Athletes Unlimited finished their first round of play on Monday with a shutout and a nail-biter. It was an exciting and fun weekend for the players and the fans alike.
Week 1 final game results are:
Game 1 - Team Warren (Orange) beat Team Fagan (Purple) 11-3
Game 2 - Team Wagner (Gold) beat Team Pendley (Blue) 18-4
Game 3 - Team Warren (Orange) beat Team Pendley (Blue) 10-2
Game 4 - Team Wagner (Gold) beat Team Fagan (Purple) 6-2
Game 5 - Team Fagan (Purple) beat Team Pendley (Blue) 7-6
Game 6 - Team Wagner (Gold) beat Team Warren (Orange) 5-0
Team Wagner (Gold) 3-0
Team Warren (Orange) 2-1
Team Fagan (Purple) 1-2
Team Pendley (Blue) 0-3
The final leader board is
As the top four positions on the leader board show, next week's captains are Cat Osterman, Samantha Show, Victoria Hayward, and Aleshia Ocasio. Drafting will take place Tuesday.
The first weekend of games proved several points. With two pitchers and two offensive players in the top four spots, the scoring system is solid and represents both aspects of the game.
Additionally, 18 of the top 20 player scores came from the undefeated Gold team and the Yellow team who was 2-1. The Purple team at 1-2 took two slots and the Blue team, without a win, was shut out of the top 20 spots. That proves the scoring does balance team performance with individual performance.
I admit I was a bit skeptical about how the scoring system would balance all things, but I knew the league had run the numbers and various scenarios and I gave them the benefit of any doubt. The first round of games wiped out all doubt and proved the viability of the system.
Last weekend also proved that the fans are watching and loving it. Social media was on fire all weekend on the Athletes Unlimited pages and various softball and player pages. The overwhelming response is positive. At first, the lack of softball this summer might have been a contributing factor to the interest level, but in the end, the players, games and concept are the main draw.
Finally, Round One showed how much the players love the game. Every player had smiles all weekend. Even in the toughest of moments, maybe even especially in those moments, players couldn't and wouldn't hide their enthusiasm.
The press sessions were equally as interesting. Players took turns patiently explaining the scoring system. I think we all get it now fortunately as we head into week 2. Players stressed how team performance is not undervalued in the system and the results prove that. Players also explained how the scoring system mirrors the existing softball mindset of win the inning, win the game, keep it going. The difference is now points are officially awarded for achievements.
Once most of the scoring questions passed, thoughts turned to the next draft, the fan appreciation, the love of the game and other regular softball questions. As I have previously stressed, it is a new concept, but it doesn't affect the beauty of the game. In the end, this is softball at the highest level played by the most elite players in the world.