Thursday, May 24, 2007

Another Slow Week

Rain again is in the forecast for tonight. As is typical for this time of year in Houston, afternoon thunderstorms are in the forecast. There has been some discussion of moving the USTA league to weekends, as is done in NOHO, Austin and Dallas, but the idea has never really gotten any traction. I don't think there are that many tournaments using the courts during league season. Opinions seem to be mixed...a couple of people were fearful that some unnamed teams would bring in MORE out of towners for their teams, but I don't think that's anything to worry about.

Clearing up some playoff questions: Cheryl has confirmed that two teams from each division in 4.5 will qualify for the playoffs, and that there will be no playoff in the 5.0 division. 4.0 will also have two teams in each division qualify. Teams will be placed in two pools in the 4.0 and 4.5 division playoffs as in past seasons.

This week in 5.0, there is an interesting matchup between Teague and Lost Forest. Lost Forest has its back to the wall. Another loss will eliminate them from contention after dominating the division for years. They still have the talent on their roster to compete, but can't seem to get it together this year. As noted, Teague has a huge roster to choose from. No truth to the rumor that HTA has increased its budget because of increased revenue from Teague's team.

In 4.5 Division III, there's a long awaited matchup of the two undefeated teams. In truth, this division has been extremely weak. Sugar Creek has been a nonfactor in league in the last few years, failing in city playoffs when they managed to qualify. Two of the stalwarts from those teams, Jason Cooney and Eric Bedient, have yet to play a match, they've added no talent this year and yet the team is still undefeated. This is either a testament to their depth or an indictment of the talent in the rest of the division. I suspect the latter. I'm curious, for a couple of reasons, to see how Fukunaga does this week.

In other 4.5 news, the Hangovers have added a couple of players to their roster. Kingwood has scared them, apparently. Phong and Henry are not playing as well as in past seasons, Tim Green has lost both doubles matches to Kingwood and the singles guys have been in dogfights. Don Rios is a very good pickup for them. He can beat anyone in the 4.5 league on a given day. More questionable, to me, is the addition of Kingwood teaching pro Grant Murphy. His bio claims the 28 year old was one of Australia's top juniors. I've not seen him play, and his face looks chubby so I'm sure he's not in top shape, but if the bio is accurate his addition is questionable.

The addition of "ringers" is always a tough call. (I'm not saying Murphy is or isn't a ringer...this is a general discussion)I have mixed feelings on it. On the one hand, it's frustrating for the other players who've worked hard on their games and put a lot of effort into assembling a competitive team to play people clearly above level. On the other hand, let's face it, the Hangovers' players have been to Sectionals many times. They have their eyes on a higher goal: Nationals. And clearly they were not gonna' get there with the roster they had assembled. They would have had their hands full trying to get out of the city. So I won't pass judgment either way. I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

In 4.0, there's a matchup of the top two teams in Division III: Sienna Plantation plays Pecan Grove. Their first matchup was a 3-2 win for Sienna despite dropping both of the singles. Neither of these teams seem to have the talent to make any noise in city playoffs. A Pecan Grove loss today will have them battling Willow Fork for the second place slot and certain destruction in cities.


  1. Thats typical of Burkheart and Green. Their a bunch of overrated players who need ringers to carry them. Burkheart could'nt start for the top 4.0 teams.

  2. You never had a problem adding "ringers" to the Mob Squad, Greg.

  3. whats with this obsession with sectionals/nationals do you get free hookers whats the point of going to nationals in 4.5 to play all cheaters? what ever happened to the idea that ntrp is for people of similar levels to play competitive matches. its doubtful this new guy will be on the level i expect tanking dumping etc to preserve the 4.5 rating. its time to bring back the old visual dq's as messed up as that was.

  4. I love playing guys 2+ levels above me and getting my ass kicked all over the court. There's nothing better. It really humbles you and makes you realize how precious winning really is when you finally break through against people 2 levels below you.

    /sarcasm off

  5. i would say i had two or three "ringers" in ten years of playing/captaining. rodrigo gonzales and farzad heidari. heidari was protested and given a 6.0 rating despite losing practice matches to ted pumma. i honestly had no idea he had an atp ranking. look at his results from last year and you'll see he was not outlandish. i guess steve phan could be considered a ringer by some people as well.

    you can't do anything up at sectionials without borderline ringers. anyone who's ever made it up there knows that. i don't feel guilty about the makeups of my teams. even my so called ringers were friends of team members and were part of a close knit group. whatever success or failures we had were mainly due to the core group of players.

    btw, i'm NOT the blog writer if that's what you were implying.

  6. This blog is getting out of hand. Most of the posts are turning into statements from persons who know little details or history of what they are commenting on. I see no ringers in the 4.5 league on any of the teams in my subflight(II). Anyone who has been to sectionals or beyond knows what a ringer really is. A ringer is a guarentee win. No such ringers exist currently. If you want to see ringers, just do a little research of teams such as the one in Dallas. This research will show you why players get added to teams such as the hangovers. The hangovers did not have enough available players this week. Thus another reason for additions to the team. As for the overrated comment by "anonymous" about Green and Burkhart...a little research will show you that Burkhart has been to Nationals more than anyone else in the league and Tim's record over the last five years speaks for him.

  7. As a 4.0 player who also plays 4.5 in the summer, my goal is to NOT be the first line off the court! I go out there knowing I am sacrificial lamb and will probably lose at 4.5, but it sure does improve my results at 4.0.


  8. dinker, this blog is for opinions, not facts, so if it gets "out of control" it's only because we're dealing with subjective matters.

    However, you make a good point. A ringer is a "guaranteed" win.

    Based upon that definition, are there any real ringers in Houston at the 4.5 level? You may be right, there are none.

  9. I, for one, think there are no ringers in 4.5 this year. Magid is damn good, and I've not seen Fukunaga, but I think they're both well within reason. Don't know anything about Murphy other than his "press clipping". "Top junior in Australia" covers an extremely wide range, if it's even true.

    I think the "sandbagger" and "ringer" complaints are often overdone. I've driven with people like that: Anyone driving faster than them is a maniac and anyone slower is a moron.

  10. If Pete Sampras came out of retirement and was computer rated at 4.5, I would put him on my team.

    Though with all the weight he has put on, I don't know if he would be a "guarantee" win.

    I don't see any "guarantee" win in 4.5 this year. Are there any in 4.0? Maybe Arun in 5.0, but he already lost a match.

  11. From Ken Burkhart (not Burkheart): And I will put my real name here since I believe in standing behind my word and not making insulting comments hidden by "anonymous".

    I have refused over the years to respond to these types of lists/blogs. In fact, I have asked the various teams that I have captained not to do so. After hearing that I couldn’t start for the top 4.0 teams, a response is warranted.

    First, over the past 6 years I have personal record of 31 and 4 in 4.5 league play, with 2 of those losses coming at the hands of 5.5 ringers from California and Southwest sections at 4.5 Nationals.

    Second, if there is that good of players in the 4.0, please let me know who they are so I can start recruiting them for future years. And by the way, thanks at least for not saying that I couldn’t have started for the bottom 4.0 teams…

    I fully realize I am not the best player (or close) on my team(s). Heck, inst that the role of the captain??? I have tried over the years to treat everyone with respect and have fun competing. If my game is the only thing you can use to insult our team or me personally, then we must be doing something right.

    For the record, I appreciate how the original author of this blog (and most everyone else) is trying to communicate with no personal attacks. (Unless I missed some other negative comments.. I am getting old.)

  12. Ken, I wouldn't worry about it, you have nothing to defend.

    There are alwsys "blog trolls" who exist merely to stir things up and instigate. They are generally wrong 100% of the time.

  13. The Hangovers spanked the Copperfield JV team last night. Of course, if we had our varsity players like DMac, Motzny et al it wouldn't be such a cakewalk, but all of our horses are out right now.

    Grant Murphy is the real deal. He played Line 2 doubles with Craig Bobo and looked very solid. Tim Green toyed with an injured Alex Montes on Line 1 singles.

  14. I really think that the Titans have it all together once again, Have not recruited what is so called a ringer, just a solid 4.5 team that we don't like to play against. This team has taken over their division year in and year out does not really matter who's in it.....They have beaten teams that have recruited heavily and this is why we got to look out for these guys because they are very very lethal and i mean lethal weapons on this team

  15. Ken, if we can work the rating thing out, you are more than welcome to play on my 4.0 team...Hell, why stop there, I have a pretty good 3.5 team as well :)