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Discussion: to mask or not to mask

Posted Discussion
Sept. 13, 2007
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
to mask or not to mask
I love pitching.
I've discovered it late in my career and I'm a freak for it.
I don't even wear a hat because it feels like
I'm balancing a "mattress on a bottle of wine"(thanks, Bob Dylan)
atop my head.
But if it meant keeping good bats and ballls in play
I would wear a mask when pitching.
I think this situation in not unlike hockey 40 years ago
when none of the goalies wanted to appear less than macho
by wearing masks but all of them quietly know the safety and freedom
to REALLY play Defense that come with it.
It's now unthinkable not to wear a mask.

We need good balls to enjoy our tournaments.
Hot bats are here to stay.
With mandatory masks
no one need worry about "killing/crippling/disfiguring" pitchers again
and pitchers will be free to play great D.

What do you think?
Sept. 13, 2007
taits
Men's 65
4365 posts
Pitching is the main reason I play for many teams, But I also play a good 1st and 3rd.
But the mound is only 50' from a hard hit ball, is why I wear all that leg protection. I almost lost my right leg to an abscess infection about 5 yrs ago. Have thought about a mask a few times, and would wear one. I see guys wear complete catchers gear out there. At least they are totally protected, even if movement is limited somewhat.
At hat, it might save one’s head from the big C.
Sept. 13, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
Couple of things. It sounds like einstein believes the only balls and bats that are "good" are senior equipment. I am pretty sure that is not the case. Utrip-legal equipment is quite good, and particularly should be for a generation of players who 'grew up' with wood and/or Bombats and/or HBHs. As most any ball should seem quite satisfactory to guys who grew up with Harwoods.

The hockey analogy is not quite valid, as pucks are often deflected mere feet from the goalie whereas batted softballs rarely change direction unexpectedly.

And mandatory masks? No, no, no! The only face the pitcher is hurting is his own, and he has the right to make that determination. Anyone who "needs good balls to enjoy our tournaments" is playing for the wrong reasons.
Sept. 13, 2007
DMac
Men's 60
185 posts
Having seen your recent pictures, I'd go with the mask :)
Sept. 13, 2007
Fred Scerra
Men's 80
542 posts
I also love pitching. At 74 that is about my best position if I want to keep playing at a high level. I don't use a mask or shin guards (but I should use the chin guards). As of now I believe I have enough control to keep the ball out of the area that mostly come back at you, though without the strike mat/plate it is kind of hard to do that.

I wouldn't be in favor of making it a rule to wear a mask.
Sept. 13, 2007
taits
Men's 65
4365 posts
I do not think that requiring one to wera a faxce guard would come to that.
That would be almost as bad as requiring a runner to wear a helmet as they do in baseball and fast pitch.
Sept. 13, 2007
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
D-mac you rascal, you.
Thanks for looking at the pics.
The girls looked even better in person.

I hate hats/helmets/masks.
No guts, no glory is my motto but I think
we could short circuit a lot of time and circular
debate if we can come together on a solution
that only involves one adjustment.
If I could find a mask I liked
I would be even bolder and more confident
both pitching and fielding.
Next G.
Without good bats/balls
I wouldn't give this game
another thought.
And who says ball don't get deflected when you pitch?
What about bad hops?
Balls hitting the edge of the rubber and coming straight up?
And the mask thing isn't just for the pitcher
it's so EVERYONE can enjoy the game better
with better bats and balls.
I'd be proud to make an adjustment that keeps
most of our players happy, enfranchised and more motivated to continue playing senior ball.
Sept. 13, 2007
Lecak
Men's 55
1007 posts
Einstein I have seen several of the young mens teams in Vegas and SoCal use masks. Try this link I think they are on the cutting edge of this.
http://www.gameface.com/
Sept. 13, 2007
Lecak
Men's 55
1007 posts
Here is a link to a testimonial I picked off Sofftball fans. Obviously buyer beware but I think it is interesting reading.
http://www.softballfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=331212&highlight=masks
Sept. 13, 2007
the wood
1079 posts
Einstein:
If not a mask, at least consider a hair net. For once, let the guys behind you see the batter... :-)
Sept. 13, 2007
green rocket
51 posts
As an umpire, I have seen numberous injuries to pitchers the last few years. Some are excellent fielders, but it only takes one good blast up the middle to change that.

I'm all for protection. It seems like the best type of masks is the clear plastic ones with good visibility thoughout. It is up to the individual to employ such protection, but I will bet dollars to doughnuts that any one who gets hit without armor will probably purchase the equipment next time around.

I don't want to mention one pitcher who was bleeding out of his nose and ears after being hit on the forehead some years back. To make matters worse, it was the last out of a blowout game to boot.

Even being a blue (or green) we are not immune to getting dinged. I have had my collarbone and leg broken by bats let loose by the batter. I have pondered wearing a facemask to call the game, but now have settled by standing behind the opposite side of the batters box to the batter.

Last tournament I did I witnessed a batter/runner who took one on the side of the head on a throw to first. He went down like a sack of potatoes.

We can't mandate protection, but I'm all for it.

The whole idea is to have fun playing, and not get hurt.
Sept. 13, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
"Without good bats/balls
I wouldn't give this game
another thought"

How sad. :(

And here I thought guys play the game for the competition. As long as both sides have access to the same equipment, why not play even if the bats are not rocket launchers and the ball superballs?
Sept. 13, 2007
STONEMAN
Men's 50
535 posts
THE NEXT GEN': A few yrs ago, St. George, Ut, had the Western NSA Worlds. GREAT FIELDS- complex, etc. About 120 miles N.E. of Vegas.

The ball was a crappy Batten Ball. As an Outfielders, I was play' Major & Major Plus team @ about 240 ft. Only, when one of the elite power hitters was @ bat, that i did play @ 260 ft.

To make this short... I never saw so many 2, 3, & 4 hoppers in the infield. I also, never saw so many soft lines just over an infielders heads.

NEXT GEN.", do u want to spend $ 300 to $ 600 to go to an Event, & the ball supplied, will only travel 270 ft, or, so??

SAFETY??? What or can there be SAFETY? Do SENIORS, want to go back to v. low scor' games ??

ThE STONEMAN
Sept. 14, 2007
Norq44
58 posts
"To Mask or not to Mask", that is the question. The answer is yes, we should! Why should we? Here's why:
Softball has been around since before the turn of the 20th century. I recently had the pleasure of walking through the USSSA hall of fame, and there is a section there on the history of softball. Very interesting stuff. They have examples of the very first balls and bats. You did not need protective equipment to play softball then. Even when I started playing softball in the late 60's you did not need protective equipment to pitch. We were still using wood bats and cork center wound balls. In Minnesota we played on 275 foot fences. It still took a special man to hit the ball out of the park. Sadly, that game is just a memory now. I can remember the first aluminum bats. They revolutionized the game, suddenly I was no longer an occasional home run hitter, but a real threat to hit it out every time I came to the plate. It has been a natural progression. Single wall bats, then titanium bats, double wall bats, then composites. And of course the balls have changed right along with the bats. As Stoneman points out, the balls just keep going faster and faster, it is only a matter of time until there is serious injury to someone who is supposed to be playing a game for recreation. And the scary part is that bad things usually happen in threes. As much as I hate to think about it, I am personally in favor of mandatory protection on pitchers. One of the most macho players I can think of ( Mr. Mike Burbank) wears a mask, chest protector, and shin guards to pitch. If it is good enough for him, it is good enough for me too. Whatever it takes to keep playing.
Sept. 14, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
Stoneman, I suppose if I had my druthers I would rather have a ball that flies further than that. But I play for the competition, not to see how far anyone can hit a ball.

While not ideal, what real difference does it make as long as things are the same for both teams? Would the championship mean any less because the balls were only going 270' instead of 370'?
Sept. 14, 2007
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Next G,
Who are you?
You sound like a voice from the past.
By saying who you are
you show respect for all of us and become much more credible
and if you're sincere about your arguments
it would give them longer legs.
Babe Ruth said if he wanted to hit
singles he would have batted 650.
Why was the long ball so important
to one of the greatest baseball players of all time.
Why is the greatest stat in baseball
the home run champion?
Why did McGuire and Sosa bring baseball
back from the doldrums with their home run
hitting?
The long ball has its own psychology
that is overlooked by many.
It's like a punch that knocks the wind out of it's opponent.
It excites the hitting team and deflates the defenders.
It can turn the course of a whole game in one stroke
all by itself.
Also, you can keep an opposing team from igniting
by pitching tough or around their best hitters.

Yes, I've been seduced by the long ball
and almost all the guys I know who are against it
have trouble reaching the grass on a good day.
Sept. 14, 2007
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
You mention Mike Burbank,
my teammate and friend and one of the top
3 players in Senior softball if not the best.
You're right.
If guys like Burbank can wear protection and a mask
than it paves the way for the rest of us.
Mike plays 45 to 50 tournaments a year
mostly with the kids, USSSA pitching against those young monsters with their "hot" bats.
He's got the right idea.
Sept. 14, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
When the board requires me to ID myself, I will. It is a flaw in the board, work with your cronies to fix it.

Comparing Ruth's home runs to Seniors using bats that no one else can use is ludicrous. Ruth's were an accomplishment, Senior home runs are ego-strokes for apparently need the stroking. Take a poll, would Seniors rather hit 3 home runs in a game or win the game?

Are home runs nice? Sure. Are they needed to have a good, competitive game/tournament? Absolutely not. Would they be even more gratifying if they were done with the juiced up bats the kids use instead of the ridiculous bats Senior insist on? Well, for guys with pride that answer is obvious.

If, because of the bats, a bunch of guys who were not hitting them when they were young are now hitting them how special does that make yours? I would contend, not at all.
Sept. 14, 2007
Lecak
Men's 55
1007 posts
Here we go again I think Gary19 has a separated at birth twin. Oh well it was nice while it lasted. I would think a little IP address homework in Sacramento will clearly identify Next G from the Cleveland area.
Sept. 14, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
Lecak, are differing opinions a bad thing on this board?

I have not been vulgar, obscene, profane, or disrepected anyone.
Sept. 14, 2007
taits
Men's 65
4365 posts
Ruth's HR's are one thing, Mc Guire, Bonds and Sosha's are another thing.
Seen no disrespect here posted, just opinions.
Sept. 14, 2007
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Hey Joe,
Think you hit the nail on the head this time.
Sounds like our pathetic one-note boy, doesn't it.
Dave, help us out here, would you?
Taits,
it's his intent and hate for us and who we are, have become
that signals the essence of this malingerer and malcontent.
It's about Hi-jacking the site and soiling himself
in our midst on all of us.
You, too.

Anyway.
To wear a mask or not.
I think if the mask was reasonably comfortable, protective
and didn't cut off too much from view
it would be all right for me.
I'm going to look around and please send me
any good info you might get on them at joerinaldi56@yahoo.com.
What a neat way to get my game face on.
I'd get one that was scowling like Rollie Fingers or Goose Gossage
to keep the batters from getting complacent,
put scars on and nasty tatoo's, too.
Sept. 14, 2007
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Taits,
Home runs are home runs.
They are a phenomenon of the game
and have their own psychology.
Big guys hit big.
They're supposed to... like Ruth, Mantle, Aaron and Bonds
or they'd be LESS than and look less than.
"Use that power, big man"we say and
if YOU can't don't belittle the big man for it.
I didn't find the swing to hit the long ball till
I became a senior.
I knew I had the strength but never developed
the right swing.
Thanks to Joe Tang, a legendary long ball hitter from SF
who spent many AB's with me to help me relearn how to swing with power
and Ken Van Bogaert's videos on long ball hitting
I hit the ball better/farther now than I ever did,
makes me happy, keeps me playing and has garnered me
a fair amount of recognition.
And you want to know the real reason?
(thanks for putting it on a tee for me, Scott)
"Because chicks dig the long ball."
Sept. 14, 2007
taits
Men's 65
4365 posts
einstein,
The only point I was trying to make, without saying it directly, was that steriods played a very big part. I don't think their HR's were that great because if it.
It's akin to altered bats, imo.

But your right, HR's are great, and the fans like them, not just the good looking gals you were with lately, but most all of them.
Sept. 14, 2007
Gary Heifner
248 posts
I tried the mask and had trouble seeing the ground ball at me the last 2 or 3 feet. The bottom bar was in the way. I wear a batting helmet, wrestling knee pads on my shins and get into a DEFENSIVE stance after each pitch ready for the middle hit. I see too many pitchers pitch and stand there with their hands at their sides. The above combined with using the 6' extended pitching area will give most pitchers a very high level of protection.
Sept. 14, 2007
STONEMAN
Men's 50
535 posts
TAITS: Leave the drug crap to the stupid MLB & sport writters. HGH- should be used in more cases. There is no reason why any human, should not be able to get this DRUG.

Why, should a 50 yr ol' man have the Hormones of a 70 yr ol'??? HGH, Rest, & proper exercise, can give humans the hormones of a younger person. Many doctors, & WELLNESS CENTERS, c no reason why, humans, should not have the hormone levels of a 35 to 40 yr ol' person......

Higher HORMONE levels, will enable a better life & less disabilities 4 older SENIORS.

The products that were found in Mark McQuire's, locker were found to be just another supplement. I DO NOT remember whick Medical Journal stated this find'. (w/ in the last yr.)

Since, the 70's, it was found that a corked bats, only help increased the flight of a Ball only 1% or about 4'.

It was not until the late 60's or early 70's that MLB players trained yr round. Mickey Mantle, was 6'-1" & his weight was about 190 lbs. In that era, Mantle was a "big size" player.

Today, Mantles, size is that of a 2nd basemen. If, u Scot, were paid Millons, u would have the best Meals, Supplements, Equipment, Train' Routees, Trainers, etc.

Back in the days & not until the 80's or so, did Ball players start to lift weights. When the BABE, played there was a period that if, a ball bounced over the fence, that ball was ruled a Home Run & not a ground rule double. (Not sure when I read this Article.)

Even if, we all used the Single Wall Bats, there would still be Home Runs. But, there would only be a few players & not 8 to 12 players hit' Home Runs......, on each team.

The STONEMAN.....
Sept. 15, 2007
taits
Men's 65
4365 posts
stoneman,
The only points I was trying to make is I do not think one can equally compare Ruth's Hrs to those of the other 3 players, All circumstances as to how they got their records are not equal, nor were their medical useage.
This is not to say they were not good at what they accomplished though, because they were.

And I sure as H... have nothing against HR's. Nothing I have wrote should have given that impression.
RE: AA, I do not like the 1 per game, over and the rest are an out or a walk (single). Prefer the 1 up to that. But like unlimited HR's with a 5 inning spread rule. Three HR's per game them a walk would be just as nice.
Sept. 15, 2007
bullithead
Men's 50
11 posts
I have ben pitching for about 10 year A & B BALL the bats of today you better wear it ido.
Sept. 15, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
If you want to wear protection, fine, but no one should make anyone else wear it.
Sept. 17, 2007
SouthernLeather
22 posts
Masks are available for use now for those who need them.
The root cause of the problem is not the bats or balls, it is the fact that in Senior softball, we have a lot of guys just trying to throw strikes but not really fielding the position. For those guys I recommend catching, no amount of chin guards or masks will help you.

How do you know a pitcher?
By the time the batter hits the ball, a pitcher will be at least 65-70' from the plate. A pitcher should be covering second with 2 outs and a runner on first. Sometimes if the infield is playing deep, a pitcher should be the one turning two at second to first.

That being said, a little protective gear never hurt anyone.
Sept. 17, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
Southern, while I think Senior bats are unnecessary and only used for the benefit of those with fragile egos, I agree 100% that ultimately the responsibility is on the pitcher to prrepare himself to field the ball. And I agree 100% with your comments about the pitcher covering second.

However, pretty much the only way the pitcher gets 70' back or ever close to it is if he is pitching from 56'. This is fine, and certainly legal as I understand it, but my question is if he gets back to 70' he is going to have an EXTREMELY hard time getting to first to cover on a grounder hit to his first baseman. With a runner on first that is not a problem, but when the only play is to first this is going to cause a problem.

I guess you have to give up something, and cannot cover everything, but I just thought I would point that problem out.
Sept. 17, 2007
SouthernLeather
22 posts
I went to gameface.com, heck, I would be more worried about getting hurt by the mask itself. I can't imagine diving for a line drive, or a hard hit ground ball and falling on that mask....ouch, talk about damage!!!

I'm not pretty to begin with, but if others want to use it....I think your gameface is gonna suffer.
Sept. 17, 2007
SouthernLeather
22 posts
NextGen,
Your point is well taken....You are absolutely right, I give up covering first to get the better advantage of covering the middle....

Except for lefties who to me are the most dangerous to field. These are the ones I always worry about if I pitch the power hitters outside to avoid giving them a swing at the sweet spot....

When the lefties hit that pitch, there's no telling, the ball might travel inside out, or extreme topspin, or it may look like they are going to pull the ball, and "voila", before you know it you have a new Trump tatoo....

With the lefties I get back only about an additional 8 ft and fade towards first....

You said it best, you give up something to get something...and I just as soon skip the Trump tatoo....
Sept. 17, 2007
Enviro-Vac
Men's 60
394 posts
I think a mask AND other protection for pitchers is a good thing but could be uncomfortable on a hot day. Maybe softball would be better off with a pitching screen notwithstanding the fact that the screen may potentially get in the way of some outs and throws to home from the OF. ...Pick your poison?

p.s. I crushed a pitchers toe on the weekend with a line drive that accidentally went back up the middle and it had nothing to do with senior bats or hard balls. I was in a tournament using 40 COR 375 Comp. balls and ASA bat rules.
Sept. 17, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
Of course you would like to reduce the risk without changing the game, but injuries do happen. It is the nature of most sports, and all participants have to acknowledge that when they step on the field, court, ice, whatever.
Sept. 17, 2007
Burbank 77
4 posts
einstein, i have missed you guys this summer and really look forword to playing at you're side in 2 weeks. i normally don't participate in discussions on message boards but i received a phone call this morning and was informed that joe had initiated a topic i might be interested in ..... pitching and the pro's and con's of the "MASK". after reading these posts, i decided this is a very interesting topic and would like to make a contribution to the cause whether it be pro or con.
i think we can all agree that with the evolution of our bats to where they are today and the balls being good and bad, the number of homeruns hit today and the distance they travel is far superior to numbers 10 to 15 yrs ago. with this being true you can imagine ground balls and line drives hit to and thru the infield are also much more prolific. about 10 yrs ago as this phenomenon was gaining momentum, i began to notice it was getting harder and harder to field and/or get out of the way of these "Cruise Missles". so about 10 yrs ago i started wearing bullet-proof shin guards. i use to say to myself "if i get hit one more time in the shins, i'm gonna shoot myself". as time went on, the balls kept coming faster and faster and i was taking more body-shots more frequently. i was often asked if it hurts to get hit by a 47 core ball 500 comp. coming at you at 500mph at night under poor lights. my reply was always " just keep it on a piece of meat and off the bone and i'll be fine ". year after year, i noticed it was getting harder and harder to get out of the way. it seemed like the more they deadened the balls the hotter they made the bats ( legally or illegally ). then, about 4 years ago, i had a slicing line drive hit at my head so hard and fast, i didn't have time to raise my glove 12 inches to protect my face. it was faster to just turn my head as the ball nicked my ear. it was at that moment i realized it was just a matter of time before the inevitable happened. i have carried a mask with me ever since, and yes it does make you feel like SUPERMAN. i admit i don't wear it all the time. certain situations warrent " not " wearing the mask, all depending on the speed of "which" ball is coming off "which" bat. for example, early in the morning and in the evenings when the ball is harder, i mask-up. during the heat of the day when temperatures are 90 degrees or hotter and the ball softens up, i mask-down. of course, all of these factors matter not when the opposing team consists of 11 hitters that hit the ball so hard the ball or bat do not matter. unfortunately, its going to take a number of our friends and teammates getting seriously hurt or worse to force even one association to make the mask mandatory, but for me, i will rely on it and feel more secure and grateful knowing that it has allowed me to enjoy the sport i love so dearly, for a longer and safer period of time. joe, this is why i don't post. i get carried away and don't know when to stop. take care and i'll see you in 2 wks.
Sept. 18, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
"unfortunately, its going to take a number of our friends and teammates getting seriously hurt or worse to force even one association to make the mask mandatory"

Clearly anyone can and should wear whatever they want, but NEVER make the mask mandatory. And how would a mandatory mask work for a pitcher who wears glasses? Not unless these masks are more like catcher's masks than goalie's.
Sept. 18, 2007
salio2k
Men's 60
548 posts
A lot of pitchers would openly protest a mandatory ruling to wear a mask.......but would secretly embrace it. Seniors don't want to be called pussies!
Sept. 18, 2007
the wood
1079 posts
Burbank77 makes a strong case for wearing a mask. In CA we have mandatory helmet laws for motorcycle riders. We also have mandatory seat belt laws. My first cousin was killed in '98 south of Nashville because he failed to wear a seat belt. He felt very strongly about his right to make a personal decision (TN had mandatory belt laws as well). His wife was wearing hers and she lived to re-marry. Think about the ramifications of this.
Having stated all of this, I would think that anyone that is concerned with the risks of playing in the infield would be well served to consider using a mask rather than wait for any assn to mandate them.
I used to pitch and tried to wear a cup. It worked great until I slid headfirst. I figured that I'd be sliding that way 4-5 times/weekend and might get hit in the crotch once every 5-10 years. This was an easy decision for me but the point is that I'm glad that I was left with the choice.
Our pitcher wears shin guards and they come in handy against shin-burgers... the worst injuries I ever incurred while pitching. I might have worn them, too, had I known of them at the time. No one wore any visable padding back then.
Bob Woodroof
Sept. 18, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
wood, the other side of this coin is that anyone concerned about the risks of playing the infield might want to think about the outfield. Or catching. Or EH.

If a person is that concerned, and they certainly have the right to be, then risk avoidance might be a good strategy.
Sept. 18, 2007
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Hey Mikey,
I've said candidly before the Clatterbaugh (hey Clatta)
is the best all around senior hitter I"ve had the opportunity to be around.
And I mean it.
But you, Mike, are the best all around senior softball player
in the universe and it's a pleasure always to play with
and that you are also a great guy, teammate
and most importantly, a friend.
I miss you and Ricky and look forward to seeing you both
in Vegas.

The fact that you openly endorse a pitcher's mask
is HUGE for all of us in Senior Ball.
No one is better, tougher than you
and it will go very far in a positive direction
that are helping lead the way.

Mandatory masks will not only free the pitcher
up from worrying about being hurt but make him a better defender and will also allow batters like Gary Tryhorn
who don't want to hurt any pitcher given their unusual power to relax more, hit better and not worry
about killing or crippling anyone.

Lasltly, for now,
mandatory masks for pitchers
will allow associations to use better balls
and allow better equipment
so we all can have more fun.
Sept. 18, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
einstein, glad to see you finally revealed your hand. Seems like the entire purpose of your crusade to infringe on the rights of Senior players is so you can swing better bats with better balls, Well, at least you are now out in the open on this one.

I hear you are good, so why the need to hit the ball 370' when 330' works just fine?
Sept. 18, 2007
SouthernLeather
22 posts
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and that's why I appreciate the insight of this group.

But I can tell you this.....I will never play another game of Senior Softball if I am forced to wear a mask while pitching.

Period...done. Slapping a mandatory mask on the pitcher is shortsighted and infringing.

Everyone is afraid to talk about making it more challenging for the hitters...heaven forbid. Lord knows they have all the advantages now....When an umpire actuallly gives a pitcher 12 ft, out come the whinebuckets who now can't hit every pitch out of the park.

Pitchers don't need protection as much as they need options.

OK, Im done...thanks for listening.
Sept. 18, 2007
tattooball
619 posts
I am not putting anyone down but I think Mike Walker is the best all around senior player to date. He still plays like a kid and can play every position on the field.
Sept. 18, 2007
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Best all around player.
What an interesting topic.
For me it's a guy who plays D, hit and pitches
all at the highest level.
I'm not sure who Mike Walker is, Kevin.
Whom does he play for?
Sept. 18, 2007
Burbank 77
4 posts
to TheNextGeneration and the rest of you who are vehemently against mandatory mask wearing . . . . . . . . and we who are for it . . . . . . .we can all banter back and forth the pro's and con's until the cows come home, or better yet, until one or more of us are hurt so bad it won't matter any longer because none of us will have a say when the insurance companies make it so costly for an association to insure each tournament because of the non-mask wearing liabilities. to my knowledge, whether the associations we support are profit or non-profit, they still need to make money for a cause, and if the difference between making money and not is predicated by the overwhelming insurance premium they will pay for "no mask-wearing" vs the lessor premium for "mask-wearing" then this issue will eventually take care of itself. about 2 years ago, i asked a NASF tournament director why his tournament would not allow Ultra II's when just 2 weeks before in another NASF tournament they did. his answer was " i can't afford the liability insurance premium to use Ultra's. if i allow them, i lose money this weekend. if i don't allow them, i make money. it's simple math."
if and when it reaches that point ladies and gentleman . . . . with the mask issue . . . . i think we can all do the math.
Sept. 18, 2007
taits
Men's 65
4365 posts
B-77, I think your points are vaild. Given that, I do not think ANY assn will lower ANY tourney cost because of lowered ins premiums. It's just that more bread they make.
I do feel though our days of masked pitchers will arrive,
I also think some guys will fall prey to a very serious shot first. Akin to the seat belt laws. It takes alot of deaths & injuries before regulators act are made.
Freedom of choice will prevail until them.
Sept. 18, 2007
Lecak
Men's 55
1007 posts
Southern Leather you may have answered your own question, the batters hitting the HR's are not hitting the middle, really good hitters that I have seen can hit all pitches but the variability in the pitch makes for an unpredictable batted ball still hit at a ferocious pace. Some of the worst middle shots I have seen have been by really strong hitters htting a ball deep to their back shoulder probably a 12 ft pitch on a 2 strike count. Good luck very interesting reading.
Sept. 18, 2007
Burbank 77
4 posts
this whole thread has been about an individuals right to have an opinion and choose for him or her self. i respect that. however, any person who feels seniors who wear masks are pussy's then please step forward and engage me in a constructive conversation. i'll even go first :
a large reason why i take involintary body-shots is because my pitching style is unique to most others. instead of pitching the ball and backpedaling towards 2nd base to better protect myself,( which i call defensive pitching), i choose to go at the hitters. i am constantly working from the front of the rubber and the majority of my pitches are jumping from the rubber towards the hitter and much of the time i end up 10 feet closer to home plate and i usually am still in mid air when the ball comes back thru me 400 mph (or so it seems) and yes this does put your heart in your throat and yes i was doing this when hitters were swinging gray ultra's and hitting 47 core balls. and every time i went out to the mound and put on my mask, i'm sure had i listened carefully, i probably could have heard the other teams and their fans saying, " what a pussy." until you can tell me you have pitched in these conditions and can tell me you have had both thumbs and six of your fingers broken by balls hit so hard you can't see them, but you "can" hear them, and you have had your left arm broken by a linedrive and can tell me you have had both feet broken by linedrives (and have 5 screws and a bone graft to prove it), then and only then will you have the right to call me a pussy.
i will admit all of my injuries (to date) have been from the neck down, which i feel, at worst, could have been career- altering or career-ending. i guess i am fortunate. when everything is said and done, and if there was a moral to this story, i guess this would be it :
every batted ball that has broken a bone in my body, not to mention all the balls that have shredded muscle and tissue, all of which have been below the neck; any of these balls taken in the face or head could have been "LIFE-ALTERING" (or worse) as opposed to career-altering (below the neck).
i'll close by asking one final question : when you are on the mound,under "any" condition, knowing lightening could strike even you, if wearing a mask could determine whether or not at the end of the game, you get to go home to your loving family and love them and be loved by them (in person), . . .would u be willing to do what it takes to make this happen . . . . or be selfish . . .and possibly deprive them . . . of you ! it only takes "ONE" batted ball to change your life and family.
Sept. 18, 2007
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2650 posts
Einstein, Mike Walker plays with our team, Hollis Appraisals/Combat/Truncell.
See you in Vegas.
Sept. 18, 2007
the wood
1079 posts
Burbank77
This isn't about anyone being a pussy or not. It's about personal choices. You feel that it is in your best interest to wear one. Others feel quite differently.
As I alluded to earlier, my cousin was killed in a car wreck and failed to see his kids graduate from H.S. and college. Still, he made the decision to not wear a seat belt. A lot of people have fought and died for us to have choices. Would he have worn the belt if he knew that he'd be killed? I do not know for sure but I think that he would.
I think you make a very good argument for wearing one. That is until you state that you would like to legislate your feelings on everyone else.
If you want to wear one you have the right to do so. If I don't want to... let me suffer the consequences... but leave me free to choose. I don't even like wearing eye glasses when I play, let alone a mask. Yes, i've been hit in the face and damn near every other body part. But I haven't been seriously injured by a batted ball. Perhaps if I had, I'd be more inclined to wear one.
As i said previously, I no longer pitch but I do play infield so i've seen some shots hit at/by me.
Bob Woodroof
Sept. 18, 2007
4x4
Men's 65
595 posts
As Bob has stated so well. I think this is strictly a matter of personal preference as well as personal comfort. I also do not like to wear glasses and never had until the RX became a necessity. Then I chose a pair that would protect as well as be functional/stylish.
I think that before any mask mandates would be instituted the screen would be installed in tourney play as it is in many leagues. To a man not many people care for them from the hitting side but some pitchers do not feel secure without them, particularly as they get up in the age groups.
It used to be you never saw a mask or pads on anyone in slow pitch but as few pitchers work on their fielding skills or even take grounders before the games it is not a bad idea whatsoever for the individual to use tham as they feel is needed. There seems to be some field hockey/lacrosse masks that would work but even the clear ones appear to obscure vision and seem awkward - but - it should be the players choice.
Maybe the screen would be a good idea in the 70+ possibly in lieu of/ or with the extra fielder.
Sept. 18, 2007
4x4
Men's 65
595 posts
THAT'S - do NOT care for them from the hitting side.
Sept. 18, 2007
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Thanks, Bruce.
I didn't realize how excited I am about
playing in Vegas till just now.
Thanks Mike for the honest comments about pitching vulnerability and an antidote.
I've taken balls with the best of them,
have broken bones and shredded muscles
and a mask sounds good to me, too.
I understand there are guys who find it personally infringing
but I'll bet they don't play major plus with hot equipment
or like MIke Burbank does
40 or so tournaments a year with the kids, at night
with senior eyes
with their monster bats and energy.

There's been a lot of concern and bellyaching about
hot bats/balls and pitchers' vulnerability.
Real problems have to have real solutions
and there will always be dissnenters
no matter what's going down.
But let's not be too complacent or afraid
to pull the trigger and effect a solution
like masks for pitchers before one of us gets really hurt.
Also, I'm tired of not hitting up the middle.
My best shots are left center. center and right
and most times I won't take them to avoid
hitting a pitcher and as I've said before
I klnow a ton of MONSTER hitters
who feel the same way
and who deserve to be able to hit
the ball hard to all fields.
Sept. 18, 2007
the wood
1079 posts
Joe:
'let's not be too complacent or afraid to pull the trigger and affect a solution'...
1) just how many head injuries have we had in senior softball? I do know of one... but I believe that it was a nasty hop... happened in Carson City to the 2B of the OLR Nighthawks. Seems to me if we're pushing for safety legislation that we ought to know the extent of the damage that has been done thus far.
2) Are masks the best solution? When the NCAA determined that baseball bats were 'too hot' did they mandate masks, move the fences out, etc. or did they restrict the 'pop' on the bats? Aside from safety, part of their concern was the '2 strike HRs' that 165 pound 2nd basemen were hitting to the opposite field.
If we're really serious about making things safer, why don't we eliminate the most dangerous bats? I state this as a logical follow up on the safety issue. But I would first verify that there is a real problem (v. a perceived one).
I can state this much unequivocably though... if I were in a position of power within an assn and it was proven to me that there is a very real safety problem, my first step would be to downgrade the bats.
Having been in the risk management business for over 30 years I can also state that a liability carrier will be more impressed with mitigating the cause rather than bolstering the prevention element... whether this be 'staying out of the middle' or the wearing of masks. Better bumpers in lieu of safer speeds is somewhat analagous to this.
Bob Woodroof
Sept. 19, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
The "solution" is to restrict the bats. Anyone wonder why masks and other protective gear were not an issue in the 60s, 70s, and 80s? It is pretty obvious what the change is, and particularly with Seniors who insist on using hero bats.

If anyone wants to wear a mask, no problem at all, though a mask only protects a very small albeit vital part of the pitcher. But to mandate them, why? So the "heroes" can continue to use hero bats? Very strange "logic".
Sept. 19, 2007
SouthernLeather
22 posts
Burbank,
I gotta admit it, you floored me........

"i choose to go at the hitters. i am constantly working from the front of the rubber and the majority of my pitches are jumping from the rubber towards the hitter and much of the time i end up 10 feet closer to home plate"

How do you 'go at hitters' in slowpitch softball with a big ole ball the size of the moon that is pitched about 2mph to guys who have a technical weapon in their hands?

No offense intended at all Burbank...my hat's off to ya....everybody has some reason for their methods....And I read all your injuries...

But the "Don';t feed the alligators " sign is there for a reason... and it ain't for the gators to read...
Sept. 19, 2007
Lecak
Men's 55
1007 posts
Southern Leather here is youtube link which MIGHT demonstrate they style of pitching being discussed, I highlighted might because I have never hit against Mr. Burbank, I have hit against the young man in the video luckily many years ago. I believe it is UTRIP could be ISA also. Requires alot of concentration as a batter and a lot of energy as a pitcher. My hats off to anyone who gets in the young mans arena at our age.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE2YVDgiLhU
Sept. 19, 2007
Fred Scerra
Men's 80
542 posts
I pitch the same style as Burbank 77. I am going towards the hitter as I release the ball. I have tried backing up but I loose my control when I do that.

Like Burbank77 I work the front edge of the plate and the side edges of plate/mat. I feel I have enough control to keep it out of the area that the ball is hit back at me (except when there is no mat). I don't get that many hit back at me except the batters that do it on purpose and I know pretty much who they are and pitch to them accordingly.
Sept. 19, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
Southern, I guess my question would be why would someone who apparently has been hit as often as he has continue such an unnecessary practice.

Does it work for him? It must. But at what cost considering the obvious alternatives.

And is he still in "midair" when the ball is back at him? Hardly. Do you know what kind of hang time that would require?
Sept. 19, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
Fred, back up AFTER the ball has been released. Consequently there can be NO resulting loss of control, as the ball has left your hand and is on its own at that point.
Sept. 19, 2007
Burbank 77
4 posts
to those of you who are questioning my sanity for continuing to what it is that i do :
anyone who believes its "just" slowpitch softball and has the mentallity of " just throw strikes and let your defence get them out ", would never be asked back to pitch a 2nd game with any team at the competitive level. any pitcher that throws just strikes (cookies) is in most cases requiring his team to score 25 to 30 runs to be in a game let alone win it. it's my job as the pitcher, to cut the run production of the opposing team by being creative, going after them and forcing or stealing outs from them. every out a pitcher steals from another team saves potential runs. a great hitting team will hit thru their line-up on 1 out. the reason why i pitch from the front of the rubber and jump at the hitters is because it puts me closer to them and gives them less time to react. and you say " react to what? it's just slowpitch softball " and i say " if you want to be an impact pitcher and actually achieve what i am saying and be successful, then you have to pitch to the hitters as if you are pitching a baseball game. change speeds, change trajectories, have a 3 foot curve ball, a 1 foot screw ball and anything else you can throw at them including the kitchen sink. the reason i jump at the batters is actually based on simple math. if a hitter has seen a certain pitch coming at him at a similar trajectory, he makes his timing adjustment based on the speed and trajectory of that pitch which in his mind he has seen many times before. now jump at the hitter and you are adding the pitchers body speed to the ball as well. the end result, based on 15 years of throwing this pitch is : the ball comes in deceivingly quicker and the hitters more often than not pop up, ground out or swing late which affects their ability to precision hit. if a pitcher can be creative by working the hitters, he can steal or force a minimum of 6 or more outs per game. if he can do this, he's just doing his job and the satisfaction that comes with it isn't bad either.
there is method to my madness but i guess i just love this game so much that i am willing to do whatever it takes to give everything i have, and sometimes some of my body parts get in the way. i do know this. i will never stop playing this game or the way i play it and i will never retire. my career will end from a batted ball and i will have no hard feelings towards the hitter, my bad luck at that moment or this wonderful sport we all love so much !!!!!!!
Sept. 19, 2007
Fred Scerra
Men's 80
542 posts
I have to agree with Burbank77 on pitching your own game. This is my first year playing in National Tournaments and I was surprised by the number of pitchers that just throw everything down the middle. In the 70 and 75 div you don't have the great speed defense and you can't just let the other team tee off on pitches down the middle. I have heard comments on someone saying he pitched a good game because he didn't walk anyone. (But he gave up 24 runs). I pitch around the edges of plate/mat and if I walk you so be it but I am not going to give you anything down the middle if I can help it.

Next Gen: I worked all last spring on moving back but it just didn't work. I would lose my focus of where I wanted the pitch to hit by having to remember to back up when the ball is released. Remember all my motion is forward till after the ball is released. Now I have to stop my forward motion and then reverse my direction backwards.
Sept. 19, 2007
the wood
1079 posts
Burbank77:
Your last post should be required reading for all pitchers. Just leave out the part about your injuries as I'd hate to see a good potential pitcher give it up based upon what you've been through. :-)
Bob Woodroof
Sept. 20, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
Fred, at this stage of your life you are probably correct. It would be very hard to break an old habit ans start anew.

I have been backing up after release for over 30 years, so to me it is second nature. But I can see what you are saying.

Mike, certainly do what works for you. And I certainly don't believe in just throwing BP up to the plate. Just saying there are many ways to skin a cat.
Sept. 20, 2007
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Hey Mikey,
That was an honest and great post.
Thanks a lot.
As I've said to a couple of people before
when I hit home runs in my dreams
I look just like you.
You're a monster player
and I'll say it again
the best player in Senior ball.

We now share the love of pitching which I've learned is the coolest position
on the field.
I agree that disrupting the unconscious timing of the batter
is key to pitching agressively and I've played with you and against you enough
to know you know what you're talking about,
I've gotten you a couple of times and you've gotten me, too
but I'm never relaxed facing you because I know you can mess
with my AB and that's a key to being an effective pitcher.

The best single thing a softball pitcher can do
in one application to do all the things that any batter
anywhere in the country doesn't want to have happen
is to learn and throw a knuckleball.
And Mike
I remember from catching you,
you have an excellent one that I always encouraged you to throw.

For those who may not know
a knuckleball is a pitch that does NOT rotate
like a normally thrown ball, moves uniquely every pitch as it is affected
by atmospheric phenomena and cannot be timed by any other pitch
the pitcher has thrown.
The best pitchers I face, have exceptional knuckleballs
like Rich does, from The Farm.

A batter has to concentrate completely when a knuckleball is being thrown
and change his expectations in the moment to hit the ball well.
Short swinging, singles hitters tend to do better than longer swinging power hitters.
And the sweetest irony of the knuckleball is that it is most effective
and baffling when the wind is blowing out, opposing the ball thrown
and guys are trying to launch.

I am still in the midst of compiling enough stuff
to make a pitching video but I already know
that the knuckleball will be the star of the show.

Back to Mike and defense,
I have said that Larry Campbell, coach of MTC 55's Major plus
and quite a player himself
said that "take aways" are the key to winning in very competitive softball.
Everyone's a good hitter and "stealing" or taking away hits by the defense
not only stop rallys but psychologically inflates the defensive team
while deflating the offense.
One monster stop or pop up in a key situation
can create a champion.
So any AB that a pitcher can "take away" from any batter
is significant.
Mike says he can take away 6 hits.
That's HUGE and should insure victory against an otherwise equal team.
I think one or two or three stops or disrupted AB's can turn the tide, too.
Sept. 20, 2007
Fred Scerra
Men's 80
542 posts
Most pitcher that I see that back up usually pitch from a stationary position then move back which makes a lot of sense and does allow you to back up after you release the ball.

I tried that during the winter and spring and I could throw strikes and move back but I did lose my ability and control to hit the edges of the plate/mat whenever I wanted to.

When pitching to a plate/mat IMO control to be able to hit the edges is more important than being able to move back.

Pitching without the mat is a different story. If I was to pitch without the mat all the time then I probably would pitch from a stationary position which would give me the chance to move back.
Sept. 21, 2007
Duke
Men's 60
714 posts
I pitch and I have never altered my defense for fear of getting hit in the face. If I thought for a second that I could get hit by a batted ball in the face, then I would either wear a mask or play another position. What I fear is getting hit in the shins or ankle, which has happened 5 times in 30 years. It hurt alot, I recovered, and from all these posts, I am going to go out and buy some shin guards today. My biggest fear are those 2 to 3 pitching rubbers in front of me. I went to field a routine hard smash up the middle, and the ball hit one of those rubbers, took a bad bounce and hit me in a bad spot on my arm. I could not even hold a bat after that. Now I wear an arm guard, just in case that happens again in the next 30 years. Honestly, I do not think that I could ever get hit above the knees. I did not think that I could get in the arm, but I did. :-)
Sept. 21, 2007
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2650 posts
Playing first base at the Major Plus level I wear a small shin gurad on my wrist just above my glove. In a game earlier this year against a C team I took a shot by a one hopper just above my glove. It took months to heal. I try to wear the guard now.
Sept. 21, 2007
Enviro-Vac
Men's 60
394 posts
Smart idea. Thanks for the tip Bruce
Sept. 24, 2007
SouthernLeather
22 posts
BruceinGA,
That's really a good tip, and it got me to thinking about where I have taken some tough shots.

I am working on modifying a guard to use just like you mention. Thanks....
Sept. 24, 2007
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2650 posts
You're welcome SL. I went to Kmart and bought a pair of kids soccer shin guards, the ones made for 5 or 6 year olds, about 6 inches long. I covers my wrist from my glove up my arm about 6".
Sept. 24, 2007
4x4
Men's 65
595 posts
BnG - you went to Kmart 3 times?
Sept. 24, 2007
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2650 posts
Well Pete, I've just developed this stuttering problem.....
Truthfully, I don't know why it was posted three times.
Sept. 24, 2007
GT
Men's 60
162 posts
Duke, here is a suggestion for your problem about the pitching rubbers. This is what I did on our fields. Removed the front pitching rubber. Only place it at the 56 foot mark. Chalk the 50 foot mark. No need to worry about a ball hitting a rubber then. Most guys are pitching from further back anyways. Just a liitle bit of help that might save you from a bad hop and one less thing to worry about when pitching.
Sept. 24, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
I could be wrong, but I think the point is there can be a problem with multiple pitching rubbers on the same field. I have seen fields that are used for slow-pitch, fast-pitch, and perhaps little league baseball. All with rubbers at varying distances. You cannot remove all of these.
Sept. 24, 2007
Fastsam
Men's 60
55 posts
I also play first base and a little third. Your idea is great I've tried playing with a wrist band with a small sponge under it but it was some what cumbersome. I had some bones displaced in my wrist from a batted ball this year and will be having surgery on 10-11-07. The shin guard for the wrist will be my first investment when my wrist heals. Thanks for the idea.
Sam ODB
Sept. 24, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
Anyone who wants or needs to wear protective gear, as long as it isn't forced upon everyone, go for it. But for you guys who seem to get hit frequently and feel the need, how often do you practice fielding? How much do you prepare yourself to play the field? How much serious fielding practice do you take compared to the amount and intensity of BP? How much agility and quickness work do you do off the field? How many drills do you do to soften your hands?

Getting padding will help you not get hurt (a good thing) but practicing and preparing yourselves will help you field the ball and get guys out (a much better thing).
Sept. 24, 2007
Fastsam
Men's 60
55 posts
I didn't see anyone use the word frequent. I saw people who got hit once. Everyone in the infield for any lenght of time will get a hop that they can't catch clean. Anything that may prevent injury is a plus. I will put my athletic ability up against anyone. It's not about ability since anyone could be hit at anytime. It's about the freak hops we sometime get. Wear what you need.
Sept. 24, 2007
TheNextGeneration
Men's 50
307 posts
Depends on your definition of the word, I suppose.

I agree, wear what you need, but I did not see you discuss how much defensive practice or drills you do every week.
Sept. 24, 2007
Fastsam
Men's 60
55 posts
For those that know me defense is not my problem. I play a few nights a week in the east bay and I go to the park every Saturday that we aren't playing to work out. Is that enough or should I be doing more? Like I alredy stated this was a single event that could have been avoided, If I'd have had some kind of protection on when it happened. It will never happen again. Wear what you need. But no one should be able to tell you what you need. Be safe and stay healthy.
Sept. 24, 2007
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2650 posts
Sam, Vinci made some sweat bands with a hard piece of plastic in them. I just checked their website, vincipro.com, and didn't see them. You may want to call and ask for Pete Vince. He might be able to find some.
Good luck with your surgery.
Sept. 24, 2007
4x4
Men's 65
595 posts
So - - if we all march to Kmart and get these things what should we call them?

I vote for Bru-shield.... ( 8
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