As we add more leagues each season, we get closer to the framework that allows more structure to the Bash. For those of you who are new, the Benchwarmer Bash is a tournament that comes after the regular playoffs are done. It takes the league champions, plus some selected wild cards, into a monster tournament.
It allows fantasy baseball to truly become a year-round pursuit. While all teams will be figuring out who to keep for 2010 and starting that process, a few teams are still in the hunt for something. Again, like the league playoffs, we use random games from the last half of the season to play. Teams in the Bash set their rosters once and then they are locked (while their real - current - rosters will start changing for 2010). A big advancement came in 2008 when we actually posted the games in November. Previously, it had taken until Feb or March for me to get around to it.
This is another idea from the model game for Benchwarmer - Robot Baseball (where it was called the Robot Super Clash). The winner of the Benchwarmer Bash gets TWO free seasons for their team. The runner up gets one free season.
The Bash winner also gets an entry in the Experts League for the following season (and maybe the runner up too, if we have trouble filling out the field of experts).
So - the format change...last season with 11 leagues, we had the 11 champions and 10 wild cards - the remaining teams with the best BWB Power Index - played each other to add 5 more entrants to a 16-team bracket. Check out the 2008 Bash.
Now, with 17 leagues, we've been able to fill out our Federation lineup adequately. From this season on, the Benchwarmer Bash will start first with Federation tournaments and the winners there will advance to the final bracket for the Bash. What's that lineup? See the listing of all leagues and scroll down...there you'll see how the leagues are divided into federations and associations. Quick hint: as you move from league to league, you'll see a league ID code in your web addresses (A1, C5, H3, etc.) The letter code indicates your Federation.
Each Federation Championship is a 5-team tournament. The league champions automatically advance, plus 2 or 3 wild cards. Every federation has 2 leagues so far, except the Eckersley Federation (Longball, Golden Throat, and Experts). In the Eckersley, 2 wild card teams will fight it out for the last spot in a 4-team bracket, while the league champs get an opening bye. In the remaining leagues, 3 wild cards will make it - with the top wild card getting a bye into the bracket and the other two fighting it out for the last spot.
How do we pick wild cards? As in the past, we use the BWB Power Index ratings. But where we used to pull from the overall BWB rank, we'll now go by how you rank in the Federation - a ranking I added 2-3 weeks ago to the web page. You must be in the top 3 (or 2, for Eckersley) rankings for the non-championship teams in your Federation to advance. There is a pull down option on that page to view the entire Federation, but it's not operational yet - hopefully soon.
As we get closer to the event, we'll have a new page for the 2009 Bash - and will keep a running list of teams who have qualified and those "on the bubble."