-1 if Pete Arvay, one of the tournaments largely unknown players, turns out to be a stud at the plate.
7.) Wiff My Balls
Bryan Younghans, the youngest player since Rob Herrera in 2003 to reach the Semi finals, is back again. Last year these 'legend killers' took out both Aces Wild and the Domers en route to a final four loss to WiffSTRONG. Younghans hopes to repeat his performance in 2010, but there's one major difference.
Teammate, and ace, Mike Origoni is out for this year's tournament and very little is known about his replacement. Younghans did a great job in recruiting last year and brough in Origoni who was the tournament's Rookie of the Year. Because of this, it's very difficult to predict how this team will do. If it's really Younghans that is the true talent here, it's going to be another solid run for the team. If the new partner does not have what Origoni had, it could be a short day.
The last team to be as successful as Wiff My Balls was last year was the Domers in 2005. They made it all the way to the finals in their first tournament. The next year, however, they struggled with the famed sophomore wiff curse(also see Smash n Gas 2004) and were out after pool play. Could that be the case for Wiff My Balls?
Prediction: 1-3. They will either beat the '93 Phillies and lose to the three 'big boys' in the division, or will upset one of the 'big boys' and lose to the '93 Phillies.
New Coaches Poll Ranking and Computer Rankings
Neighbor News Coaches Poll
1. Rippin' & Dippin'
3. LP Wifflers
* Most agreed that if they were playing this is where Ken Pig Win would fit
5. 7 Oaks Killas
6. Upper Deckers
7. Wiff My Balls
8. Long Valley Boys
9. '93 Phillies
10. Wiff This
East Coast Wiffle Alliance Computer Rankings
(# to right of team is their average weighted score on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest)
1.) Rippin & Dippin.8.6225
3.) LP Wifflers.....6.9725
5.) 7 Oaks Killas...5.455
6.) L V Boys........4.7075
7.) Upper Deckers...4.395
8.) 93 Phillies....3.535
9.) Wiff My Balls..3.255
10.) Wiff This......2.4325
2010 Selection Monday! Pools Selected
The tournament will consist of two pools, named for former GIWA retired greats.. Each team will play the other 4 teams in their pool and the top 3 teams from each pool will move on. The full schedule has been developed prior to the drawing and will be released later this week.(The process was supervised by Gerald Murphy, as Bill Wolfrum and Rob Prisco - Board Members, and Bryan Younghans listened in; the Selection was audited by Rebecca M. Doub, CPA of CB&H Certified Public Accountants)
Without further ado, here are the two divisions:
Wiff My Balls.....EWL.......Bergen County, NJ
L.P. Wifflers.....GIWA......Lake Parsippany, NJ
'93 Phillies......WWL.......Wayne/King of Prussia, PA
Domers............GIWA......Denville/Little India, NJ
Zach 'Whiskey' Jameson Division
Upper Deckers.....WWL.......Wayne/Collegeville, PA
Rippin' & Dippin' GIWA......Randolph/Montague, NJ
L.V. Boys.........NVWL......Arlington, VA/Long Valley, NJ
7 Oaks Killas.....Multiple..Atlanta, GA/Reading, PA/Phoenixville, PA
Wiff This.........BWL.......Reading, PA/K.O.P., PA
Bob Prescoeson's Pool by Pool Breakdown
2009 GIWA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW
BY: BOB PRESCOESON
COURT K DIVISION:
1. Wiff My Balls: Despite all of the recent practice of this team consisting of Bryan Younghans and never heard of reported ace, Mike Origioni, it is hard to see WMB move pass the pool play round. Younghans was spectacular in his GIWA debut, but despite his performance his team has not been able to eclipse the hump to gain GIWA stardom. Face it with match ups against two of the best teams in the GIWA and playing a weak Emerson League schedule, expect WMB to be smelling the roses on the sidelines while watching the playoffs.
Prediction: OUT IN POOL PLAY
2. Rippin’ & Dippin’: Quite possibly the favorite coming into the tournament, R&D look to cement themselves as one of the best teams to ever enter the GIWA. Lead by Kevin Flexer and Drew Pulitano, R&D through experience and other teams fear of them, be able to advance to the playoff round. Only one of the teams in the Court K Division should present a challenge to this highly skilled team, that being Aces Wild.
3. Aces Wild: Lead by possibly the best pitching staff in the game right now, Pete Cosentino and Kyle Kennon look to win their first ever GIWA championship. Pitching has never been the problem for AW, in fact they have had the lowest era among active teams for the past 3 years, but it has always been the buzz saws know as Flexer or Herrera to mow them down come playoff time. Look for the matchup with R&D to see who comes out on top in this pool. Expect AW to advance to the playoffs easily.
4. TBA: This TBA team is and probably will be a jobber team. Rumors swirling around to be a Nick Berg League team to sign for the 15th, or possibly the young Rupp Brothers out of Denville as an emergency fill in. Whoever it is don’t expect much except adding to the run differential for the other teams come tie breaker time.
Prediction: OUT IN POOL PLAY
1. STPFD: Coming out of a semi retirement, Casey Cullinan and Wally Gilgorri, look to respark their memorable tournament performances of the past. Rust may come into factor for this team but with luck on their side they drew a rather weak overall pool and should move on into the playoff round come Saturday. The most intriguing matchup for STPFD is against the Domers which will more than likely decide the fate of the pool.
Prediction: SECOND RD.
2. The Domers: The heavy favorites of the Freedom Division look for their first GIWA National Championship after seven years together. Lead by the arm of Billy Wolfrum one of the all time winningest pitchers in the GIWA and the bat and legs of Rob Prisco the single tournament home run king, the Domers should in the end win this pool.
3. Master of Our Domain: This rookie team consisting of Dave Fuentes and Brian Wolfrum, younger brother of Domers superstar Billy Wolfrum, look to impact and shake up the GIWA rankings. Although not the most skilled team in the league, the previous baseball experience and knowledge of the GIWA rules will help. They have the potential to advance to the second round but will more than likely not. The matchup with STPFD will deside their ultimate fate in the pool.
Prediction: OUT IN POOL PLAY
4. Tenacious Yard Gnomes: Another first time team in the GIWA, lead by one of the best players ever to come out of PA Nick Wade, TYG look to prove that PA is quality wiff. Alongside Wade is first time GIWA National Championship performer Imran Chowdhury, the first Indian to play in the GIWA. Chowdhury will have to rely heavily on Wade if the TYG want to gain any success in the pool. Look for the matchup between TYG and MoOD to be a real barnburner.
Prediction: OUT IN POOL PLAY
1. LP WIFFLERS: This Lake Parsippany power consisting of the Yost brothers Mike and Brian look to impress upon the previous year achievement of brother Mike. Considered one of the most feared hitting teams in the league with power from both sides of the plate, LP Wifflers have what it takes offensively to slug with the best. In the pool with the most parity expect the matchup between LP and the UpperDeckers to be one of the best in the opening round, especially with the tendency for PA teams to trouble the Yosts.
2. PigHorr: One of the biggest free agent deals to ever hit the GIWA happened this off season with the contract agreement between Rob Herrera formerly of WiffStrong and continuous journey man Dennis Arvidson. PigHorr can match power with the best of them, including the LP Wifflers, expect many home runs to come out of this pool. But in the end the matchup between these two veteran duos to more than likely decide the higher seed out of the pool.
Prediction: SECOND RD
3. Real Freaky Naughty: Finally a team name for the duo of Mike Luzzi and Jay Prisco, the legendary quote from one of the funniest movies of all time, Dodgeball. Hopefully the team can live up to expectations set for them. Being possibly the most athletic team in the GIWA RFN could use their athleticism to give teams a tough time. In this pool they match up well with teams because of their prior baseball experience along with their progressions through rookie camp. Expect the matchup between Pig Horr and Real Freaky Naughty to entertain with the possibility of making or breaking a team dreams of GIWA glory.
Prediction: OUT IN POOL PLAY
4. UpperDeckers: The team of Joe Marascio and Nick Pizzi is the current longest running PA franchise in GIWA history. With experience now on their side and the upper hand against the LP Wifflers in three consecutive games, could this be the year that a PA team makes the semi-finals? Unfortuantely for them, the UD play in one of the most well balanced pools in GIWA tournament history. From top to bottom, every game in the Reservoir Division is life or death.
Prediction: OUT IN POOL PLAY
(Final schedule will include one random out of pool game to be announced with full schedule. Each team will play 4 games: 3 versus pool opponents, 1 versus random opponent)
Court K Division
1.) Wiff My Balls(Bryan Younghans/partner
2.) Rippin & Dippin
3.) Team TBA(if you know a team interested, please contact Pete)
4.) Aces Wild
5.) Save the Plastic..
6.) The Masters of Our Domain(Fuentes/Br. Wolfrum)
8.) Tenacious Lawn Gnomes(Imran/NICK WADE** <-- changed 8/11)
9.) LP Wifflers
Miller High Life Cold Hard 12 Pack of Questions
MILLER HIGH LIFE
12 PACK OF COLD, HARD
By: Bob Prescoeson
1. Will one of the rookie teams pull an upset of an established GIWA team?
From: H. Rowengartner
Bob Prescoeson: Odds are in their favor for at least one upset. Look at years past with the Upperdeckers upsetting the eventual champion three years in a row. This years crop of rookies seems to be the best the GIWA has ever seen along with the aging of the established GIWA players. Obviously the upset depend on the match up but look for Wiff My Balls and Prisco/Luzzi to break some GIWA hearts this summer. On the other end look for possibly LP Wifflers and PigHorr to be heart broken.
Pete Cosentino: Difficult to say. Rookie teams tend to struggle more so than teams that have at least 1 year of experience. The fact is: only one rookie team has had a winning record in the tournament(L.P Wifflers in 2005). If I had to pick, however, I’d say that given his strong performance in his GIWA sanctioned debut – I’d go with “Little Red Big Bat” Bryan Younghans and whomever is lucky to be his partner.
2. Will the Wallups return?
From: P.W. Herman
BP: Hopefully!!!! All I can say is that Bill Wolfrum as a writer and person is one of the funniest people on the planet, and we just want more.
PC: Bill Wolfrum has taken a sabatacle from writing for Leaguelineup.com/GIWA to focus on his GIWA playing career first and foremost. Every major athlete has other interests besides their career.. for Bernie Williams, its his music; for Kaz Tadano, it was the company of men on camera; and for the Human Wolf, it has been his writing for the league’s website.. Unfortunately, all had to put their second loves on the backburner for some time. We hope the Wolf will give us something though before the 15th.
3. Will Bryan Younghans of Wiff My Balls ever get a hit off of Pete Cosentino of Aces Wild?
From: N. Cosentino
BP: Chances are no. Younghans looked utterly awful against the crafty lefty veteran, striking out nearly every time he faced Cosentino. This is not a good sign for Wiff My Balls because in order to be successful in the GIWA players need to be able to adapt to every scenario and in this case Younghans could not.
PC: Younghans knew what his weakness was after his debut: hitting lefties. Its fairly common that new players in the GIWA adjust to righties before they do to the southpaws. Give him sometime and I’m sure he’ll adjust to the learning curve. (Though I certainly hope he does not.)
4. Will someone pull a Joe Marascio and pass out after an early exit or injury?
From: Randolph PD
BP: Signs point to definitely yes. Members of the GIWA take their wiffleball seriously and losing in it even more so. Look for an early upset victim to hit the bottle hard after a shocking exit. All signs point to pass out town Mr. Marascio and Mr. Pizzi.
PC: While I don’t think it will be the boys from Wayne, PA, I do think that we will see someone take their frustration from a poor performance out on a bottle. It’s what the GIWA is all about. And for the record, Marascio’s broken 4th metacarpal in 2007 may have held him back from playing.. but he sure showed us all what loving wiff is all about on that day.
5. Will Michael Luzzi touch the sun?
From: Y. Artyukhin
BP: This 6’8” Russian god could pretty much just do whatever he damn well pleases, so touching the sun should not be a problem. A bigger question for Luzzi will be if he can survive a day long tournament of pitching? If so, then look for Luzzi as potential rookie of the year along with a trip to the playoffs.
PC: “If he dies, he dies.”
6. Will Jason Prisco be overshadowed by a much better looking and much better wiffler in his brother Rob Prisco?
From: B. Younghans
BP: The answer is definitely yes. Although Jason Prisco has all the promise in the world, he is no where near the level of attractiveness or skill as his elder brother Rob. Rob is considered a legend of the game and Jason has just begun his career. Ask this question a few years down the line and maybe things will have changed.
PC: Will he be? Hasn’t he been over the first 21 years of his life? Side note: If Jay Prisco is absent from the tourney on 8/15, expect a lifetime ban to be handed down.
7. What team will win the award for Jobber Team of the Year?
From: J. Ross
Fort Bragg, CA
BP: Well at this point the odds on favorites are the team of Imran Chowdhury and Matt Haskins. Notorious jobbers out of Penn St Berks Chowdhury and Haskins are about as effective as a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. Look for career days from their opponents.
PC: I’m not going to disagree with this one. While Haskins was a finalist in the 2006 BWL championship tournament, he has struggled against the best talent that played there: Wade and Cosentino, expect this to continue. Chowdhury will make history as the first Indian player in the GIWA National Championship and brings pitchers a different look from the left side of the plate, but I don’t see his talent carrying over into what it takes to win here. They will definitely not be the worst team to grace the GIWA, but I don’t expect them to win more than a game or two(if they’re very lucky) in 2009. Hopefully for them, this will be the start of a nice career here, though.
8. Will Drew the Hermit come out of his cave?
From: Paul of Thebes
BP: Hopefully yes. Drew is one of the original members of the GIWA and is much missed by his fellow wifflers. The GIWA needs the smartest hitter in the game back to defend his crown that he so rightfully earned last season, plus I miss his mom.
PC: Due to the sensitivity of the issue, I have no comment. I would like to go on record by saying that I really hope he does, however.
9. Will The Domers reach the promise land and make it back to a final?
From: M. Jackson
BP: The answer to this is one is a resounding yes. With the off season training regiments of both Bill Wolfrum and Rob Prisco The Domers on paper look unstoppable. Fortunately for others in the GIWA games aren’t played on paper. Despite rumors of a split The Domers look bound to return to early 2002 form when they reached the finals but lost in the legendary extra innings game against the M&M Boys.
PC: Prisco has been training as hard, if not harder than anyone this year. I think that if there ever was a year for the Domers, it was last year, however. Unfortunately, Prisco was hurt on the last play of a walkoff loss to Aces Wild that severely hindered the Domers in last years semifinals. If they can carry their performance early on last year over into this year and even improve on it, they have a shot. The question, as always, with the Domers is, “how will they perform later in the day?” In my opinion, with Prisco coming on as a legitimate pitcher, they have a much better chance. Wolfrum is a top 3 pitcher in the GIWA and if Prisco can be an innings eater who can save Wolfrum for later in the day, they may go all the way.
10. Will a PA team make the semi-finals?
From: R. Balboa
BP: More than likely this could be the year that this headline would happen, but I am not too confident it will happen. Out of PA I feel that Nick Wade has the best chance to make it to the semi-finals except for the fact of his unknown partner. But Nick Wade stated that he has confidence in his head scout and will not challenge recruits to shirt-less fights unlike the Mets with Tony Bernazard.
PC: After both PA teams were narrowly edged out in 2008 by tiebreakers, I would assume this would be the year. They have fought and fought for respect and finally are receiving some. Pizzi and Marascio have been playing as much as anyone this year, the only question will be, “how will their practice against lesser competition translate?”
11. Which one of the established GIWA Teams will have the earliest exit in the 2009 National Championship?
From: R. Smith
BP: I really do think that it will be an all NJ semi-final. With teams like The Domers and Aces Wild in top form it is hard to pick against them, but for the more newly created and reunited teams in PigHorr and LP Wifflers lack of chemistry and playing shape could be a potential GIWA death sentence.
PC: It seems like every time I pick against the Wifflers, one or both of them is playing in the championship. None the less, I’m taking the L.P. Wifflers as being the victims of an early exit. I think the rustiness on the part of Brian Yost could spell their demise.
12. What free agent signing will have the biggest impact?
From: D. Rosenhaus
BP: With the biggest free agent signing period in GIWA history, it is hard to say which executive office moves paid off the most until the Andre is cracked open on Saturday night. I do really like the move on the merger between Dennis Arvidson and Rob Herrera if the rumors do turn out to be true. The duo immediately becomes the most powerful lineup in all of the GIWA. I would not be surprised if Team PigHorr leads the league in runs scored.
PC: This year I don’t think it will be a new team signing, but a matter of teams remaining together that will be the biggest impacts. The Domers, Aces Wild, L.P. Wifflers, and Rippin & Dippin(if Pulitano returns) have all played with each other long enough to know what it takes to get the job done. The new teams just don’t have enough experience together as of yet to win it all. Then again, who knows, Smooth Balls proved us all wrong last year.
SOME FLOATERS OF NATURAL LIGHT:
(hey its still beer)
13. Which of the First Wives Club will arrive first at the National Championship and subsequently be the first to get drunk and pass out?
From: Glen Quagmire
BP: Excellent question!!!! I have to go with my gut on this one and pick Rebecca Doub for her propensity to get hammered and pass out when friends are visiting her boyfriend and A-Dub stud Pete Cosentino.
PC: No comment.
14. WHO YA GOT?
From: T. Kornheiser
BP: I like The Domers over Aces Wild in extras. Taking it back to the legendary 2002 final.
PC: While I certainly would be partial to that final, I think its hard to pick against Kevin Flexer and Rob Herrera due to their track records. I like both of them in the finals, with Flexer winning it and going 5-0 in National Championship games.
DD Vlachos – first Asian to play in the GIWA, first Greek-Asian to play in the GIWA, victim of only no-hitter in tournament history with partner Zach(thrown by K. Kennon)
Nick Wade – widely respected as the best all around out of PA he is yet to crack the semi’s, but has come very closely to making it in both of his tournament appearances
Nick Pizzi – In his first 3 years in the tourney he has upset the eventual National Champ EVERY year. Getting beat by his teams are almost a blessing.
Joe Marascio – Hit a memorable walk-off against eventual champs Rippin’ & Dippin’ in 2006 debut. Passed out drunk on grass when on DL and unable to play in ’07 championship.
Ronnie Smith-Puryear – though he only played one season, made a lasting impact as the first African American in the GIWA
James Bucci – major gash in leg a memorable image of the ’08 championship in which he gave it his all and left with nothing but a bloody leg; member of unknown team in ’06 that came close to upsetting R&D as well.
So what kind of rookie talent is joining in 2009? We feel this year’s rookie class is stacked. Let’s do a quick rundown of the talent joining us on August 15th for the first time…
Brian Younghans – “Little Red, Big Bat” as he has been dubbed around the GIWA after an outstanding first outing will look to continue his regular season success into the tourney. Though little is known about his partner, he is widely regarded as one of the best hitting prospects in recent years, though from a first look, it may only be so against righties. In his first 3 GIWA sanctioned games, he managed a win against Rob Herrera on the mound, 2 homeruns including one walk off, and solid defensive play.
Jason Prisco – Another player coming out of the Rob Prisco school of wiff will be not-so-little brother Jay Prisco. Prisco, making his first appearance in the GIWA after 2 years of disappointment about whether he would play or not, is looking to make a splash, and we think its highly likely he does. Prisco is a phenomenal athlete. A one-time quarterback for a high school football team and multi-sport athlete, Prisco brings his good genes and the teaching of big bro to the table. This probably won’t be his year to win it all, but it might be interesting to watch him none the less.
Mike Luzzi – Jay Prisco’s partner will be none other than the man who will stake the claim as the biggest Wiffler in history. Standing 6’8”, Mike Luzzi is a sight to be seen and will certainly benefit from the fact that the strike zone is made for 6 footers. Mike is another person who has the overall athletic ability that can carry him a long way in the GIWA. It is unknown who will toe the rubber for this new Prisco/Luzzi team, though we like Luzzi as doing so given his track record as a former high school pitcher, difficult to read angle from which he throws, and pure intimidation. Don’t sleep on him at the plate, either.
Imran Chowdhury – the lefty from Reading, PA will team with Matt Haskins to be the first team in 3 years to represent the BWL. He will also make history as the first Indian player in GIWA history. Perhaps the biggest impact may come from the fact that he once, in fact, gave out 4 stunners at a basement party in West Reading, PA.
While the new rookie talent doesn’t stop here, these are the major highlights of what we feel will be a phenomenal new class of wifflers. One thing is for sure, at the end of it all – we’ll know a lot more about all of them come the end of the big day.
Current Top 5
1.) Domers – The most experienced team in the GIWA takes it down. Rob Prisco has looked great on the mound thus far and will help to provide this team with the depth it has so long needed. Bill Wolfrum has long been regarded among the top pitchers in the league, and to give his shoulder the rest it will need to get through the day, will make them the deadly team the league should fear. Defense has never been overly flashy with the GIWA’s oldest team, but it has never been an issue either. Perhaps the most solid, all-around team currently confirmed for the tournament, championship game experience, the hunger to win, and 7 years of playing together makes them the favorite to raise the Cup up and be the first to sip the $3 champagne.
2.) Aces Wild – Though many may have felt or even agreed that I’d put them at #1 may be surprised to see this. However, the experience and preparation of the Domers give them an edge over an A.W. team against which they are 0-2 in the last two tournaments. If Kennon rebounds from his inability to pitch much last year, and this team can put 4 or more runs a game on the board, this team should have the ability to be right there at the end with the Domers, given no other factors come into play(but we know that’s never the case).
3.) L.P. Wifflers – The Brothers Yost confirmed earlier this week that both will be attending their 4th tournament together. This team is another that could make an argument for number 1. Several factors play against them, but lets look at what they have going for them first. Mike Yost is one half of the 2008 National Champions. This team will almost undoubtedly have the most championship game experience of any team attending, less whatever team Rob Herrera plays for. A quick look at their track record to date – together: 2 championship game appearances in 3 years; separately – Mike Yost is 1/1 in not only making it there, but winning it all. So why not the year for both together? Simple. Brian, the expected ace of the Wifflers, will be rusty. He has not yet pitched in a game this year and this will be his first tournament in 2 years. Stamina and control will be the biggest culprits in this one, but if their bats can do what they’re supposed to…it might not matter.
4.) Whoever is lucky enough to land Rob Herrera – Point blank, Herrera puts to rest any question of his dominance in the GIWA with a win this year. Devoid of both Kevin Flexer and Rob Smith as his partner, (both largely considered to be with Herrera as the top 3 EVER) Herrera will be in an unprecedented situation to prove himself. Six appearances in the finals in six years. Championships in 4 out of the 6 of those years. As clutch as it gets. The only reason he isn’t #1 here is because we don’t know who his partner is as of yet. Likely suspects: Wally, either Yost if the other backs out, Dennis, Nick Wade, Drew Pulitano(if Flexer does not play and he does). Look for a Pulitano and Herrera team to likely walk into the tournament as a favorite with a combined SIX National Titles(only Herrera’s original M&M Boys team would have more).
5.) Upper Deckers – Nick Pizzi and Joe Marascio have not confirmed that they will be re-teaming, but we like the odds. Matter of fact, we like the odds of anyone Nick Pizzi teams with as a team that will be capable of a major upset. The major question, however, is whether or not Pizzi’s big game prowess can translate into enough wins to garner an appearance in the final 4. We think this is the year that at least one PA player breaks into the hallowed ground. With all of the hard work, preparation, and love for the game coming out of Southeastern Pennsylvania, this one looks like it might be a winner. Look for this as one of the most prepared teams out of the gate on August 15th.
As we get a little closer over the next 4 weeks, this list will become clearer with who’s in and who’s out. Ultimately, it will mean nothing at about 7PM on 8/15.. but until then, sure is fun to guess..
Free Agent Outlook
The Domers are back for an unprecedented 7th season. We know that for sure. Aces Wild, despite some question marks early in the off season about whether they’d stick it out – are a sure thing. The two round out what could be considered a very short list of big name contenders.
The Yosts are a team that always comes to mind as having late season turmoil with bringing a unified team to the Big One. This year, however, it seems like they will be a go and Mike Yost will be ready to defend the cup that has been adorning his mantle for the last year. His partner from the championship “Smooth Balls” team is a different story.
Drew Pulitano has been the biggest question mark thus far, as he has been unreachable to certain members of the GIWA board. After it was long assumed that he would be sitting out his first tournament, and perhaps never playing another game, he told an unspecified source on July 16th that if he had a partner, he would play. The issue now lies in whether or not he has a partner. His teammate, to whom he is still contractually obligated as reported at the end of the 2008 tournament, seems unsure if he will return to go for his 5th title. Kevin Flexer is rumored to be considering other opportunities and leaving the GIWA for good.
But that isn’t all, Nick Wade, Joe Marascio, Nick Pizzi – Pennsylvania’s big three have not yet stated signed yet. Wade, a member of “Real American Heroes” last year, was ready to team back up with Rich Luciani and make a second attempt at the semifinals that they were narrowly edged out of last year. Unfortunately, Luciani is now sidelined by a family issue and will be unable to deliver on his team obligation.
So what will happen with all of these guys?
In my opinion, I see this playing out in several ways. First, Marascio and Pizzi seem to be a good fit, regardless of whether or not they will admit to current contract talks. Wade is a bigger question. He has stated a desire to play with a person that can take the majority of the innings on the mound so he can focus on defense and playing the field. For this reason, I’d think that Dennis would be a good fit as his knuckleball and the two players’ strong bats could carry them through to a final 4.
If Flexer plays, he will play with Drew. Herrera has stated that so long as Flexer’s legitimate partner is playing, he has no interest in getting him to break his current contract. In that case, I foresee Herrera playing with a Yost(if one were unable to play) or close friend Wally Gilgorri(who is currently slated to re-team with Casey Cullinan as “Save the Plastic..” If neither of those and Herrera seems hopeless to find someone who can help him to play at the level he’d like, I wouldn’t be surprised if he hung them up just for the year. We’d all certainly hate to see that, however, as he has the consecutive streak of trips to the finals and no one will feel like a true champion without knowing they got past him.
End of Wiffstrong Era? At least temporarily..so what?
So we’re left now to wonder whether or not the M&M Boys partnership was really the success it was supposed to be. The short answer – no. In comparison to the M&M Boys, absolutely not. In comparison to what they were EXPECTED to do the last three years, no. In comparison to everyone else, though…. DEFINITELY.
Winning even one championship is an accomplishment for anyone. Herrera achieved 3 of them with Flexer during the M&M Era, but in the post M&M era – it was supposed to be a two team league: WiffSTRONG and Rippin’ & Dippin’. In the first matchup of the two, in the most anticipated championship game in history – WiffSTRONG came up short against the mighty Flexer and then up-and-comer, Pulitano. In their second trip to the finals, they achieved the success they were expected to have. But did not once have to play Rippin’ and Dippin’ in that tournament, as they did not draw each other in random pool play, and R&D fell short in the semi’s. In what would be their last attempt, WiffSTRONG seemed as a sure win against a team that many felt should not have even been in the finals. The patchwork team of Mike Yost and Drew went 2-2 in pool play, barely squeezed out one of their two wins, beat up on an injured Domers team in the semi’s, and then made WiffSTRONG look like THEY were the fluke in the finals.
But certainly 3 trips to the finals has to be considered a success? No. Not when you have the expectations of winning comparable to Tiger Woods. #1 is the only acceptable place for WiffSTRONG. Time and time again they made that clear, and they always seemed to look they were going to prove it.. But yet, why only once were they able to raise the Cup? With Smith’s major announcement today, we’re left to ponder. We might never know.. or, maybe we’ll see the two reunite and put it all out there again next year to prove the cynics, myself included, wrong. Sure, as a player, I will admit.. they had my number. WiffSTRONG eliminated my Aces Wild team in the semi’s the last 3 years, going 6-0 against us(pool play included) during that time span. As a writer, however, I feel that WiffSTRONG disappointed us all. Much like the Yankees of the last 9 years, they had all the talent in the world together, they put on a great show, and scared the hell out of their opponents; but also like their MLB counterparts, their disappointments outnumbered their successes – though their successes year in and year out, would be considered as much more for any other organization.
One thing I will say for sure, as both a player and a writer, I’d love to see WiffSTRONG again someday.. and I will say this: If WiffSTRONG played during the first 3 years of the GIWA, they very well might have been the team that will be remembered as the best in history. But time, circumstance, and performance has dictated otherwise for the once powerhouse.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF ROB PRISCO:
“SAY, SAY, SAY” the legendary pop track by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney resounds in the small, unkempt living quarters of legendary GIWA superstar Rob Prisco. For most, hearing this particular song would symbolize a time for celebration, but for this member of the only original GIWA team remaining, The Domers, its time to train. Many say that the early bird catches the worm; this may be the case for this all-star. He raises his head from the pillow, checks his phone… turns off the alarm… its 6a.m. He stands up, rubs the crust from his eyes, dons his patented cut off T-shirt, slips on a pair of shorts and running shoes and jolts down the stairs. He half eyed opened moves towards the kitchen, creatine and protein in hand. After downing his twice daily supplements, he is out the door on his run. He exits his modest home and begins towards his old high school stomping grounds, Morris Catholic, up Kitchell Avenue, past the former home of Mrs. Tami Kennon, wife of A-Dub superstar Kyle Kennon, all the way up the hills to the Kitchell house and back down, a three mile trek in all.
“There is something about the smell of morning that motivates me,” says Rob Prisco, “the feeling I’m out here training while the other guys aren’t. It really gives you that, edge, that fire to compete and win.” Fielder/hitter Rob Prisco is all about competition, he once ate a Burger King hamburger in one bite because someone bragged about eating it in two. He, the avid competitor, is widely known as one of the most feared hitters in the league; know for his legendary record of 9 home runs in a single tournament. “I feel that the excessive training will finally pay off this year. We (The Domers) feel that we are the team to beat this year. We have it all, the experience, pitching, fielding, and timely hitting. We should do really well this year.”
Most feel that The Domers are the equivalent to the Duke Blue Devils of Men’s NCAA Basketball. They are always one of the favorites, extremely talented, yet never win the big game. “I could see how someone might say that, but at the same time The Domers are the winningest GIWA franchise of all time. More wins than the M&M Boys, Wiff-Strong, and Aces Wild. We may not have a title, but after last years performance at the National Championship I am confident we will be a force to be reckoned with.” The performance that Prisco is talking about is the 2008 National Championship where The Domers were playing extremely well going into the playoff round, but prior to the semi-final game with Yost/Pulitano, Prisco was seriously hurt in an attempt to make a play on a fly ball. “I ran full speed at that sucker, I thought I had it no doubt, but when I landed I felt a twinge in my right knee. I knew it was over for this year. It was devastating, knowing I not only didn’t make the play, but also that I had gotten hurt and was no longer an effective player. I let my teammate Billy Wolfrum down, the fans down, and most importantly myself down. Weeks after the tournament I was still upset and angry. I knew right there next year would be different.”
That anger and that rage lead to the hardcore training regiment followed by Prisco. Not only the morning runs, but the after work practice and weight training regiment. “After work from simply the stress of it, I need to hit a few balls.” With the help of his 12 and 10 year old cousins Chris and Nick Rupp, both of whom are rated in the top five of the pre-teen GIWA scouting rankings, Prisco gets some needed fine tuning of his hitting and pitching skills. “Chris and Nick help me out a lot. They are willing to pitch so I feel obliged to hit monstrous shots off of them.” Joining in the action is potential rookie of the year Jason Prisco. The highly touted rookie, and younger brother of superstar Rob, has up until recently been known for his signing and then voiding of contracts with a few organizations over the years. Now partnered with fellow rookie Mike “I CAN TOUCH THE SUN” Luzzi, look to impress at this years championship.
“I’m really excited for my brother Jason; he’s been training really hard in the weight room and despite steroid allegations has really focused on the tournament this year. His game resembles mine in a way. Although he is faster and stronger than I am, he at times lacks the focus needed to win big games. He hits a ton and is a great fielder as well.” Many speculate that with another failure at the championship, and the increase in hype over his younger brother Jason, Rob will request a release from The Domers to join his brother. “Despite the rumors, I am a Domer for life. I feel the chemistry that Bill (Wolfrum) and I have on the field is uncanny. Although it would be nice to play one day with my brother, I don’t see that happening. I want my brother to be successful and I wish him luck at the 2009 National Championship.”
“It is truly an honor to wake up every morning and know that I am a Domer. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, The Domers are the best organization from top to bottom in the whole GIWA. The fans and support that I receive from them are incredible. I love it here and if you don’t mind I need to get back to training.” Prisco walks away and heads towards hit second home under his deck to pump some iron and work off the stress of the day, the media, and the impending championship. For this early bird, hoping success comes to those who prepare well and put in effort, we will see on Saturday August, 15 at the 2009 GIWA National Championship sponsored by Miller High Life.
Player Spotlight: Drew Pulitano
Drew Pulitano has been in the GIWA since day 1, having played in all six championship tournaments. The Randolph native is one of the league’s founders, but yet did not enjoy success in the first half of his career. As a member of the team known as the “Beaters,” Pulitano was rarely in the spotlight as a GIWA star. Three straight finishes in the bottom half of the tournament made the Beaters a popular choice to beat up on and pronounce as the league’s bottom feeders. Yet, after his third straight losing season – someone still managed to notice a bright spot.
Perhaps the best rags to riches story in the GIWA, Drew Pulitano has since gone from the perceived bottom of the barrel, straight to the top in the Post-M&M era of the GIWA. After the break up of the M&M Boys, it became official that Drew Pulitano and then-teammate, Phil Moor, would also be having a split. Yet, at the time, no one predicted that Pulitano would sign a deal with the man perceived by many to be the greatest of all time, Kevin Flexer. Once the two announced their covenant they spent no time collecting some gold. In their first year together, they won the National Championship in a big win over Flexer’s former teammate and new rival, Rob Herrera and teammate Rob Smith.
Though many attributed the win to Flexer being so good that he could win with anyone, Flexer, himself pointed to Pulitano as the star. Flexer was quoted as saying that Pulitano was so good that you’d think it was he who had just won his fourth straight title. Yet, many still doubted Drew’s actual abilities given his rocky past with the “Beaters”. In 2007, the defending National Champions, now dubbed Rippin’ & Dippin’(so named for their shared interest in “rippin’ beers,” and Flexer’s love for dippin’ smoke-less tobacco), were off to a fast start. Unfortunately, the heat on August 24th, 2007 was obviously too much as the two fell in Flexer’s first tournament-bracket loss to the twin killers from Lake Parsippany, the brothers Yost, Brian and Mike. Flexer’s former teammate, Rob Herrera went on to win his fourth title with his WiffSTRONG organization instead, setting up what everyone perceived to be a dream rematch the following year.
The dream rematch would never happen, as Kevin Flexer had to bow out of the tournament for personal reasons. While the fans did not get their 4-time champ versus 4-time champ matchup, they still did get to see the heart of a champion that resided within Drew Pulitano. A controversial walk-off homerun call, a big win over Aces Wild, and an unimpressive 2-2 record put Pulitano and stand-in partner, Mike Yost in the final four. They capitalized on a bruised up Domers team featuring a hobbling Rob Prisco and created the opportunity for Drew Pulitano to make it back to the title game and prove himself against the defending champions.
The rest is history. Drew Pulitano has told created a story that not even Disney could create. It is truly a feel good story in which a guy climbed from the bottom and has since reached the pinnacle of his profession. He is the only player to win a championship without a player named Flexer or Herrera on his team, and the only guy to place both first and last in GIWA tournaments. He’s truly worthy of the discussion now.. “who is the best in the game?”.
Why Kevin Flexer Won't Win the GIWA Title this Year
That was two years ago already, as he was noticeably absent from this year’s tourney.
So are we to believe that Flexer won’t win another championship this year simply because of a single disappointing game, and an absence in the most recent tournament? Not so fast.
Flexer has constantly defied odds throughout his career, and picked against again and again. From the first tournament when he hit the fabled Walk-off Heard ‘Round the World, to the 2006 National Championship Game where he was believed to be an underdog against former teammate, Rob Herrera and up and coming star, Rob Smith.. Kevin Flexer has continued to be the GIWA’s most feared player in big games and clutch situations.
There is no doubt that Rippin’ & Dippin’ will come into this season as a favorite to win it all. Flexer is, of course, tied for the most tournament wins in history, and his partner has just tossed his name right into the hat with Flexer, Herrera, and Smith as the best in the game. Pulitano will be the draw this year. He will be the reason that R&D comes in as a favorite. That means, for the first time, it won’t be Flexer that is the focal point. Sure he’s shared a spotlight before, he and Rob Herrera were like no other organization in history… they were equals, best friends, and most importantly – a dynasty. But this writer believes that now the time has come and the spotlight has finally completely shifted. Flexer is no longer the guy that will put anyone else on his back and lead them to a title. The league may still look at Herrera as its biggest star, but Pulitano is on the rise and will undoubtedly be the guy to watch out for, to pitch around, and to fear on Rippin & Dippin. For that reason, NO. No, Flexer will not win a title this year. He will be a part of a title run, but ultimately.. Drew Pulitano will win a title for that organization, Flexer will for the first time be the one along for the ride.
Mike Yost and Drew Pulitano will be in the finals this year, seeming that at least one of them has made an appearance there each of the last three years.
NICK WADE - That is Fiction. Although Mike and Drew are great wifflers, and have had success with their respective teams, I do not see them in the finals this year. The main reason Mike/Drew will not be in the finals this year is because of pitching. Both are the backup pitchers on their regular teams. They had their best success behind the arms of their partners. Without their partners this year, they will have trouble knocking off a top team to reach the finals. The bottom line is that Mike/Drew is a solid team, but will fall short to the stronger teams in the tournament.
ROB HERRERA - Fiction - I feel that pitching is the most important part of the game bar none, although hitting and fielding are important to have succeed, pitching is far and away the most important. Unfortunately for them, pitching is their biggest weakness. You have to wonder if one of them can step up and not just pitch well for 1 or 2 games, but for 5 or 6.
Pool Play Cancelled - Single Pool Redrawn
The GIWA feels that the fans will benefit from the increased intensity that will be brought to pool play because of these eliminations after the round. The goal as always, as spoken by one GIWA spokesman, "our main concern is to always satisfy the fans.. they're the reason we're here."