– Both tours for all the efforts you make with streaming matches so that we nerds can watch from home. Jerry J Josey Jr.osey Jr. and Pablo Fajre n particular.
– Speaking of broadcasts, special thanks to the lead broadcasters on the pro tours Timothy Baghurst and Dean DeAngelo Baer. Also thanks to those who help out on broadcasts JP Edwards, Favio Saravia and many others who help out and make the streaming entertaining for those of us at home.
– thanks to Ryan and Tish Rodgers for R2 Sports App; where would we be without that system and its prevalent use to provide real-time tracking of tournaments. IRF: take note! can we please move to r2sports and move away from PDFs stored in dropbox?
– Thanks to Kramer X for everything you do with The Racquetball Blog, the only person out there really writing about the sport in a blog-format.
– Thanks to all the skilled photographers out there associated with the various organizations; keep up your great work. I’m talking Ken Fife, Kevin Savory, Mike Augustin, Freddy Ramirez, Roby Partovich, Geoff Thomsen, Mike Boatman, and others who I may have forgotten.
Here’s some additional fun facts and a data discussion related to Paola Longoria‘s 100th pro win.
– She wins her 100th title in her 125th Tier 1/Grand Slam appearance.
– She improves her career W/L to 451-31, a .936 career winning percentage.
– She becomes just the second pro in the history of our game to win 100 titles.
– Kane Waselenchuk also won his 100th tourney at the US Open … he accomplished the feat when he won the 2016 title.
– Kane was 35yrs, 11mos when he won his 100th.. Paola won 100th tournament in 2019 at age of 30yrs, 3 mos.
Consider this fact. Kane’s the GOAT on the Men’s side … but Paola seems like she’s in a position to shatter any records that Kane sets. She’s got more than 5 years head start at a time where she’s just as dominant in her tour as Kane is in his. You can’t predict the future of course; not with injuries, life events, etc. But another 8-10 seasons of Longoria dominance could really put some big numbers into the history books.
————- Now for a Data discussion; Why does Pro Racquetball Stats database only have 93 career titles for Paola, if she’s just won her 100th?
The racquetball world and the Mexican media celebrated her 100th career professional win this past week, which happened to happen on our sport’s biggest Stage, the US Open., but the database of record only has her with 93 tournament wins. (see http://rball.pro/FD0529 ) . Why the discrepancy? We get asked this question often, and now’s as good of a time as any to discuss.
Here’s the answer.
Pro Racquetball Stats only tracks Tier 1 (or higher) events in its database. Over the years covering Longoria’s career, there have been a slew of non-Tier 1 Ladies Professional events that have occurred that she’s won, and these satellite or lower tier LPRT events are counted in her professional career win total. They were sanctioned pro events by the LPRT or its predecessors WPRO and LPRA and are counted as pro wins by the Longoria camp.
We have not had too many non-Tier 1 events in recent memory; the last known one was in Bolivia in June 2016. Before that, the LPRT gave Tier 5 status to the 3-Wall event in Vegas and to an event in Arizona in 2015. But ten years ago, they were much more common. In fact, in the 2009-10 season there were nearly as many Satellite events as there were full-money tour events. Longoria won a few, Rhonda Rajsich won a slew of them herself in this time-frame.
PRS has gone back and attempted to find the 7 “missing titles,” after much discussions with Longoria’s media relations team (which does not have a full list of her 100 tournaments). We’ve found most of them: – Nov 2009: Chihuahua Open in Chihuahua, MEX – Mar 2011: Terrapin Shootout in Laurel, MD – Jan 2012: Wilson Tour for Hope, Cincinnati, OH – May 2012: 2012 US National Singles Pro draw, Fullerton, CA – June 2013: Suncoast Open, Sarasota, FL.
We’re assuming the remaining two titles were Satellite events that may not have gotten onto the official LPRT calendar in the 2007-2010 range. Hopefully in time we’ll find them for a complete record of Paola’s accomplishments.
Rocky Carson will be participating in his 23rd US Open this weekend; per our records he’s only missed one (and he very well may have played in it; we only have the main draw in the database for the 1997 US Open; if Rocky played but didn’t qualify he’s made every one). On the ladies side, Cheryl Gudinas will be making her 21st appearance this year, moving into a tie for 1st all time among women with Susy Acosta.
This year’s Men’s pro draw of 94 is the biggest draw we’ve seen in a decade and dwarfs last year’s 69 entries. On the ladies side, the pro draw of 41 players is right in line with the last few seasons of participation. The peak of participation for both the Men and the Women was in 2003 (110 men, 50 women).
– US Open Tourney Qtrs/Semis/Finals historically: Historical summary of Q/S/F Participants in the US Open (1996-present). http://rball.pro/70639E
Only 11 men in the history of the event have even made the final of a US Open; Kane Waselenchuk of course has 14 titles. On the ladies side just 10 players have even made a US Open final, with Paola Longoria owning 9 titles.
In one of my more interesting factoids, Kane is simultaneously the youngest and the oldest ever Male US Open winner. On the ladies side, Longoria is youngest winner (at the age of 19 in 2008), while Gudinas is the oldest winner, taking the title in 2004 at the age of 37.
Dean DeAngelo Baer had a great new suggestion to add for this year; US Open-specific W/L records per player. So, you can select “Player W-L in US Open” report per player to get just isolated W/L records at the biggest event on the stage.
Here’s kane’s US Open only W/L: http://rball.pro/39C5FF . As you might imagine for someone who has won the last 14 US Open’s he’s entered … his W/L record is pretty solid. He’s 85-3 lifetime in this event. Here’s Paola’s record: http://rball.pro/514386 . She’s 60-7 in this event.
(Editor note: this was a post I published straight to the “Keep Racquetball Great” Facebook group on 9/25/19, in response to a groundswell of discussion related to his re-nomination to the USAR hall of fame. I’ll back-date it and copy/paste the content from that time).
I’m a bit late to the Gregg Peck for the Hall of Fame conversations from a couple weeks ago, but wanted to put up some stats to help spread awareness. Here’s a quick summary of Gregg’s rball career in support of his nomination:
Junior Career Accomplishments:
Multiple USRA State and Regional Championships
Multiple IRA state and Regional Championships
1980 USRA Junior National champion (17U)
Won title as a 16yr old, defeating Brett Harnett in final
Professional Career Accomplishments:
20th all-time in professional Tournament Wins
18th all-time in career W/L Percentage, all rounds
Held career winning Head-to-Head records against Hall of Fame pro players Ed Andrews, Ruben Gonzalez, Brian Hawkes, Mike Ray and Davey Bledsoe.
Retired with multiple victories over 5-time pro tour champ Yellen and Hogan.
Youngest pro player ever to make a Semi-final (oct 1980 Coors Grand Prix I)
1981 NRC Rookie of the year
1983 International Racquetball Most Improved Player
1985 DP Nationals Champion (defeated Mike Yellen in the final).
1985 Pro Male Athlete Player of the Year
Finalist, 1985 Ektelon Nationals (losing to Cliff Swain in a nationally televised match)
Semifinalist, 1983 DP Leach Nationals
Semifinalist, 1983 Catalina Pro Nationals
Amateur/Age Career Accomplishments:
1981 USRA National Singles Men’s Open finalist (losing to Ed Andrews)
2002 USRA 25+ Men’s Doubles champion (with Mike Guidry)
2003 USRA 35+ Mixed Doubles champion (with ?)
2004 USRA 25+ Men’s Doubles champion (with Mike Guidry)
Coaching and Mentoring Accomplishments:
Peck Racquetball Camp Instructor, 1978-1986
14 Junior National titles won by participants in El Paso Junior program
Coached future pro tour champs Swain, Monchik and Huczek.
Head Coach, US Junior National Team, 1999-2000.
2-time Gold winning Junior national team coach
USA won 24 junior world titles under his guidance
Peck’s contributions to the sport span many facets; he was an accomplished player at the Junior, Professional and Adult/Age level. He was an accomplished coach/mentor who served the USRA national team. He’s well liked and well advocated for in the racquetball community. He is a worthy candidate for the Hall of Fame.
Before we get into the new IRT season (and the draws for Atlanta are already up, preview coming tomorrow), I wanted to wrap-up last season with the notification that we have some annual files that we update at the end of each season. I meant to post this more towards the end of the IRT season in June, but its been such a busy summer that I never got to it. So now with the first 2019-20 event days away, here’s a quick recap of where we are.
———————— We’ve already seen a ton of news items too since the end of last season: – new website www.irttour.com – Hiring of Aimee Roehler Ruiz to do Social Media – Naming of Pablo Fajre to direct both streaming and satellite events – The official return of Andy Kulback to tour management
And the schedule is looking fantastic. Last season there were 9 events. Already the IRT schedule has 11 planned Tier 1 or Grand Slam events with a 12th likely coming soon for sure, and they havn’t event started really working on the spring schedule yet. So things are looking really promising for the new season already.
Can’t wait for the first Tier 1 this coming weekend!
This past week, the LPRT became the last of the major racquetball organizations to convert to standard/amateur/international scoring standards, abandoning the 3 out of 5 games to 11 structure that had been in place for years.
This is the first time a change in the scoring system for the ladies pros has occurred since 2002. But prior to that, the ladies pro tour changed scoring constantly, and its an interesting history. I’ve kept track of the scoring system changes over the years here: http://www.proracquetballstats.com/…/lprt_scoring_changes.h… . Here’s a brief review:
– 1974: In the beginning, the NRC’s standard scoring system was best 2/3 games to 21, tiebreaker also win by 1. – 1975: some qualifying rounds were one game to 31. See Aurora 76 as an example. – 1976 est: 3rd game not to 21 but to 11. Believe this happened in 1976 along with Men’s side, fixing the tiebreaker to not be such a grind. – 1980: Scored in two sets of best of five games to 11, tiebreaker best of three; with rally scoring. Example score: 3-1, 2-3, 2-1. This scoring method has wreaked havoc on the PRS results code, coincidentally. – 1981: The third set is replaced with a single game. Still rally scoring. Example Score: 2-3, 3-2, 15-11. – 1983: Best of five, to 21; rally-scoring. Example score: 13, 17, (14), 18. – 1986: Best of five, to 11, win by one. More or less Consistent with the Men’s scoring by this point. – 1995 est: Same best of five to 11, but win by two instead of win by one. The Men’s tour had a similar change at some point in his time-frame as well. – Aug 2000: Back to Rally scoring and games to 21, win by 2. “Ping Pong” style serving where each player would serve five times in a row. It was said at the time this change was done to try to counter-act the dominance of Michelle Gould on tour. – Aug 2001: Scoring change again: best of five games format, with games played to 15, and scoring on every rally. But no more ping pong – Sept 2002: Abandoned rally scoring for 2002-03 season, back to “normal” best of five to 11, win by two conventional pro scoring. – Aug 2019: conversion to amateur/international scoring.
I may be missing some smaller variations in the scoring, but these are the major changes over the years.
We’ve updated the code in a similar fashion to what we did in Jan 2019 when the International Racquetball Tour made this same change, but we’ll have to wait until we get some data entry to ensure that the code correctly interprets the new scoring method.
My two cents on the change? Well, i’m bummed there’s no more crazy 5 game scores from a code perspective; I love watching 15-13 matches or the thrill of a 12-10 5th game super tiebreaker. But I’ve also come around on Doug Ganim‘s theories on the scoring system with respect to tiebreakers in later rounds. There’s many more of them now than there were longer matches in the old score format.
Last season on the IRT, which was the first entirely in the new scoring method, 21% of matches went to the tie-breaker (see http://rball.pro/8BD641) and 25% of matches from the Quarters on went to a tie-breaker. These stats are skewed of course by having one particular dominant player basically win every match in 2 irrespective of the round.
By way of comparison, In the last season where the IRT had 3 out of 5 games to 11 … 14% of matches from the Quarters on went to the tiebreaker 5th game. So the new scoring method is giving us more 3rd game tiebreakers than we had 5th game breakers in the previous system at the business end of tournaments.
I also feel (without much in the way of hard proof necessarily) that the 3-game format enables some players to get wins where they would have run out of gas in the 5-game format. Anecdotally we see more upsets of top players in the best-of-3 format versus best-of-5; Paola Longoria has taken losses in best-of-3 national and amateur competitions as of late, but has just two best-of-5 game losses in the last three pro seasons entirely. It is easier for a skilled but less-than-fit player to pull off a win in best-of-3 versus outlasting a fitter player in a 2 hour best-of-5 marathon.
Congrats to the 2019 Pan Am Games Team winners: – Men: Bolivia over Colombia in the final. Mexico and USA semis – Women: Mexico over Argentina in the final. Bolivia and USA in the semis.
Per-country notes: – This is Bolivia’s 2nd major Men’s title, after taking the Men’s title earlier this year at the 2019 PARC. – This is Colombia’s highest ever finish in an IRF team event, men or Women. – This is Mexico’s 17th Women’s team title. – This is the third time Argentina has finished as runner-up in the Women’s team division.
(Note: i’ve just put all the quarter finalists as finishing in “5th” place for now; if they are eventually ranked to determin a 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th place I’ll update the data).
And, since I never announced the fact that I did historical IRF Team results loading earlier this year. .. here’s the announcement and some context.
A few months back, Racquetball Canada reached out to PRS and IRF Media Relations guru Timothy Baghurst asking if we had Team standings from the historical International Racquetball Federation events. PRS had never pursued such data, but thought it was such a great idea that we’ve spent the past months digging up and compiling team results going back in time to the very first IRF events in the early 1980s, and the writing reports to query and display the data we found. Much was online, but much required digging into the magazine archives.
Today, i’m happy to announce the first release of this data research and inclusion to the database officially, and to note that we’ve loaded up the latest IRF events from this year, namely the 2019 Pan American Racquetball Championships and the 2019 Pan American Games events into the database.
The team queries are available in the the IRF Match database off of www.proracquetballstats.com. I put a couple of the team query examples in the Pan American wrap-up as a teaser, but here’s the official announcement with some more detail.
I’ve created several Team-based queries for your consumption:
– Per event: you can now select “Team Results” per international event to get a full list of the team standings for Men, Women and Combined Example report for the most recent 2018 Worlds: http://rball.pro/3E3571
– On the main pages for IRF Match, there’s a new section where you can select a “Team Category” and get all the historical Team winners sliced and diced any which way; All Men’s World championship winners, all Women’s Pan Am winners, all combined results across all tourneys, etc. Here’s an example of all Women Team Worlds winners from the first World’s championship in 1981 to the present: http://rball.pro/585BA0
– I’ve created some Matrix queries as well; showing all Team finishers per Event type (Worlds, PARC, etc). This is a quick way to see how countries have fared over the years. Here’s an example: this is the all-time Worlds Matrix for Men’s Teams: http://rball.pro/BD934A
– I’ve created some Country-specific queries: you can get a list of every result in the database per country. Here’s a list of all of Argentina’s team results throughout time: http://rball.pro/AE770C
– I’ve created a “Best ever finish” query too per country, since the IRF team competitions have basically been dominated by the three primary rball-playing countries. Here’s the Best ever finish in Men’s, Women’s and Combined for Bolivia: http://rball.pro/702BD2
– I’ve created counting queries: most Men’s team wins, Most Women’s and most combined. This has been divided into the various int’l categories too. For example, here’s a list of who has the most Team Combined titles at the Pan American Racquetball Championships over the past 30 years: http://rball.pro/F7D761
As with most racquetball historical data … the early records are sometimes sparse. The magazines of the early 1980s barely covered the first IRF events, to the point where we literally don’t know who won at the first ever Pan American championships event (in 1986). I’ve had to recreate a number of Team results from scratch by literally counting up points from the event. Others i’ve kind of made assumptions of who the team winners were by looking at the four singles results (usually this was early on when the USA was winning all four competitions anyway). We’ve also had some ties in the past, which makes some of the results look odd until I figure out an elegant way to show ties in the matrixes.
I hope I havn’t made any mistakes while doing this data collection; if so please don’t hesitate to email me if you feel there’s errors.
Next steps: Regional competitions (South American Games, Bolivarian Games, etc). We will also enter the Junior team data and include the same reports for adults into the Juniors area. We also hope to get better results from country federations for older events. We’ve had some luck getting data out of the magazines of the eras, but more research there is probably needed too.
The LPRT has released its schedule for next year and it looks great. Lots of new events, fully 5 Grand Slams, and 16 total Tier 1s/Grand Slams. That’s 6 more events than last year, great news for the sport.
In the wake of the Mexican Junior Nationals event a few weeks ago, I took some time to do some data loading so that the “matrix” reports I have showing all winners for all age divisions for all of time looked a bit better.
This is a quick notification post to rball fans to inform you of some data loading for Mexican Junior data, if you were interested.
You can also pull down the full match results for any year from the Event list in the Juniors database. I generally only put in the “older” age groups of full results (14s sometimes, 16s and 18s) and just note the final for the younger groups. Furthermore, there’s no Double Elimination results in the database; most of these events are DE.
Mexican Junior events have been a bit tough to keep track of; in any given year the US and Canada have “one” Junior National event. Mexico meanwhile has a Junior Olympics event (which sometimes takes “liberties” with the age groups, or skips them altogether), a conventional Junior Nationals, and even “World Selection events” that supersede the results of nationals. So as it turned out … some of the results I had previously for “Mexican Junior Nationals” were actually from the Junior Olympics events. I’ve now cleaned all that up.
We have online data for Mexican Jr Nationals for at least all winners from 2012-present now, thanks to some archive.org work. The earliest years generally only have winners posted, even for the older divisions. Hopefully, I havn’t made any mistakes; if anyone sees data entry errors please let me know.
Thanks to Ryan Rodgers who hooked me up with 2013 data so I could finish the data entry.
From here … in order to fully populate the Mexican Junior data, I need help from the Association. @Federación Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol if you’re reading this, do you have past records or past draw sheets I can leverage to do data entry? Do you have a list of at least the winners of past Junior championships?
Next up, i’ll do some similar work for Canadian juniors.
Pro Racquetball Stats fans may not know it, but at the bottom of the Report selection page for each tour I have some static pages of information that I maintain. One of those is kind of a running diary of the season of “events” as they occur.
Here’s a list of notable “events” from this past season, which has seen some significant change in the structure of the tour. This is a subset of what’s on the above link, with text abbreviated for brevity.
– August 2018: the IRT season opens with questions as to whether Kane Waselenchuk is actually “retired” after events stemming from the last event in Florida in April and comments made on social media and in interviews over the summer.
– Oct 2018: Kane enters and wins the US Open, his 14th title. Kane is now simultaneously the oldest and youngest ever winner of the US Open.
– Nov 2018: Commissioner Andy Kulback takes a “leave of absence” from the IRT, and IRT CEO John Scott announces new managerial structure for the tour, which installs Mike Grisz as the Chairman of the board.
– Nov 2018: thanks to Kane’s Jan 2018 injury, he drops in the 12-month rolling rankings to #6 while Alex Landaascends to #1. This leads to a series of discussions and criticisms of the tour ranking system in racquetball forums, with calls for protected seeding or changes to the ranking system.
– Feb 2019: Scott resigns as CEO of the tour after experiencing some medical and personal issues. Current Chairman of the Board Mike Grisz takes over as interim CEO.
– Mar 2019: IRT announces a partnership with Pablo Fajre to broadcast events, a departure from the existing IRT Network infrastructure and presumably an end to the competing WRT tour.
– Mar 2019: the first ever IRT event occurs in Bolivia, the Open Iris Bolivia Grand Slam. #1 Waselenchuk, along with 4 other top 10 players do not make the trip. Bolivian #1 Luis Conrrado Moscoso Serrudo wins the event, defeating IRT #2 Rocky Carson in the final.
– April 2019: Former CEO Scott divests himself fully from the IRT by selling his ownership shares to Maryland-based racquetball enthusiast Slemo Warigonand his wife Charity. This ends Scott’s not-quite two year ownership of the tour, and a much longer involvement in the sport. Coinciding with this move, Grisz takes over officially as both CEO and Chairman of the IRT Board. The IRT is now a fully volunteer-driven organization.
– April 2019: Former Commissioner Kulbeck returns to the tour with some limited/as-of-yet to be determined involvement going forward.
– April 2019: Waselenchuk loses a quarter-final match in Sarasota to Alvaro Beltran breaking an 83-match winning streak on tour and becoming the first on-the-court, non injury related match loss since Sept 2013.
– May 2019: Kane wins the final Tier 1 of the season in Syosset to secure his 13th pro title.
– May 2019: US Open director Doug Ganim announces that he’s retiring after its 25th iteration in 2020, leaving some time to coordinate a replacement plan but also throwing the biggest racquetball event’s future into doubt.
– June 2019: After several non-Tier 1s wrap up, the final 2018-19 season finishes. The final event is won in surprising fashion by Javier Estrada, who takes out a slew of top IRT pros to win the title.
Next Up: Pan Am Games. I’ll wait until the knockout draws are produced to do “previews.”