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Discussion: The softball GAME...a long soap box post

Posted Discussion
Jan. 19, 2007
Men's 65
4459 posts
The softball GAME...a long soap box post
There was a time that, for the most part, it all was about and for the players. The rules, equipment, fees, you name it it was there for them.
Now however, it seems everywhere you turn, all that; the rules, equipment we use or can't use, league and tournament fees are geared to making money. Not that it is a bad thing to make money but where does it REALLY go. Sure cost for testing bats like they really did it back in the 70 to early 90's. of gave a hoot which balls were used by whom.
But then the good ole titaniums came out 3 main ones and one other that really worked duud did not make a real difference in the game, then all hell broke loose. Every thing started to change balls got less cor and comp, Bats were not allowed testing started. rules changed. Money also started to change hands for one reason or another.
and on the cycle went.
Now we have so many different interpretations of primarily the same set of rules no one can rember them all. Fees vary quite a bit and increasing as I write this. not that all the increases are bad, like the increases in cost to actually run a league or tournament or such, which need to be addressed and good for the game in some respects, and then the bats that are either allowed or not, in so many different places, it's hard to remember which is what or where, everywhere you play. And the balls are just getting softer (lower cor & comp) not that there are no good ones out there to use.
But is you want to play, we have to put up with it.
Jan. 22, 2007
Men's 65
4459 posts
No post to these issues must imply Indifference from the players about bat and ball standards, rules & fees going on. I guess what I read about "complaints" to those issues here and on other sites are not really that, "complaints".
Jan. 22, 2007
Hit the gap
Men's 60
149 posts
Hi Taits. I don't think it's indifference. You made an observation in your post and I think everyone probably agrees with it. Softball is a for profit sport. Equipment manufacturers, and associations are in it to make a buck. I'm sure there a lot of people involved in softball that do it for the love of the game and don't expect to profit for their time, effort and energy but that is the exception rather that the rule.

I think most of the rule changes have benefited the game. The whole ball and bat issue has really come about as a solution to limiting the number of HR's and trying to balance the game as both defensive and offensive rather than just a slugfest. As guys got bigger and stronger and the equipment kept getting better and better, something had to give.

Just mt humble opinion.

Can't wait for the snow to melt up here in Spokane WA
Jan. 22, 2007
Fred Scerra
Men's 80
542 posts
Nobody is forcing us to buy the latest bats as they come out and become must have's for a lot of us but is our choice.

Jan. 23, 2007
Men's 65
4459 posts
I must have started putting on tourneys for the wrong reason. Not that making money is wrong. But as a business, there is a lot being made.
I only started doing them for one reason; to try to bring teams together to play someone they might never get a chance to elsewhere.
The national tourneys do this but at a cost and not a whole lot of payback should you win, place or show. Luckily for those associations, they get the some awards free or at little cost to them. Given that and the influx of monies to the area, field cost is probably the same. So cost for running them are umpires, scorekeepers, paid personnel sand rooms & meals they might furnish.
Iím not saying they do not love the game as I or we do, just wonder haw much one has to make to be satisfied.
As for the rules you are correct most rules do or have benefited the game but what I was trying to get out is the differences in say the knob cone as considered altered of more than one layer of tape, etc, etc. This bat ok here but not there. A 44\375 is the one we use not a 40 or 47cor.
Rarely, any more, do you see a 525. I use 47\525ís, at least until I run out of them.
If as you say, they want to make it an in the park game, or base it upon defense and offense, by limiting HRís, why not do it to the upper ranked teams as well. Perhaps reversing the way itís set up now, that sure would limit the HRís one would see. Give the AA teams unlimited, as the major \maj. pluses have, and one HR for them.
Talk about a stirring up a hornets nestÖ.
Concern for players playing down to that level could of\should of, been done to date. Itís fairly easy, if not currently in use; it should be, use a data base. Needs to be used any way for other things anyway just add name. Easier to check on duplicates as well as other info.
But I agree with you overall. Thank you.

Gary19, Fred Scerra:
Yes, we tend to want the best or try to at least get it. I know I do. Most players however usually depend on someone elseís experience. I read reviews given out by players but also like to test them for distance myself. If I like it, I either keep it or trade it off later. The 10 foot more in distance, isnít enough for myself and for some might make it easier to fly out. One must be able to ďreadĒ the outfield and know about where your ball will land. Use a bat accordingly, I say.
Thank you both for input.
Jan. 23, 2007
the wood
1114 posts
You have made some strong statements about the major tourneys. You surely know that the reasom most of us play in them is to play against the best teams in our division form all across the country.
Having just attended the Summit Advisory Board meeting in Las Vegas (Jan 20-21) I'm aware of some potential sweeping changes as it relates to liability protection (for the assns). I understand most of it but not all. Without wishing to go into specifics at this time, I will explain more on this later.
What equipment (balls and bats) do you allow in your events? You're in Fresno BLD, right?

What geographic considerations do you apply? Can a New Mexico guy play on a Calif team (example)?

How do you rank teams in order to assure parity?

This isn't a goose chase... aside from having BLD facilities, why would we travel from So Cal to Fresno to play in your events?

Bob Woodroof
Jan. 23, 2007
Men's 65
4459 posts
Bob, In as much as I do not have an assn that I am attached to other than trying to get some cohesiveness and teams to meet other teams like I mentioneAs for bats I only did allow the grey, the older tiís & anything I might question during a spot check which I do, do.
Balls the 47\525 Legend Centerfire2 balls
Privately owned BLD park in Fresno, correct. Would go to a larger complex but a lot of guys want to play in a BLD that have notÖThough there are better ones. Not saying this is not good which it is (good) but Manteca and others are top of the line parks, though prices kill you.
As for geo graphic location, I have problems with teams that stack the deck but would allow them to be that way in your example. But being on the up and up is what everyone should be doing. I have no way to know who is playing with whom or who they really are rostered with. I do not have the resources for that. Wish I did though, and for the others that do they could prevent the loading up.
As for parity, I look at rosters as they come in, have not had any team that I have not seen before so they are not really a problem. However if there were one that came from elsewhere, I would look at SSUSA ,ASA and any other assnís ratings or rankings to see where they fall. In my area there is NCSSA who has one also. Another option would be impact players, ASA provides.
I have had two teams from southern CA, twice. Not great I admit but hopefully they had a good time and played a team they might not have otherwise.
Why does anyone travel to play, for the love of it. At least itís why I do. Need a reason? How about good awards, decent fees, easy access to an airport, motels, food, gambling. There are always scenic side trips too. You might even meet someone interesting. All available on my web site:
I hope I answered your questions Bob.
Iíve only put on 5 tourneys. On four of them I went in the hole. On last one I barely went in the black. For me itís not $$, itís meeting players and trying to get teams here, together that hopefully have not met on a field before, Rarely happens, but it has.
Teams for some reason, like staying in their comfort zone. You might hear them even say why do we always play them? I wonder why.
Jan. 24, 2007
Men's 65
322 posts
Boy! Do I agree with you. As a league director for an over 30, league, a COED church league, Chairmen of the over 50 league and assistance tourney director (treasurer) for 2 SPA tournaments I can say they we make very little money on these adventures. After paying the umps, scorekeepers, ground crews and other sundry items we are happy to break even. I assume that the big association are a business that will make money, however, I and my ballplaying friends do it for the love of the game. To me, no other reason is necessary. BTW, I really don't care who I play or where I play...I just want to play ball since I am on the short end of the life stick.
Jan. 24, 2007
the wood
1114 posts
In my humble opinion there will be many teams looking for an alternative in the near future. If I were in your position I'd make serious determinations about which equipment to allow as well as all of the other issues. Do you wish to attract regional teams or national teams? If it's the latter you might look at the current senior softball assns to find the characteristics that you wish to emulate... type of equipment, geographic restrictions/guidelines, HR rules, max runs/inning rules (or not), team ratings, etc. This stuff is available on their web sites.
There are 2-3 BLDs in So Cal and all of them have internal restrictions about bats... none of them allow the Ultra (1 or 2) but I can't speak for the other good bats (Senior Combat, Easton Synergy, etc.) that are allowed in roughly half of the current senior events. No one allows the Ultra 1 or any Titanium bats (no one = any So Cal BLDs or any senior softball assns).
We travel out of necessity for the most part. We are willing to do it as long as we can find enough quality teams to play. But if we could play them in Fresno, we'd prefer to do so. The question for us... will you be able to attract teams from the east, southeast, etc.? They will be willing to come out here if you can offer a solid product. This means that you allow a reasonable bat/ball combination, decent HR rules, roster rules, etc. There are maximum and minimum limits for all of these things. If you get too close to one end or the other you'll likely have less acceptance (attendance).
I believe that your heart is in the right place and that you are open-minded. But you need to figure out who it is that you want to attract.
Awards: This seems to be less important all the time... it's mostly about the level and quality of play, etc.
Profit: As a team sponsor, I'd prefer that you make a profit of some type to assure your ability to continue a good porduct into the future. The rhetorical question, of course, is how much is reasonable? :-)
The best likelihood for participation is in the AA/AAA levels as they have more teams to choose from. They are less likely to travel a lot but there more in the southwest area.
I personally would like to see you develop a quality product and make a boat load of money.
Bob Woodroof
Jan. 24, 2007
Men's 65
4459 posts
Thank you.
Sure, Iíd love to make some moola, but player satisfaction takes precedence. Would like some help though.
To start with, Iíd love to get teams form all over, but being the new kid on the block doesnít help.
You have to start somewhere, Iím trying that. My biggest problem is getting the word out. Bulletin boards have been the only way other than word of mouth. NCSSA didnít post any this year and it took me 3 years for them to do 2 last year.
As for equipment I allow what SSUSA does which is in my opinion about all that is out there. (Less, what they also do not allow).
My biggest rule differences are sliding which I have as an option, and the HR rule. Sliding I can easily change to but the unlimited HRís in my mind just make it a slugfest. I do favor a 5 run rule per inning except for the last inning. Personally I feel that an AA team should be able to hit HRís. If you are going to limit them to only 1, then the walk is fine, which SSUSA has gone to instead of the out, I think was a good move for them. I unfortunately, made a few outs that way.
Some day I hope to get to both of the BLD parks there, either on a team I play with or as a pick up. I was hoping to play in Anaheim this weekend, but not knowing anyone down there very well, donít help.
This park is privately owned, so the corporate restriction imposed on those there and elsewhere isnít a problem to date. U-2 have been ok but I do not allow the grey Mikenís.
I see a bigger problem with knowing well enough in advance on whom either is planning on coming, or actually coming. My experience to date is a roster with fees paid, arrives two weeks ahead of the tourney date, wanting in. That makes it really hard to put teams in, where parity is there. Luckily for me teams that have come I knew for the most part so little problem for that has occurred.
Limits on ball & bat combinations as I see it has been the bat has been getting better to compensate for the balls getting worse and it used to be fairly even. Cork balls, some red dots and blue dots, with 7 thousand series aluminum. Then good metals arrived and so did super dots, about the same time. Then ASA gets a yearn for some money and bans a lot of bats that are so much worse, performance wise than the Freak, where did that come from, oh yea, money, money, money. And a whole new bat & ball thing starts. Cor & comp drops and bats get hotter with the composites. But composites were around long ago just not perfected yet.
Iíd love to charge more to make my break even easier, but at about 125 a team for park cost to date, 10-11 teams, dah, itís hard to make it, when you have to add umpire cost and awards on top of thatÖSo seeing 400 dollar UPPPPPP tourneys looks enticing.
But, I also feel the players deserve something should they win, for that kinda outlay. Fees are not the only ones either.
As for participation, I think you are on the mark.
As for sponsoring, I just hope you are not taken advantage of. I havenít been fortunate enough to have played for, on or with one, so I have to hand it to you on that deed. Lucky or rather, fortunate men. May you all have lots of good ball playing ahead.
Jan. 25, 2007
Men's 65
4459 posts
Airbosn, Being small isn't all that bad, but for the things we both mentioned. Like you it is the game and the friends one makes, along the way.
One issue not raised concerns Complaints. They are going to happen for as many reasons as there are players, but will usually be let known or found out in some manner that isn't direct. Like here on a forum for instead of in person, one on one. Many are out of a TD hands, like field conditions, weather, even umpires to some extent. Awards, fees, rules, (most of them), balls & bats are. Unless an assn backs you, you have choiced on those.
I have had a few in person about times scheduled and restrooms the restrooms I also complained about and was taken care of later, Field conditions were one that was taken care of by the next tourney except for a fixed mound. it's still that way.
Shade was at first a problem byut the park bought dug out screens for shade and a very large over hanging set up for shade as well. Psrking too was doubled and not even has more. Resturants are not being built. Things move slowely, but if they want us to come, thingd have to be done. I also had to buy the double 1st bases for the fields and extra home plates if used instead of a line.
I'd live to play some co-ec competative (big ball\little ball) again I love to see a woman who can play well.
We are on the down hillside once we are born....
Just live it properly. My .$o2.
Jan. 25, 2007
the wood
1114 posts
As it relates to HR rules for seniors...
If you wish to maintain parity, it's best to keep the teams playing in the divisions that they now enjoy. Let the major/major + teams play with 3 or 5 HRs + 1 up. anything beyond this is a single. If you're concerned about it being an HR Derby you might allow less of the higher end bats or use 44/400 balls (or less). In essense, the game played on the fields needs to correspond to the size of the field.
We have had several senior tourneys at the BLDs and they didn't allow any Ultras or Titaniums but did allow original Synergys. This was in Cathedral City, Riverside and Chino Hills. The guys in the M/M + divisions want to hit some HRs but few of us want it to be the norm.
If you change the HR rules too much you'll see the divisions become overlapped.
If you really want seniors to play there they/we will do it. I suppose that you have 3 main fields and possibly some side fields. Is this true? Obviously, the number of fields will govern the size of your events. Ken Lipinski (Mavericks) ran many of them down here and he usually had just 2 levels for each age but he tried to make them competitive for everyone. He would be the best guy down here to use as a resource. His events had 7 run mx innings with a catch up provision. The HR rules varied for each division.
I can be reached...
If you can also corral some hotels that are convenient to your facility it will help.
Best advice I can give you... if you do ask teams to travel 400-500 miles to play there, make certain that they have as few surprises as possible. Seniors are all similar in this... we want to have/experience exactly what we're promised (we can't have it exactly but as close to it as possible).
Bob Woodroof
Jan. 26, 2007
Men's 65
4459 posts
Bob, Actually that is what i'd like but there have been but on maybe tow majors play here and they were ok with the one up dur to their playing that anyway.
I would like to see 3 then 1 up with the others ans well. Even if it comes to 3-5 total for a game them a walk.
I have seem alot of different ways it is done I just do not like the out as part or it. As for AA teams, I think 3 a game then a walk is alot better than 1 a game and let AAA teams get 5... There is alot of difference between awarding a single over a walk. As for the slugfest I still see teams wack 40\375's over 400'. Only Fenway, Wrigley & SBC , no practice fields other than a soccer fields about 6 all together, for BP if not in use. I like the Synergy bat. I have one or two. Ken, I know , we roomed together in Vegas ast year He was picked up to play for a team I was on, Silver Streaks.
I try to say it as it is, main reason I lay out what the possibilities are for awards. The only real question is which teams might show up...I have only had one team pay monts in advance. They did it twice.
Jan. 29, 2007
Men's 65
4459 posts
Whoops, Wrong Ken, Was Ken Lamb, not Lipinski.
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