Major League Pickleball (MLP) Newport Beach – Live Random Thoughts
We’ll have commentary as much as we can over the course of weekend surrounding the MLP results and any other related MLP things that we may find noteworthy. Keep it locked here throughout the event!
Sunday, August 7th – Semi-Finals and Final
9:51 pm EST – There it is. The Ranchers are champions and each $25k richer. Parris’ injury proved costly in the women’s match but it may not have mattered at the end of the day with the men and Irina/Rafa losing handily. They were the best team out there and didn’t even have to play their 2nd mixed team in either the semis or finals today.
4:25 pm EST – jnThe Ranchers are in the final after a dominating performance over the Hard 8s. 21-5 for Jackie and Anna, who are undoubtedly the best women’s team out there. The big win came for DJ and James in men’s as it was basically lights after that with their mixed being so strong. James has obviously proven more than worthy of being selected. They should be favorites going into the final. We’ll also see what BLQK decides with Parris and whether she plays.
1:45 pm EST – BLQK went with Schneemann over Rettger, which seemed odd as they went the other way yesterday. Clearly, it was the right choice. We have seen very little of Schneemann play but after a rough first half of game 1 she showed out. Lina got tight in the women’s match after the 5s lost a lead and it was lights out from there. After Zane and Rafa controlled the men’s matchup, Lacy and Zane were dominant against Rob and Simone. They said Parris will be back for the finals but she can’t be healthy if she’s not playing the semis. It’s a big decision for the 5s after Lacy played so well. She has some huge power out there. It appeared Parris’ injury would be devestating for BLQK but that is not the case. They are a wagon right now. Question, does Lacy only get alternate money despite helping them get to the finals?
For the 5s, they will have some questions to answer before Ohio. Is this team as constructed good enough to win it all? Nunnery will be healthier next time out and should be better in mixed than he was. Lange just isn’t the elite mixed player that he is in men’s so the 5s struggle in mixed overall relative to their doubles matchup. They only had one hiccup in men’s and Simone/Lina are a strong pairing. Will this team look to do anything?
Saturday, August 6th – Group Play and Quarter Finals
11:13 pm EST – Final match of the day has the Hard 8s over ATX in the Dreambreaker. The 8s got the doubles matchups while ATX got the mixed matchups. ATX put Schneemann in the Dreambreaker but she lost 6/8 to Jorja while John Cincola was so clutch against Dylan Frazier in the Dreambreaker. Really, all 4 players did their part in the Dreambreaker as the 8s are into the semis as one of only 4 teams who didn’t make any transactions after Austin.
9:27 pm EST – When you bring opinions, you’re going to be right and wrong. Hopefully more right the wrong. We have been banging the Tardio drum since the initial draft and didn’t understand why he wasn’t picked up in Austin. Due to weird circumstances, Tardio finally got his chance and shows he belongs. He lost his men’s match after being up early by a good number but he was dominant with Simone after a clearly hampered Nunnery lost both mixed matches with Simone today (edit: Nunnery and Jardim beat Koller/Brascia so there was one win in there). Lange and Padigemaite barely pulled it out 22-20 and the 5s are off to the semi-finals. Nunnery will play tomorrow but his mixed trouble is a real question mark. 2-0 in men’s but 0-2 in mixed, and he can’t play singles well right now. If it goes to a Dreambreaker, it will be a real question if Nunnery should be subbed for Tardio.
6:39 pm EST – Big piece of news is Rob Nunnery is apparently now out for their first playoff match due to getting subbed out for singles. It sounds like this was told after the fact and that is terrible. We don’t like the rule but rules need to be clear in advance. Tardio should still make the 5s competitive but this is bad from MLP, assuming we have the right info.
For results, BLQK will get a bye as well after getting a 3-1 win over the Lions. Wright and McMillan losing to Rettger/Tereschenko was poor. They played so many balls to Irina and paid for it. For BLQK to get the win without Parris was impressive, and they were very close to winning 4-0 with Zane and Rettger. Tough weekend for the Lions as they had a shot to get to the playoff and barely miss out on the 1 win tiebreak. Thomas Wilson doesn’t win a mixed match this weekend either. That has to sting.
ATX will back their way into the playoff after losing to the Mad Drops. Corrine Carr finally got a win and convincingly over Jade and Sarah. Tellez has been good in mixed but struggled in men’s as we see all these initial singles specialists taking the most time to figure out men’s doubles. Dylan has had a tough go this event as he lost his mixed match too. We thought ATX overperformed last time out in Austin but with a soft group only get 1 win was not ideal.
4:02 pm EST – The Hard 8s are back into the playoffs after a convincing win over Team Clean. It’s not surprising they are back there and we have to expect some changes will be in store again for Team Clean. Joey Farias has to be out after this disappointing event, doesn’t he? We’ll see if the 8s can make any noise in the playoffs. They have the horses to do it.
The Florida Smash are back into the playoffs with a little more difficulty this time around. Esquivel/JW barely squeaked out a win and the women for the Smash continue to struggle together. The Chimeras are heartbreakingly out again after a tough Dreambreaker loss – they went with Koop first against JW and Cassidy against Whitwell (Lee surprisingly getting to the net to put pressure on Cassidy), but the strategy did not pay off. It seems like a mistake to try to not put your best players first out there. The Chimeras are in a tough spot going forward with their women being good enough but the two men are solid but neither a world beater.
1:52 pm EST – The 5s are through to the playoffs after getting a really tough Dreambreaker aided win over the Bus. Padigemaite/Jardim lost to Stratman/Rane after having a bunch of match points and it seemed that could be it for the 5s who have not had much success in mixed. Nunnery/Lange continue their really strong run together but Nunnery’s limited movement rears its ugly head in mixed where he can’t chase after lobs or cover enough court to make it work to Simone. On the other hand, Erik Lange actually got a mixed win as the Yates/Rane partnership has been arguably the worst mixed partnership so far in the tournament. The big controversy was the Dreambreaker as Nunnery was subbed out for Gabe Tardio who was solid in the Dreambreaker. Yates was not happy as it seemed he was not aware of this rule. MLP has not been good about being clear about their rules and rule changes. This singles swap is a silly rule. It should be reserved for times when players are actually hurt and cannot play. However, Nunnery talked about teams not utilizing it prior to Newport and the 5s use it to their advantage. It was definitely the difference maker.
The Ranchers are 3-0. Jackie Kawamoto has not lost and is 6-0 so far this tournament, meaning she is 3-0 with Ignatowich in mixed. We may need to rethink what the learning curve is on these players as commentators on the blog have happily pointed out to us. Guys like Ignatowich are spending all their time working on their game and makes their improvement so much faster. The Ranchers still look vulnerable despite the 3-0 start. DJ Young has not won with Ignatowich in men’s and he almost lost to Mary Brascia/AJ Koller with Anna Bright. As for the Jackrabbits, they go 0-3 and there are likely going to be changes in their future for the next stop.
10:35 am EST – Our understanding is that Parris Todd injured herself quite significantly yesterday pulling a muscle and will be out for a while. Lacy Schneemann filled in for singles but it sounds like it may be Rachel Rettger who gets the call up for Parris. That’s a devestating blow for BLQK, who benefit so much from Parris being their #2 pick but essentially a #1 female paired with Zane and Irina. If Parris is indeed out, it’s hard to see BLQK making any noise in the playoff. It is worth noting Rettger had her best run as a pro at Beer City with Travis Rettenmaier. She is improving.
As a random aside, Riley Newman is also back in his real element at the Gamma Classic grinding out gold medals in weak fields for money. This one is contractually obligated for Gamma but it’s still nice to see for Riley!
Friday, August 5th – Group Play
12:30 am EST – We should correct that Milan Rane got a win against the Brascia’s so it was 1-3 for her. Anyway, some interesting results to end the day. Chimeras go 3-1 over the Team Clean and Hard 8s lose in a Dreambreaker to Smash, which leaves 4 teams at 1-1 going into tomorrow. Dekel and Joey have not been getting it done together as Farias goes 0-4 on the day. For the Hard 8s, Cincola struggled as he didn’t get past 14 in either men’s or mixed. The Esquivel pickup hasn’t been great so far as she loses with JW but they do get that Dreambreaker, 22-20.
Good day for Etta Wright in her first MLP appearance. She looked solid getting 2 wins against the Mad Drops, who are 0-2 and will be done. Thomas Wilson has really had a rough go in mixed at MLP though as he loses both times today. It didn’t matter as the Lions won 3-1 in a likely bottom of the barrel matchup.
Finally, BLQK goes to their first Dreambreaker to win 3-2. Did not see the match but a 21-6 stomping there with Schneemann filling in for Todd – don’t know what happens there. Pablo Tellez also not really meshing with Dylan in men’s through 2 matches. BLQK looks like they may cruise to another 3-0 if Todd is healthy.
8:27 pm EST – It’s been a rough day for MIlan Rane so far. She’s 0-4 in her matches as they decided to team her up with Kyle Yates in mixed. Wes Burrows has actually been outstanding while getting the benefit of playing mixed with Lauren Stratman. He is 3-1 on the day and has had to play against both teams number 1 singles players. The Brascia’s have not had a good day together going 0-2 but they did at least find some mixed success in this match against the Bus. It really wasn’t a great day for anyone on the Jackrabbits as the men went 0-2 as well. Both of these are flawed teams that found their way into a Dreambreaker, which the Bus do win.
Ranchers proving NML wrong with James Ignatowich getting another mixed win, 21-14 over Erik Lange and Padegimaite. Lange’s mixed still leaves much to be desired and you wonder whether they’ll put him back with Simone. Can’t be easy for Nunnery playing mixed right now as he lost to Bright and Young in a close one. Ranchers are 2-0 now after beating the favorites in their group. They could even have a bye.
6:12 pm EST – Tough start for the Lions as expected. This men’s team is strong but it’s not ideal to put two number two females together. Their options were limited as to what they could do to fix what was wrong with the poor drafting of the team, but we still don’t think what they did in the transaction period was correct. We’ll see if they flip around their mixed pairings even though Wilson/Wright were somewhat close with Kawamoto/Frazier. It is only one match but when one of their next two matchups is going to be BLQK, it’s going to be a tough road to make the playoffs for the Lions. As for ATX, Ansboury seems very comfortable on that left side and that must have played a big part in the Pablo Tellez pick-up. They had a dominant mixed win against the Lions #2 team Taylor/McMillan but Tellez and Frazier did not win their men’s matchup. Overall, it’s a 3-1 win for ATX.
We didn’t get to see any of it because the stream is down on Championship Court but BLQK with another strong start to the event. The Mad Drops made the very puzzling trade to acquire Corrine Carr and it didn’t work out in match #1. David/Carr lost 21/15 and then Carr/Patriquin lost 21-13 to Zane/Parris. These are tough matchu-ups and we’ll have to see how Mad Drops do against the rest of the field as BLQK should be a class above the rest. This could have gone a different way as well if Patriquin/Arnold win 22-20 instead of losing by that number. It’s a 3-1 win as well for BLQK with Tereschenko/Hewett being the only loss to David/Arnold.
4:05 pm EST – So you can find the scores on their website but it’s not as intuitive as I would like. https://www.majorleaguepickleball.net/results. Team Clean pulled out the win in the Dreambreaker over the Smash. That has to feel good for Remynse despite losing her mixed match with against Esquivel. They both go 1-1 head to head and Clean gets the Dreambreaker. That’s two Dreambreakers already.
3:45 pm EST – Two sets of matches through and the Hard 8s have a good start to their day over the Chimeras. Jorja Johnson and Susannah Barr barely pulled out their women’s match, 25-23, over Koop/Fudge, and Daescu/Cincola lost 21-19, but the mixed stuff was dominant from the Hard 8s. Cincola is the big wild card in all of this and we have been critical of the 8s decision to keep him around but he showed out well in the mixed. It’s such a benefit that the Hard 8s essentially have a #1 mixed female in their #2 mixed pairing, which is why we are so down on Cincola being in the mix for them. Nevertheless, Cincola/Barr won and then Jorja Johnson/Daescu won easily as the #1 pairing. THe Hard 8s are a strong team and the question still will remain how Cincola holds up.
The stream is still having problems though. Grandstand is up with just sound and no announcers, which may actually be better in some ways. But Championship Court is down again. Maggie Remynse got the win in women’s with Regina Franco over Esquivel/Whitwell after the trade while it seems JW/Travis may be really tough. Rettenmaier is only getting better and already held up well in the first event in Austin. However, JW/Whitwell really demands so much from JW and the women on this team are such a wild card for the Florida Smash as they lost to Dekel/Regina. I legitimately cannot find how this match finished though because the stream went down and there are no updates that can be found anywhere. Very frustrating.
2:20 pm EST – It’s been a terrible morning for MLP. Their stream has been a mes. They got the Championship Court stream up 30 minutes late with no audio and then it became really choppy. The only stream for Grandstand Court’s first match was on Twitter but with Championship Court audio. Considering the PPA got their stream up on time and smoothly at 8:30 am sharp, that is a particularly bad start for MLP when it’s a head to head weekend. It looks like it is finally working now.
In terms of matchups, the 5s were able to win all the close doubles matchups against the Jackrabbits, who may be in for another long weekend. Nunnery looked really good for a guy who has had no high level play recently and is coming off a knee surgery. The 5s are just so deep so we’ll see how the Jackrabbits do against other teams as they were competitive with the 5s.
The Ranchers go to a Dreambreaker against the Bus and get the win. Tim Klitch commented on this blog saying they wanted to be set up for success in the Dreambreakers and they do it. James Ignatowich won 5 of his 8 points against Wes Burrows but the real win was Anna Bright going 7 of 8 against Lauren Stratman. The Ranchers lost their #1 mixed matchup DJ/Anna against Wes/Lauren, but they still were able to pull it out. The Jackie Kawamoto trade is also proving to have been a good move. Another tough loss for the Bus after tight losses in Austin as well.
Also MLP should make it easier to find the scores of each game within an entire match. It cannot be expected that everyone is sitting on two streams all day and can know the score of each match, especially when the streams are not up.
41 thoughts on “Major League Pickleball (MLP) Newport Beach – Live Random Thoughts”
PPA Showdown scores are easy to find. They give you a spreadsheet. The Staksrud-Jones vs Kovalova-Devilliers was a good match with what many would find a surprising win 15-5. Staksrud seems to be on fire in MXD today. So far won 3 of his 4 matches with some stiff opponents. I think the broadcast said Staksrud-Jones would be number 2 seed against Ben Johns and Irvine. But then corrected themselves and said not really seed numbers.
Staksrud has been training with Simone recently, and it sounds like that’s paid off. No one better to learn from than the GOAT herself.
Mixed is a quicker learning curve than men’s as you see with Ignatowich too. But that’s still a surprising result. They both are figuring out mixed faster than men’s
Someday pickleball is going to go professional. But I don’t see it for at least four to five years,
minimum. Especially the way these tournaments are streamed, operated and produced. The only really good production company IMO is BoxCar Productions. MLP has one stream going on the Grandstand Court and it is only posting at 720p, so everything is out of focus. And PPA just has unethical practices.
It’s been a bad streaming day for MLP
the james ignatowich pickup takes didn’t age well at all!
the ranchers won their first matchup in a, get this, DREAMBREAKER.
the ranchers were 0-3 in the first MLP of 2022. so the pickup of JI is already a success.
And one last thing. the “Dreambreakers don’t matter” Take didn’t age well either!
for the record I said the move was smart and would pay dividends. I called it a no brainer.
oh and James won his mixed match with Jackie Kawamoto beating the former GOAT in the process.
And they said the future is LATER….
The future is NOW.
The Ranchers have a very good team and James is going to have the benefit of playing with a borderline #1 female. He did well in the Dreambreaker too. But it’s early. Let’s see how this whole event goes. Again, we never said Dreambreaker was not important, just that it’s randomness means focus should not be that when choosing players
Jackie Kawamoto a borderline #1 female? She IS a #1 female. And, oh by the way, she went a team best 4 – 0 in her first two matches!
She is proving she is a #1 out there. She’s a lower end #1 but still a #1
James wins again in Mixed.
looked very good in MENS.
It’s quite something to see how you guys continue to downplay James’s contribution and ignore his rapid improvement over the last few months. I watched him in mixed and he was Dominant. A force. He is a handful on the court, just with his size and athleticism, before even considering how improved he is as a doubles player.
With all due respect to grids, the pickup of James was a masterstroke transaction, that has turned the ranchers from a winless team, to a challenger for the title. the ranchers would not be in this position had they not swapped in JI.
It’s a really tough thing to say. Would they be in this position without trading Maggie? Put James in mixed with Maggie and are these results happening? Obviously 2-0 good results and James has held up very well in mixed, but there’s more than just picking up James. You can’t ignore Jackie being such an important part for this team either at the same time. James has done well but he has also lost both his men’s matches while benefitting from playing #2 teams with a #1 female
Woah. Staksrud balling out at PPA. Mixed comes easier for the best singles players as we know. But didn’t think Stak had the power or hand speed to be that much of a force.
Iggy being a force in mixed is something I’m less surprised about. Very very fast hands, and powerful. Check out match against the 5’s. Kawamoto solid, but Iggy took over.
Iggy / Kawamoto look like a better team than Young / bright.
Surprised the Jackrabbits are 0-2. You’d think AJ being the best player in the group, and male, would help. Admittedly I didn’t see their matches.
Iggy has looked good in mixed no doubt. Not surprised at Jackrabbits at all. We have obviously not been a fan of Brascia trade and Gabrielsen pick was not one we liked either. This is a flawed team
For an amazing comeback, watch showdown’s last men’s doubles match. Staksrud and Ben were demolishing Callan Dawson and Devilliers at 12-4. Then Dawson/Devilliers got to 14! In one run! Then side-out, got the ball back and win 14-12. It may have been the best I’ve ever seen either of those two play. And they weren’t playing that well up until then.
Will have to watch Fed. And it may be these tennis guys coming to pickleball who are literally playing all the time have a quicker learning curve now that they are treating it like a pro sport
It’s amazing to see how hard Fed and James are working at it. We watched lots of “pros” do nothing for years other than show up for tournaments. Too bad about Parris.
No doubt about it
Ignatowich played well in mens doubles today. DJ couldn’t keep the ball in play. AJ couldn’t light ignatowich up and really couldnt attack him.
If Parris is playing at 80% or more of max level BLQK is still the favorites. Even with an alternate playing singles they’re simply the best team. Rafa rises to the occasion and Zane is ice cold.
They can’t have Rettger out there for doubles to win almost certainly
DJ has not had a good tournament overall
I also think the singles swap thing with Nunnery is dumb. If you can’t play 100% then don’t play. What is stopping any of the other players (maybe some that don’t play singles very much) to swap in a replacement during a dreambreaker? That is essentially the president they are setting.
The MLP stream is awful. Someone said it was 720 but I think that’s being generous. It looks more like 480 to me.
Apparently Nunnery is out now. Unclear what is going on. And the Grandstand is particularly bad on the stream
I totally don’t understand the singles swap. It’s either a rule or it isn’t. Why would Nunnery think it was a rule if it wasn’t – and presumably his team and team manager. I also thought all subs had to be approved so how could MLP change their mind after the fact (if they did). Does the Nunnery ban only apply to this tournament? I also wonder if Nunnery decided to play planning all along to sub in singles. hmmm. Com-mon NML we need answers. lol
You guys missed probably the most fun story of the weekend in Ben Newell. Watching him single handedly run over Matt Wright and Collin Johns was so fun. I’d recommend going back and watching that match.
We did see that. We are going to write about it in our takeaways. He was a guy that we could have been drafted in the first go around
yes he did very well in an exhhibiton where most of the players just wanted it to be over. what a complete dud.
It seemed players were more intense than they are at PNIA or last week’s Orchard
DJ Young was “on” on Sunday for both the semi-finals and the finals. He played like a Top 5 player that day
He was definitely on
i’m not a big believer in simone and lina. watched them live. believe they went 2-3 including loss to stratman/rane
lina not too impressive except in match against whitwell / travis, will be interesting what the 5s do
They struggled a bit but overall they have been good for two events overall
florida smash has the best player in the event, but did not make it out of the quarterfinals. And Barely got into the quarter final. The men’s side is handling business. The female side did not. If that team is being built to WIN then changes will be made. If it’s not built to win, and it’s simply a vanity project for the owner, then they will stand pat and do no better in the final MLP event later this year. Look at the STATS owners. Your team is what it is.
A perfect example of team that did make difficult changes was The Ranchers. And they were criticized and second guessed by many right here. I took the other side and believed the move to add James was a no brainer. The ranchers recognized James talent and potential before any other team. The trade for Kawamoto speaks for itself.
Kudos to ranchers Ownership for being active, and taking their team from Worst to First.
I was very curious why Florida Smash would make trades… I thought they had a very solid team. I was also confused why they changed up their mixed lineups when JW/Whitwell seemed to play very well together. Eager to see if they waive Michelle before the next event. Rettger and Schneeman looked very sharp over the weekend!
I’m also very curious if it was the Jackrabbits that initiated the Brascia/Kawamoto trade or the Ranchers? Ranchers got a steal in Kawamoto if that’s the case.
It was odd for them to make the move they did. Michelle may be out but Oshiro we think would be the best option even though not ideal rather than Rachel or Lacy. Although Lacy looked good and will improve fast
We don’t know who initiated it actually
I don’t disagree but the Iggy addition is a bit overstated. Jackie K. went a league best 9 -0. She was the glue that held this team together. If anyone was as important they would have had a similar record. What was Iggy’s record without Jackie? 2-3?
2-3 but he did play better. We still think there are a number of players who could have held up as James did, including Gridley
Not sure what exactly their changes are but they do need changes on the women’s side. We still think Bobbi Oshiro is an option but the Smash is not the best fit.
Ranchers did make a difficult decision and it paid dividends for them. You were right on it too