Few travel to Nationals with getting eliminated from the tournament in mind. However, one could wonder why. At the Golden Stick National Championship events, or "OPEN" as they've been called since 2010, an event second to only the big one itself has emerged as a nice place to land for the fallen. It is called the Player's Cup.
As the bracket's slogan proclaims, "The Ultimate Second Chance For National Glory", the Player's Cup is just that. Where a national championship is a rare prize to haul, Golden Stick's Player's Cup is a consolation bracket on rocket fuel. Paying $1,000 to its winner, the bracket allows Cinderellas to take a swipe at the big one, knowing there's a place for them to compete on Sunday when falling short.
The event doesn't allow for the aces of the league to compete. The PC aims at the underbelly of the field, playing to the abilities of those yet to land their super star. To avoid exclusion, top teams are handicapped. For instance, NY's Usual Suspects had to pitch their entire rotation in each game, and leave the Knuckle ball behind. 10 Run Rule couldn't pitch Ben Stant. Stant is among our younger crew, but has been deemed un-hittable by most. Expelled '16 National Champions, 7th Floor Crew had to pitch Dave Fisher the whole time. And, while Dave Fisher is a great pitcher around these parts, and his crusty screwball can trick the best of hitters, losing to him is not as discouraging as Pat Leahy mind banging you from the mound, while you fail at hitting one of his 9 pitches, from one of his 9 release points, from one of his 9 windups. That doesn't even account his 3 crow hop styles (legal in GSWL), or the up, tuck, bob & weave. Essentially, we do what we can to make the Player's Cup attainable to all, while guaranteeing 2 days of play to everyone.
This year's Player's Cup was claimed by MA's BB Yum Yums. To handicap the MA team, team ace Jimmy Flynn was kept off the rubber, while he, Scott Thomas, and Erik Anderson bested Boomer's K9's on their way to the 2nd best podium in the game. Oh. And, who could forget Coach. Out of nowhere, this nameless tag along, known as Coach, popped onto the Golden Stick scene. Emerging from the trunk of Scott Thomas' car is a "buddy of his", he has forever changed the dynamic of the GSWL sideline. "I can't tell if I want to crack him in the jaw, or bake him a cake" said League President, Lou Levesque. "I actually think it is both. I hope Scott never comes without him again." And, while anything other than a National Championship is a certain deficite to the Yum Yums, their trip home from Staten Island was much better with a G & a Championship in the trunk...along with the Coach.
Congratulations to BB Yum Yums. 2017 Player's Cup Champions.