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Nov. 2, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Team move-ups

Couldn't agree with Swing more! My previous team (I'm too old for them now) was moved up after winning and they were proud. They were ready to take on the next level teams. The games were certainly more competitive and fun, even though they didn't win as much. Why would a team want to play lower (although I'm sure Fabe is right and some do) and beat up on weaker teams? And worst of all are teams that deliberately break up to reorganize and avoid a higher classification. What does that say about camaraderie and team spirit?!
Nov. 1, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Better bats or better marketing?

Too soon to tell about OZ's intelligence, but he is absolutely right about Laurel & Hardy being funnier than the Stooges. Who said anything about slapstick? We're talking about humor…grins…laughter…belly laughs. I've watched Laurel and Hardy films over and over but never saw reason to watch a 3 Stooges film more than once.
Oct. 29, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Team move-ups

paul0784, earlier you stated that "We played in 5 tournaments and won two of them so we lost our share". Not an unusual response but in one tournament, 31 other teams lost more than your team and in another, 10 lost more than you did. Figuring that you might have finished in the middle in the other three tournaments, 9-10 teams lost more than you. If your share was to lose fewer games than 50 other teams (some duplicates, of course), then what can the other 50 teams that lost more say? We won our share?
Oct. 11, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: USA Championship seeding game

The State Roofing Systems team won the Western Nationals, but when they got to Vegas, the Eastern Champions did not appear, so they won the USA National Championship by forfeit. When it came to seedings, however, the Roofing team did not get a 1 seed, but got a 4 seed on the basis of their 3-1 record in pool play. How is it the Western champions' fault that their opponent didn't appear any more than when only one team in a division plays in Eastern Championships? Turns out that a 4 seed was appropriate to their skill level in this year's tournament, so they didn't complain about it, but it would have been nice if they received a later game as the #1 seed and also played a weaker team to advance toward a potential championship.
Oct. 7, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: NEW Miken Freak Black Senior bat with a 1 year warranty

lb16's experience was similar to mine. Bought an Ultra II in 2003 and have used it ever since! Use it for batting practice as well as tournaments. Probably have 5000+ hits on it and it is still going. I'm not a power hitter, but hit hard enough that I have several home runs every season. And my Ultra II was also hot out of the wrapper. It might have gotten marginally better, but it was already outhitting, by far, from day one, any other bat I ever owned or used, including a teammate's titanium. My first home run in 50 years of playing came with the Miken!
Oct. 7, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: WHO ARE CURRENTLY THE MOST POWERFUL HITTERS IN SENIOR SOFTBALL

boston, well said!
Oct. 7, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: 1 and 1 pitch count

ffdonnie, interesting finding from your discussions with players. My team is also in northern California. Seems unlikely that SSUSA, headquartered in northern California would have skipped their own region, but facts are facts.

We play two innings back to back then switch to defense two innings in our winter rec leagues. It does speed up the game for all the reasons that Robo listed. Could be some drawbacks, I suppose, but our winter league guys love it. It is less tiring, for another reason to like it.
Oct. 6, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: 1 and 1 pitch count

SSUSA is correct that the survey did not contrast older players versus younger players. It was a survey of ALL registered players; it just happened to break out that older players preferred the 0-0 count (and not for the bizarre concept that Tim Millette offered that they are trying to protect batting averages!).

As an older team, we have played in 1-1 tournaments and didn't like it. The idea that guys are all standing there milking the pitch count to get a fat pitch just isn't the reality. In fact, the problem on my team, and most teams we play, is that the batters are so eager to hit and get the action going that they hit the first pitch they can reach! Since so many hitters DON'T wait out a full count, it doesn't matter whether it is 0-0 start or 1-1 count—the ball is in play before either count would reach the end. Why did my team not like the 1-1 count? Probably just too new…or didn't like the pressure…or were defenders of tradition.

And the idea that older players are somehow more responsive to polls is unlikely. After that 2012 poll, I started asking around. I know the captains of five 65 and over teams, and I know about 3/4 of all the players on those teams. I asked at rec play and at tournaments and did not find a single person that was polled in this age group, including myself! I suspect that many of them registered 10 or 15 years ago and didn't have an email then or the email was obsolete over time. Whatever the reason, I never found one person who was polled! The results could have been even more skewed toward the traditional count.
Sept. 14, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: hip replacement

Bella, of course the doctors won't recommend playing softball because of the injury potential, but that potential was there to some degree ever since you started playing as a kid. I have met more than a couple of senior seniors (over 65) like JD32 who have returned to play with a replacement hip. It is more common to see guys playing again with artificial knees. I have two guys, just on my team, who are both playing outfield with double artificial knees and running for themselves.
Sept. 14, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: RENTAL CAR PRICES FOR WORLDS 9/28-10/2

gary, what kind of car are you renting? My taxes and fees (not all airport) was only $51.00 for 5 days for a 4-door Ford Focus. Are you renting longer or a much more luxurious car? Of course even my fee is outrageous, but that's what you pay for the convenience of picking up the car at the airport. It's another reason that I always use a credit card that has rental car insurance provided as part of the credit card privileges. Insurance from the rental company is even more out of this world.
Sept. 13, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: RENTAL CAR PRICES FOR WORLDS 9/28-10/2

Just booked my car yesterday. Thought it was very cheap, about $25.00 a day! Mine was through Payless, but all the companies were advertising cars available. What you have to watch out for are the high fees and taxes that Vegas puts on. The advertised price was $19 a day! Anyhow, compared to car rental prices where I'm from and where I've travelled, I was pleased at the bargain.
Sept. 11, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Too hot in the Valley?...

taits, you are such a nice guy!
Sept. 11, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: 9/11 and Senior Softball

Great post, Nancy! Puts things in perspective.
Aug. 28, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: huntsman games

4 x 4 correctly explains why the Huntsman is beloved by many and why some return year after year.

The reason that some go once and never again is two-fold:
1. The seeding and bracket play are incredibly drawn out. Often you will play just one game a day, thus meaning a longer more expensive stay in hotels and dining out.

2. The seeding is unpredictable. Rosters are expanded, often with ringers and players that have never played for the team before the tournament. Sandbagging is notorious in the seeding rounds (such sights as a team all batting opposite-handed or each player at an unfamiliar position on defense).

The result is that you may play a team you think you know and find a crusher instead (a problem except for the Major Plus guys); or you may defeat a team in the seeding round, only to be beaten in the bracket play by double digits; or you may experience playing a team that recently won in AAA or Major in Las Vegas in the Worlds, and now they are in with the AA teams.

In other words, go for the experience, not with expectations of winning a medal. That's why I am returning (and I have never gone other than 5 and done in the past because we don't sandbag or load up, but play our normal tournament team). I usually plan on taking a side trip on the last day I am there since my team is no longer in the running for a medal.
Aug. 22, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: Aluminum bats and blue dot balls

LeeLee, I covered this about 4 years ago in a series of posts and it's too much to recapitulate now, but here are some observations:

1. Las Vegas is not the true measurement of involvement in senior softball tournament play. Because of its status as America's "party city", and the attraction of gambling, etc., Las Vegas will always be a draw, whether with composite or aluminum bats. The real measure is the total number of teams entering all tournaments during the year in all associations that allow senior bats. It won't be as dramatic an increase, and may be a decrease.

2 The second factor is to measure how many men, former softball players who loved the sport, are now entering their tournament eligible years, say over the last 10 years. You will find that softball tournament participation percentage will lag behind the increase in senior male population.

3. Now factor in the increasing fitness of senior males due to better nutrition, better medicine, better surgery (know anyone playing with an artificial hip or knee? Of course you do), better fitness, etc. and you will find that the population that is already in their 60s and 70s should show little decline in participation due to health, yet there is a significant decline. For example, the Northern California Senior Softball Association now has 104 teams, and since players this year can double roster, the actual count is likely 98 or so equivalent teams. They had more than 100 ten years ago and the senior male population has increased by hundreds of thousands in California in that time.

Considering men in this demographic were part of the peak popularity period of softball in the 70s and 80s when softball was the most popular participation sport in America, why are they no longer playing? It isn't for lack of money (softball is still a bargain compared to golf, for example). It isn't because of bad health. It isn't because of busy lives (always present). It isn't because of lack of leisure time. I suggest that it is because the sport changed on them with the focus on power hitting (where even a pipsqueak like me can hit a home run when I couldn't hit even one my first 45 years with shorter fences) and the lesser importance on defense, base running, and strategy. The composite bats have cheapened slugging and batting average, just as the goosed up lanes and balls ruined bowling for many.



Aug. 22, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: Aluminum bats and blue dot balls

Go back to aluminum bats? In a heartbeat! Would restore the balanced game that was popular for decades and possibly tempt back the hundreds of thousands of aging male softball players who have rejected "home run derby" introduced with the composite bats.

Go back to Blue Dot balls? Not going to happen. As DCPete points out, they are dangerous for a lot of reasons. Our rec department banned them back in the day when we were swinging woodies and aluminum because of the injuries (to pitchers AND to third basemen and shortstops!). Just too hot for the human eye and brain to track.
Aug. 18, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: West Coast Aftershock -

Steven is correct that the balls were not at their usual performance level in Sacramento this year. I played in the tournament; temps were in the 90s; and the air was more humid than usual because of unseasonable rain on Tuesday and Wednesday of that week. But in the bigger picture, what does "not at usual level" mean?

I played thousands of games for decades when batted balls were not going as far as they were in Sacramento. Our outfielders were playing about 10-15 feet closer than normal because of the conditions, but they were still at distances that would have been on the other side of the fence in the 60s! When did expectations change that a big boy should hit a ball 400 feet…or that a normal 4-hitter should consistently keep outfielders hugging the warning track…or that 300 feet was an "old, smaller park"? The game has really changed, no doubt, and in doing so many have dropped softball as a sport. Whether the belief is that the game is now too fast; too offensively oriented; too tiring for outfielders; too frustrating for infielders; or too dangerous, men are choosing to leave the sport in droves as they age compared to previous years before the composite bats.

None of this excuses cheating. To cool down a ball for extra distance (compare 8:00am games with 4:00pm for the difference) is intentionally cheating. There would be no other reason, especially as this story hints that the drinking water was contaminated to achieve the cooling. As Swing and Tomar note, it is possible that some team members didn't know what was going on, but they are tarred with a charge of "cheater". Sad.
Aug. 11, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Managers nightmare!!

Big Mike, getting money back from one's bank is not likely in a situation like this.

One can put a stop payment on a check BEFORE it is cashed and incur no problems with your bank (but may be sued in a civil action by the payee who received, therefore, a "bad" check).

One can file a forgery affidavit attesting to the fact that someone else illegally used your name to write the check, but that is not true in this case since Harri wrote the check. A false forgery affidavit to get one's money back can result in a criminal action against the one attesting the charge.

One can file an affidavit swearing that the amount was altered; that someone other than the rightful payee cashed the check; etc., in other words attesting a criminal action by the recipient, but this also can result in criminal action against the filer of a false affidavit.

In Harri's case, he wrote a legitimate check to a legitimate payee who cashed the check. Maybe a partial refund could have been made by the TD, but in any case the bank is out of it—nothing to do with them. It is a private discussion and decision between two parties and one of them (maybe both!) just happens to be a bank customer.

and thanks, Dave, for the enlightening information about costs to a TD that may be overlooked. In my team's next tournament, we have a late start time on the first day, so all of us are driving to the tournament in the morning. If the schedule were to be redone at this late date so we had an early morning time, we would be unable to obtain lodging at the smaller community hosting the tournament because of limited hotel space, so it would be either leave at 4:00 am, or stay 30 miles away from the tournament site—neither a desirable option.
July 14, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Courtesy Runners from the plate

HJ, I agree. Most courtesy runners a manager chooses to go from home are not the slower players on the team! It does become tactical at times instead of just any old guy running to help a teammate.
July 13, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Courtesy Runners from the plate

HJ, for tournament play, I get the elimination of the courtesy runner from home. But for a league like ours, where players have been buddies and participants for more than 3 decades in senior softball, there is always a compassionate allowance for the now permanently disabled player who can still swing a bat. 90% of the time the player does play catcher, since it is the least mobile position in mixed league play. But there are legitimate cases of a player requesting a runner from home and still able to field at first base…or third base…or right field…or as a rover (we let everyone play who is present, so we frequently have some rovers). We even had a temporarily disabled shortstop whose team valued his arm so much they took the chance that he could hobble to field a ball and still function a bit at short. Hard to make firm and fast rules for courtesy runners in league play.
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