October 18, 2007

A dark day as National Lacrosse League cancels 2008 season.: The NLL yesterday canceled the season after it failed to reach a new collective agreement with its players by its long-standing midnight Monday deadline..

posted by tommytrump to other at 12:44 PM - 26 comments

There was a National Lacrosse League? Did anyone else know about this or did they play behind closed doors in the middle of the night?

posted by urall cloolis at 12:51 PM on October 18

Speaking of clueless. urall, you've been here long enough to know better than that. Just because you're not interested in something does not give you the right to disparage a posting. Perhaps it is time for you to reread the SportsFilter guidelines. Have you ever been to a N.L.L. game? I have been to a few, and if I lived closer to a city with a team, would attend on a regular basis. The Toronto Rock play at the Air Canada Centre, also home of the Maple Leafs and Raptors, and draw sellout, or near sellout crowds for every game. The crowds for Rock games are far louder than for Leaf and Raptor games, and the product presented is very entertaining. Given a choice of professional sporting events to attend, I'd rather go to a regular season lacrosse game than any of regular season hockey, football, baseball, or basketball.

posted by tommytrump at 01:17 PM on October 18

Well, yeah, they do play behind closed doors, although not in the middle of the night. It's an indoor league.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:18 PM on October 18

I think urall was making disparaging comments about the NLL, not your post Tommy. And they weren't really disparaging from my point of view. More like "I had no idea that there was a professional league for lacrosse." And if what urall said was a grievious violation of the guidelines, then I believe that most of us here should face banishment.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:30 PM on October 18

I went to a Minnesota Swarm game back in March, because my company gave people on our project tickets to the suite for that game. (Won't let us worker-bees go to a Wild game...grr. But I digress...) It was surprisingly entertaining: plenty of scoring, a fight, and a PA announcer who trash-talked a lot. I'd go again, if I could. This whole thing seems reminiscent of the WNBA strike/lockout (I forget which it was) from a few years ago...it's a bad thing for a league that doesn't have any sort of foothold and could be easily forgotten. I'm shocked the WNBA is still around, and it won't surprise me if this kills this league.

posted by TheQatarian at 01:34 PM on October 18

The NLL is what the NHL used to be in its prime - blue collar fun. This news is a sad day for a sport that has been making steady progress for almost a decade.

posted by garfield at 01:57 PM on October 18

Tommy- I did not mean to piss on your post. I did not know such a league existed. It is not covered in my local newpapers or news stations. I have never seen it televised, covered or advertised in my area. I have never seen it in any major sports magazines that I get (SI, TSN, ESPN). I just learned there was such a league when I read your post. I knew there was a Major League Lacrosse League which had a team in my area and the league folded several years ago. I have not heard anything about professional lacrosse since. FYI- I have nothing against lacrosse or those that play it.

posted by urall cloolis at 02:02 PM on October 18

Major League Lacrosse League . My bad, the league was Major Indoor Lacrosse League (MILL).

posted by urall cloolis at 02:37 PM on October 18

You may be conflating MILL with Major League Lacrosse (MLL), urall cloolis; field lacrosse has never been played at a higher level than in some of these games (particularly the 1999 MLL All-Star tour before they set the teams) and the '02 and '03 championship matches. Then again, you may well be thinking of MILL, which started in 1987 (actually 1986, as the EPBLL, or Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League) and folded its six teams into the new NLL in 1998. The MILL's single-entity structure had proven a failure, while the NLL was based on the franchise model traditional in major American sports leagues. Clearly the franchise model didn't work too well, either.

posted by Hugh Janus at 03:07 PM on October 18

Not too sure it's about the franchise model itself, HughI'd image both systems would have CBAs and the risk of strike or lockout.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 03:46 PM on October 18

I went to a Minnesota Swarm game back in March, because my company gave people on our project tickets to the suite for that game. (Won't let us worker-bees go to a Wild game...grr. But I digress...) It was surprisingly entertaining: plenty of scoring, a fight, and a PA announcer who trash-talked a lot. I'd go again, if I could. Its kind of shitty that there are not going to be any Swarm games this year. I wanted to make it to one and only saw their games on TV. On Versus, I think?

posted by chris2sy at 03:48 PM on October 18

Oh, absolutely, DrJohnEvans; those were the reasons given at the time for the merger.

posted by Hugh Janus at 03:56 PM on October 18

A five year fixed salary vs. a three year plus two option years with a salary structure tied to revenue. That's it? Work something out for fuck's sake. Learn from mistakes made by other leagues too. Both sides drowned the league before they got out of the shallow water.

posted by chris2sy at 04:01 PM on October 18

Tommy- I did not mean to piss on your post. No worries, I was just kind of surprised with the tone of your comment. It didn't seem like the kind of response you would make, and maybe I was a little sensitive about it. I would have emailed you rather than going at it in the thread, but you don't have your email listed. If I was thuggish in my retort, I'm sorry. I just really enjoy the game and am very disappointed that the league and the players union can't come an arrangement satisfactory to both sides.

posted by tommytrump at 04:13 PM on October 18

I hope this does not extend to the MLL.

posted by SFValley_Dude at 04:16 PM on October 18

Sad for Philadelphia since the Wings could actually win championships (unlike the four major teams in town).

posted by SummersEve at 04:49 PM on October 18

I went to a Titans match at Madison Square Garden early this year and it was great fun -- fast-paced, hard-hitting and down to the wire. Plus, everyone was invited on to the field after it was over to meet the players. Still, there were 1,500 spectators, tops, and that was disappointing. I would have gone back.

posted by ajaffe at 08:12 PM on October 18

Its interesting that there are several leagues for admittedly a minor sport. Its a shame that the ownership groups from the various leagues could not come together to develop a stronger product. I wonder if too many egos were involved. The salaries are low, if I graduated from four year college on a Lacrosse scholarship it would be hard too take the $6,880 rookie salary, although it would be more fun than most entry level jobs.

posted by LIU at 09:27 AM on October 19

There are multiple leagues, LIU, but they're leagues for different sports; box lacrosse is to field lacrosse what indoor soccer is to soccer. Also, many or most of these guys have day jobs, some as lax coaches for high school or college, some as bankers and lawyers.

posted by Hugh Janus at 09:34 AM on October 19

Thanks Hugh, that makes a lot of sense.

posted by LIU at 09:51 AM on October 19

Hugh, I think this league is playing something slightly different from boxla, although they're both played indoors. Something about the surface? I don't know what they use in this indoor league, but boxla always used to be played on a hockey rink minus the ice. It's a job for crazy people and definitely not a way to make a living. I know a guy who plays for Stony Brook and has a teammate from BC who recruited him to come and play the summer season on his boxla team. He said it was great fun, a lot like a summer collegiate baseball league -- very little money, but they set you up with a host family and car and your plane ticket. And he really loved being able to hit people really hard.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:37 PM on October 19

It's amazing to me how many different rule sets there are for lax, in its many incarnations. There's indoor lax, not to be confused with boxla (neither of which I'm a fan of, so I'm vague on rule differences), then there's NCAA lax, which I've always considered "standard" for no better reason than that I learned the game from a guy who coached at UMBC, then there's MLL, with the sixteen-yard two-point line, no restraining box, only three long sticks on the field at a time, and the shot clock; there's also women's lax and the native American game, which is played different ways in different areas by different peoples. The goalie for my team in college used to spend his summers playing pro boxla and his winters playing minor league hockey. He was hardcore. The rest of our team sucked. Hitting people really hard was a real draw; I grew up near Baltimore, though, and kids play lax there the way they play baseball everywhere else.

posted by Hugh Janus at 01:11 PM on October 19

I thought it was boxla. I didn't go see any games, but I watched a couple on TV and I can only describe it as hockey meets basketball (there's a shot clock). My African friend used to ask "What is this game you are playing... This... Stick-bag?". I mean - I'm all for diversity, etc. but it's not much of a surprise that it's having a hard time sustaining itself. The NA sports marketplace seems as saturated as saturated gets. But here's yet another Canadian game that involves body checking and occassionally punching someone in the face. You'd think we were Vikings or something.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:16 PM on October 19

You are Vikings, Weedy. Vineland and all that, y'know.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:57 AM on October 20

A couple of years ago circumstances surrounded me with coworkers who played/coached/watched lacrosse. And as a bartender with access to every sports broadcasting network designed by humans, and some designed by monkeys, it wasn't hard for me to find a lacrosse game to watch. I liked it (field lacrosse, both the NCAA tournament and MLL), and I thought it translated well to TV. High-scoring, plenty hitting, and with the birds-eye view of the TV camera even an ignoramus like me could see the plays setting up, and defensive moves to counter those plays. So, yeah. Yay lacrosse. Hugh, how does the three-long-stick rule make the game different, playwise? I suppose it was implemented by MLL to facilitate scoring, to sell the game to fans, but I don't know enough about the sport to understand how this rule impacts play.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:36 PM on October 20

A few midfielders started playing with long sticks at some point in the early 90's in order to play better defense: since the longer stick enables the middie to keep the attacker from getting too close (once you're inside the range of a stick check from someone who's turned to face you, it's relatively easy to roll, bull, or face dodge around him), coaches have the option of adding a primarily defensive player as the situation merits. As substitutions are made on the fly, this can change game tactics quite a bit, particularly if a player is in the penalty box and the defense needs shoring up. Since the advent of the long-stick middie, more of the game is played in between the restraining boxes (in the middle of the field) and NCAA games have seen scoring go down, as coaches use these "extra defenders" to attenuate the potency of the opposition's offense. Long sticks confer a couple of offensive advantages as well. During faceoffs, if the two wing middies have long sticks, they may have an easier time reaching and scooping a loose ball off the ground. Players often start with a long stick for the draw, then run to the sideline for a replacement stick for their offensive set, or are substituted for a regular short-stick middie. The long stick is generally an offensive disadvantage, though, since it's harder to protect the ball the farther it is from your body, but sidearm crank shots from a long stick can be much harder than from a short stick (physics, right? Something about fulcrums or leverage or something...). The MLL rule change is there to discourage overly defensive coaching and push the game into the offensive set; another of the rule changes they made, allowing defenders and attackers to leave the restraining box as soon as the faceoff starts instead of waiting until one team or the other has possession, speeds up the game and lets defenders and their long sticks into the faceoff free-for-all. I think all of the MLL rule changes, including the 2-point shot, are improvements that suit the caliber of the players and the general parity of the league (lax has never been played at such a high level, by such a collection of talented players, as in MLL). Those rules would be inappropriate for high school or NCAA lax, though, where the lack of parity between opponents means teams need more tactical tools to make up for disadvantages in personnel. Go Bayhawks!

posted by Hugh Janus at 02:51 PM on October 21

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