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Jan. 10, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: CERTAIN FEES!!

Duke, I've never played in a Top Gun tournament so I can't comment on quality comparisons or overscheduling fields. And curveball's comments about higher prices in California is probably accurate.

What I can tell you is that Northern California Senior Softball Association scheduled 56 tournaments in 2013 (although some were cancelled for lack of signups) and the fees ranged from $285 to $310, with the average fee being $300. These tournaments use the same umpires as SSUSA, play on the same fields, and are typically well-run and competitive, due to NCSSA's decision to bracket teams by ability, not age.

These are mostly played in California (with California prices) and a few played in Nevada or southern Oregon. And NCSSA is not a for-profit organization as SSUSA is, so it is run by volunteers and costs are lower thereby. TDs do try to break even (in some tournaments) and most try to make a profit, either for themselves, their team, or their Club.
Jan. 3, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: bats and cold weather

This is only anecdotal evidence, but I always keep my U2 and my Combat Macenko in my car trunk. Living in central California, it is probably seldom a freezing temperature in the trunk, but no doubt it heats up above 100 in the summer. I occasionally play in weather in the mid to high 30s with the bats, but seldom lower. Played in Rock 'N Reno the year it was snowing(!) and the Miken did fine. My U2 is going into its 12th season and the Combat its 4th. No problems yet. Balls are probably stored in garages until game time when they sit in temperatures from 36 in the winter to 105 in the summer. Maybe I dodged a bullet playing in snowfall in Reno?


Dec. 30, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: Shaved Bats

rdrman66, I loved your term "occasional fool", and as Swing pointed out, it isn't the sluggers who shave. At the older level, 65 and above, there are lots of players who can hit the ball 270, 280 with a composite, but now in the newer parks, fences are back to 300, 310, even 325, so I can imagine someone would be tempted to shave even a senior bat to be able to clear the fence. Sad to contemplate. I don't think I have ever seen someone swing an altered composite bat, but I can believe that some will try.
Dec. 30, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: NCSSA Tournament Schedule

taits, the minutes have come out from December 7 and they report that the schedule was promised in 2 or 3 weeks from December 7, so it should be out any day.
Dec. 14, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: Time to eliminate senior bats

Little bit passionate and exaggerated, but true at bottom. The hot senior bat has changed the game and is responsible for players who never hit a home run in their prime (like me) now putting them over the fence. I'd willingly bring back the old single wall aluminums.
Dec. 12, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Question for Mad Dog and others

I have always worn glasses under my Game Face mask (and the Rip-It before I found it too tight)without a problem. The big problem with Game Face is that visibility is somewhat affected on ground balls. I even wear my mask in rec and league play, and so have learned to field grounders by instinct which works until there is a bad hop! =)And of course, any fielding errors I make on ground balls are always "bad hops" (my teammates are gracious).
Dec. 12, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Website comments
Discussion: Why Not Have A Players Committee Of Real Players To Over See The Rules

BiggDan, I agree with your opinion that home runs should not be DBOs. But careful with your other arguments. I have been reading for years on this site complaints that Major+ players go through 7, 8, 9 bats a year because of breakage and new models. A guy who is spending $2500 a year on bats is not going to complain about a mask for $60 that will last for years.
Dec. 12, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: players please respond to rule changes

There are many practical reasons for a TD to try and restrict games to change every 1 hour 15 minutes: may be sharing tournament fields with league night games and must vacate fields; different skill levels may share fields and Major Plus cannot have lengthy games or it screws the timing up of the schedule; umpires may ask for more money and fees may rise; and there are probably more (not being a TD myself).

Although now a major player, even at AAA I never liked a rule that made a home run an out. Making it a walk was a more sensible solution, or playing 1-up maximum throughout the game and a walk if more than 1-up. Both of these rules will shorten a game.

But let me propose that in order to not penalize home runs (except making them walks once the limit is reached), that innings max out at 4 runs except for the final inning. This would speed up every game, no matter what the home run rule, and satisfy TDs as well, perhaps, as players. With today's conditions and finances, we will never return to the unlimited scoring innings and games of the past. Remember, they weren't so common in the 50s, 60s, 70s, because the equipment of that day was not jazzed up so every pipsqueak like me could realistically think of hitting a home run. Home runs were rare, even with the standard 250 foot fences.
Dec. 9, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: New rule

It was predictable that this rule was coming. I pointed out two years ago with the requirement of mask and shin guards unless signing a waiver, that the waiver was useless. If SSUSA feels it is so dangerous with today's hot bats and balls for the pitcher to be unprotected, it would be easy for a lawyer to file a successful lawsuit in case of injury or death of a pitcher, waiver or not. I still predict we will see mandated screens before I stop playing.

As to hitting up the middle, I played two seasons with a nice guy who had hit middle all his life. To my knowledge, he never aimed for the pitcher, but liked the hole on either side of the pitcher and that's what he aimed for. Usually he was successful, and had a good batting average, but even so, he hit a pitcher about 3 times a year when the pitcher couldn't field the ball. I don't want to hit any pitcher that often.
Dec. 3, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Playing Time

Our major team had three pitchers who only pitched, but sat out otherwise. They all could play other positions in case of low attendance or injury, and two were decent hitters, but they were O.K. with sitting an entire game. We had two catchers, both good hitters, who also didn't play if not catching, but did sometimes go in to pinch hit. We had three first basemen--like the pitchers they could play other positions if needed, but rotated game by game except for one who was a phenomenal hitter and we EH'd him when not playing first.

We had a successful season with this philosophy, but I'm sure it depends on the personality of those asked to regularly sit out games. Some players won't accept this. I can imagine a manager like southernson carefully managing innings for his players, but I'd bet such a manager doesn't play himself with all those mental gymnastics.
Dec. 3, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Positioning of screen protecting pitcher

Fred S, my point exactly as our situation is similar to yours. Very few of our pitchers want to step behind the screen on every pitch. The difference is that we don't mandate this protection. The screen is there to protect, but a pitcher can choose to field the ball. Just like no one but SSUSA mandates a mask, or shin guards, and even their mandate is rarely enforced.

I like to field as you do and it is good practice for tournament conditions where there usually is no screen (sun blindness excepted), but even in league play there are a couple of free swingers who hit the ball 300 feet and for them I step behind the screen after releasing the ball.

As I said on this topic a couple of years ago, I believe that eventually screens will be mandated for tournaments. All it will take, sadly, is one serious injury or death, and the potential or reality of a lawsuit. Associations already admit the dangerous conditions by mandating masks, or anti-middle hit rules, or banning (as Field of Dreams often does) Miken and similar hot bats, so it will be hard to claim that softball is a sport where the risk is solely on the player's part. That might have worked in the past where batted balls were so slowed down that pitchers could throw from 30-some feet without particular danger.
Dec. 1, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: pitchers shin guards

I bought a pair of kick-boxing shin guards from Karate Express an online company. They are light and very comfortable. Only problem is that since wearing them for several years, I have not yet taken a hard shot on the shin! The logic is good--protects against powerful martial arts kicks--and the experience is great with deflected balls that have hit square on--but a low screamer??? Hope they work or I'll try some suggestions above. By the way, mine don't cover my knees as I figure that is what my glove is for, but this might be an illusion!LOL
Dec. 1, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Positioning of screen protecting pitcher

I agree with Texas Transplant. I can't imagine any pitcher, even a gimpy one, who could not get behind a screen during the flight of the pitch. This resolves the need to put a screen 25 feet closer to home--leave it close to the pitching rubber. In our league, pitchers are allowed to field as much as they desire. Some back up all the way to second on a potential force out; others shift to the right or left for weaker hitters; some are content to stay near or behind the screen. I am one who does not back up, and as a result I field a lot of pop-ups and dribblers in front of the screen.
Nov. 28, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Positioning of screen protecting pitcher

Our league requires use of a screen and has for almost 15 years (since a potentially fatal batted ball struck a pitcher's chest). But positioning the screen is entirely up to the pitcher. Some pitch peeking around the edge; some move it forward; some put it on the pitching rubber; some off to the side. You would think this would cause controversy with hitters, but it hasn't so far.

Occasionally, about once a month (we play about 17 games a month) a pitcher gets hit, never from standing behind the screen and rarely from a ricochet off the side of the screen, but it happens. We still leave it up to the pitcher to decide his ability to defend.

Batted balls that hit the screen are a dead ball (I prefer a foul ball strike, but it's hard to change tradition) and thrown balls that hit the screen are live (happens about 2 or 3 times a year!). Ours is a mixed-age league from 50s through 80s, and most batters restricted to single walls.
Nov. 22, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Playing after knee replacement?

Webbie25, it's amazing you have been able to play at your level without an ACL. I'm sure the tendon didn't just disappear this past year when you moved to the infield.

Looks like you are getting a lot of good advice. I, too, have played with a teammate who has total replacement on both knees and plays at a high level for his age (he's in late 70s). Only pain he has is when he slows down rapidly for a base.

I'm sure you have realized that the recommendations that surgeons make on the different knee replacement options has a lot to do with what they are comfortable and confident in. If you decide a different device is better for you, you might want to go to a different surgeon who is experienced with that device.

I admire your drive to keep playing. The doctor told me four years ago that my cartilage in my knee was almost gone and I would be playing in a lot of pain and with cortisone shots before the season was over. Didn't happen. Lost some weight, and I am often a rabbit on my team of younger guys. I do wear a light supportive brace on that knee, but I have for ten years.

Keep aiming at 50 years of playing softball. I am entering my 62nd season next year and aiming for 70 years. It was playing hard court tennis for decades that likely wore out my knee, not playing on the softball fields. Good luck with your choice and may you be wonderfully successful in your healing. I'd love to see you play next year at Reno.
Nov. 18, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Pitching Mask

I want to like the Rip-It--metal construction and better visibility on ground balls near your feet. But the one I bought two years ago just didn't fit. They were made for girls softball pitchers and the largest size didn't accommodate my head comfortably. I bought it on-line because no local sports store had it in stock.

I suggest you try it on before buying. Now that more and more pitchers are wearing a pitching mask, they may be making larger sizes, particularly with the newer model I hear about with a top bill to help with pitching into the sun.

If it fits mad dog, it may suit you and be a winner. Let us know if it fits you.
Nov. 11, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Something to consider!

Duke, you're right that it is only fair to alternate the Cal Cup between north and south. I'll suggest to my team that we try to make it to the southland this year.
Nov. 9, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Rules question. Happened at Huntsman

stick8's interpretation is probably fairer. Here is a real situation from last season. I am pitching and there's a man on second. An easy two-bouncer comes at me on my right side. Somehow my brain freezes--I not only don't field the ball, I don't even touch it as it bounces over my glove. The guy on second assumed I would field it and didn't want to be thrown out at third, so he is holding near the bag. When I miss it, he takes off.

In this real situation, by the time the ball reaches him it is going so slowly a turtle could jump over it and he is one of the batters that made my middle infielder play deep on the grass. (I guess I could claim my pitch fooled him!) Had it somehow hit him, I'm hoping the ump calls it a live ball since I misplayed it, not an out because I did not get a glove on it.

This is one of those plays that makes me occasionally wonder if I should still be pitching and fielding so close! :-) Nah! Most pitchers are crazy anyway about standing 50 feet from a Miken-struck hot ball (we use the Baden Fire Ball in NCSSA tournaments).
Nov. 1, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Suspensions

Wasn't there and haven't talked to anyone who saw it, so I don't know how much the other teammates tried to play peacemaker. If they did, it's a shame they were caught up with the suspension. But according to SSUSA's initial statement, the issue went beyond name calling and a few guys getting into it.

"Umpires and the Field Director reported that both teams showed extreme disrespect to umpires, the other team, the women and children watching the games and the Director during their championship game on Sunday."

SSUSA also noted that one of the teams had been suspended recently for the same behavior! Unlikely it is still the same guys, but SSUSA evidently thought it was a continuum.

I agree with the wood that this is not uncommon in softball (as much as we like to think we are mature men), and sometimes it is only a single loudmouth who can get it started, especially if someone on the other team responds. And yes, it usually only takes a few peacemakers to work on their own teammates to avoid escalation. I have admired managers whom I've played for who have this ability to calm down their overheated players. But don't wait for the manager to do it!
Nov. 1, 2013
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Product review
Discussion: Boombah Turf shoes

I've had a great experience with the Tanel turf shoes. So comfortable that I don't change out of them at a tournament but wear them throughout the day. Our league play is also on artificial turf, so I get about 150 games out of them before I buy another pair. Only one in the last 5 years has actually worn out where threads have loosened on the side. The others just lost their edge a bit, so I wanted sharper turf "spikes". I do wear regular spikes in tournaments when I play on a dirt infield, so I don't have a lot of experience wearing Tanel turf shoes on dirt. A couple of my teammates wear them all the time, and they claim they work well on dirt.
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