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Jan. 10, 2014
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: where are all the pitchers

Batter's Box enforcement is an "area of emphasis" for umpires this season in SSUSA sanctioned events, particularly the front and home plate side "L" ... We will be emphasing strict enforcement of Rulebook sections §7.3(1) • OBLITERATING THE BATTERS BOX and §7.6 C. • BATTER IS OUT ... "When an entire foot is touching the ground completely outside the lines of the batter's box when he hits a ball fair or foul."

The incidence rate of previous violations in this regard becomes very obvious when games are played at artificial turf facilities having permanent batter's boxes sewn into the turf ... Resultant out calls by umpires are always met with batter resistance, but are completely within the language and spirit of these rules ... There is no reason that chalk batters boxes should be allowed to be obliterated or ignored to the detriment of defensive player safety ...


Jan. 8, 2014
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS 2014 • Tentative Field Assignments

The following are the TENTATIVE Field Assignments for the 2014 SSUSA Tournament of Champions in Polk County, FL. Please note that TENTATIVE means they are NOT FINAL and are SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Final Field Assignments will be released simultaneous with the publication of the DRAFT Game Schedules and Brackets.

AUBURNDALE SPORTS COMPLEX (Auburndale) - 25 Teams
• 50-AA and 55-AAA (9)
• 60-Major+, 60-Major and 65-Major+ (8)
• 60-AAA (8)

DIAMONDPLEX SPORTS COMPLEX (Winter Haven) - 19 Teams
• 50-AAA (7)
• 55-Major (4)
• 55-AA (4)
• 65-Major (4)

LOYCE HARPE PARK (Lakeland) - 19 Teams
• 40-Major and 50-Major+ (3)
• 50-Major (5)
• 65-AAA and 65-AA (11)

SOUTHWEST SOFTBALL COMPLEX (Lakeland) - 18 Teams
• 60-AA (7)
• 70-Men - All (11)

WESTSIDE SOFTBALL COMPLEX (Lakeland) - 18 Teams
• 75-AAA (3)
• 80-Men - All (5)
• 40-Masters Women (4)
• Senior Women's Division (6)

Ratings Notes
Teams play in the 2014 TOC at the age and rating level they had when they won their invitation. If a team won multiple TOC qualifying events in two different ratings, their TOC invitation is at the higher of those ratings.

Thank you to all of the participating teams and players and Good Luck!!


Jan. 8, 2014
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Menifee Tournament

SESSION #2 REVISION • The Saturday/Sunday 60-Men's schedule at Wheatfield Park has been revised for the withdrawal of the Road Runners 60 (CA) team from the tournament on Wednesday morning ...

Changes affect one game on Saturday morning (Base Hawgs play at 9:30 & 11:00 AM instead of as previously scheduled at 8:00 & 9:30 AM) and the commencement of the bracket on Saturday afternoon ... The 55-Major bracket games are both at 5:00 PM instead of 5:00 & 6:30 PM ... The Sunday schedule remains essentially unchanged ...

The revised schedules and master grid have been posted online ... We apologize for any inconveniences due to these circumstances outside of our control and Good Luck everybody! ...


Jan. 8, 2014
SSUSA Staff
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: SSUSA ADDS 75 MAJOR-PLUS DIVISION

SACRAMENTO – Senior Softball-USA announced January 7th that it is adding a 75 Major-Plus Division.

“Our goal is to ensure that teams in a division have at least a chance to win,” said Terry Hennessy, SSUSA chief executive officer. “The scores of games of three 75 Major teams last year clearly indicate the other Major teams did not have a realistic chance to win.”

The three teams raised to Major-Plus were the San Francisco Seals, Top Gun 75s and Joseph Chevrolet.

In his letter notifying the teams, Hennessy wrote: “We are establishing a 75 Major-Plus Division for the 2014 season because of the consistent margins of victory of your three teams over 75 Major Teams. In effect, this will mean when you play 75 Major teams, they will receive a 5-run equalizer.”


Jan. 6, 2014
SSUSA Staff
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: NATIONAL RATINGS REVIEW • Year End 2013 Appeals and Performance Move Decisions

ANOTHER TEAM DECLINES PERFORMANCE MOVE DOWNWARD • At the request of their manager, Desperados (NM) has declined the SSUSA National Rating Committee's "Performance Move DOWN" from 55-AAA to 55-AA. Accordingly, they will retain their 55-AAA rating.
Jan. 5, 2014
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Menifee Tournament

SESSION #2 (Men's 50's, 55's & 60's) Game Schedules & Brackets have been posted and are available from the links below and from the event Tournament page ... The current (Sunday morning) long weather forecast for Menifee looks excellent with sunshine and temperatures well above last year! ... Good luck everyone!

Thursday: 38°/68°
Friday: 45°/74°
Saturday: 43°/75°
Sunday: 40°/72°

DRAFT Game Schedules & Brackets (PDF's)

• SESSION #2 - Men's: 50's | 55's | 60's

• Complete: All Ages & Divisions (18 pages)

• Master Grid: Field & Games Master


Jan. 4, 2014
SSUSA Staff
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: SSUSA shares DBO rationale Senior

Our initial reaction to each of your five questions is: "NO" ... The rationale is that an over the fence HR is a dead ball, per Rulebook §9.1 I. - DEAD BALL at page 50 -

The ball is dead and not in play:
.
.
I. When the ball is outside the playing limits of the playing field. A ball is considered "out of play" when it touches the ground, person on the ground or object outside the playing area...


We believe that once the HR ball lands out of the park, it's a dead ball situation, and unless it is a REALLY towering shot, most, if not all of the hypothetical situations you describe aren't likely of having enough time to happen before the ball is dead (i.e., comes down). After the ball is dead, none of the transgressions listed would would have any effect.

Lastly, the language of the actual rule amendment does allow on-base runners to return directly to the dugout without advancing an additional base.


Jan. 4, 2014
SSUSA Staff
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: SSUSA shares DBO rationale Senior

The complete unabridged article, as it appears in the Senior Softball News, has been available as the third post in the Rules Committee Priority message thread above since December 20th ... It also contains a link to the actual Rulebook Amendments for each affected rules section ...
Jan. 4, 2014
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Menifee Tournament

SESSION #1 (Men's 65's thru 80's) is available from the event Tournament Page or directly from the link below ... Session #2 will be published shortly ... (We gave the Staff a couple of days off in the last two weeks because it seemed like the right thing to do!)

SESSION #1 • 65's, 70's, 75's & 80's
Jan. 2, 2014
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Rules Committee Minutes

Any tournament run under SSUSA sanction ... That generally includes any events listed on the Tournaments Page of this website ... Other tourneys and/or associations may choose to use our rules, but that's their own individual choice and something over which we have no influence or concern ...
Dec. 29, 2013
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Poll of 75 and 80 Tournament Format

There's an article in the Senior Softball News (page 7) about that. After the World Masters Championships in 2012, and at the request of many 75/80+ teams who complained about too many games on the last day under the DE format, the change was made to pool play for 2013, with top pool finishers advancing to the finals on Thursday. Well, the survey indicated a strong desire to return to the 2012 format of DE brackets, so that will happen in 2014. The only difference will be that complaints will not have any effect if they come from teams that may have to play four or five games in a row from the Elimination Brackets on Thursday! There is a complete explanation in the referenced newspaper article on its way to your home now.


Dec. 28, 2013
SSUSA Staff
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Prayers for Roger "Doc" Clay

http://www.affoplano.com/component/obituary/?view=detail&id=335
Dec. 27, 2013
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: STAFF question on scoring of runs

B.J. - You apparently, despite a very clear explanation above, do not understand the definition of a Live Ball Appeal ("LBA") ... Here is your fundamental error, in your own words: "...That scenario they gave is not an actual appeal play the defense made a play on a runner who had not tagged that is considered a force out if the ball beats runner back to bag..." [emphasis added]

The act of the defense throwing behind a retreating base runner who has failed to tag up is NOT a force play under ANY circumstances ... A force play occurs ONLY when a runner is "forced" to advance to the next base ... Returning to a previous base to tag up has the runner retreating and NOT advancing and, therefore by definition, is NOT a force play ... This is a very common misconception by many people, including you ... Please re-read the definition of an LBA and banish the term and concept of "force play" from your mind when you do so ...

The run(s) never score when the final out of a ½-inning at bat is a force out ... An LBA is NOT a force out, so the timing sequence of its execution by the defense, and the resultant out call by the umpire, becomes a timing play call ...If the run(s) cross home plate/scoring line before the play concludes that results in the out call on the LBA, they ARE counted ... If the run(s) cross home plate/scoring line after the play concludes that results in the out call on the LBA, the run(s) are NOT counted ...

This isn't that tough once the fundamental concept that an LBA has nothing to do with a force out is understood ...


Dec. 26, 2013
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: 65 AA player playing 60 AAA

You were not playing "illegally" on the 50's team, assuming your participation was in an SSUSA sanctioned event. You are always entitled to play down in age if you wish. However, your 60-AAA Manager might have been very surprised to find out your eligibility was (and remains so for a period of two years) at risk for his team. Again, we strongly suggest that you contact the Sacramento office beforehand to get an accurate analysis of what unintended consequences may arise when playing on multiple teams in separate age groups.


Dec. 24, 2013
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: 80+ Rule change

The reality of the previous rule is that 82 and 83 year old players were being put on waivers so that teams can sign the 78 and 79 year old "youngsters". The players who were cut are being disenfranchised and have nowhere to go without creating an 85+ division. The rule was originally designed to assist the limited number of 75+ and 80+ teams to actually be able to field a team. There are at least 15 active 80+ teams in the country now and probably 2 to 3 times as many 75+ teams. The original reason for the underage player exemption rule simply no longer exists.

The phase-out period of two years for the 80+ and one year for the 75+ is to prevent disrupting current rosters and any players thereon using the underage exemptions, while at the same time protecting the 82's and 83's from being cut in order to grab next year's youngsters. A change back is very highly unlikely of happening.


Dec. 24, 2013
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: 65 AA player playing 60 AAA

If you are currently 74, turning 75 during the calendar year 2014, your native age group is 75's, but your current team history rating index is 3 from your 70-AAA team. You may play down only one rating index level from your highest team experience history R/I (of 3) ... Your options are:

• 75-Major or 75-AAA, unrestricted as an age 75 player;
• 70-AAA (your current team), OR 70-AA, but not at the same time since you cannot be on two teams in the same age group. If you were to get a release from the 70-AAA team to join a 70-AA team, you would not be able to return to the 70-AAA team since you only get one release per season. You will also be one of the three maximum allowable "out of rating" players on the 70-AA roster since that team has a R/I=2;
• 65-AA, unrestricted since that is also a R/I=3; or
• 65-AAA (R/I=4), but if you play 65-AAA, you will not be able to play 70-AA or 75-AAA, since they both have R/I=2, which is two levels below your highest personal history R/I of 4. If you wish to play 65-AAA, you may not also play 65-AA due to the prohibition against playing for two teams in the same age level.

Our best advice remains that you call the Sacramento office and talk to George about your options so that you make a fully informed decision that does not bring along unintended consequences for any of the affected teams.

As to your other questions ...
• The chart is not in the rule book because it's an eligibility policy tool and not a playing rule; and
• You can't play 75-AA because no such rating exists at the 75 age division.

Hope this helps and Good luck in 2014!


Dec. 23, 2013
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: 65 AA player playing 60 AAA

The Ratings Index Chart (below) is not published in the SSUSA Rulebook ... In summary, a player may play one level up or down from their normal team affiliation rating index ... If that player has any specific questions, we strongly advise that they contact the Sacramento Home Office at (916) 326.5303 and ask for George to make sure that playing on two separate teams in different age groups doesn't create any unintended consequences ...

RATINGS INDEX CHART •




Dec. 22, 2013
SSUSA Staff
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: NATIONAL RATINGS REVIEW • Year End 2013 Appeals and Performance Move Decisions

TEAM DECLINES PERFORMANCE MOVE DOWNWARD • At the request of their manager, Ryan's Way (NV) has declined the SSUSA National Rating Committee's "Performance Move DOWN" from 60-Major to 60-AAA. Accordingly, they will retain their 60-Major rating.
Dec. 20, 2013
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: 1 up rule

The "1-up Rule" received mention in a couple of general comments, principally within the context of considering a simple 1-Up Rule without any set limits by division. The concept of 1-Up after set limits was not discussed. The 11-defensive-player discussion was the same this year as in all recent years: the issue being whether or not to extend that defensive configuration to ages below 70.

In both instances the discussions were brief and did not result in any motions for further consideration.


Dec. 20, 2013
SSUSA Staff
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: SSUSA 2013 RULES COMMITTE MEETINGS • Minutes, Decisions & Other Actions

Face Masks, Home Runs Top List of New SSUSA Rules for 2014

Softball News Report

CONCORD, N.C. – Mandatory face masks for pitchers, a change in home run rules, a phasing out of underage exemptions in 75 and 80 divisions, and the adoption of a new trans-gender player policy highlighted action by the SSUSA Rules Committee here during the annual ISA/SSUSA Convention in early December. Although the Agenda was somewhat shorter than in recent years, the approved amendments to the Playing and Eligibility Rules have generated the usual high level of interest within the SSUSA membership. The effective date of the rules amendments is December 6, 2013, unless otherwise stated in the changes:

PITCHERS (Rulebook §6.17) – The Rules Committee has mandated that all pitchers wear protection for the face. The previous requirement that pitchers must wear head gear and shin guards has been changed from a mandate to a recommendation. The amendments in this area also strongly recommend that pitchers wear protection for the chest/heart area. With the new mandate, pitchers will no longer be required to sign waiver forms.

The primary rationale for this change is that softball, and any sport that involves high velocity hard objects in play, has an inherent risk of potential injury to participants from those objects – especially pitchers because they are closest to the batter. The model for the Committee was the National Hockey League, which instituted their mandatory helmet rule with the 1979 Draft Class. While there was some initial resistance, helmets in hockey are seldom even noticed today and are regarded as a sensible standard equipment item. The Committee anticipates the same for Senior Softball in regards to face protection.

[Editor's note: After this article went to press, Major League Baseball confirmed that protective head/face gear for MLB pitchers will likely be approved, possibly as early as the 2014 season.]

HOME RUNS (§8.4) – Any changes to the home run rules seem to generate the most interest, and this year is no exception. Home runs over the limit in each skill division and across ages from 40-Masters through 70+ will now be Dead Ball Outs (“DBO”). This has been the rule for the Men’s 40-Masters division since the inception of their program in the early 2000s. Age 75+ and older men and Senior Women 50+ and older do not have home run limits.

Home run rules, especially in the Major-Plus division, have varied considerably in recent years. The changes made this year to the Major-Plus and Major home runs were designed to shorten the chasm between divisions – especially the Major and Major-Plus divisions, so that more teams can be moved up because they will be able to compete at the higher level.

Another significant factor involved in the decision for change was the desire to have the best players in Senior Softball has a virtually identical playing rule set as the best players in the world, the Team USA Softball squad. Team USA plays with a maximum number (10) of allowed home runs with DBO’s thereafter.

Lastly, committee members said the new rules would discourage the “home run offense only” game of simply hitting as many home runs as possible. This home run derby play is, in the Committee’s view, not in the best interests of the game. Members said they hoped the rule change would re-emphasize the importance of putting the ball in play, precision placement hitting and sound defensive skills. The Committee is confident these changes will help restore some of the balance between offense and defense in the Senior Softball game.

In a minor related rule change, SSUSA has now allowed for the practice of “hit and sit” following any over-the-fence home run.

MEN’S 75+ & 80+ ROSTERS (§14.2) – Several years ago, the number of 75+ and 80+ players was extremely limited. In an effort to increase teams in both age groups, teams were allowed to add a few younger players. However, SSUSA staff reported that the numbers of 75 and 80 players had increased to the point where the younger age player exemptions were no longer necessary. The committee delayed the changes until the 2015 Season to prevent disrupting the rosters of teams that have already been assembled for the 2014 Season.

For the Men’s 75+ Division, the current allowance of five age 74 players is retained for the 2014 Season and is eliminated for the 2015 Season and thereafter.

For the Men’s 80+ Division, the current allowance of seven underage players, no more than three of whom may be age 78, is retained for the 2014 Season. For the 2015 Season, the allowance is reduced to three players, all of whom must be age 79, and for the 2016 Season and thereafter, the allowance is eliminated, requiring all players to be age 80.

TRANS-GENDER PLAYERS (§14.2(6) – NEW) -- The Rules Committee was requested to consider the issue of trans-gender athletes in Senior Softball to ensure that no athlete is excluded from the opportunity to participate, but that eligibility standards are established to ensure the safety of women players and to maintain fairness in competition. The Rules Committee has adopted the standards used by the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) to govern the eligibility of trans-gender athletes.

Challenges to eligibility under this provision will be treated as with any other eligibility protest, such as residency or minimum age. Should the athlete be required to comply with the IOC standards, any diagnostic or laboratory testing costs will vest solely with the athlete.

Other Playing Rules amended by the Rules Committee included:
• Moving the commitment line from 20 feet to 30 feet from home plate (§1.15);
• Removing from play any bat that exhibits significant cracking or other deformity (§3.4);
• Prohibiting a base runner attempting to score from running over or through the batter’s boxes (§8.9); and
• Allowing the use of a secondary scoring plate at facilities that are so equipped (§8.10).

For a complete analysis of all actions of the 2013 Rules Committee, including the actual language of the Rulebook section amendments, please refer to the references on the SSUSA web site at www.seniorsoftball.com.
__________

Reprinted from the Winter, 2013, edition of the Senior Softball News
© 2013 - Senior Softball USA, LLC
__________

Link to SSUSA Official Rulebook Addendum for 2014:

SSUSA Rulebook Amendments for 2014


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