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Discussion: moving up

Posted Discussion
Nov. 29, 2007
ike
1 posts
moving up
Our team has had a good year in 2007 and as a reward we were moved up to majors for the Vegas Winter World tourney in November (we started the year in AA and have been moved up twice in nine months). When we went to the tourney, the current major teams welcomed us and players from three teams specifically asked--"Who and how many major and super-major players did you put on your team for this tournament?" The question floored us, but the answer was none and they were shocked. Evidently it is common practice to load up in the major division. We didn't because we are in a small market and don't have any players in that category (we wouldn't add on anyway) and secondly, why would you tell your current teammates that some of you won't be participating (team members that worked their tails off to improve our play to get us into the majors) because we'er picking up higher quality players. We always thought that you take the same girl home that you brought to the dance.

I s this what senior softball is all about? Evidently it is, and that's a shame.

ike-high desert 60s
Nov. 29, 2007
tcadmw1
Men's 55
62 posts
Hello Ike,

First congratulations on a very good senior softball travel tournament year! It should always be recognized and appreciated when a team improves enough to be moved up in classification at the national level. And to do it with basically the same players is even more outstanding! Again Congratulations!

The meat of your statements forced me to state my views on this topic. It is very common for readers to look at National Travel events as an opportunity to win a national championship. However, at the same time they tend to confuse winning with where they think they should be classified.

Most teams think that they should be classified in divisions where they win some or most of the tournaments they play in before being bumped up to the next level. Especially since they are paying hundreds even thousands of dollars to travel and play senior softball.

The fact is that if every team was fairly classified (operative word "fairly") then chances are your team would be competitive if they went 2-2 or somewhere around .500 in winning percentage at these tournaments. Now I expect most managers don't agree with that but that is how tournament team classifications are suppose to work.

Your reward just as with any good travel team is that you enjoy going to these events and playing against the best competition you can compete against. The only problem these days with classification of teams at national events is that way to many teams think that winning tournaments should be the key to what division you should get to play in.

I think your team will do well in the Major Divisio if they stick together and play together as a team. All to often teams that move up fall apart because they don't THINK they can win so why even try. The really good teams are those that when they move up they hang in there taking their lumps until they learn how to beat those teams! Believe me any team can and will be beaten on any given weekend at this level.

Good luck to you guys next year and I hope you have a great holiday season!

Mike Walker
Hollis Appraisals
Nov. 29, 2007
curty
Men's 60
105 posts
from my experiences, teams try to win first, then look for better competition. our team has played@ AAA from the start , playing major @ a national event voluntarily, so we could judge for our selves. Being a new england team, it get's expensive to attend these events and we want our monies worth. To that end being competitive means winning= more games. I think the issue should be decided on ability of the dominant players on a team because THEY will want to play up. Sometimes this means a migration of players from lower divisions to better a team or vice versa. A good defensive team can get penalised by being moved up as opposed to a good hitting team. My thoughts.
Nov. 29, 2007
Lefty64
Men's 70
14 posts
Hey, Ike! Can't wait for you to get old enough to play with the Roadrunners and make us a major team!! Congrats on a great year for you guys!!

Ken High Desert Roadrunners 65AAA
Nov. 29, 2007
THECAT
59 posts
Ike, the consideration should also include sponsered and non sponsered teams. Yes, it makes a major difference especially as you graduate to major and major plus. The non sponsered teams have a huge disadvantage on personnel. As the expenses gets higher the better ballplayers look for sponsered teams and sponsered teams court them. The weakest link may be a .750 hitter that can't play defense.
I agree on the idea of staying put unless you win 3 or 4 major tourneys in a 2 year span as a AA or AAA team. But then you do get older and the younger teams turning to the new age bracket bring more competition. It took a long time to get competitve as a AA or AAA. Let us enjoy it for awhile and not become sacrafical lambs again.
Nov. 30, 2007
SCRAPPY6
55 posts
IKE,
CONGRATS ON A GREAT SEASON. WE HAVE PLAYED AGAINST YOU GUYS FOR YEARS, SCRAPIRON 50'S, 55'S, AND YES, NOW THE 60'S.
WE WERE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU GUYS IN AAA BUT I AM SURE YOU WILL HOLD YOUR OWN IN MAJORS. IT IS NICE TO PLAY AGAINST TEAMS THAT ARE FAIR, PLAY HARD, AND WIN OR LOSE, ARE PROFESSIONAL IN EVERYTHING THEY DO. WE PLAYED AGAINST PARADISE CHEV THIS YEAR AND THEY WERE DOMINANT. I KNOW WHY THEY WON THE MAJORS IN VEGAS. WE TOOK THIRD IN VEGAS AAA AND WE SHOULD HAVE A GOOD YEAR IN 2008.
OF COURSE IF WE DO, WE WILL SEE YOU AT THE MAJOR LEVEL NEXT YEAR. WE ARE A GOOD AAA TEAM AND SHOULD IMPROVE AS THE YEAR GOES ON. WE RECENTLY BROUGHT UP OUR "YOUNGER 60'S" FROM THE 55 TEAM AND WILL HAVE THEM THIS YEAR. WE CAN NOW COMPETE.
REMEMBER OUR CANDY BUSINES ---
MIKE FROM SCRAPIRON
Nov. 30, 2007
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
612 posts
Ike, first congratulations on a good 2007. Some of the disconnect on what you are hearing is because Las Vegas is a play ahead tournament for 2008, and some teams either have new rosters, or some teams right or wrong throw teams together sometimes by getting people that will be old enough for the age division in 2008. It is sometimes hard to get the regular team to a tournament so close in time to the nationals. I hope all goes well for you in this division.
Dec. 1, 2007
GT
Men's 60
162 posts
Hey Scrappy6, Pitcher, Christian Bros Auto.Congrats on taking third place. We enjoyed our game with you as we did with everyone else there. Glad to see so much good commraderie among the teams. Enjoyed chatting with the different players, especially the guys from Hawaii, who we don't see all year. Hope to run across you guys during 2008.
Ike, congrats on keeping just your team. Not a lot do that. No wonder you were questioned. Loading up doesn't a team make. Hope you all have a great 2008--except against us lol.
Happy Holidays
Dec. 1, 2007
Hotcorner
Men's 65
20 posts
Hi Mike: As stated by Terry Hennessy in a recent letter, "the first priorty of the National Rating Committee is protecting the teams in a skill division."Teams must not be too strong to remain in a division or rating level. The 10 Nat'l softball associations agree that teams that win 1st place in any of the 10 Nat'l Assoc. final championships are moved-up for the next season.Overwhelmingly, team managers and players view this promotion as a penalty: a curse to be avoided thru the rating appeal process. I'm suggesting a new system of rewards an benefits ie; cost savings, tangible individual rewards etc. The new rewards/benefits system, if structured properly, will serve to motivate teams and players to improve their on-field performances, to strive to be champions at the highest level possible. I personally am looking forward to 2008 a major+. Bobby K
Dec. 3, 2007
jah#4
Men's 55
551 posts
We the Kayson Grille 55 team was lucky enough to win the SPA national tournament this year in the Major division so by rule we have to move up. In this tourney any of the 10 teams that was there could have won this event. We beat a couple of the teams on just the breaks of the game. Our team will break up because we don't have enough power to complete at that leveland there is a few player that just don't want to play Major + ball again. At this National we only hit 11 HRS, in 7 games. I know teams that hit that many in one game. It be hard to pick up players to move up when the first thing they ask is whats paid for.
I have played on Major + teams before and have took my lumps as Mike Walker said in his post and any team can be beaten on any given weekend, but the game has to be fun to play, when you pay your our way unlike the team like Mike's that pays hotels and plane fares uniforms and things like that, A team that moves up can play and change things over time and improve your team and get better. that means getting rid of weaker players and picking better ones, But it take time and you have to find player that get along and don't break up what you have in the first place a game to have fun in playing. Just hoping thats not you or your best friend that on this team that they are cutting to get better.
I have all respect in the world for Mike he and his team Hollis that he plays on I have several close friends on that team and not trying to disrespect anything he has posted just giving a different view point from a player that loves to play thinks the system needs to be looked at for players to keep playing
The only thing the new classification of the move up give up is a chance to win , it does not say that you are going to win that totally up toyou and your team.
Don Ward
Kayson 55
Kittrell 50
Dec. 3, 2007
tcadmw1
Men's 55
62 posts
Hi Don,

Nice post to start with. I see your points and cannot argue against them. Senior softball should be about good competition and FUN!!! :)

I know there is a lot to do about ratings and classificat;ions. It always has been every since they first started them many years ago. Thank you USSSA.

Anyway, travel tournaments are for the guys who want to win championships. Otherwise why go right?

You don't pay good money, even sponsors money if you don't think you can be competitive! That is different than winning though.

Don you explained your situation very well and I respect you and your team. Your points are well made so it does not seem fair that you guys will have to break up if you don't want to move up. Not sure there is an answer to that other than it is what it is for now.

However, for those teams who won't travel unless they have a very good chance at winning the tournament and only want to play down to do so then I have no sympathy for them. They are really the teams who make it difficult for everyone else. And some of those teams are sponsored teams and some of them are NOT! I don't think sponsorship is an automatic for being a better team.

I like your thoughts Don and appreciate your insight. I hope to see you on the softball field soon. Have a great holiday!

Mike Walker
Hollis Appraisals
Dec. 4, 2007
Hotcorner
Men's 65
20 posts
Hi Don&Mike: The first priority for playing senior softball at any skill level is having FUN, the discription of which is open to personal enterpretation. Too many of us equate fun=winning when the grass roots focus of enjoyment should be in the process of playing the "Game." I personaly am very grateful for the opportunity to play at the major+ skill level and I fully expect the Top Gun 65 team to take it's lumps next year. Having won 3 world championships this year has earned us the a promotion to major+. However, the Nat'l Rating Committee and Associations need to devise a meaningful system of rewards/benefits for successful teams that are promoted especially when promoted to major and major+. Not enough teams stay together. How can we change this? Bobby K
Dec. 4, 2007
RDSinNEOHIO
Men's 50
14 posts
What about the opposite end of the spectrum. The best our team ever did was a 6th place finish in '05 in the Phoenix nationals while playing 50-AAA. We were moved up to 50-Major and in the past four tournaments we've gone to, we're 0-5 in all of them. It's not fun to outlay a grand out of each player's own pocket to travel to faraway places just to get annihalated. There should be some determining factor to allow a team to also move back down. Our backer is a 60+ HOF Major-Plus player granted and no offense to him but although he may travel with us, he doesn't play with us. We realize what we need to do to compete at the Major level, we just don't have the "Big Dogs" to be able to do it yet. And again, we never did win anything at the 50-AAA level in our minds to justify the move-up to Major.
Dec. 4, 2007
Hotcorner
Men's 65
20 posts
Hi all: We all recognize that there are problems with the current ratings system and procedures. I offer a possible solution for consideration by the Rating committee. Rather than rate a teams skill level exclusively by wins/losses and run differencials, perhaps there should be a rating points system team players. The teams with the highest accumulative points play at thie highest level{major+]. It will take some work and some time to work-out the glitches, but will help eleminate some of the subject judments. Recreation leagues have good success with this style of rating system. Your thoughts anyone? Bobby K
Dec. 5, 2007
tcadmw1
Men's 55
62 posts
Hi BobbyK,

This topic goes around and around all the time with no better solution ever being accepted. That is assuming there is such a better system.

I keep forgetting that the bottom line is what is the easy way of doing something is the way that it will be done on this topic. Senior Softball could do a much better job of setting up divisions if the teams and players participated more in fixing it.

The idea I thought that was the best (My opinion only) was rating players first then applying that to teams. That too would take a little work but that is what kills it. Senior programs don't seem to want to work together to make that happen.

Till then or someone is willing to put up the money to make it work then I don't see it changing.

Mike Walker
Hollis Appraisals
Dec. 7, 2007
Hotcorner
Men's 65
20 posts
Hi Mike & all concerned: Recently spoke with a SSUSA official re: the current method of rating teams and offered my sugestion of incorporating a player rating into the current system. The response was the assoc. does not have the manpower to undertake such a large project. I suggest applying the player rating system in the age groups and divisions where there are the most and ongoing rating problems. Perhaps initiate the system at 55 major/major+, then refine and expand to other troubled divisions. I suggest that all concerned players write to the Nat'l Associations to include this topic in the upcoming Summit meetings. Any thoughts on how it can work? Bobby K
Dec. 7, 2007
Enviro-Vac
Men's 60
401 posts
Delegation & relegation has always workerd. Usually it's top two teams get moved up bottom two teams go down and in my experience, that usually works well in small tournaments. In big tournaments the, ratios should absolutely change. Where they get as many as twenty or more teams in a division they could move 20% of the teams up and 10% down...just a thought...
Dec. 7, 2007
tcadmw1
Men's 55
62 posts
Hi Hotcorner,

I respect the fact that you actually called the SSUSA office to discuss this. That is great! To often we are willing to complain without taking any actions, you appear to be a man of action and I like that.

It seems to me that there are two paths that could be taken here.

1) Modify team move up and down procedures to make it more understandable and manageable. Unfortunately, I don't know how to do that so that it would work for all senior associations. To many chiefs and not enough indians kind of thing.

2) Rate players Majro/Major+, AAA, AA, A. This one could be tested at the Major/Major+ level, which really there is not much difference in the teams or players at this level to be very very honest. You get your player ID card and besides it just saying who you are and when it expires it says you are one of the above rated players. You then setup the divisions based on how many of each level of player is on the team. Players can appeal for reclassification and a process could be used to determine that.

This is workable in my opinion but again we have to remember that it is very easy to confuse a national tournament that uses player ID cards with other tournaments or associations who don't!!!

My 2 cents worth again. Pretty soon I will be upto a buck in comments... LOL Merry Christmas Everyone!

Mike Walker
Hollis Appraisals
Dec. 7, 2007
Hotcorner
Men's 65
20 posts
Hi Mike& all concerned players: The addition of a players rating program could work something like this. At the time a team enters any quailafying tourmant, along with a roster of players, the manager would also submit a data sheet on each player. The data form would include players primary playing position, any special health info, and a grade point average based upon the managers assesment of the players skill level. There could be other info requests also. The sum of the GPA is divided by the total # of players. The average of the GPA is the starting point to determine the skill level within a given are group. This info along with all other statistical data will help clarify justification for questionable team ratings. Welcome your input and thoughts. Bobby K
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