Sunday, March 15, 2009

B.A.D.G. March 14th Bout

Event: B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls: Shamrock N Roll March 14th, 2009

Final Score: Richmond Wrecking Belles 164 v S.F. ShEvil Dead 66

Ok, readers. I'm going to be honest here. I do not intend to have this super professional journalist-style of writing. I'm just going to give my opinion on the bouts I see, which may or may not be a popular idea. So, here we go.

This was a weird bout. I was working the door up until halftime, so I didn't see the first half. Due to the acoustics in the building, I couldn't hear the announcers during the first period either. I have no idea what went on. At halftime the score was 68 to 44 with Richmond taking the lead.

I say the bout was weird because the atmosphere just didn't feel the same. We sold about 200 tickets less than we usually do. I know that's probably due to the bout falling on St. Patrick's Day weekend. People had prior plans to be vomitting in the gutter over on Broadway Street which kept them away from the roller derby.

But we still had 1000 people in the place. That's nothing to sneeze at. However it just was not as loud as we're all used to. There were times during the second period where I was cheering and the person seated in front of me, kept turning to give me the stink eye. Seriously? You're at a bout! You're supposed to embrace the raucous activity. It's not like we were at a poetry reading and I was like "YEAH! YOU READ THE SHIT OUT OF THAT STANZA! MAN, DID YOU SEE THAT RHYME?! THAT WAS HUGE!"

I wonder if the calmer audience had any effect on the players? I know that a lot of players draw motivation from the crowd and get more aggressive and faster as the audience gets louder and louder. Even though I was working a shift during the first period, I quizzed my friends on what went down. The general consensus is that even though Richmond had the lead at the end of the first period, ShEvil Dead was the team that came out swinging. Multiple people commented that the struggling SF team played more unified than they ever have while Richmond was lacking their normal dominating energy for the first half.

This season, ShEvil lost their top two jammers Miss Moxxxie and Exquisite Corpse to retirement. In addition to that, two veteran players were recently injured are were unable to play. Blocker Windigo Jones broke her hand at the February 21st bout against Oakland. A week later, longtime blocker and ShEvil dead coach, Motley Cuz also broke her hand in practice. With those set-backs, it had to feel a little discouraging. But SF apparently fought hard to maintain a tight 24 point different in the first half of the game.

I also heard that Richmond was experimenting with players in different positions than they normally play. Blockers were stepping up to fill out the jammer roster. Brawllen Angel, who was a dedicated jammer last season, was out blocking in the pack.

In the second period, Richmond started to get it together and change up their line-up. Previously dedicated jammers went back to jamming and blockers went back to blocking. With each jam they started to pull away more and more. However, I couldn't help but notice how often Richmond was playing with skaters in the penalty box. They rarely had a full line-up in during the second period When you have a thirty point lead, a fourty point lead, a fifty point are you still committing so many penalties? When you have a comfortable lead and you're not feeling desperate, you shouldn't play desperate. They are a very physically dominating team! It's easy for them and it's hard for me to watch them let their control slip.

In the end, Richmond took the victory. I'd like to think that the ShEvil Dead took home a moral victory though. The team is currently in a rough transition period. The rookies of the team are certainly stepping up but I think they just need a little bit more time to gel together.

I really enjoyed seeing Sassy Slayer go back to jamming in this game for the ShEvil Dead. Sassy is a fantastic jammer. I know she is even better as a blocker in the pack, but watching her jump and fight her way through the pack is always fun.

Making her roller derby debut last night was SF player Knock Knock who took turns jamming and blocking. It is no small feat to take all-star player Liza Machete off her feet in a bout. To be able to do that in your first game ever is something to really be proud of.

I also really liked watching Golden Skate Warrior jam for Richmond. GSW is coming out in full force in 2009! Although she didn't have much playing time last season, she recently made the travel team and will surely see much, much more time on the track this year.

Now ShEvil gets some much needed time off. They unfortunately had to play two bouts in three weeks when normally we get atleast 4 to 6 weeks in between games. Their next bout will be in San Jose against the Silicon Valley Roller Girls. This bout will be a rematch of last seasons bout which resulted in 126 to 55 ShEvil Deads victory.

The Richmond Wrecking Belles will play the Oakland Outlaws on April 4th. This will also be a rematch as these two teams faced off in the 2008 season championship. I, for one, am equal parts excited and terrified.


Southbayfan said...

Well I was at the first half of the bout and I have a good idea about what happened and I talked to Liza Machete Tuesday night about Belles strategy. And the biggest difference between the first and second halves was Belles' jammer strategy.

In the first half the Belles had seven different jammers, top jammer being Liza Machete with 18 points in 4 jams, Liza also did not block. Followed by Brawllen with 16 points in 6 jams and newcomer Chantilly Mace with 12 points in 3 jams. Golden Skate Warrior was almost shut out the first half with 5 point in 3 jams.

With Liza not blocking there were holes in the Belles defense and ShEvil jammers tore through them to score points. Lead by Sassy Slayher with 20 points in 6 jams; followed by Coco Motion with 13 points in 5 jams. But SF is still a rookie team and although they have talented and improving skaters they lack teamwork, same problem as last year.

In the second half the Belles set a jammer rotation of Astronaughty, Brawllen Angel and Golden Skate Warrior. Liza put on the pivot cover and the Belles scored 96 points to ShEvil's 22. This time lead by Golden Skate Warrior with 42 points in 6 jams, and again followed by Brawllen with 36 points in 7 jams. ShEvil's jammers all suffered equally.

As usual penalties ran against the rookie team, the ShEvil Dead, 64 minors and 12 majors. Richmond had 50 minors and 16 majors.

For the Belles, shout-outs go to Chantilly Mace, Roxie the Riveter and Diva Negativa. Chantilly in her debut as a jammer scored 12 points in 3 jams and was lead jammer in everyone of those jams. An impressive rookie performance, I look forward to see more of her with the star cover. Roxie and Diva has been with the league for a while and they've only gotten better. I believe both of them are on the 'B' travel team, Plan B. Roxie actually out-skated travel team veteran Velveteen Savage and Diva was close behind. The top Belles plus/minus went as follows:
Demand Riot +80 in 26 jams
Liza Machete +73 in 26 jams
Roxie the Riveter +70 in 23 jams
Velveteen Savage +60 in 26 jams
Diva Negativa +58 in 18 jams

What can one say about the ShEvil Dead? Teamwork! Teamwork! Teamwork! There is no reason they should have there ass handed to them in a bout. Their jammers Sassy Slayher, Coco Motion, Knock Knock and Trixxie Pixxe are as good as anyone's. And they have large fast blockers: Belle Right Hooks, Bliss Bombher, Kimfectious, Luv U. Longtime, Messy Jessy, Minnie Peril, and Skatzophrenic. But their lack of teamwork pulls them apart and jammers get through.

I'm a statistician, not a coach, so take what I say with a grain of salt. Maybe the ShEvil can try platooning. That is pair the blockers up and play them as a unit, a veteran with a rookie. That way the two can learn each others abilities and tendencies, and cover for each other. The tricky part is coming up with pair ups that work. Skaters should compliment each other. They don't have to like each other, just be affective and work well together. Play a double wall defense, try and shutdown the other teams offense; comebacks start with defense.

I'm really looking forward to the April 4th bout,
BADG Statistician

rollella said...

Hey southbayfan... I loved your analysis of the game. Can you please explain what the stats stuff means below?

"Demand Riot +80 in 26 jams
Liza Machete +73 in 26 jams
Roxie the Riveter +70 in 23 jams
Velveteen Savage +60 in 26 jams
Diva Negativa +58 in 18 jams"


Southbayfan said...

Sure Rollella,
The plus/minus stat is taken from ice hockey and is used to measure the performance of blockers, jammers are better measured by the points they score. You can find a good definition of plus/minus in wikipedia, but I'll give you the best description of it I can as it is generally used in flat track roller derby.

Using an example, I believe, is the best way explain what a plus/minus stat is. A typical jam, between team A and team B, ends with the score 4-1 for team A. Everyone who skated in that jam for team A would get a +3, and everyone who skated in that jam for team B would get a -3. You assign the score difference to each skater in that jam. Add up all the score differences for each skater and you have the skater's plus/minus for the bout. Skaters in the penalty box are considered part of the jam, even if they don't skate. Hopefully that's clear.

In your stat staff you have “line-up trackers” generally one per team that note which skaters jammed in which jam and scorekeepers that note what points were scored in which jam. At BADG we combine the line-up tracker and scorekeeper jobs. If I can, I shoot video to capture the line-ups. You marry these two stats together to get the skater's plus/minus.

We also use the plus/ minus to “grade” a skater's performance. To get a fair stat a skater should skate at least a minimum of five jams during the bout. Less than that and you don't have enough data points to be fair. A skater can also skate too much. If a skater skates every jam there's no way to tell how she performed because there's no way to separate her from the fate of her team.

The plus/minus is a very rough guide to a skater's performance. I've noticed that some skaters, usually captains, only skate against the other team's best jammer, or skate in short-handed jams. This unnaturally lowers her plus/minus.

I hope this answers your question,