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Alameda, CA

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Men's 55

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Nov. 14, 2013
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Shoulder replacement

I had the replacement surgery on my throwing arm in May 2011, based on arthritis that left not only bone on bone but a fairly large bone spur that made things worse. The surgeon told me during my rehab that throwing hard would risk breaking the bone around the "spike" that anchors the titanium ball into the humerus. As you say, hitting (and golfing) doesn't put that kind of stress on it, but throwing is a pretty unique stressor. Maybe my surgeon is being overly cautious (he said playing first at a picnic was okay, but my descriptions of AAA senior ball made him concerned), but I sure don't want to pull a Dave Dravecky out there, especially with a titanium ball joint and plastic cup that would have to be dealt with in conjunction with a broken humerus. Be sure to tell him how you would play afterwards.

Two and a half years later, it's certainly better than it was pre-surgery, and as I say I can do ordinary life stuff and play golf (it was five months before I got onto the golf course, BTW), but it's a bummer that softball is mostly off the table (I don't really have the hitting chops to be an EH on our team). Good luck whatever you decide.

Oct. 4, 2012
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: How deep can infielders play EFFECTIVELY?

If you want to play for a double play, the middle infielders have to move in some. It's also true that moving in can cut down the angle on some ground balls (it might take two steps to get to a ball that, playing deeper, will take three). I also always thought that the more bounces, the more chances for a bad bounce. The lip of the grass can also be problematic. So, the field can also be a factor, as can the speed of the batter and the strength of the infielder's arm. (And, if you have a force and only need one out, that's the perfect time to move back.)

Sept. 7, 2012
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Hypocrisy

Look, I don't agree with the rule banning takeout slides; there is at all levels a rule that an umpire can call a double play if a takeout slide goes "over the line" (i.e., outside the baseline, or with apparent intent to injure). Beyond that (and speaking as someone who has played plenty of second and short over the years), there are lots of techniques middle infielders can use to avoid getting hurt on an ordinary slide into second -- use the base as protection (that is, set up on the left field side of second), come across the bag into the infield, or leave your feet as you throw. And, as someone else said, it just doesn't come up that much -- typically, if the runner is on the pivot man, there's no play at first either and you just get the force.

That said, it is a reasonably open process to adopt or change rules. And yes, there is a money element to it; players are voting with their dollars that they want composite bats. Making one aspect of the game (basepath collisions) safer does NOT mean that every other safety rule (banning composite bats) needs to be implemented. It's really up to those of us who play; there are certainly examples of the SSUSA changing rules based on player input. Maybe I'm in the minority regarding takeout slides; the rule won't keep me from playing. Clearly I'm in the majority regarding composite bats, which is why they're still legal. At bottom, it's up to every individual to decide if the right balance has been struck, and either play or don't. Without worrying about the "secret motivations" of the organizations.

Harrumph.
Aug. 3, 2012
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Throwing

When I was a teenager, I worked with darts and a dartboard -- started out just using my wrist, then moving to wrist and forearm/elbow, then wrist/elbow/shoulder, then adding the hips and torso. The idea was to make all of the "snaps" occur at the same time. That gave me the muscle memory to transition to long toss, so the dart action could be "imported" to the softball throwing motion. (When I was a freshman at Cal, I talked to the baseball coach about what would be involved in trying out as a walk-on -- he probably looked at this long-haired skinny hippy who hadn't played high-school baseball, but he did give me a xerox of exercises I could use to strengthen my throwing arm, which were basically hanging from a bar and long-tossing.)

I did try to go back to this after my surgery (last year, to replace the shoulder joint), at least, until my surgeon said throwing hard posed a risk to the point in my humerus bone where the implant's spike went into the bone. (Too much risk of a Dave Dravecky fracture at that spot, which would require additional surgery,) But, getting those four separate actions working as one was what gave me a very strong arm from my 20s through my 40s (until arthritis left my throwing shoulder bone on bone; basically, I never gave it any time off, as in the softball off-season I played very competitive volleyball for all those years).

July 25, 2012
frampton
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Strike or No Pitch

The original post didn't give us any clue what the ump did or said. If the ump was in position and watching the pitcher, without putting a hand up, I'd say it is a strike. (Though IME the ump will, and should, tell the batter to return to the box if the batter left the box before the pitcher has set up to pitch.) If the ump was looking at and/or talking to the batter, and the pitcher just pitched the ball, I'd say that was no pitch. Unlike hardball, the ball is dead between pitches, no?

July 24, 2012
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: baserunning

Agree with both 19s on the situational nature -- in addition to the depth, it depends on how easy of a catch it is, whether the outfielder is moving towards or away from the infield, how good the outfielder's arm is. And the game situation -- for example, if you're tagging at first so you can get to second if the outfielder makes a running catch, but it falls and you only get to third instead of scoring, it gives the other team another chance to get an out. (Of course, you NEVER want to get forced at second if the ball drops.)


June 22, 2012
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Is winning the most important thing?

"Contrived enjoyment", that's good. Sort of like a faked orgasm? If the faking is good enough, who's to say it isn't fun?

Seriously, though, I think the ideal is to be playing teams of comparable skill level. Losing 40-10 isn't much fun at all, and neither is winning 40-10 IMO. Our usual tournament in Northern California is six teams, round robin, so five games in a weekend. The teams in the NCSSA are ranked together, so there may be 50s, 55s, and 60s in a given bracket, but with close to equivalent talent levels based on prior tournament results.

Oh, and it's not only true that seniors are slower in reaction time than the younger players, but their bat speeds are slower too, so it evens out.
June 22, 2012
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Is winning the most important thing?

It's all just a matter of emphasis, I guess. Anyone who's played with me will tell you that I give it all between the lines. That said, I've played competitive sports all my life, and have won more often than I've lost in the long run. (I was actually better at volleyball than at softball.) So I guess some of the emphasis on results has been replaced by emphasis on the process. If I've given my all (and all my teammates have as well) and the other team wins, I no longer have it in me to get pissed off about it. Sure, winning is better. But losing doesn't affect me the way it did when I was younger. (Though losing *constantly* would take its toll. That's why I'm glad we have divisions based on skill level, with the rankings based on game results.)

And to answer Gary19 -- the composite bats make for what I (and I think many others) believe to be the best kind of game -- a fairly close game with both teams scoring 15-20 runs. The bans by the younger associations can be seen as irrelevant to our discussion -- why should we care how those associations run their tournaments? Maybe they shouldn't ban composite bats either. In any event, I guarantee you that the guys on my team, and the teams we play, have plenty of pride. We play by the rules that are set up, we play hard, and enjoy ourselves before, during, and after the games. I don't have much time for anyone who would say that we're deluded in that enjoyment.

June 7, 2012
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: On Base Percentage (OBP)

Back in my 20s and 30s I played for a team that counted errors as times on base. (Walks should be uncontroversial, it's a time on base without making an out.) My point against counting errors lies in the definition of an error -- a play that the defensive player *should have made*. If it is "too hot to handle," or the hitter's speed beats the play, those are hits. Errors are by definition just luck, at bats that should have been outs. Just MHO.

Now that my replaced throwing shoulder won't let me play, I do keep the book sometimes; though nobody compiles the averages, we all know who's hitting and who isn't. Of course, there are players who know their BA to four figures before they get to first base . . .

Batting order by OBP, highest to lowest -- straight from "The Great American Novel" by Philip Roth, fun book.
June 1, 2012
frampton
Topic: Bats
Discussion: Combat

The only place I can find a statement similar to what you're claiming on the website says they have "up to" a year warranty. The pages for the individual bats say "No Warranty."

It's been discussed here before -- warranties would add about $100 to the price of the bat, and it would seem that people don't want to pay that additional price. I don't see any composite bats with warranties any more; fine to boycott Combat if you want to, but good luck finding someone you will buy from that has a different policy. (FWIW, wood bats don't have warranties either.)

Feb. 22, 2012
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: ..... congress, session 2

California has had term limits for legislators for some years now, and that hasn't exactly worked out great. All it does is give more power to the folks who *finance* political campaigns. As simplistic as it is, I would prefer the "vote out the incumbents" movement to term limits. At least that makes it in the hands of the voters themselves. But, that points out the main issue. Well over 90% of incumbents are re-elected every election. Obviously, that means the voters in those districts prefer their incumbent congressperson. Unless you can convince them to change that, it seems to me you have to admit that the people have the government they deserve.


Feb. 8, 2012
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: ODB

Reports of ODB's demise have been greatly exaggerated. As Sam says, we've had a handful of practices already this year (anad look to hit again this Saturday). I missed most of last year due to shoulder replacement surgery, and am trying to get back to playing if at all possible.

mike fenger 3B/1B #25

Feb. 2, 2012
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Something I doubt you know about Congress.

Just a little research would let you discover that the State of Hawaii's Department of Health released a *computer generated* copy of Obama's long-form birth certificate, so it would not have a stamped seal. Sheesh.

Feb. 1, 2012
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Something I doubt you know about Congress.

LOL, just wasted nine-plus minutes watching the video. Straight from the fever swamps. Most of the "Congressional evidence" presented was in fact to see if Arnold Schwartzenegger could be made eligible to be president; I know Dana Rohrabacher wasn't trying to get Obama as president! (In any event, the Constitution was in fact never amended as proposed by the various folks cited, so what's the point of the video's focus on them??)

The birth-certificate thing has been thoroughly debunked -- Obama was born in Hawaii, he is a natural-born citizen (there is no requirement of the parents' citizenship for a person born in the US). Vote against him this year if you don't like him, but don't think you can get him out of office otherwise; the legal challenges have all been rejected because they have no merit.

Dec. 29, 2011
frampton
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Rule change Interaction

Agreed about the catchers (though a throw from right does make you blind to the runner); I was taught to show half of the plate to the runner, then pivot with the tag to take that half away. Though getting taken out at second is most likely to be getting one's feet swept out, rather than a shoulder-to-shoulder contact that happens in hardball. I know that here in Northern California, it has been many years since it was legal to run over the catcher in softball, though.

True also that slowing down before you slide is a good way to get hurt, the trick is to lean back so you actually slide over the top layer of dirt. Slowing down, you're more likely to hit the ground hard.
Dec. 29, 2011
frampton
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Rule change Interaction

The chief difference at second and third is, the runner can't go past the bag the way a runner can go past the plate. (Once the runner is forced out on a double-play ball, he has to go down or risk having the batter called out at first.) Tag or force plays on the bases, there are moves to make that will avoid direct collisions (and, assuming the ball is there on time, push a sliding runner away from the base). Similar moves are there for catchers (I caught for a few years when I played fastpitch), though (as Buster Posey can attest) sometimes you get in a bad position and can indeed get hurt. It was an acceptable risk in my 20s and 30s (though I was pretty crazy in those years, and am paying for it now in my late 50s), but less so now.

It's also true that in slow-pitch you don't always have the most agile guys back there, so the second plate is a sensible thing. Your second baseman and shortstop need to be more agile, so there's that difference as well, they typically have been middle infielders all their lives and by the time they're seniors you'd think they'd figured out how to make tags and double plays without getting hurt very often. (Or, know when to get out of there and take the one out.)

Dec. 14, 2011
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: CR

Pricer, I'm pretty sure about the once-per-inning rule; maybe it's just in NCSSA, but I'm pretty sure it's been enforced at the SSUSA tournaments we've played in. You're right about a guy not in the lineup not having to worry about getting caught on base, but I do think the once-per-inning rule eliminates at least some of the perceived abuse issues.

(Slightly OT, I do know that in extra innings, the umps have told us that the last out has to be the runner who starts the inning on second; I seem to remember that he could only be run for once he advances to third, but I could be mis-remembering that part of it.)

And, as I said, I don't see them as "special accommmodations" -- I think they're rules that recognize we're no longer in our 20s, rules that apply to both teams evenly, and that we can have pride when we play to win to the best of our abilities within the rules that are there. And have fun doing it; it's not like we're playing for money, we're paying to play and want to have fun, competitive games. Let's face it, very very few of us are going to get any everlasting fame from winning senior softball tournaments.

Dec. 14, 2011
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: CR

I do like the rule as it is. There are limits (nobody can run more than once an inning, you're out if your turn at bat comes around when you're on base), as well as the practical limits that the guys who do run too often are wearing themselves out, which is obviously a concern especially if playing up through the losers' bracket. And, as both teams are playing under the same rules, there isn't necessarily an advantage.

IME, in Northern California anyway, I haven't heard any grousing about it. Seems pretty well accepted, and consistently used, among at least the 55 AAA teams.

And, we are a team of friends -- we *want* to play together, it's not like organized baseball where guys get cut if they are below average and promoted if above average. I suspect our team is like many -- we put our team together and play within the rules as they are, trying to win using every legal advantage we can get. Doesn't seem like a lack of pride to me to play to win.

Sept. 30, 2011
frampton
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: tag up rule timing play

Mad dog, that's the "Merkle's Boner" play, if the fielding team steps on second to force the runner who had been on first and that's the third out, the run does not count.

Lots of folks -- even experienced players -- seem to think that the fact that a player doesn't need to be tagged going back after not tagging up makes that a force play. It isn't (as others have pointed out).

Aug. 8, 2011
frampton
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Input

Without speaking for Joe, I would say that I want the rules to make sense, and address real problems. For the rule to ban "altered" bats, and then define "altered" as merely used or broken in (as opposed to surreptitiously tampered with to change its fundamental characteristics), is in my opinion to make things unclear and therefore subject to inconsistent application. There's obviously another issue if taping the handle, or adding a rubber end, were also considered "altering" the bat in an illegal way.

There's a comparable issue in hardball, with wood bats. It's legal to put pine tar on the bat, it's legal to "cup" the end of the bat, but not legal to cork the bat. (I also know that in the old days, hitters would rub their bats with bones. Apart from the superstitious notion that the application of bone would increase the affinity for the ball's skin cover, it made the wood harder. Is boning illegal in MLB?)

I do agree that we should be trying to get the associations to make clearer, consistent rules, and I'm not convinced that rolling a bat is a sufficient alteration to justify a rule against it. Especially if the same effect is gained by hitting batting practice with the bat. It just doesn't seem right to me that a legal bat can become illegal just by playing with it longer, and a rule that can lead to such a result should be changed. IMO.

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