"Erasmus Hall (PSAL), Cardinal Hayes (NYCHSFL), Massapequa (Long Island), and Syracuse CBA (NYSPHSAA) all won their associations' championships," Steve wrote this week, "and, because of New York State's inability to play to a single state championship winner, we feel obligated to include all four highly qualified teams as #1 for 2023."
All this leads us back to 1982. As previously noted, we did not evaluate PSAL or CHSFL schools in those days. Additionally, we split NYSPHSAA schools into either large- or small-school rankings, which means that schools that would have been divided into Class A or B a decade later in the state playoffs, were lumped together. That season, Shenendehowa, Liverpool, Bellport, and East Islip all ended with 10-0 records and a share of the No. 1 position in the final rankings.
Neil Kerr, the patron saint of New York scholastic sports reporting, was in charge of the rankings back then, and he wasn't thrilled with his own decision, but he was a realist; a 10-game season in which almost no one traveled outside the section for a meaningful game was bound to cause controversy at the end of the year.
In fact, Neil took some solace in the fact that he was able to separate that quartet from four others -- Johnson City, Rush-Henrietta Sperry, Levittown Division, and North Rockland -- that had to settle for spots in the top 10. A 9-0-1 Commack squad slipped all the way to 12th among large schools, a virtual impossibility in the modern era.
So, are we doomed to a future of three- and four-way ties at the top? Not necessarily. For one, I think we're likely to be more discerning in the future when it comes to out-of-state losses like the three on Erasmus Hall's record -- including one played in Europe -- to be certain about the quality of the schedule. For another, Hayes avenged its two regular-season losses with wins in the postseason, an unusual scenario. And, of course, the Long Island champs always merit consideration but might not necessarily come through their schedules unscathed.
In any case, no, we don't regret ending up with a four-way tie atop Class AA this fall.
Interesting tech deal: The NYSPHSAA on Friday announced a deal with Armilla Tech, which specializes in electronic play-calling technology that streamlines communication in baseball, softball, and football.
The significance of the three-year partnership is that the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee is allowing one-way communication between a coach in the dugout and a team's catcher in the upcoming season. Thus, coaches can call for pitches without sign-stealing concerns.
"Armilla Tech is going to revolutionize the high school game with its best-in-class coach to catcher communication device," Milton Powell, Armilla Tech's VP, said in the NYSPHSAA announcement. "With the click of a button, coaches can securely send pitch calls in milliseconds to their catcher."
The announcement says NYSPHSAA schools will have the opportunity to be the first with the option to implement the technology.
The technology, which consists of a "command center" tablet used by the coach and a wrist receiver with a small display screen, isn't cheap, with the items listing for $599 and $299, respectively. The accompanying wristband is $25, and a 10-post USB charger is $69.
The British Columbia firm's system does not require cellular, wi-fi, or Bluetooth access.