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Jan. 26, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: What to do with trophies, uniforms, tee-shirts?

Nancy, good idea. My longtime team sponsor of many decades ended up with lots of trophies. We found that the leaders of local Special Olympics were very glad to have them and they were easily transformed into meaningful trophies, even for events that didn't involve swinging a bat as the figure on top of the trophy implied.
Jan. 25, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: weight of ball?

Igotit, you may not be a scientist, but it sounds like the NFL could use your help.
Jan. 25, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Playin in Cuba?

Bunch of guys from northern California went over about 4 or 5 years ago. They were mostly in their 60s and 70s. They had a blast touring and seeing all the old cars. They donated a lot of equipment they had collected (gloves, shoes, batting gloves, etc.) to the Cubans. The highlight was supposed to be playing another senior ball club. Problem #1: the Cuban team wasn't all that senior! Had some guys who looked to be in their 20s, 30s. Problem #2: despite the translator assuring them that he had carefully explained the rules, late in the game a Cuban came home after rounding third and ran right over the catcher who was standing on home plate, not expecting to get steamrolled! Catcher was in his 70s and had to have medical treatment for awhile once he returned to the States. Took some of the shine off of the trip. This team also flew directly from the US. I think the game was under the banner of some kind of good will "ambassadorship" and there wasn't much red tape.

Some guys weren't interested in going because of the corrupt dictatorship and prisons stuffed with political prisoners. I had a chance to go with a college-sponsored "educational" tour a few years ago but turned it down because Castro had just cracked down and imprisoned many public and college LIBRARIANS! Why? Because they had allowed the wrong political books in their libraries. I thought it was hypocritical for the college to continue its tour effort since the crackdown was part of an ongoing effort to stifle freedom as several academics were also imprisoned in that purge.
Jan. 6, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: Do you use senior bats in non tournament games/leagues?

We use senior bats in all of our league games but with restrictions:

50-60 league: use of senior bats except on fields with closer fences and rec department penalties for hitting outside the park.

Pick-up team leagues (ages 50 - 90): senior bats for only women and over 74

Tournament teams league: senior bats for 60 and over

We do not allow senior bats for pre-game batting practice by under 75 men in the pick-up team leagues because of the crowded fields during the batting practice.

Our twice-a-week batting practice-only sessions allow any bats, including senior (or original Ultra for that matter)

We have had a very good safety record with these rules and no unhappy players.
Jan. 3, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Signs of Getting Old(er)

cal50, that made me laugh! So true.
Jan. 3, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Pitcher safety screens.

JBTexas, the discussion on this site a few years back was about softball participation in general, not necessarily only seniors. I think mad dog and others were lamenting about the decline of softball as a sport. They talked about a couple of decades back where fields were jammed and it was difficult to enter as a new team because of the lack of field availability. Then they said this has changed and there are fields open. In our area, the situation was similarótoo many teams for too few fields. Now we have nights that don't have any league play on some of the fields. Not enough players to fill all fields.

But since I don't play in Texas, I am only going on what was reported by Texans. This is not a new issue with me. I have been discouraged by the declining participation in softball at all levelsórec play, church leagues, business teams, etc. And relevant to us, the missing men in senior play. Where are they and why have they dropped out? There has always been attrition because of poor health, finances, injury, other growing interests (like fishing or tennis), family dynamics, etc. But the number of healthy males over 50 is booming compared to the past, and where are they? The census count says a 36% increase in 10 years, but if we had statistics for 2013 or 2014, I would guess the rate has accelerated to 4% a year. I fault the extra hot bats (and I didn't even mention the men I know who have stopped playing because of safety reasons). What else has changed so dramatically?

AJC, I agree that teams are lost through disbanding all the time, and it may be that newer teams are mostly replacing disbanding ones, but if softball was still a draw there should be another 100 men in the last 10 years in our 50 and over club. And there are not. I do agree that so many men have become addicted to the hot bats that if they were banned, the short term result might be that more would stop playing than start. But long term I can see many men returning who were never sluggers, but were excellent infielders, fast runners, smart players. Those are the ones whose skills are not valued as much as in the past when home runs were a rarity and even hitting a ball through the hole was not a sure thing. Hot bats don't just benefit the long ball hitters, but those who can hit the gaps for zoom them through the infield. My great fear is that those skills are no longer valued in younger rec ball because of altered bats and we are already losing them to the sport.
Jan. 3, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Signs of Getting Old(er)

OZ40, I've hidden Easter eggs for others, and then can't find them until the garden leaves fall in the autumn. Plastic eggs with candy in them? Still good after 6 months (hard to destroy jelly beans). Real eggs? Forget it.
Jan. 3, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Pitcher safety screens.

Enviro-Vac, I am more focussed on composite bats rather than metal bats. You're right. I have been using a metal bat since the late 80s, and most double walls were hotter than the old single wall aluminums. I'm not sure that the ball used in 2000 was that much better. Certainly in league play, where most of the parks can no longer contain the power of the hot composite bats, the rec department supervisors have gone to a softer, dumbed down ball to try to keep the ball in the park, and other than senior leagues, have banned composites. Because of composites, they are banned in some communities, even for seniors. And for younger players, because of the prevalence of altered bats, our local rec department still worries about other park users and vehicles being plunked by the long ball.

As to more senior tournaments, I'm not sure. Calendar has been full for many years. More teams playing? Maybe. Don't know about other communities, but reports from Texas, for example, show a decline, as noted by increased field availability. But my point is that the dramatic increase in older men in good health (ever hear of the baby boomer population now aging?) should have resulted in a 36% increase in players, teams, etc.! U.S. Census data shows 25,516,000 men 55 to 84 in 2002 and 34,680,000 in 2012. Remember, these now older guys were part of the generation that made softball the most popular amateur sport back in the 70s and 80s. Most of them played on a teamórec league, company, church, co-ed, Club, tournament, etc. They enjoyed the sport. And where are they now?

One large example is northern California which has had a sound oversight group in Northern California Senior Softball Association. California is known for attracting population and retirees because of the great weather. The number of teams registered in NCSSA is 106 teams in 2014. That number is a bit inflated because players can be on more than one roster so there aren't as many players as 106 teams would indicate.

This number has not significantly changed over the last 10 years! There were more than 100 teams a decade ago! When you could only be on one roster. Why didn't we have 136 teams in 2014. Where are the new guys entering eligibility for senior softball? Not playing. Why not? I believe they have soured on the sport because it has become a sluggers game, and many of those sluggers are only doing it with hot bats, not improved technique. The game is no longer balanced as it was in the 80s when defense, base-running, and strategy were more honored. Guys I played with back then, who have dropped out, often cite the changed environment as the reason for their lack of interest in playing.
Jan. 2, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Players looking to join a team
Discussion: Looking to join a team in northern nevada 50 and up

WRSF, Golden Eagle at Sparks has some of the best facilities in the country. I would start hanging out there and look to join a team. There are certainly teams already from the Reno/Sparks area that are playing senior softball. Once you meet a few older guys you will quickly find out about local batting/hitting practices, local senior leagues (not necessarily at Golden Eagle), etc. If you feel you are ready to contribute to a team now or near future, it helps to know your age in 2015 and where you live.
Jan. 2, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: We are Ready!!!

Dolfan, I love your attitude. So much more encouraging than guys who complain about being rerated and moved up. I, too, love playing the game but God did not bless me with a body that anyone will ever want to play Major Plus for them! Happy New Year to all guys who are looking forward to another season of senior softball. It will keep us all younger than our peers.
Jan. 2, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Pitcher safety screens.

Fabe, I know about the great Hawaii weather because I've been there. What was extra tempting about the tournament was that guys that had gone there before raved about the great hospitality. I ended up not going because my schedule was too full that month and too much work to rearrange what I could (I know, I'm too busy to be a senior senior). Someday, maybe.
Dec. 31, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Pitcher safety screens.

Grimmie, I play in the WestóCalifornia, Reno, Vegas, Oregon, St. George. That's enough travel for me although I was seriously tempted by a Hawaii tournament a few years back (still the West, I guess).

I have noticed the same thing you have, and have written about it extensively on this site. Where there should be a huge number of senior guys playing who loved the game in the 70s, 80s, 90s, there are far too many no longer playing. Sure, injury, illness, even death will take its toll, but with modern health care and rising prosperity amongst retirees, there should be thousands more on senior teams. I, too, believe that the "crazy bats" have changed the game for the worse and as a result many, many men have lost interest. I say this as one of those 170 pipsqueaks who never hit a home run in my life in 50 years of playing, and then, as a geezer, begin to hit home runs with a Miken! Nice feeling for the moment, but would be nicer to plan on a tournament without it getting cancelled for lack of teams.

Have a wonderful New Year's Eve and Day (lots of great football!), and a satisfying 2015. Enjoy your recent posts.
Dec. 30, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Pitcher safety screens.

Swing, purely anecdotal. Certainly true for our third base infielders this season, but my sample is likely too small to prove this point. Logical, but maybe other third basemen are playing at 85 feet (Wow!) like Grimmie's, so injuries are reduced. And maybe I haven't noticed that shortstops are 90 feet back like the middle infielder behind second that oldsters like us use. Have a great season in 2015. Hope I get to watch you again.
Dec. 29, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Pitcher safety screens.

LP, you're right. With our current hot composite plus lively ball, there are already more injuries to 3rd basemen. Doubt if screens will be the answer. More likely the ball will eventually become much more dumbed down.

But comparing pitchers to infielders is apples to oranges. I release the ball from 50 feet away, my weight shifted forward, back up some if I know the batter likes middle, and do my best to field the ball (I could back up farther if the height limit were changed). My third baseman begins at 75 feet away and my shortstop at 80 feetóboth already set and in position. Seems to me there is a greater likelihood of a pitcher being unable to avoid being hit than an infielder.

I began pitching from 37 1/2 feet away 62 years ago. I get plunked more now than back in the day when wood bats and older softballs were the norm. Part of it is old age; a lot of it is the super hot bats and balls.
Dec. 28, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Pitcher safety screens.

E6 in AZ, the two line solution would certainly make things safer, but many pitchers I have seen hit were not by guys who like to go middle and swing with all their might. They tend to be hit up the middle by guys who swing powerfully but have little bat control. Still dangerous for the pitcher.

I remember the time a few years ago that a big galoot sent a rocket up the middle that I was able to knock down to protect myself. After being thrown out at first he rushed over and apologized for the hit, said he never tries to go middle, asked again if I was O.K. (I was although my hand was throbbing), and apologized again for the hit. I believed him. Three innings later he is up again. I am careful to pitch him inside. Same result, although this time the ball was belly-high instead of head high! I caught this one. Again he apologized though it sounded weak considering the circumstances. I pitched against his team twice in that tournament and watched his team one game against another team. Nothing up the middle by him. I believe his potentially harmful hit was not intentional, but an injured pitcher finds little solace in thatÖand two lines up the middle wouldn't have made a difference for this batter, in my opinion.
Dec. 28, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Pitcher safety screens.

DCPete, it depends on where you play. In Northern California Senior Softball Association (where there are more than 100 teams), the MANDATED tournament ball is the Baden Fire. Although it is rated as a 44/375, it is much hotter than that. The fact that the manufacturer admits that it is unlicensed by any association gives you a hint that this is a lively ball. Put that with composites such as the Miken, and you have a ball zooming toward the pitcher. Also, there have been many comments that the Trump Rock ball used at the Worlds in Las Vegas is also hotter than the Stote.

I agree that despite all the claims that "this year's bat" is the hottest ever, hot out of the wrapper, a real boomer, sends the ball the extra distance, let's me hit consistently over 325 feet, etc., no current bat is much hotter than the old Miken Ultra II of the early 2000s.
Dec. 27, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Pitcher safety screens.

Pitcher safety screens are more common in senior softball league play than in tournaments. In our league, as well as others, the screens are even mandated! Why? Primarily because there is a wide age-range of players, from 50 to 90, and pitchers from 54 to 86.

The placement varies, in my experience. Some leagues, such as ours, allow the pitchers to place the screens. When a screen is used in tournament play (for example when the pitcher is squinting directly into a low sun) it seems to be placed again wherever the pitcher finds it most protective. I have never had a TD mandate its placement.

There ARE leagues that have tight restrictions about how far in front of the rubber, how far to left or right, etc. And there are certainly differences in the ruling when a batted ball hits the screen (dead ball, strike, foul ball, strike only on second hit while at bat, etc.). And there are differences about whether the pitcher can field a ball, or must step behind the screen, or can't field a ball if the screen is too far to one side, etc.

In other words KennyB, your league players or leaders will have to mutually agree about these issues. B.J. is right that the current rules don't recognize the screen.

I predict this will change and eventually screens will be mandated for tournaments, at least for teams 60 and over. The compelling reason will be too many serious injuries, or even a death, when a pitcher is hit by a rocket off a composite bat. If there is an unwillingness by players to tone down the impact of a hard ball and a hot bat common in the last decade, then the screens will come.
Dec. 6, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Best turf shoes out there

I've been completely happy with Tanel turf shoes. I wear the high tops for ankle support. They are so comfortable I wear them all day long in a tournament, not changing out of them. Don't know about the heel problem, but I've never had an issue with it. I play about 120-140 games a year with Tanels on turf and they last a bit longer than a year. I use cleats with dirt/grass combo fields (most tournaments).
Nov. 27, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Thanksgiving

taits, thanks for starting this thread. We, of all men our age, should be thankful for our health and the ability to still play. Guys, stop briefly today and pray for all those former teammates of yours who are no longer able to participate in this great sport because of poor health (or worse, no longer in this world). I've lost two friends this month who were still active and now gone!

stick8, we began a local winter league last week on Saturdays (you can do this in California), and we will be playing (although the weather might have a different opinion).
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?!
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