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Discussion: Ring tournaments--7 innings--1&1 count

Posted Discussion
March 16, 2007
Gary Heifner
248 posts
Ring tournaments--7 innings--1&1 count
Footnote: I am Gary Heifner of the Chicago Classics 60s Grey-Not Gary19!

At the tournament of champions, We had the "9" best teams in our 60AA division from all over the country. Yet, we had to battle and argue at times the time limit on each game. If you bring in the champs, you should be at least expect to play a "7" inning game.

I have no problem with time limits in qualifiers during the year and prelim games at ring tournaments. However, once you start the championship bracket play at a ring tourney, "7" innings should be a given.

The best way to insure "7" innings and keep game times around an hour is to start with a 1-1 count. The pitcher must throw strikes and the batter is forced to swing at the 1st good strike. Even on my team, 1/2 our lineup won't swing at a pitch until they get 2 strikes in 0-0 tournaments.

This would also stop teams from obviously stalling by walking slowly to the field or to the batters box when they have a 6 or 7 run cushion and know the clock is inside 10 minutes or so.

I bounced this thought off several dozen different opponents at the tourney and every single one agreed with me. What are your thoughts???

March 16, 2007
DCPete
234 posts
I agree with you Gary. We've been using 1 - 1 in league play for 20+ years and I can't think of any reason why they use 0 - 0 in most tournaments. You would think there would be some benefit but all 0 - 0 does is slow down and shorten the games.
March 17, 2007
4x4
Men's 65
595 posts
I personally do not like the idea of the 1-1 count in major tournaments. As a batter you want to be as selective and aggressive at the plate as possible. The 1-1 count essentially eliminates 2 pitches from the batters selection. If a batter is up in a position to drive in runs and wants to drive the ball to the right side they could be forced to swing at a pitch they would would not have selected otherwise. One LVSSA tourney last year got rained out the first day and they did the best they could by going to the 1-1 count to get as many games in that they could for the remaining 2 days.
It cheapened the integrity of the entire tounament and changed the outcome of many games.. To a man everyone I heard talking about it was very unhappy with that solution especially with the large sums of money involved to enter the big tournaments.
There is a strategy involved in hitting as well as ptiching and the 1-1 undermines the games in tournament play. Some leagues use it but not very many and it's not universally accepted.
March 17, 2007
Fred Scerra
Men's 80
542 posts
As a pitcher I hate the 1 and 1 count and also as a hitter. If they would eliminate all the inbetween innings delay, one warm up pitch and batter up you shouldn't have that much problem with the time limit.

We play local tournaments and I have played in Canada with that arrangement and there are very few games that you can't play 7 innings.

I wish I had kept it but someone did a short study of 15 games 1 and 1 and 15 games 0 and 0 and if I remember right the difference was only a few minutes.

Next time you play take note of how much time is wasted between innings that you could save which is way more time than you might save with a 1 & 1 count.
March 17, 2007
DCPete
234 posts
Playing only 5 or 6 innings with a 0 - 0 count cheapens a tournament game far more than playing 7 innings with a 1 - 1 count. While I can't speak from a pitcher's perspective Fred, as an OF I can tell you that it's no fun standing out there in August when it's 95 degrees with 80% humidity waiting 5 or 6 pitches per batter for something to happen. As for Pete D's comments, come on, when good teams are scoring 20 to 30 or more runs per game do the hitters really need the advantage of having more pitches to hit? That's ridiculous.
March 17, 2007
Conman
Men's 50
72 posts

I have been playing 1 and 1 since U-trip instituted it I guess around 1989 or so. Most of our leagues here in South Florida have also adopted it., ASA included. As a former pitcher I loved it because with 2 strikes I could "play around" especially when playing U-trip.

You would really hate playing in our Half Century down here in Florida. It's 1 and 1 with no courtesy foul on the 2nd strike. That can be rough on a hitter and I am no fan of that rule but it does speed up the games. Remember, even if you save only a few minutes, it may keep your game from being called short due to time.

I totally agree with Gary on having a clock during championship play. NO TIME LIMIT! Ever. It is just ridiculous to have championship bracket games cut short due to time. A lot of teams travel a long way to play 7innings. Last I heard, softball was still a 7 inning game.

Again ... one man's opinion

Conman
March 17, 2007
Fred Scerra
Men's 80
542 posts
DCPete:

I do agree though when you have pitchers who can't throw strikes than maybe 1 & 1 is the way to go. But I would assume if you playing in a tournament a team has a pitcher that can throw borderline strikes when he wants.
March 17, 2007
Bob50
Men's 60
239 posts
Gary,

I agree that the 1 & 1 count would speed up the game. Nobody will convince me that a 0/0 start adds only a couple minutes to the game. Unfortunately hitters want to be as choosy as possible in softball and most will prefer the 0/0 count to start. Most hitters will wait to see a strike before swinging at a pitch.

If I remember correctly when they used the one and one count in Vegas due to rain they also shortened the games to five innings. I think the five innings was the biggest gripe.

Maybe the real question to pose is this--In bracket play would you rather have a 0/0 count with time limits or a 1/1 count guaranteed to go 7 innings?

Bob Schulz
Travelodge 55's
March 17, 2007
4x4
Men's 65
595 posts
I agree. Most of the good hitters (avg/ob%/runs/rbi) do not go to the plate and start whaling on the first pitch that they see. Most of those type hitters typically want to take a strike and work to hit the pitch closest to their kill zone. It's the disciplined hitters that do the most damage not the ones eagerly free swinging at the first close offfering. You take one pitch with a 1-1 count and it's a strike you're in a big hole. If you are forced to swing at another pitch because it may be a strike (or is a strike but not yours) you could produce an unproductive at bat or take your team completely out of that inning or, maybe, the game.
DCPete, if your playing in a lot of 20-30 run games you can't be "standing" around in the outfield too much. Kiddingly said. We're on the west coast, while we get the high temps (90-108 Reno/116 Palm Springs, Las Cruces) we do not get the humidity.
My own preference is the standard 4-3 count. Of course we all play whatever rules are out there.
Bob50 is right, LVSSA also limited some of the games to 5 innings then seemed to chenge that mid day after some of the games were stopped at early in the day at 5 with some teams within 5 runs. The combination of both really did not provide a good tournament experience. Again this was dictated by the weather not a matter of choice by LVSSA. The end opf the tournament still did not carry a long way through Sunday, Saturday seemed to be the day that got messed up the most.
There does not seem to be a vast shortage of fields and we pay good money to play + spend good money around whatever area a tournament is held in. It seems the time limits are imposed for the benefit of the umpires and TD's rather than the participants. What can it possibly hurt a team to be allowed to play a full game or up to 1:15 time limit? We're the ones paying the freight here. Budget cuts should not be at the expense of allowing us to play the game correctly.
March 18, 2007
Fred Scerra
Men's 80
542 posts
Bob50:

If those were the only choices I had then I would take the 1 & 1 Count. I wouldn't like it but it is the better of the 2 options.
March 18, 2007
DCPete
234 posts
PeteD I completely agree with your concerns regarding the time limits. I believe the umps get paid per each game no matter how long or short they take to finish.
So the big question I have is: do the Players have any input/representation with the associations? The tournaments are for us & we're paying to play so why aren't we making the rules? This isn't pro sports where you have to appease the fans or the owners; this is strictly about the players. Is there any way we can start getting these tournaments to modify the rules to our own preferences?
March 18, 2007
Jetboy
62 posts
I also dislike time limits on ball games. I started my dislike for them when I was coaching Pony League ball and dislike it now for playing softball. Both games are 7 inning games and you should be playing to win after 7 innings of ball have been played , not after 90 minutes (or whatever timelimit has been imposed).
March 18, 2007
red from Wylie tx.
Men's 60
48 posts
the key to playing 1-1 is good umps. I would not want play 1-1 without the mat.
March 19, 2007
BossBandit
Men's 50
55 posts
All I can say about this situation after having umpired in the WinterNationals in Ft. Myers, TOC in Polk County, SPA WinterNationals in Tampa, and doing a lot of Fla Half Century ball is that playing 7 is a cooperative effort. The players and the umpires have to be working together to get it to happen consistently. I can tell you that in the W/Ns and the TOC played with run limits per inning, I had less than 5% of the games I called that were affected by the time limit. Only 6 games over a stretch of those 3 tournaments didn't go 7.

It would help matters if players hustled in and out between innings, courtesy runners were ready to go when needed, no infield warmups between innings, (I mean, how much can you cool off with a 5 run/inning limit),managers have line up cards ready to go before gametime, and umpires be on the field with timer set up and balls in your ball bag not tucked into the fence or a bag hanging on the fence before time to go.

I think a greater issue that should be open to question is tournament rules that do not have a mercy rule because there is a per inning run limit. At the last tournament that I worked I had a 25-5 score after 6 innings and couldn't call the game. Yes, the tournaments are for the players but the players need to give an effort to make the experience enjoyable for their fellow players as well.
March 19, 2007
Fred Scerra
Men's 80
542 posts
"It would help matters if players hustled in and out between innings, courtesy runners were ready to go when needed, no infield warmups between innings, (I mean, how much can you cool off with a 5 run/inning limit),managers have line up cards ready to go before gametime, and umpires be on the field with timer set up and balls in your ball bag not tucked into the fence or a bag hanging on the fence before time to go."

BossBandit: that is the key to finishing games within the time limit not going to a 1 & 1 count.
March 19, 2007
JOHN BOB
Men's 60
76 posts
I am against the 1-1 count and agree with Bossbandit on how to speed up the game.The main reason for getting behine in tournament play is both teams are ready to play & stand around for 10 or 15 min's waiting for ump's even on first game of day.I have see game's last longer with 1-1 on windy day beacuse there's so many walks and us seniors will not swing at anything like the young guys will.
March 19, 2007
Bob50
Men's 60
239 posts
John Bob.

I agree with you in that the umps could do better at getting games started when both teams are ready to play. This would save time.

I disagree with you that more batters are walked on a windy day when you start with a 1/1 count. I believe players have a better chance of walking on a windy day by being more selective when starting with a 0/0 count. You need to throw a higher percentage of pitches for strikes with a 0/0 count before walking a batter.

0/0 count (3/7=42.86%)
1/1 count (2/5=40%)
March 19, 2007
red from Wylie tx.
Men's 60
48 posts
This is not a big problem in AA since we have the 5 run rule. And the 5 run rule is great for getting teams off the fields on very hot days, no real long innings. When a tourney is AA only we never run to far behind. In Plano a few years ago the Major and Plus divisions ran the tourney real late with 2 1/2 hour games and that just the nature of the beast. But if you keep the various divisions on the same fields then only the big boys get behind not the whole tourney. This is only a problem in quailfiers.
March 19, 2007
TexasTransplant
Men's 70
418 posts
BB & Fred,

Surely you don't expect Senior players to hustle on and off the field like we were all taught in Little League!

You make a good point and just hit a pet peeve of mine. My Dad always taught me to grab my glove and run to my position (it's harder for the coach to take you out when you're already standing on the field). He's not around any more to change the rules, so that's the way I try to play.
June 4, 2007
cpope
Men's 60
160 posts
With many good points being made and I am logged on I will say, as alreaded stated:
After using the 1 & 1 cound for many years I hate to play in a league that has the regular full count. I think most players should be ready to hiy the first strike thrown. Why should you look at and take a strike. I understand that if you are looking to go back hand you migh take a inside ball for a strike. But give the pitcher credit for hitting the edges. That is him doing his job on the mound.
I am not a pitcher (Can't even pitch a good BP session) but a good pitcher is worth his weight in gold. I my self want to swing at the first good pitch thrown in my area.
I good pitcher gets that first strike on you then you will be hitting his pitch, not what you want to hit.
I almost never see players running on and off the field.
This would help in speeding up the game.
Not having an infield ball saves time also but it;s a part I don't like. Playing SS maybe I get a ball in the hole in the last inning and have to make a hard throw to first. (OK, I can;t throw hard anymore. :) But since I haven't had a ball hit to me during the game and no warmup throws between innings my throw might not be the best it could be. I think you could get a quick round on balls thrown to you by the 1st baseman and stay loose if everybody ran on and off the fields.
Having the "5" or "7" run inning help and hurts many teams depending on the situation, but it will keep a weaker team close to a stronger team in some games. And the way TDs let many teams play down it helps to keep the playing field level.
We all know when we are on a roll we hate the run per inning rule, but love it when it stops the other team when they are on a roll.
Time and run rule limits should not be used in the biggest tournaments we play in. Worlds, Nationals and TOC.
Give "US" players a full 7 innings but in return "US" players need to hustle, stop arguing with the ump on each call
If run rule is used make it a higher run rule and only after the fifth inning. Teams can score 20+ run per inning with out the run rule in effect. They are just to many things that are limited
Major Plus and even Major teams should be allowed to play this game like it was played 40 years ago. NO LIMITS. (less players would play down if Major, AAA and AA had limits) Major + usually have less that 7 or 8 teams in a tournament so let them have fun. I don't play Major +, just Major and some AAA but I hate to see a team that can score 20+ runs an inning lose a tournament because of the time/run limit. I though that that was what is was about.
About players playing outside their districts, well maybe in another post. Still looking out for you BW and Mongo.
After rereading my post, we need to let the players PLAY.
The only reasons to have any limits is so the TD can get it done as fast as possible and take his money to the bank.
PS:: I really hate having to win a ring tournament and have to buy my own ring. I think softball is the only sport still doing this? My grand kids love it, they know who will get them when I get called up. :)
Charles Pope
June 5, 2007
Corky
Men's 55
446 posts
I would prefer a 1 and 1 count with a 60 min time limit and 5 runs per inning with an open 7th. If time expires finish the inning and play 1 inning open. Pretty simple huh
its not rocket science folks. We spend way to much money and time to not get a complete game in.

I played in a SPA qualifier that had a game that was called on time after 3 innings and one was called a tie after the fifth when the time expired A TIE! A TIE! THERE AIN'T NO TIES IN SOFTBALL.
LET THE GUYS PLAY ! THEY PAID FOR IT !
AND TO $%%@# WITH THE FLIP FLOP RULE.

Sorry had to get that off my chest.
I feel much better now LOL
June 5, 2007
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
One and one count is the way to go.
I won't go into detail as it's all been said before
but it would improve the Senior game, no doubt.
June 5, 2007
rabbit
Men's 65
296 posts
Texas T and Gary19 I completely agree with you, I was taught when you cross the white line you better be a running, CPope you are right on the money,(it is always about the money) and Corky I agree with you also,since I hate the rules you mention, and they have hurt the Classics already this year in our tourneys as you well know, I really hate the one and one count,and more so the time limits, boy I sure am agreeable today, Rabbit
June 9, 2007
Jawood
Men's 50
790 posts
It figures that gary19 would not a 1 and 1 since he is a pitcher, but it is tough hitting that small mat. I played league the other night and the score was 40-33 with a 1 and 1 count, unlimited HR's, and hitters looking to hit the ball, not taking 2-3 pitches before they begin to think about swinging. A 1 and 1 count speeds up the game, that is a fact! This is softball, not baseball.
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