Grand Prix Pittsburgh 2000 Overview
88 teams descended on Pittsburgh for the last Grand Prix this season. That's twenty more teams (60 more people) than were in Grand Prix St. Louis. With qualifier attendance also rising over the course of the season, the team format seems to be catching on. The Grand Prix hasn't even started yet, but the stories that I'll be watching keep piling up:
Michael Long, with a DCI investigation of his match against Trevor Blackwell in Orlando still hanging over his head, has teamed up with Blackwell for this event. The third member of "Suspicion Builds Confidence" is Brian Schneider, who had perhaps the best line of the weekend when he asked the head judge if it was legal to shuffle his teammate's deck!
Bob Maher and Tim McKenna are still waiting for "The Fix" teammate Dave Williams to show up in Pittsburgh. Williams always flies stand-by (for free) since his mother is a stewardess. Maher trusts that Williams will find a way to get himself here before they are scheduled to play a match (round 3). Williams needs 2 PT Points this weekend in order to qualify for Worlds.
Gab Tsang is not so lucky. After arriving in Pittsburgh last night and not finding his teammates Brian Hacker and Igor Frayman, Gab called them back in California and discovered that they never got around to buying plane tickets.
My nomination for best new team name goes to the team formerly known as Pudge. Their new name is "Potato Nation" (Mike Turian, Gary Wise, and Scott Johns). Turian's cousin - Nate Heiss - is playing as a member of Potato-heads, along with GP Mainz Top-16er (and local Pittsburghian) Ron Kotwica and Matt Bodesheim.
Michelle Bush is here with Chris Senhouse and Joel Frank as a member of an already qualified team -- Team Diesel. She's originally from Pittsburgh and feels like she, in some way, is defending her home turf.
Chris Pikula is here and already holding court as only Pikula can do. He describes his teammates as "two guys you don't know" and his entire team as "three smart guys who don't play much Magic." "Our chances of qualifying aren't high, but if we get lucky we'll play all summer and be really good at the Pro Tour." Their team name ... "Just For Men."
Pikula isn't the only old school player who turned out this weekend. Nate Clarke is here. So is Dennis Bentley. Rumor has is that the new prize money available through the Masters Series has everyone who was ever good at Magic thinking about making a comeback.
The Legion did indeed break up. Alex Shvartsman didn't want to play with Mike Pustilnik any longer so he's playing with Mike Bregoli and Brian Kibler this weekend as "Sufficiently Randomized". For the upcoming Pro Tour Shvartsman still hasn't decided on teammates. He says he'll probably play with either Zvi Mowshowitz or Trevor Blackwell, but not both (since they apparently don't work well together). Zvi is playing with Seth Burn and Brian Davis this weekend (American Beauty).
Other teams worth keeping an eye on (in no particular order):
V: Donnie Gallitz, Bruce Cowley, Mike Katz (called up from the minors when Kyle Rose went on the DL (he's in the hospital with a back problem)).
Car Acrobatic Team: Aaron Forsythe, Andrew Cuneo, Andy Johnson.
Bolting Souls: Beth Liston, Denver Liston, Mark Globus
Paradox: Gary Krakower, Matt Vienneau, Dave Price
Antarctica: Jon Finkel, Steve O'Mahoney-Schwartz, Dan O'Mahoney-Schwartz
Your Move Games: Darwin Kastle, Dave Humpherys, Rob Dougherty
Look Out Bello: Hashim Bello, Terry Tsang, Ben Farkas
Huey, Ben, and Casey: William Jensen, Ben Rubin, and Casey McCarrel
The Fix is In: Bryan Hubble, Rich Frangiosa, Matt Urban
2 Lawyers and a Leiher: John Slaughter, Pete Leiher, Jon Becker
Egghead Games: Jason Means, David Weitz, Randy Wright
Tenacious D 3D: Daniel Clegg, Brock Parker, Matt Linde