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This Week's Leaders

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Should the MLL switch to a white ball? Yes.

I'm pretty sold on this opinion myself, but I'd love to hear what the rest of the LAS Community thinks. I really believe the MLL would be better off using a white ball.

"But buckethelmet," you say, "what does it matter what color ball they use? They've used it forever! It's only cosmetic! Why are you such a nitpicker? What did the color orange ever do to you?" Let me learn you something.

The orange ball is simply IMPOSSIBLE to see on television. Here's a screenshot of the last Hounds/Machine game as seen on ESPN3. Can you find the ball in midair? Of course not:


True, the ball in play is moving at incredibly high speed, and the camera is clearly a little blurred from following it. But the stationary balls on the endline are just as invisible. It is also a screenshot from an online stream, so the quality is perhaps not as clear as it would be on a massive high-def television (though surely not all fans own such televisions). Still, this shot was taken on what my ESPN3 browser called "Best Quality." With sites like ESPN3 and The Lacrosse Network doing the lion's share of MLL broadcasting these days, I'd wager that the scene above is pretty typical of what most MLL viewers actually see.

Of course, lacrosse fans like us can still follow the action reasonably well. We know what it looks like to pass and catch, and we still see the black nets shimmer when the ball stings a corner. But it's utterly incomprehensible to those unfamiliar with the game. How long do you think a bored, pitiful non-laxer would linger, squinting and guessing, to watch that MLL game in Ohio? Not very long. If the point of the MLL is to draw new people to professional lacrosse, an invisible ball probably isn't the best selling point.

In contrast, a white ball actually glows in sunlight like this. In ESPNU broadcasts it's practically a beach ball. For the sake of brevity I'll simply cite the last 100 years of perfectly visible, white-balled college lacrosse. It didn't need the MLL's orange fix because it wasn't broke.

So that's my take. Has my old age made me crazy, or wise?
Ryan Mulvaneyjackmishrushlacrosse


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