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Discussion: where are all the pitchers

Posted Discussion
Jan. 6, 2014
wyo22
Men's 70
22 posts
where are all the pitchers
After reading the newest copy of the Senior News I am astonished at the new mandatory rule for all pitchers to wear masks to pitch. Then they make it even worse by making home runs outs over a certain limit, therefore making pitchers a target for players who have to hit down and up the middle to keep the ball in the park. My concern is getting hit in other areas than the head area because of the distraction of the stupid mask keeping me from gloving the ball. I have been pitching for many many years and I have NEVER been hit in the head area, but I truly believe wearing a mask will slow my reaction to the ball enough that I will get hit more than ever.
What was wrong with letting the pitcher decide if he wanted to wear protective gear or not and signing the line up card waiving the gear. Someone please tell me who is doing all the complaining that pitchers are not wearing protective gear that this rule had to be made. All pitchers know that they are closer to the batter than other players and if they pitch from the rubber and step forward they are asking for trouble. Pitch from the back line and back up when releasing the ball and be safer.
I would like to see if other pitchers who chose not to wear the mask would give their opinions on this subject. Surely I am not the only one who is unhappy with the rule. Wyo22
Jan. 6, 2014
Mark 44
Men's 60
56 posts
I really dislike the face mask rule. I've been pitching for 25 years & only had 1 close call. Yes, I am getting older, but so are my batting opponents. A good friend of mine had a close call a year or so ago & started wearing a mask. He has since been hit in the mask 3 times in the last year. Why? Are the odds catching up to him? Or do people not care about wether or not they want to shoot the middle, since he is now wearing a mask?
I'll wear the mask. I wore it in batting practice last week & the only complaint I had, was that it was hot and it was only 62 degrees. I'm dreading when the temperatures reach triple digits.

Wishing Everyone a Happy New Year, I can't wait to get back out on the field.

Mark 44 Timberworks Construction
Jan. 7, 2014
JBTexas
Men's 65
264 posts
wyo22, you're 30 days late to the party, we've been complaining since the rule was announced on this website. By this time we have beat this to death, they aren't going to change for this year.
Jan. 7, 2014
AcePV
Men's 60
22 posts
Probably not what people want to hear, but until you see someone smashed in the face and not wearing a mask maybe you'd think differently. I've known three pitchers over the years that were hit in the face. Two went to the hospital with serious injuries. I've been wearing a Rip It mask for a couple of years now and I don't think it hinders my vision at all. Before the Rip It I wore a plastic mask that was really terrible. Would I prefer to not use a mask? You bet I would but I don't think not wearing a mask is worth the risk. Do I think it should be the players choice whether to wear a mask? You bet!
Jan. 7, 2014
Pricer
Men's 50
622 posts
I believe the more equipment the pitcher wears, the more hitters feel like it's ok to drive the middle. I don't think anyone looks to drive the middle to hurt, but the anxiety or worry about going the middle is lessened when the pitcher is equipped with protective gear.JMO
Jan. 7, 2014
Capt Kirk
410 posts
Our pitcher(s) will be wearing a mask at TOC (I am assuming that a pitcher's mask will be required), this will be their first time wearing one. We have a couple of practices scheduled before TOC, hopefully they will make the adjustment to wearing a mask.
Capt
Jan. 7, 2014
Caveman
Men's 50
64 posts
I'm with AcePV, I wear a helmet and wire mask, wire mask is much better than the plastic. This should be a choice, not a requirement. I chose to wear it, not worth the risk
Treacy Elliott
Sacramento Saints 60
Jan. 7, 2014
Olden Slow
Men's 65
182 posts
Here in Prescott..Almost all the pitchers are moving down at least 1 division..Why ???? Word has it that they are tired of being drilled. The division they are going down to don't hit the ball as hard..Some of the guys suggested changing balls or bats but most of the guys threw a fit...But the guys that threw the fit...don't pitch or don't play in the infield. We now have 2 pitchers in a 40-50 man league...Should be an interesting season..I don't pitch but I'm also not a big hitter. We had a guy that got the ball drilled back at him while pitching..he made the plays but after a few innings he just tossed the ball to an infielder and went to the outfield while saying.." That's it, I'm not pitching again "
Jan. 7, 2014
southernson
261 posts
wyo22,
I hate the mask and it's got problems of it's own.
1) Peripheral vision is significantly reduced
2) You will have more balls come up the middle, guys don't avoid it as much, what the heck, he's wearing a mask... it actually becomes a target. Guys who wear masks seem to get hit at more.
3) Ever try diving for a ball with the mask on? Count on getting cut or scraped on the face when your body hits the ground.
4) It's way hot, really hot. I can see the lawsuit for SSUSA coming, pitcher has sensitive skin, hot summer day causes a rashlike facial infection, infection penetrates the ears or eyes, SSUSA made me wear it, yeah, really great idea. And what happens when there's a broken arm, hand or leg from a shot up the middle? You think a lawyer is going to have a hard time making a correlation between the DBO rule and the requirement to wear a mask? In determiningg that 3-5 times as many balls are now hit up the midddle and that while the intent was to protect the pitcher, in reality SSUSA increased the chances that the pitcher might be injured. So who's going to pay the doctor and hospital bill for my client's permanent injury to his arm? And the pain and suffering damages?
5) It's goofy as hell. Almost looks like the guy just got off the short bus from school. That's right, I said it. Goofy looking as hell.
6)In 30+ years of softball and over 3000 plus games, which boils down to about 15,000+ innings, or 300,000+ pitches, I have seen a pitcher get hit in the face--- once.
7)With only a small percentage of pitchers wearing masks now, there's no real data on the downside or possible problems.
8)We have all seen the commercials and know what tragic events can happen...
If SSUSA forces the pitcher to wear a mask, more balls will be hit up the middle at you. And since more balls will be hit at you in the middle, you will be seriously injured in the arm or leg. And to go with your injury will be a nasty rash on your face. And when you get a rash on your face, no women will want you. And when no women want you, you will go insane. And when you go insane, your family must pay for treatment in the insane asylum. And when your family must pay for treatment in the insane asylum, your kids can no longer afford to obtain training with sufficient knowledge to acquire work skills. And when your kids can't afford to acquire sufficient knowledge to to have work skills, they turn to a life of crime, go to jail, and Bubba makes them comb the hair on his chest.

Don't send your kids to jail and make them comb Bubbas hair on his chest. Stop the mask wearing requirement and just have the pitcher sign the waiver.

Jan. 7, 2014
DOLFAN
39 posts
If only some of you Pitchers realized that some Idiots are Shaving the Senior Bats and therefor "YOU ARE IN DANGER"

Even the non shaved bats are "Stupid"..

Im not a Pitcher but I beleive IMO its for the best...

I also beleive we should change the balls as not to kill or hurt people...
Jan. 7, 2014
joel 1975
57 posts
just like a seat belt the screens the answer then hit the middle all you want and you will never hurt a pitcher.
Jan. 7, 2014
Caveman
Men's 50
64 posts
Southerson, I've pitched 40+ years and have never seen anyone hit in the face, yet I won't take the chance. If a guy wants to hit the middle, go ahead, but if I know you are trying to hit the middle and hit me, protection or not, you will pay the price one way or another. I'd much rather get a rash than have my face deformed by a 100+ mph softball
Jan. 7, 2014
southernson
261 posts
Caveman,
I understand your point, it's well taken and respected. And I've never been hit, but had some close calls. I just don't prefer it and MOST pitchers don't prefer it as well. Just like most pitchers don't prefer to wear hockey shin guards. But occasionally you see "Earl" puts them on and go to the mound.

Just believe the linking of the DBO rule and pitcher mask rule speaks for itself. And IMO humble opinion, choice with a waiver is a better option. Where does it stop? 1B, 3B, perhaps more?

DOLFAN,
You are right, there are more shaved bats in Senior Softball than anyone will openly talk about. And as a pitcher, many times just by sound I'll lay odds that the bat just used was shaved. But is the solution to put protective gear on the pitcher? IMO, I don't think so.


Thanks for listening...

Jan. 7, 2014
Caveman
Men's 50
64 posts
Southerson, I still agree that it should be an option and I think SSUSA is covering their behind on this one
Jan. 7, 2014
titanhd
Men's 50
337 posts
On a similar subject. Major League baseball is looking to implement mandatory helmets for Pitchers beginning 2015. This season (2014) Minor league Pitchers are required to wear helmets and optional for Major league 2014.
Jan. 7, 2014
wyo22
Men's 70
22 posts
Thanks to all who commented. Sorry I was not involved in all the previous discussions but I was unaware of the rule change.
You all have made some very interesting points and some very valid ones. What I have learned by reading all the comments is that most pitchers still feel it should be their decision on the protective gear and not an association. I have pitched for many many years and no one can tell me that wearing a mask is not going to hamper my play and my reaction time at getting a glove on the ball, and getting a glove on the ball is my best protection from injury.
I am beginning to believe that they just should furnish a screen for all games and then pitchers would be protected. It sure takes a lot out of the game though.
Anyway I agree that there will not be any changes for 2014, the decision has been made. Play safe my friends and God Bless. Wyo22
Jan. 7, 2014
Mr. Manassas
230 posts
I have been pitching since the 1980s and I have seen some serious injuries to pitchers. I feel that I am pretty good defensively up the middle but I am in my 60s now. I will get use to the mask wether I like it or not because the position is dangerous. I play in the major plus division and I can tell you that some of those balls are going through the middle faster than 100 mph. I am also confidant that the great majority of players have no interest in hurting anyone and I have never thought that anyone was trying to hit me. There I have said enough.....One last thing...I would never expect someone to not hit the middle if he thinks he can get a hit.
Jan. 7, 2014
Airbosn
Men's 65
322 posts
In Oct 2012 was hit in the head, spent the evening in sickbay checking all the pieces, next week or so getting use to walking without getting dizzy. Finially able to visit ENT guy and have hearing test...All is ok. Aug 2013 hit in the left ear by a thrown ball...punctured eardrum...Very little hearing on the left side...Will wear helmet. I agree with Mr Manassas...The middle is part of the playing field. BTW the way I favor unlimited home runs especially in the 70 and over bunch.
Jan. 7, 2014
cyborg45
83 posts
Southernson, Great take off on the cable vs, dish commercial. Very creative.
Jan. 7, 2014
wyo22
Men's 70
22 posts
Hey Southerson. I agree with cyborg45, a great post using the cable tv vs dish tv commercial Really cool. Wyo22
Jan. 7, 2014
Mark 44
Men's 60
56 posts
Capt Kirk - the TOC in Florida, is last years teams & subsequently will be using last years rules ( I already check). No Masks & No DBO's in Major or Major+.....

There is a HUGE difference from hitting at a pitcher & hitting by a pitcher. But, mistakes happen. I'll wear the mask. The Rip-it is my choice. I just hope batters don't think it's a Bullseye........
Jan. 7, 2014
SS13
19 posts
It's funny how most of the
head hunters in this game are guys who usually would never step on the mound. I pitch in the young guys game and it's the same there. The only thing you hear after you get drilled is....I didn't mean to hit you, lol, but you're the one swinging the bat and going middle all the time. Alot of guys couldn't really care less.
Jan. 8, 2014
ACC
Women's 60
4 posts
Someone please check my assumptions:
=======
Major League Baseball
=======
exit speed, well hit baseball = 100 to 120 mph
distance to pitcher's mound = 60 feet

time to react (conservative estimate) = 60 / 100 * 3600/5280 = 0.41 sec


=======
Slow pitch Softball
=======
exit speed, well hit softball = 90+ mph
distance to pitcher's mound = 50 feet

Slow pitch softball time to react = 50/90*3600/5280 = 0.38 sec


So far it seems a 50+year old, amateur softball pitcher's reflexes have to be on a par with a 20-something major leaguer's. Given how major league pitchers at times are hit by a line drive, the chances of injury in senior softball seem to be foreseeable. Requiring the masks makes sense to me.
Jan. 8, 2014
cyborg45
83 posts
A well hit softball will be in excess of 90 mph. More like 100- 102 mph. The USSSA bats of the mid 2000s were rated at 100 mph +. The senior bats we use today, with a good ball and a good power hitter, have at least an exit speed of that level. I'm told the original ultra had an exit speed of around 107+.
Jan. 8, 2014
garyheifner
367 posts
Real simple guys. I wear the helmet, mask, cup and shin guards. Can see the ball clearly. The only times I have had a problem, got hit-65 level, was bad hops off the pitching rubber. Get rid of it. Just moved up to the 70 level in Ft. Meyers. We now have the middle fielder behind the pitcher. Had only two balls hit at me in all the games I pitched. In the last three seasons, 65 level, I hit into one double play. Between Ft. Meyers and 4 games in a pick up league in Florida, I have hit into 5 double plays. The middle fielder is a nightmare for middle hitters. Where do you think I am not going to hit the ball this season. I will be dead pull or go to right. Simply allow the middle fielder in all age groups and the number of middle hit balls will be few and far between.
Jan. 9, 2014
Skeptical
22 posts
ACC, the flaw in your logic is that when an MLB pitcher is done with his release he is probably 53'or 54' from the plate. A good softball pitcher should wind up close to 60' back with his backpedal after release.

Not to say this is enough to compensate, and certainly not for the difference in ages and athletic ability, but I just wanted to point that out.
Jan. 9, 2014
Donnie C
17 posts
I do not like the rule at all should be a matter of choice. Insurance companies will be having us wear a suit of armour soon. Facemasks to me limit my vision thus making me nothing more than a target. This game has been played a long time without having to use all this protection. I know balls come fast up the middle, but they always came fast even without the ultra II, we all know and have known people that can hit the ball very hard with a broomstick for gosh sake. Pitchers have always had to keep on there toes one reason why it is a tough position. Let the pitchers protect themselfs by using more arc, but that will never happen as this is a "hitters game." Pitchers must throw the ball like it is on a tee and there is where the danger lies. Allow the pitcher to pitch with some arc and move perhaps mov around a bit and not just be a target. Donny C, the yooper.
Jan. 10, 2014
j33
5 posts
I am reposting what I've said many times. Also maybe they should go ahead and make all the infield wear a mask. 80% of the time when someone is hit in the face its 3rd and short. umpires in the field need to wear helmets, one was killed a couple of years ago from a batted ball while in the field.

ENFORCE THE BATTERS BOX!!! I will defend myself in the middle.


I have been pitching for over 30 years. In the last 12 years I have had my forearm broken twice by line drives while pitching. I wear an arm pad now mostly to keep the wife happy. It limits my range of motion while fielding the ball. I was a catcher in high school and wore a mask then. it does limit the vision radius and just about cuts off the peripheral vision completely. I also wear glasses and a mask interferes with that.
I contend that the most important rule to enforce is the batter box.
The box is 3 ft wide and 6 in from the plate
the plate is 17 inches wide
this equals 4ft 4in from the back of the batters box across to the other side of the plate
the bat is 36in long
Im 5ft 9in and my arms arm 24 inches reaching out in front of me
This equals 5ft
So if I am standing at the back of the box and extend my arms in front with the bat it should reach over the entire plate.
There is no way I can hit a ball with a full arm extension up the middle with power unless it is pitched outside.
How many times do you see guys six feet and up with long arm spans "in the box" and can't even reach the plate with the bat with their warm-up swing.
This is when pitchers get hurt.
It would help if the people making the decisions on these rules actually played.
If they don't want the box enforced then put the penalty on the batter and team.
If you hit the pitcher while he is in the lane then you end the inning. and 5 runs are subtracted.
Jan. 10, 2014
SSUSA Staff
1302 posts
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. 10, 2014
coop3636
58 posts
I want to make a few statements to this new rule.
I have been pitching for over 30 years. (in most all divisions, and still pitch with the kids) I want to say that ANY pitcher who has pitched for many years and says they have never had any close calls or even says they have never been hit, IS EITHER LYING OR BEEN HIT TOO MANY TIME TO REMEMBER. It happens, if you pitch you know it happens, its part of the game.
I HATE the idea of wearing a mask, (never have before) but lets quit bitching about all the rules and either just play ball or stay home.
It is the way of softball now and we have to play by the rules if we want to play (And I am going to play until the day I die) It is waht we love to do or we wouldnt be out there every weekend.
I will NEVER say anything to batter that hits me by mistake or on purpose. If I don't like that possiblilty, I shouldn't be on the mound.(If you field the missles hit back at you, most folks will try to hit somewhere else)
IT IS PART OF THE GAME.
Sorry for the rant, but it had to be said.
Brett Cooper
Monarch #36
Jan. 10, 2014
coop3636
58 posts
Forgot one last point:
As J33 said:
GET RID OF THE RUBBERS.
They are more dangerous than anything and it is pretty easy and quick for the field guys to take them up before the torunamnets.
Coop #36
Jan. 10, 2014
The yooper
28 posts
Coop3636 I agree with the getting rid of the rubber, no real need for it and it can and does cause problems when a ball comes off of it. As for the batters box it is pretty big and one needs only to have a 99% of one foot in box. Those that rub out the box on purpose should be called out. I have been hit by more balls coming off the rubber than anything. I have had many close calls and some big bruises from being hit while pitching. No time to relax when pitching every pitch could come back at you. Although, normally a bad pitch I make (outside) causes the ball to come back at me. When I do that I really have to back pedel quickly. A few people have I feel taken a shot up the middle on purpose, but like Coop says that is part of the game, I do have a glove and normally a line drive at me or any pitcher is an out. Get rid of the rubber, put down a white line about four feet long in its place, and let pitchers throw higher arc that will help protect them and we will not have to wear armour. As far as pitching with a mask on, I will play third base and forget pitching as for me the mask limits my vision, too hot (I am from way up North) and I feel allows me to get hit much more frequently and I do not like getting hit. Donny C, The Yooper.
Jan. 10, 2014
Skeptical
22 posts
Having pitched for many years, and maybe I am the exception, I have never seen a pitcher hit by a ball deflected off the rubber. And if you do remove it, how will anyone know where to pitch from? A chalk line will last a couple of innings, less with a sharp pitcher out there gradually removing it.
Jan. 10, 2014
Ceres
66 posts
I wear a titanium mask when I pitch. It's lightweight, comfortable and I have good vision with it. Suppose I don't wear the mask. If a screaming line drive hits me in a shin, maybe my shin breaks. If it hits me in the thigh maybe my thigh bone breaks. If it hits me in the ribs, maybe a rib breaks. But if it hits me in the face maybe it kills me. We have all read about pitchers who have died from a batted ball to their face.
Jan. 10, 2014
The yooper
28 posts
Skeptical, you are either lucky or I am unlucky. I still say
the rubber is not needed in slowpitch. In baseball and fastpitch softball the rubber is used to increase speed of the pitch, we do not have that in slowpitch. The chalk line is a starting point and also if 4 feet feet in length would allow the pitcher more leway with his pitches no reason to rub it out at all. The chalk line would be to a pitchers advantage and not worry about deflections off the rubber.
Ceres, I have no problem with pitchers that wear a mask or other protective equipment. At this time I do not want to wear them and would rather play another position. The game has been played for a long time without the use of masks and I do not like a rule that says we need to wear them. What will they do next make us wear an entire suit of titanium. Increase the arc will go a long way to protect pitchers, harder to hit, and give the pitcher time to move back another 10-15 feet after he lets the ball go. I see a lot of strike outs in unlimited arc which one seldom sees in 6-10 foot arc. Let the pitcher become more of a factor and use high arc. The high arc becomes a game changer. Donny C The Yooper.
Jan. 10, 2014
Skeptical
22 posts
yooper, maybe I am but I have honestly never had an incident with the rubber. Now I have had problems on fields with multiple rubbers and catching a spike on one of the rubbers behind me while backing up. But never with a bad bounce off of one.

I know what you are saying, but a good pitcher would take that 4' and want to make it 5. So that would be the reason.

Ceres, to take your examples a step further if a ball off of an unnecessary senior bats hit you in the chest maybe your heart stops and you die. And we have all read about people who got hit in the chest and that very thing can and has happened. All so some old guy can feel good about himself.
Jan. 10, 2014
hurler
16 posts
pricer thats not true if you hit the ball hard you stay away from middle at all cost!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jan. 10, 2014
garyheifner
367 posts
If you remove the rubber-I have seen at a number of fields small plug like things placed in the ground that have kinda of a feather look sticking out of the ground. The grounds crew can groom and find the holes for the bases. They don't come up. The would easily establish a pitching area.

Re: batters boxes, they don't matter. All batters must defend the black mat. Who cares where you stand or how far off the plate. You still have to defend the strike zone and mat. The only line you need is the front line and if a batter moves up to the front all the pitcher has to do is go high and deep.

Jan. 10, 2014
AcePV
Men's 60
22 posts
I agree with the idea of removing the pitching rubber for safety reasons. I have been pitching for quite some time now and although I wear a mask, the ball hitting the rubber and coming up and nailing me is my biggest concern. Some of those rubbers can sit pretty high above grade and not always level. You just can't predict where the balls going to go if the ball hits it. Some fields even have two rubbers in front of the pitcher to worry about.
Jan. 11, 2014
Webbie25
Men's 60
1992 posts
I started writing letters to ASA and USSSA 25 years ago about doing away with the rubber in Slow Pitch as its only function is to deflect balls into pitcher's bodies. I hope they finally start listening!
Jan. 11, 2014
Skeptical
22 posts
Webbie25, they will never start listening. Too many parks, too many fields, and too many multi-use fields with multiple rubbers that the associations do not control.

I suppose anything is possible once or maybe twice, but how many times have you guys actually seen or been hit yourself by a deflection off the rubber? Seriously.
Jan. 11, 2014
coop3636
58 posts
Hey Skeptical,
If you ask 100 pitchers (that pitch all the time in tournaments), 98 of them will tell you a ball has hit the rubber and bounced funny off of it.
If you are one of the 2 that it hasn't happend to, you are very lucky.
Have you ever been hit ? If you say no, well.. we will leave it at that and i'll end this discussion,(because ALL pitchers that have pitched for a while have been hit at some time)It is part of the game.
Coop3636
Just my 2 cents

I don't like the mask, but its probably a good idea if you want to know the truth.
I will learn to live with it.

PS.. I am all form going back to the 6'-12' arc.
Jan. 11, 2014
Webbie25
Men's 60
1992 posts
Skeptical-I have seen 3 and they were all serious shots with the first one back in about 1979 that destroyed a pitcher's face. The other two resulted in a badly broken nose and a broken jaw. That's why I still lobby for it.
Jan. 11, 2014
Fleck14
Men's 50
3 posts
*Batters Boxes Do Matter* I think they are key to pitcher safety. Gary- the reason being that it is more difficult to "defend the strike zone" when the inside pitch is truly inside on the hitters swing. More difficult to hit the other way with power, and up the middle. I totally agree we should remove the rubber, it is just a hazard, chalk lines work fine. I don't mind the mask too much, go with the Rip-It. It is light weight, metal, and less obstructive field of vision.
Jan. 11, 2014
Skeptical
22 posts
coop, then call me lucky, I guess. :)

And I have been hit, twice. My fault both times, just didn't get my hands in position in time. No one else to blame.

Fleck, what do you propose when the chalk line is gone. And trust me, particular on a dry field but even if it isn't dusty, the chalk line will disappear.

What does everyone think about getting rid of the cause of all the rule changes, and not just addressing the symptoms?
Jan. 12, 2014
wyo22
Men's 70
22 posts
Wow. We have gone from mandatory masks for pitchers to pitching rubber, batters boxes etc. etc. etc. A lot of good posts
I still am convinced that a pitching mask will hamper some pitchers and slow reaction time and cause more to get hit. We all know that it is very possible to get hit in the head area and other areas if you pitch, I have been hit a lot but never in the head area. My only point is that it should be my decision to wear protective gear and no one elses. I am 72 not 12 and I can make my own decisions in that area. I guess time will tell about the safety issue and if it is a lasting rule we must abide by or give up the art of pitching. Wyo 22
Jan. 13, 2014
Skeptical
22 posts
People will tend to gladly take as much as others are willing to give. SSUSA is certainly taking, and apparently the players are more than willing to give.
Jan. 13, 2014
southernson
261 posts
Guys,
The rubbers aren't going anywhere, we only rent, not own those fields. But seeing balls hit the rubber is a very common occurrence, that shot directly up the middle is the toughest one to take.

As a pitcher, I would lobby for two things:
- one, a simple piece of string or rope tied on the chain link fence at 12 ft. Most umpires don't give you 12 feet, they give you their version of 12 ft, which is usually more like 10. Being able to actually throw the ball 12 feet high is a deterrent to hitting up the middle (it's usually that flat outside short pitch that comes back at you)and will reduce possible injuries. BTW, those are usually 3" chain link fences, so count 48 of them from the ground and you have your 12 feet. You'll be surprised how high that is compared to the pitches we are allowed to throw.

- two, throwing 12 feet helps decrease the home runs, and increase the fly ball outs. True, some guys are easily gonna hit them, but I think it helps. Teams complain the most when a pitcher is able to throw height.

The mask thing is a problem. I've already had two guys tell me they will no longer pitch in those tournaments, so I guess I'll have to pick up Jason to pitch for us.

BTW, is ISA gonna adopt the same rules? Anyone know? Thanks.
Jan. 13, 2014
Skeptical
22 posts
"seeing balls hit the rubber is a very common occurrence"

Again, maybe I am one of the few lucky ones but my 40 years in the game tells me something very, very different than this.

"Most umpires don't give you 12 feet, they give you their version of 12 ft"

Most give you more. You have little idea how low 12' is. Many NCAA/NBA players can reach 12', or roughly the top of the backboard. VERY few of these guys would be able to block the high pitches that many umps allow.

What makes players think they know how high 12' is any more than the umpires do? Umpires have FAR more reason to be objective in this than the players, and particularly pitchers, do.
Jan. 13, 2014
Mr. Manassas
230 posts
I have been hit off of a deflection from the rubber...Broke my nose....I am always trying to fill in the hole in front of the rubber. In addition...I have been hit maybe six times over the years with worst being a broken leg in BP....I have never gotten angry at the batter just myself.... I saw something in canada at a tournament that I Thought would put pitching into the defensive mix of the game of softball. They drew a ten foot circle starting at the rubber and the pitcher could stand anywhere in the circle and pitch. it gave the pitcher some options.
Jan. 13, 2014
meatball
Men's 60
79 posts
Moved to Phoenix in Fall 2009, wife and I went to a Siefman tourney at Papago park w 50's teams playing at the moment.
As we just sat a table a pitcher was being brought to the table who had JUST been hit directly in the jaw/face...it wasn't a pretty sight. Found out later he had a jaw broken loose from it sockets, teeth issues, was wired shut and out of ball for a year.....coulda been his eye sockets or killed. just sayin. Food for thought.

Played with a very good player(infielder) got hit in the mouth playing 2nd..lost a few teeth,major mouth damage...same guy..9 months later hit AGAIN in the mouth playing SS..not pretty..he now wear's a mask.

I have had near misses to my face at 3rd on bad hops..
suffered shin shots...still no mask. (see macho factor below)
I admittedly am a slow learner.

Pitching has a high potential for getting a shot right back at you...IMO better to "have it and not need it than need it and not have it" as they say, especially as we get a little slower in our reactions.
The rule I think takes the "macho"factor off the table and maybe save a few of us a major problem.
This IS a factor if we're honest about it.

As a manager for 3 yrs I think its a good rule. The other choices involve balls and bats...

I say chill out everyone...enjoy the golden years with the face God gave you.


Jan. 13, 2014
Pricer
Men's 50
622 posts
Huler, it's ok to disagree. But I'll stick to my comment made earlier on this subject. It's jus my opinion. "I believe the more equipment the pitcher wears, the more hitters feel like it's ok to drive the middle. I don't think anyone looks to drive the middle to hurt, but the anxiety or worry about going the middle is lessened when the pitcher is equipped with protective gear.JMO"
Jan. 13, 2014
Skeptical
22 posts
Pricer, if the batters you are referring to were really some kind of humanitarians they would not be using the bats that endanger not just pitchers but basically all infielders.
Jan. 13, 2014
The yooper
28 posts
Mr.Manassas:
I have also played with the 10 foot circle allowing the pitcher to pitch anywhere within it. It gives the pitcher a considerable more edge than just throwing 6 - 12 foot from that pathetic rubber. I would like to see that circle here. Batters that hit at pitchers on purpose have got some serious issues that they need to deal with. Donny C
Jan. 13, 2014
txnighttrain
17 posts
A person with good bat control does not have to hit at the pitcher to get a hit. I have been able to spray the ball all over the field for hits. I admit that sometimes I have gone straight up the middle by accident. This usually happens when I have two strikes and just want to put the ball in play. I do not intentionally ever go straight up the middle. It is also a good way to get put out with a quick pitcher. I just get tired of hearing that a guy that hits homeruns can only get hits going up the middle. Years ago, I used to watch USSSA Major tournaments. These young guys on the better teams not only controlled how many home runs they hit (they did have a limit), but didn't go up the middle to get hits. They sprayed the whole field. The better teams had power hitters with bat control. I just think this art of hitting is being lost.
Jan. 13, 2014
garyheifner
367 posts
For the what it is worth discussion:

The way I now deal with the rubber.

I always back peddle after release. I now back peddle at a 45 degree angle so only my glove is now beind the rubber-not my body. I field the true hops and bad hops go over the glove. So far so good.
Jan. 14, 2014
southernson
261 posts
garyheifner,
Likee the 45 degree approach...agree.
Jan. 14, 2014
Pricer
Men's 50
622 posts
Skeptical, it's a mind set. Anyone who feels like the pitcher or infielders are safer because they are protected will feel more comfortable at the plate. I've pitched in games that the pitcher wore no equipment had little to no balls hit up the middle. As soon as there was a pitching change and the next pitcher was dressed head to toe in protective equipment, the middle of the infield was the choice for some of the hitters. Not guessing that this happens, I as well as many others have witnessed this. Like I said, I don't think anyone hit's the middle to hurt anyone, but if the risk of injury lessens, some players feel it's ok to use that part of the field. JMO
Jan. 14, 2014
jsheeran
Men's 50
41 posts
Agree with Pricer and txnighttrain.
Jan. 14, 2014
DOLFAN
39 posts
STAFF..I walk the box when I hit. Sometimes my left foot will land on the line, I should be good to go IAW the rule... "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."

I just hope the umpires make sure the "entire foot" is out if they are going to make this call. The reason I say this is becuase of your statment "Batter's Box enforcement is an "area of emphasis" for umpires this season in SSUSA sanctioned events". Sometimes umpires will over react and call it even if your foot touches the line becuase they have been told to enforce the rule....

Jan. 14, 2014
SSUSA Staff
1302 posts
@DOLFAN - "Lines are in" ... In the unlikely event an umpire at an SSUSA sanctioned event might have a differing interpretation, please ask for the Field Director to clarify before the next pitch (after which your appeal rights would expire)
Jan. 14, 2014
DOLFAN
39 posts
Staff....Thanks you for the quick reply.
Jan. 18, 2014
INHOC2
8 posts
Re: pitcher's equipment, I can only say this: I pitched for years without protection until I, fortunately, caught a hot line drive right off my left cheek. I started wearing a mask. I also started wearing shin guards. This last season I had two line drives hit my shins dead on. Without the shin guards I would certainly have had two broken legs. Instead the ball ricocheted toward the dugout and I didn't have so much as a bruise. My thought re: being macho....it only takes one!
Jan. 19, 2014
SS13
19 posts
Maybe when the pitcher gets drilled the batter should pitch the next inning....lol. That might make some batters think twice about going after the pitchers.
Jan. 20, 2014
The yooper
28 posts
DOLFAN: I also like to walk the box as it allows me to have more control of hitting the pitch I want, ex. a low pitch becomes chest high when one moves up. Started using this in unlimited arc as a necessity. Been getting heck from opposing players for many years on this as they feel I am out of the box. The box is large and one needs to have only a bit of a foot inside to be legal. In over 45 years I think I have hit a pircher a few times and mainly off the rubber. When I have been hit while pitching normally when I throw an outside pitch and soon as I throw it I know it and move like heck backwards. I understand that a mask etc could be helpful for a pitcher and or infielder, but at this time would rather not use one, too much sight restriction for me and that does not allow me to use my glove as effectively as I would like. The screen is nice but I notice balls close to the bar that holds the screen can be dangerous, I sometimes get complacent with the screen in front of me. I have been hit by a deflected ball off the bar (dead ball but still hurts) also as I often move to one side of the screen after a pitch hoping to field a possible grounder. It is a very tough position and I kind of like that. I will more than likely move to play third now as I do not feel protective equipment will benefit me only take away skills and make me more of a target. The hot senior bats, I must confess I like using them. Been pitching a lot of years and balls always come back hard when up the middle, they seemed just as hard hit before the senior bats. Senior bats allow the average player to hit the ball harder but the big hard hitters always hit them that way even when we used to use wooden bats. I can now hit the ball hard and I am not a big guy, I love the senior bat makes me more equal to those big hitters. Donny C "The Yooper"
Jan. 20, 2014
AcePV
Men's 60
22 posts
INHOC2: I agree with you completely, except I started wearing a mask two years ago before taking one to the face. This year I started wearing chin guards for the exact reason you stated.

Lastly, I can accept someone saying "sorry pitch" the first-time they hit back at you, but the second time they do it in the same game just pisses me off to know end.

Once OK, twice it's no accident.
Jan. 20, 2014
Tim Millette
499 posts
My pitching experience is limited to right around when composited entered softball.

I was around 43 years old and the travel/upper game was beyond my abilities so I came home and started playing local ball with my youngest brothers team. They did not have a pitcher so I started practicing...

The first time I started a game we played what was one of the top local B tourney teams...

I walked onto the mound in full catchers gear...you should have heard the laughter....the laughter stopped when they realized the couldn't intimidate me as I pitched and charged the plate (this was a USSSA event).

Over the next five years I was hit often while pitching...and NEVER got mad or expected some "sorry" line from the batter...matter of fact, many times I told them I would aim at a pitcher doing what I was doing myself.

My understanding is...if you pitch your on the playing field...if you don't want balls hit at you...become a catcher or AH. That's not to say I don't like it when batters hit the ball elsewhere.

Now at 55 years old...I plan on doing some pitching again..guess what...full cathers gear will be worn again....

I am happy to read SSUSA will be monitoring their umps enforcement of the batters box....I will bring a tape measure to end any arguements.

If...I do get injured while pitching I will not be screaming at the batter...middle is part of the game.... Balls being hit hard up the middle have been part of the game since I first started playing in 1976....

I have been in more then a few middle wars in my days...if your scared to be hit while pitching/wear catchers gear...if your scared to pitch with cathers gear on...find a new position.
Jan. 20, 2014
Tim Millette
499 posts
SSUSA STAFF... One problem with your post about turf fields batters boxes...

Many times they are not the official size of the SSUSA box.
Jan. 20, 2014
joel 1975
57 posts
bet you never pitched from behind the screen,some guys have troubles I dont but I cant through strikes with no screen???
Jan. 20, 2014
joel 1975
57 posts
I know guys who can pitch from second base not much chance of them gettin hit!!!!!!
Jan. 20, 2014
neck10
503 posts
yooper who cares if your out of the box the defence has 10 guys dont they,the pitcher can move around,I've thrown from 10 to 14' behind rubber.could care less where you stand from start to finish this included the plate!!
Jan. 20, 2014
The yooper
28 posts
Rik, 10 defnders sometime do not help, look at my elders team in TC lol. Throwing from 10-14 feet back of the rubber is much safer for the pitcher, but I cannot get the ball to the plate from there with any consitency. Walk a couple in a row and they want a new pitcher. You on the other hand Rik are so much bigger than me no one gives you heck LOL. See you this spring. Donny C, The Yooper.
Jan. 20, 2014
j33
5 posts
Nobody cares if you walk the box. I love pitching to box walkers, easy outs LOL.
The problem is batters standing more than 3 feet from the plate. keep them within that and any middle hits are not to hot to handle
Jan. 21, 2014
neck10
503 posts
don you pick yours i picked mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jan. 21, 2014
neck10
503 posts
and dont forget better lookin,I have & can pitch from second base takes a little practice to get to hittin the matt.















Jan. 21, 2014
neck10
503 posts
yooper how many guys got hit in our leauge last year.the bats make a difference(ASA) but I tell my guys to hit the holes in outfield,that way forces them to learn how & keeps the ball away from your infielders,if someone else brings in a guy I feel cant catch a ground ball or line drive,I tell my guys to stay away from there & everyone can may not like it but can & we use screen so hit middle all they want!!!!!!!!















Jan. 21, 2014
The yooper
28 posts
Rik:
Not that many got hit at all, the bats do make a big difference. Recall a few years back when we used wooden bats, thay made an even bigger difference, the poorer teams could comnpete a bit better. I still like the better bats. Your team is by far better than any team in TC and I appreciate how you guys never pick on the poorer fielders. I also liked the fact you told your players not to hit at the pitcher (before the screen came in.) You have a very good team and I enjoy playing against you. A good bunch of guys who make it a point to stop and say Hi when I see you at tourneys in Ind, TN, GA MI etc. together. Have a good winter, Donny C
Jan. 21, 2014
DOLFAN
39 posts
@ Yooper, It also gets my timing right so I can Mash!!

@ Neck10, I love when pitchers think they can get me out because I walk the box, they are sadly mistaken...ALWAYS!!!!
Jan. 22, 2014
The yooper
28 posts
DOLFAN: I agree it also gets my timing right and allows me to also Mash.
Rik, What was that comment about "better looking" Have you ever heard the saying if I looked like that I would shave my butt and walk backwords and besides your a lunchmeat pitcher, I just had to say that, lol and take care. Donny C.
Jan. 28, 2014
Joyce Montoya
1 posts
I'm a pitcher for women's team. Yes tried new mask and found it cumbersome and even distracting. I tried fielding and my line of sight is lost that last second the ball goes into my glove. I have to assume my glove is there. I a very unhappy with this new rule.
Jan. 29, 2014
neck10
503 posts
I pitch because I make out the line up dolfan i never said I could get you out hope you can hit it only comin in at at 4 or 5 mi per hr!!!!!!!!!!!
Jan. 29, 2014
joel 1975
57 posts
hurler you are right most guys who hit the ball hard stay away from middle no matter what pitcher has on for protection.now the screen is another matter middle is wide open then ,you can go there for hits without worrying about if you miss it a little.
Jan. 30, 2014
The yooper
28 posts
Rik, you are right easy to hit a large ball coming at you 4-5 mph. Trick is to hit it where they ain't. Not much a pitcher can do with the low arc, hitting certain spots is nice but it is still slowpitch. Get the arc up and that will change the game a lot and help protect the pitcher.
Joyce, I am with you, not happy about the rule change. I will now play another position rather than wear a mask that inhabits my sight thus making me more I feel of a target. I would rather have the screen in front of me if given a choice, more protection but still some problems with that also.
Joel, most players do not try to hit a pitcher, but there are some out there. I love the middle but do not recall hitting a pitcher more than a couple times in 40 years and that by accident. Donny C, The Yooper.
Jan. 30, 2014
joel 1975
57 posts
yooper you know that neck10 could take you out ant time he wanted ,I see him hitting then screen in bating practice,but never have seen him go after pitcher.
Jan. 30, 2014
neck10
503 posts
you want see me hit pitcher because that means I have to come in and pitch then.
Jan. 30, 2014
The yooper
28 posts
Joel, yes I know he can hit it very hard anywhere he wants to hit it. As you say he never goes after the pitcher and I have heard him yell at his own player for hitting one back at the pitcher. I sometimes give him a perfect pitch to hit the opposite way if I see my fielders are playing him short, so they can learn a lesson. Donny C
Jan. 31, 2014
hurler
16 posts
it must be nice using the screen our leauge also has different skill levels from one player to the next,wish we would go to the screen.It just makes good buisness for everyone involved you miss hit a ball it hits screen pitcher say wow that would have gotten me,instead of goining for stitches.Its easy to pitch behind,but I would make it a base hit if pitcher comes from behind screen to field a ball.We play with 11 players on defence so thats enough one can play middle.but we have a few guys who think they are a lot better tan they are who want hear of it.
Jan. 31, 2014
neck10
503 posts
yooper we played some teams with the wood bats ,I brought my outfielders in on the infield,no one could hit it out of infield.I hit a ball foul over the fence but I tried real hard to do it.
Jan. 31, 2014
neck10
503 posts
ssusa staff as long as the guy doesnt step closer to the pitcher what should it matter where his foot lands.I dont run in the box but know several guys that do cant see what it hurts as long as they dont step out in front of the box toward the pitcher?????????????
Jan. 31, 2014
The yooper
28 posts
Rik, that goes to show you that the big guys can hit the ball hard w/o the senior bats. I think you hit that ball out off me. Senior bats do more to help smaller guys like me hit it hard. I like to move in the box gets me a couple feet on the distance of my ball sometimes gives me warning track power. lol and I hit it out of the infield with wodden bats just not too far. Enjoy this 3 foot of snow we have.
hurler, The nets do protect the pitcher but been hit with a ball that came off the side of the post that holds the net. I normally pitch from the side of the mound so I can field balls mostly I pick up the ball after it hits me. Donny C
Feb. 23, 2014
JDub
Men's 50
148 posts
Senior Softball (SSUSA) has Mandated Pitchers must wear a Mask. I believe it's a "Very Good Recommendation" to wear one, but for me personally as a Pitcher (with 1 eye) it is actually more of a Hinderance. I now feel More Vulnerable because my vision (or lack thereof) is More Impaired ! ! !

I am trying to accept this Rule Change, but it's Really Frustrating having to play More Blind, and even more Amplified when I can't even field poorly return throw-backs from Shitty Catcher/DH's ! ! !

This Rule Change Confirms there is "No Foreseeable Resolution in Sight" for the Real Problem, STOOOPID BATS (IMHO) ! ! !


Have Fun, Be Safe,
Jeff White #7
AZ Elite / DeMarini 50M+
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