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Discussion: RENO FORMAT

Posted Discussion
May 21, 2009
Dbax
Men's 60
1240 posts
RENO FORMAT
Just curious as to what everyone thinks about the new format? 5 game round robin with the top 4 seeds advancing to single elimination.

I have a hard time with the round robin seeding since everyone is not playing the same teams.
May 21, 2009
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2614 posts
That's the only problem that I see, not having everyone playing everyone else. I'm just excited about having more that one team in our division.
There should be some great games! I'm looking forward to it.
May 21, 2009
kwilly
7 posts
I think all teams should be involved in the single elimination. It's a lot of time and money spent not to get a shot at the title. One bad game in the seeding round could send you home early.
May 21, 2009
the wood
1075 posts
Dave & Bruce:
We haven't seen this format in several years. It is more equitable when we all play each other but if you win 3 of 5 it's likely that you'll get in the SE.

kwilly:
One bad game ought not prevent you from getting into the SE. There has to be an equal number of wins as losses (total between all of the teams). But you don't have as much margin for error as before (if all teams go into elimination round).

The initial reaction of many will be negative because it's different from what we expected and from what we're used to seeing. Our division (60 M+) plays all of its games @ Golden Eagle, which makes the trip worthwhile for your team, Bruce... it is good for us as well. Half of our teams (4) live within 150 miles of Sparks.
Because not all teams get into the SE, there will be new strategies used (think tie breakers) in many ways... or at least strategies that haven't been used in a while. I am personally looking at it with an open mind.

The first time that I saw this format was in '99 (Phoenix) and we had 10 teams in our division (50 major). Only the top 3 made it into the SE... after playing 6 RR games. We went 2-2 over the first 2 days and had to re-think things (the type of things that teams would ordinarily do)... and we needed a lot of help from other teams. We did make it into the SE only to lose the very first game (to Bay Area Merchants). That one lasted 4 days... meanwhile Dan Smith and the Mavericks played each other 5-6 times... there were only 2 teams in 50 M+ that year.
This new format is a good problem to have, in my opinion.
:-)
BW
May 21, 2009
DMac
Men's 60
185 posts
Don't count on it Bob. Last year with Over The Edge we went 3-2 but four teams went 4-1. What really hurt was that we played three of the four teams in the seeding games. In fact we were the only team that beat the eventual winner.
I put over 1200 miles on my car that weekend, way too much to play as well as we did and not have a chance to win it on Sunday.
May 21, 2009
the wood
1075 posts
Dmac:
Unless some teams play seeding games outside their division, there has to be an equal number of wins and losses. In our bracket, we don't all play each other but we do only play teams that are in our division. There are 20 RR games in our group and there has to be 20 wins, 20 losses. We each play 5 of the other 7 teams, leaving two teams that we don't play (for each of us).
If 5 teams win 3 each, the other 3 teams can only have 5 wins between them (and 10 losses). This is highly unlikely... but not impossible. I will say though that I do remember an NSA event in Modesto (2000) where all 6 teams were tied 2-2 in the seeding round... this was before we all played our 5th game. Obviously, that was reduced to 3 teams 3-2 and 3 that were 2-3... tie breakers reduced it to the final two.
That was why I made the point in the previous post about the tie breakers. In any event, it should generate more interest than a 3 team tourney.
How many teams are in your group?
BW
May 21, 2009
ShaneV
Men's 55
381 posts
We have 11 teams in 50AAA and 7 will be done Saturday. We get to play at 8:00 PM Saturday which is almost Sunday! I don't like it because it is not what we expected when we sent our $ and made our arrangements. We had 17 or more in our division last year and got the full meal deal?

I do have some idea what it's like to be in Dave's shoes trying to accomodate a significant increase in turnout. On the flip side we are fortunate enough to play 3 games at Golden Eagle Saturday and the game times through the whole weekend are not bad at all. As always, nothing is completely bad or completely good.
May 22, 2009
DMac
Men's 60
185 posts
Bob: Last year there were 13 teams in our bracket. The only reason I could see for using that format was that it forced teams to show up in full for the Friday games, resulting in lost wages for some of us but possibly increased hotel revenues for others.
This year I'm with Gusto and have no problem with the format. Six teams in our division; a five game round-robin; top two teams play for the championship. Everybody plays the same teams so it is inherently fair. They might have to go to tie-breakers so if you win the toss, take sticks. Hope to see you up there.
May 22, 2009
Dbax
Men's 60
1240 posts
The only format in which it is fair would be with 6 teams in the division. But like the Wood says, I will be open minded. I just wanna play some ball. (Without a stupid screen!)
May 22, 2009
udaplaya
91 posts
Unlike the unilateral imposition of the HR out and the PP rules, which I feel are detrimental to the state of our senior game, I am keeping an open mind on the new format. It makes each game matter and the best performers are still rewarded by entry into a single elimination bracket. Let's not forget, back in the day we grew up on double elimination tourneys - lose two and you were gone. So, if one goes 3 - 2 in a road robin event, their expectation for advancement should be tempered. I have not done the math, but I would suspect that a 4 - 1 record would get one in - does anyone know if that is a guarantee?
My teammates are looking forward to this big tourney, with our only trepidation being the HR out rule, as we have played all season long without it.
Good luck to all.

By the way, if two undefeated teams meet in the finals, does the "extra" game (from being a first loss) still apply? to both teams??
May 22, 2009
DaveDowell
Men's 60
1039 posts
As for a team 'having a bad game' and being locked out of the Finals, that's not correct ... If, for example, you are in a 6-team, 5-game RR, and you go 4-1, it's not possible to be worse than 2nd place (which DOES get you into the Championship games) and you're second only if the team you lost to goes 5-0 ... Which means, by definition or guarantee, they beat the same teams you did, so NONE of the other four could possibly have better than a 3-2 record ... And you're in the Championship games ...

We have internally discussed the possibility of the "Double If" scenario and may consider giving the affected teams the choice BEFORE the first meeting of the 'unbeatens' as to whether or not they are willing to play that 2nd "If" game late in the day ... In most cases, that would be at 5:00 PM, subject to field availability and travel constraints the teams may have.
May 22, 2009
hitnrun5
27 posts
It is possible for 3 teams to finish 4-1, if team a beats team b, team b beats team c and team c beats team a and all three teams win the rest of their games they all finish 4-1. Then a team with one bad game would be eliminated.
May 22, 2009
udaplaya
91 posts
Thanks for the feedback, Dave.

My team is in a ten team bracket (I probably should have mentioned that fact), so the possible scenarios are somewhat more complicated than the six team bracket. Don't worry about trying to figure out all of the possibilities, as I have given my team instructions to play hard each game and not leave anything to chance.

See you in Reno/Sparks.
May 22, 2009
RRodda
1 posts
As mentioned, there is no way to make it fair with 5 seeding games in a division such as the 12 team 60AAA. That means a team plays 5 of 11 possible teams. How can it possibly be done fairly with each team playing a similar assortment?

There could easily be multiple teams tied at 3-2 for the last playoff spot. How is that broken, and does a team lose out because they won by a lesser margin, but maybe against a better team?
Or perhaps because they lost the coin flip and the losing team in a particular game chose visitor, so they got no open inning>

The real issue I see is the fact that 60 teams play midweek and 144 (counting women's teams) on the weekend. This imbalance creates a field availability issue and the apparent answer to to use the format that has far fewer teams playing more than the minimum 5 games.

A midweek team can lose both seeding games and start fresh when elimination starts.

The weekend teams.....lose both Friday and you are in big trouble.

How about an entry discount for teams that have to play at Rancho San Dump?

May 22, 2009
Jawood
Men's 50
788 posts
Wasn't it announced a month ago that the 50+ Major-plus was going to be played at Golden Eagle? I see that Friday is played there and Saturday is being played at the Rancho Dump! We would not have even gone to this tournament if we had known this! Thanks for misleading us!
May 22, 2009
FOFO
Men's 50
165 posts
I have never played this format before, but it may make it tough to get everyone enough playing time with so much riding on every game, but I guess we will wait and see.
Are the Rancho San Rafael fields a little rough?
May 23, 2009
SSUSA Staff
1118 posts
It was never announced that any age groups and/or Divisions would play exclusively at Golden Eagle, but rather which ages and divisions would play in "Reno/Sparks" and which would play in "Carson City." This was done on a "Tentative" basis as a courtesy for teams to assist them in making hotel arrangements. None of the "Tentative" assignments, posted months ago, were changed.

This year, just like last year, "Reno/Sparks" for the Men's teams means Rancho San Rafael and/or Golden Eagle. (In the second session, the only Men's Division not playing at both facilities is the Men's 60-Major+.)
May 23, 2009
Jawood
Men's 50
788 posts
I like the format. What can you do with only 6 teams, anyway? The difference between the two fields are night and day!
May 23, 2009
Husky71
Men's 50
25 posts
The format is okay but only having two teams making the 50 Major Plus Sunday playoff is wrong. I'm sure SSUSA has run out of fields here but to possibly go 4-1 or even 3-2 and get sent home on Saturday is a bad deal! It should have been a 4 team single elimination bracket on Sunday to make it a real tournament in my opinion. It's not what I wanted to see from one of my favorite tournaments...
May 24, 2009
WOW
197 posts
How can you possibly have meaningful "Champion" when you have a situation where all teams in a bracket don't get to play each other. You can't really be assured the top 4 teams from a bracket containing 6 or more teams, will compete for the championship. If your guaranteed 5 games, all brackets should consist of 6 teams. Then have the champions of each of the brackets [in the same division] play each other. Then you'll have a true champion. Again, I see more disapointed teams!
May 24, 2009
taits
Men's 65
4305 posts
Wow, I can just see any in your div wanting to play 11 games (12 team) seeding and then XX number of games for DE. Same for the AA teams. with 12 games, 13 teams.
You'd be there all week or longer.
But I see your point. At least there are more than 2-3 teams.
May 24, 2009
the wood
1075 posts
Taits:
Bingo! You're exactly right... there are more than 2-3 teams.

Wow:
We've won a lot of DE events over the years. We seldom played everyone. We've also played in round robins and tied for the best record only to lose to another team that had a better tie breaker position. Was that a 'true champion'? So what?
In a 2-3 game seeding round we wouldn't play everyone.

In general:
Usually the whining is reserved for after the event... we ought to give it a chance before we bad mouth it. I have never seen so many people that would 'kick if they were hung with a new rope'.
BW
May 25, 2009
F.O.G.
Men's 40
105 posts
The Wood said it best. How many times have I traveled 500+ miles to take a chance on having good luck in a 2nQ tourney that had 40-50 teams in our bracket? More than I care to remember.

You are guaranteed 5 games...no one else does that.

Go have a good time in Reno...spend some money....bring you "A" game to the field...that's how you get to the championship!
May 26, 2009
JLD930
Men's 55
67 posts
Our team, Master Collision (55 Major) is scheduled to play in Carson City on Friday at 12:30 PM, 5 PM and 8 PM. We had already booked our rooms in Reno when we were informed we would play in Carson City. We are faced with a 12 hour day from the time we leave Reno until we return. All 55 Major teams are in a similar position. This is poor scheduling. It is bad enough to play in Carson City but even worse when you have 7 1/2 hours from the first and last games (assuming they are on schedule; big assumption). Additional notice should be given to teams playing in Carson City so reservations can be booked accordingly.
Another issue is that since all games are effectively must win games it is more difficult to play the entire roster. I understand that the scheduling is not easy but this is the worst that I have seen.
May 26, 2009
taits
Men's 65
4305 posts
JLD930
When I was about a year ago, upper fields only, they were in good shape, The problem was with the parking. Not much there.
Lover fields sucked.
Actually wasn't bad there for anything, other than if you wanted to go to Reno 40 miles away.
But I see having the travel time would cause a rift.
I went once with it the opposite. had room in CC played in Reno...
May 26, 2009
JLD930
Men's 55
67 posts
Taits, I have played there several times and you are right the upper fields are ok. I have never seen them use the lower fields (I assume those ate the field when you first entrer the park. They are (or have always been terrible). The main issue is the times between the games without being able to get back to the hotel. The good news is there are 9 teams in the bracket.
May 26, 2009
taits
Men's 65
4305 posts
I believe U-trip have a T there this last holiday weekend and used them. I was told they were on the sched, but you know how schedules go.
Those fields aren't safe (at home plate) even for BP.
May 26, 2009
Dbax
Men's 60
1240 posts
I'm pretty sure that playing locations were given out in plenty of time to make or change reservations. We waited to see if we were in Carson city or not. But most of the guys would have stayed in Reno regardless. I've had longer days at the ballpark. that's how it goes.

And Taits, tell me more about the "Lover fields!"
May 26, 2009
taits
Men's 65
4305 posts
Not much to say other than they are on the left as you enter the park area and before the golf course. Hard to miss. Has large parking lot also. I forget the field dimension. Do a map satellite search and you can see the lay of the land.
Outfields are rough, or were.
May 26, 2009
Dbax
Men's 60
1240 posts
Taits, you're killing me. Read your posts very carefully. LOL!
May 26, 2009
taits
Men's 65
4305 posts
Gee, I left out tall, grass usually not mowed, it's green by the way,with some gofer holes, & a dirt infield. "twas short version.
....not much to say....
Have a great time there, Dave I don't want you to miss it. 'tis a city land mark.
lol
May 26, 2009
Dbax
Men's 60
1240 posts
You called it "LOVERS FIELD"
May 26, 2009
taits
Men's 65
4305 posts
Whoops, i missed that but who knows, maybe some truth to it...lol

May 26, 2009
softballer
Men's 55
560 posts
for those at Carson city bring nose plugs cause it will smell like piss from all those drunk at midnight madness! but we will see you there
Monta Litle #50 TIMBERWORKS CONST!
STOP BY AND SAY HELLO!
May 26, 2009
softballer
Men's 55
560 posts
also if you drive from Reno to Carson city watch out in the 45-50 mph zone a lot of NHP (cops) in that area!
May 26, 2009
Stretch14
Men's 50
185 posts
F.O.G., you said it right on the money. Softballer, we play you last game on Saturday. Hope to see you sooner than that. I'll even let you buy me a beer. Good luck.
May 26, 2009
softballer
Men's 55
560 posts
Stretch14 are you with sport bar? you play at 8 am on Friday on field #4 i play on #6 see you there!
May 27, 2009
JLD930
Men's 55
67 posts
Yes Dbax "it is the way things go" but it does not make it good scheduling. I have also seen worse.
May 27, 2009
JLD930
Men's 55
67 posts
Dbax, re your original question on format we share the same concerns as you that everyone is playing different teams. We have one game in our bracket that only counts in the standings for one of the teams which means the other team will probably play extra players etc.
While we would have preferred a traditional round robin and double elimination format we too are excited that we have 9 good teams,a competitive bracket and at least 5 games. Rockin Reno is one of the tournaments we look forward to every year
May 27, 2009
DaveDowell
Men's 60
1039 posts
I have written this response to address comments made in your e-mail and to provide additional information that may not be immediately apparent to you. I am the author of all schedules for SSUSA administered events nationally and have a very clear understanding of the process as it relates to the number of teams and games required in the context of the available field resources. The Rock 'n Reno event is a qualifier tournament, the largest by any senior softball association in the country. ALL of our events, both qualifiers and regional and National Championships, schedule under a five-game-guarantee, but there is NO guarantee as to any specific format ... This year's format meets that guarantee ...

As for the general observations ...

This year broke the attendance records at Reno for both the Women's and Men's Divisions, and obviously, for total teams, at 204 (the old record was last year at 171) ...
Decisions as to which Divisions play where are neither random nor punitive ... The "rotation" into Carson City for the Men's teams is based upon who has not played there most recently ... The Women are assigned to Shadow Mountain for two reasons ... It has been a constant stated desire of the Women's program to have all women at one facility and only women at that facility ... Shadow fits that criteria better than any other facility ... Additionally, the relatively shorter fences at Shadow (280' or 285', depending on the Field) are more suitable to the Women's game (especially if one gives credence to the recent editorial in Pat Lawlis' Newsletter) and are rapidly becoming unsuitable to the men's game, especially for ages 60 and younger ...
We have all available facilities in the Reno/Sparks/Carson City regional area under contract, but unfortunately, not all available time slots at those facilities, due to (and I'm not kidding) pre-existing Co-ed Local League play ... This is a very frustrating problem, since it first arose seriously last year, and the people in Reno and Sparks (two separate Parks Depts.) were aware of it, but neither chose to solve it this year ... For next year, Reno has graciously agreed to open up Friday night for us (at Rancho San Rafael) and there is a meeting next week involving a lot of the 'higher-ups' in Sparks (for Golden Eagle and Shadow Mountain) to try to get that resolved ... It would have made a huge difference this time, adding 36 game slots that could have been used very well ... We were exactly 35 games slots short of giving everyone their 'standard' format! ...
This year we had 425 available game slots across all facilities (including Carson City) for the second session ... The 'trick' here was to see what formats could be used that yield an aggregate number of games less than that number, while at the same time preserving the five-game-guarantee for all of the teams ... The format we selected worked because it (barely) brought the total required games count 'down' to 423 ... For the record, the two open slots are at Carson City at 8:00 PM on Friday night, which is not very helpful for anyone! ...
Had we scheduled this year under the 'preferred' format, later games would have been required at all facilities ... For Shadow Mountain, there would have been games at 10:30 PM on Friday and Saturday, with teams having to come back for 8:00 AM games on Sunday ... The same would have been true at Rancho San Rafael and Carson City ... The teams playing at Golden Eagle would have had games at 10:00 PM on Friday night and at 9:30 PM and 11:00 PM on Saturday ...
We also chose this round robin format for all teams in order to provide complete equality across the board, regardless of gender, age group or rating level ... Would we have preferred to play double elimination or three-game-guarantee brackets after limited seeding games? ... You bet! ... But we simply didn't have the inventory of game slots to make that happen, and just barely had enough for this format without resorting to the previously mentioned 10:00 PM (or later) game times ... Last year, I was the Field Director that had the Saturday night games end after midnight on 3 of the 6 fields in use ... No one was particularly happy with that arrangement ...

As it relates to the various Divisions of play ...

The six-team Divisions are the only ones that can accomplish a full round robin exactly consistent with the five-game guarantee offered to all teams ... They are also the only ones that have a completely fair round robin, where each team plays each other team once and only once ... This is the most pure of seeding circumstances ... No one can say "Well, YOU got to play THEM, and we DIDN'T!" or similar (usually non-objective) statements ...
For the two 5-Team Men's divisions, they can only play four round robin games in the full RR, so they are taken into a 5-team single elimination playoff format to ensure each team gets it's five-game-guarantee ...
For all divisions with seven or more teams, it's impossible to complete a full round robin in only five games ... There is always the possibility (probability?) that some team may go 4-0 not having played a strong team, particularly in the larger (say, 8 or more) Divisions ... And the larger the Division, the higher the statistical possibility becomes for multiple unbeaten teams ...
To protect against an unbeaten team being left out of a single Championship game, four is the most 'logical' number of teams to take to the Finals ... For reference, in the 'normal' bracket format, be it D.E. or 3-G-G, we very rarely take more than six teams into Sunday ... By then, we have whittled down the field thru the elimination (or losers') bracket, and all but those six survivors finish on Saturday ... Would it be better to have more teams on Sunday? ... Of course! ... But it just wasn't do-able this year in Reno ...
Simply put, and not to be stating the obvious or be less that respectful, ANY tournament rewards teams that win, especially at the right time ... The other up-side to this format (which we have no choice in presenting!) is that every game counts ... Sand-bagging is non-existent because it's too risky to not make the final Round(s) ...

We are not upset with this format, simply hoping we have 'made lemonade' with the lemons we were handed ... For years, before Carson City became available to us about 5 or 6 years ago, this WAS the standard format at Reno ... Lots of "Pool Play", and no brackets at all, with the winners of each Pool playing one game (with no "if needed" game) for the title ... This is better, but obviously not optimal except in the context of this being the best possible schedule for all teams under the constraints present today ...

Every team is guaranteed five games, which is important, because that's all that is guaranteed, regardless of the actual format employed. And every team has the opportunity to win. In fact they all have exactly the same chance today ... Which really makes it no different than any other event ... I wish you well and hope you have the success and fun you are accustomed to ...
May 27, 2009
kwilly
7 posts
Dave,
Great job on explaining the facts. For sure, we all start with 0 wins and 0 losses, we get our 5 game minimum and may the best team win. It's not the perfect scenario, but it's as fair as it's going to get. Let's just play.
May 28, 2009
Rip
20 posts
What happens if a team is 0-4 and chooses to not play their last game since they can't advance anyway? That could really screw some other team.
May 28, 2009
green rocket
51 posts
Dave, you do a great job given the cirumstances you have to schedule teams under and be fair about it at the same time.

Reno and Sparks however, needs to get their collective minds together to accomodate the Rock N' Reno better.

This tournament has been going on for several years now close to the same dates each calander year. This tournament certainly generates some good revenue to both cities and counties.

To have you guys bumped due to co-rec league play is really unacceptable.

Also, they need to improve or replace Rancho San Rafael, probaby the worst place to place in Reno and certainly not worthy of a tournament this caliber.
May 28, 2009
taits
Men's 65
4305 posts
Dave,
If you would please, while in the explanatory mode, or mood, go over just how or what your process(es) are, by which you place teams against each other in the RR seeding or pool play games, as some call it.
It would be nice to see teams play the teams they do not normally as in other local tournaments. Might only be a slight possibility in the larger brackets.
Nice post Dave.
May 28, 2009
Lecak
Men's 55
1005 posts
Scott there are several folks it pays to be nice too, people serving your food, bartenders, the guy fixing your car breaks, any airline pilot and the SENIOR SOFTALL USA SCHEDULER.
May 28, 2009
taits
Men's 65
4305 posts
Joe,
Don't forget your wife, especially if she's the one supporting you, or not.
But you're right.
Have a great & safe weekend.
Maybe some other time, we'll meet.
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