Column #HR297 Baggish is wrong. Sorry.

Monday, January 18, 2021
Column HR297
Baggish is wrong.  Sorry.

Sports in this 21st Century might best be elucidated by the term “sports analytics” – defined as a “collection of relevant historical, statistics that can provide a competitive advantage to a team or individual.”  (The use of same also gives a coach, manager or owner an excuse for losing.)

Hell, darters have been using “analytics” ever since Mr. John Lowe organized a blind draw on the deck of the Mayflower before it hit Plymouth Rock.

Dart analytics are exhibited every time a player steps to the oche and tosses a dart – the way a player stands, their arm movement, release and follow through and hopefully the successful results.

Being basic people darters, for example, explain their use of analytics by saying, “I like tops or 32” as finishes.

All darters aim at triple 20.  Analytics?  No, just common sense since the triple 20 is worth more than any other number on the board.

Though often compared to golf as a mano-a-mano sport darts is uniquely different.  Golf has its swing coach, a driver coach, a putting coach and often even a “sports psychology coach.”  Darters have themselves and a pint of lager.

If a player loves a number the odds are good he has a better chance of hitting it than not.  Then there’s the flip side when a player gets it in his head that he can’t hit a double…

That happened to Glenn Durrant in the World Championship when double 20 put the hex on him and then double 10 also.  If Durrant had been sitting on a beach in California, he couldn’t have hit the water with a beach ball.

Darts is a mental game.  “Can’t” ain’t never done nothing.

Danny Baggish recently advanced the theory that, “North American darts is on the rise” (following his exploits at the PDC World Darts Championship).  Unfortunately, but respectfully the Old Dart Coach would beg to differ.

The Chinese Flu has halted or stalled all dart leagues not only in North America but throughout the world.  In the USA, the heart of darts is not the really good player but rather the once-a-week guys and gals.  They allow someone with the desire to raise their game the opportunity to hone beginner skills.  It’s a place to learn to win and lose and that’s important.

When the Kung Flu is corralled how long will it take the steel league games to return in the USA?  With the machine game sure to make a return rather quickly the steel game, which was fading before the pandemic, will be a slow re-start.  Follow the money.

Baggish credits the CDC (Championship Darts Corporation) with his success.  I think it has everything to do with how my game has progressed.  When we play the players here, it used to be once or twice every three, four or five months.  When the CDC came along, we were able to play at least online or in person every month.  It helps big time because to go over to England and try and compete with those guys, it’s tough and we have to be on the top of our game. 

Each of those players from the CDC had to start somewhere.  They were recruited by someone who said, “Let’s play a game of darts.”  Then came a beginning league and local tournaments.  Without that support system Baggish’s comment “North American darts is on the rise” would simply be wishful thinking.

Some cheered the demise of the British Darts Organization (BDO) which is unfortunate on many levels.  Their demise left a hole not only with British darts but darts throughout the amateur world.

Gone were the World Masters and the BDO World Championships – both firmly held in the clutches of the BDO (as was the World Darts Federation).  Some would argue with that opinion but don’t try.  The WDF, to their credit, is trying new things.  Some may work and some won’t.  No shame is tying.  About time.

The WDF is the voice of the amateur darting world (those players, that is, who are not in the embrace of the PDC).  Just as the Professional Golf Association (PGA) isn’t the end all of golf – as they need the one a week golfer – so does the PDC need the local leagues.

The World Darts Federation has announced that in 2021 the World Masters will return under their control.  It will be held in Aspen, Holland December 2-5.  The venue has been the site of the successful Dutch Open since 2014.  Regarding the WDF World Cup – they made an effort despite Covid-19 with a WDF Virtual Cup.  It was SNFU with charges of cheating.

Darters cheat?  I’m shocked.  “If you ain’t cheating you aren’t trying hard enough.”

The ODC requested information about the cheating charges from Darts Connect, which was the organization running things.  Question never answered.  The winners, for what it’s worth, were Fallon Sherrock (6-1) over Ruskie Ksenia Klochek, and Hungary’s Patrik Kovacs (6-4) over Scotland’s Alan Soutar.

The burning question is: Will there be a replacement for the BDO World Professional Championship, held for eons at Lakeside in the Motha Country?  Okay, not “burning” but at least a slightly glowing ember.  From Toeing the Oche’s confidential source in England (who is not authorized to speak) – The “smart money (is) on (a) traditional January date (2022) but it won’t be called ‘World Professional’.”

Following the PDC World Championships the lineup for the 2021 Premier League was announced.  This year the League will consist of 10 players (but only 9 named, so far) with two to be loped off after Judgement Night.

One can almost hear the funeral dirge playing when typing or reading “Judgement Night.”  The PDC is withholding their final pick until after the £220,000 Ladbroke’s Masters starting Friday, January 29 in Milton Keynes.

One optimist opined that, “They’re waiting to name someone from the USA.  They need the television market.”

Television in the USA is not the highest priority of the PDC.  Check the analytics.

The once-a-week USA darter is not a darts viewer.  The PDC’s visits to the USA have fallen below expectations in attendance.  In addition, the Premier league comes on the “boob tube” in the afternoon in North America which is not a prime viewing period.  Even more important is established sports are on the airwaves 24/7.

Reality check.

Stay thirsty my friends.

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Howie Reed
The one and only Howie Reed (the Old Dart Coach) goes back decades with the legends of our sport - he knows where the skeletons are buried. Just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers! His widely popular column, Toeing the Oche, is a must-read.