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Discussion: more balls than brains

Posted Discussion
Aug. 16, 2008
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
more balls than brains
I just got off the phone from an hour long conversation
with a prominent official from NCSSA.

We spoke about how bad the balls were at SPA, this year.
Same in Nebraska at the Senior Softball World Series.
It wasn't my feeling immediately after the experience at SPA but in hindsight
we played 5 games on a field with a strong wind blowing in
and I thought it was the wind that kept all the balls from being hit well.
and of course, my monster pitching.
Slow down, son.

We used the same balls one week later in a local tournament
with no wind conditions and you couldn't hit one of them out with a bazooka.
The ball manufacturer, Baden, told this official who contacted them
that their policy is to make the ball that the tournament director,
in this case Ridge Hooks, asked for.

So, we now have evidence that some tournament directors are asking manufacturers
to dumb down balls for tournaments
and Ridge, no one's coming next year.

I remember there being a lot of controversy last year around pushing manufacturers
and tournament directors
to be careful that their ball and bats didn't exceed specs in the event of an injury
and subsequent civil liability.
That would make manufacturers wary of putting out a ball or bat
like they used to that was lively enough to become popular.
Bats then become stiffer and more "durable" while balls become
softer and less lethal to defenders.
At least one tournament director in Palm Springs was shocked that the
same ball used in two successive annual tournaments was dramatically
worse one year to the next.

Now we have evidence that manufacturers are taking it upon themselves,
probably to avoid potential for civil liability, and dumbing down balls
without even being asked to by tournament directors.

We have all kinds of people clamoring and lobbying all over this board
that there's just no way to stop bat cheating and cheaters
except to change or dumb down the bat and ball combination.
It is my contention that this problem is not as significant for seniors
as it may be for the younger age groups.

We have tournament directors trying to figure out how to:
- save on balls lost/used at tournaments,
- keep tournaments
running on time,
- avoid civil liability that may come from "hot" equipment
causing injuries
- keep tournaments competitive and more popular by dampening the effectiveness
of the most powerful hitting teams thereby increasing participation and revenue
- placate older players and players with older, more traditional heads
who seem unable to identify with today's, faster more powerful and fun game
many of whom comprise the ruling committees of major associations like ASA
and others, too.

All of these conditions and others contribute to trying to find a simple
easy solution that may positively impact all of them at once
and it's all around dumbing down the bat and ball combination.

We are being had, those of us who like to hit good to better balls
with good to better bats because the trend not only seems but is
going the other way, the long way and the wrong way.

Again, there are some simple, cost free ways of maintaining positive control
of bat/ball combinations for Seniors that would solve any to all of these conditions
that over and over again never seem to take hold.
The arguments and marketing approaches seem geared
to the ease and simplicity of changing bat/ball efficiency
to solve all the problems that tournament directors face
and unless/until we say no
and keep the bat/ball standard from deteriorating further
we're going to experience tournaments that no one
wants or is willing to attend.

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water
and don't punish all of us for the sake of an egregious few.

Lastly for now,
I don't know of one senior player who's looking forward to
or really wants a worse bat/ball combination
or who wants to spend more money or new
equipment that will be in compliance with the new standards.
We need to let them know
all of them, any of them
however, whomever and whenever we can
or they might not hear us and get it wrong.
Aug. 17, 2008
4x4
Men's 65
595 posts
Absolutely a great post Joe.

I'd heard the same report on the SPA balls mid last week and it seems like we are being squeezed in every possible way (the Golden Goose is getting slaughtered and asked to like it). Being played for suckers/fools by the mechandisers (retail industry/tournament product) is not going to produce a better playing environment in spite of the "hyperbole" being leaked to us under the GUISE of safety/better product.

We are getting hit by a subtle disinformation campain to further veiled/collusive/monetary interests. The parties as I understand it have met during some of our tournaments. It would be extremely nieve to believe this never was a topic of discussion or a planned agenda by some parties.

You'd think that the flaming wreckage of the ASA would be harbinger enough to dissuade these "interested parties". Of couse, for ALL we know many of these same parties might have led to the ASA decline while profiteering. Wouldn't THAT be some interesting information, however the money circles tend to be more self interested/self invested/self serving than those of us actually paying the bills.
Aug. 18, 2008
Brett
Men's 55
239 posts
Eninstein, I'm glad to see you've changed your opinion about the Baden Lexum balls used in the SPA tournaments. Back on July 22nd, you stated the following in your post about the SPA Nationals in Tulsa - "The balls were great." The balls are only decent in cool weather. When the weather gets over 90, the balls are terrible. I for one wish they would switch to the Trump X-Rock. The X-Rock seems to hit better in hot weather than any other 44-375 ball my team has used.
Aug. 18, 2008
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Brett, the question is will he flip again.

Aren't you guys the same generation that played with kapok-center Harwoods? Complain then?
Aug. 18, 2008
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
I really thought the wind and my pitching were why I was seeing
so few balls hit well but it's obvious to me now I was mistaken and
those balls stink.
I didn't make up "Follow the money".
but it often helps figure out, " Who's zooming who", when stuff goes down.
Anyone with any contact info on Dirty, Gary 19 -- email address, phone number,
street address I would appreciate you dropping me a line at:
joerinaldi56@yahoo.com.
Aug. 18, 2008
the wood
1085 posts
Baden Lexum 44/375 ball... we have used it over the past 3 SPA events (Frisco, TX; KC, MO & Tulsa, OK). There were seldom a lot of HRs hit in those events. But if you hit it well in the first 2 (2006 & 2007) they would fly. We won the 55 major + division last year (2007) and hit a lot fewer HRs than we did in Phoenix (2007, SSWC)... we went 1-4 there. They used the Trump Stote 44/375 and the temps in AZ were in the high 90s or triple digits.
We brought some Baden game balls home from Tulsa this year and have taken BP with them and the Trump ball (Stote) as a means of comparison. The difference was minimal... but this was done when the temps were in the 80s, not at all like the conditions of Tulsa. My 'untrained eye' tells me that the problems in Tulsa were primarily due to the heat. Not all balls withstand the heat the same.
Anyone can test these balls (as well as any others) under varying conditions. It doesn't take a scientist's input. Get the balls that you want to test and hit them in low, medium and high temps and draw your own conclusions.
I cannot speak to whether the manufacturer made a concerted effort to 'dummy down' the Baden balls or not. I can say that the pre-2008 balls perform very similarly to the 2008 version. However, I have yet to compare them at high temps.
BW
Aug. 18, 2008
Fred Scerra
Men's 80
542 posts
We also used them in an ISA Tournament in Columbus OH this year and they were horrible. When you see outfielders for the 65+ teams playing around 200' you know that the ball is dead.
Aug. 18, 2008
mad dog
Men's 60
3937 posts
dang i'm the only one who likes them(lexum baden).we used them in our senior league in dallas and never had a prol with them.those who could hit hr's did(90% time we hit into a breeze or wind).could of been stored in hi heat,but i leave my bp balls in the back of my truck and the badens in there hit just as good as the rest(comparing ASA to ASA,senior to senior,etc).now of course the u-trip balls are better :):):)
Aug. 18, 2008
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2665 posts
I believe we hit them in Ft Meyers at the SSUSA Winternationals in 2005, maybe since then also, I can't recall. I do remember that in 2005 they were great.
einstein, the Tulsa balls flew well, maybe no monster shots though.
Aug. 18, 2008
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Hey Bruce,
Initially, I thought so too but I remember Clatter flying out at least 3
if not 4 times in one game back on field 3 where we played 5 games.
We played a final game against the Mavericks and only scored 8 runs
on a filed with the wind blowing out.
They didn't hit that well given the conditions but again
I thought it was because of my pitching.
I heard from many guys, Bruce, who thought the balls were dogs.
And we played a local 4 team tournament the next week in Modesto
with brand new balls we brought back from that tournament
and those balls were horrible.
Someone called Baden and complained about the balls and the Baden rep
said they can make the balls anyway a TD wants i.e. hotter or notter
and that he sent Ridge the balls he asked for.
Aug. 18, 2008
diehard
Men's 55
245 posts
Back in June they used the Baden Lexum 44/375 in Salem, VA, and they went nowhere. They had so many complaints about those balls that they decided to switch to the Dudley Thunder Advance and it was a major improvment. Everyone seemed happy with the balls at the ISSA worlds in Manassas. I don't know what they will be using in Burlington but the Dudley Thunder Advance would suit me just fine.
Aug. 19, 2008
WOW
197 posts
Dirty. "The question is he will flip again"!!!!!!!
Nice post....
Aug. 19, 2008
cpope
Men's 60
160 posts
Bruce you are right we used the Baden Lexum balls back then and also the next 2 years. We had to play on the 320 fences south of Ft Myers. They seem to fly out of the park.
You know my power I hit 9 off the fence and for me I though they hit very well. We have used them several times and for the most part they seemed to work well.
For me I think the Trump Stote ball 44/375 ball you can get.
As for the TD wanting the ball juiced down I am sure it can be done. With the Stote and I am sure with the Lexum you can get a ball or two from the same dozen and maybe one will be way lower in pop than all the others.
I do order the balls for our senior Beverly Hills league and have seen a whole lot of differance between balls from the same dozen.
In my opinion you can drop all the composites but just keep a good ball. Real HR hitters don't need a composite to hit HR. I know I need the U2 to go yard, but it does make many base hitters HR hitters.
Sorry I will miss USSSA in Panama City, it's always a great tournament. Hope to see you in Dalton.
Aug. 19, 2008
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Hey Charles,
I'm with you.
Nothing like a single wall bat and a old super blue dot.
It's when the TD's started using crappy balls that all trouble began.
Fundamentally, it's the ability to hit and drive a ball well
that's an integral part of the softball/baseball experience.
as I've said many, many times.
And again, take a look around at what the TD's and merchandisers
are doing to us regarding ball/bat combinations.
It's going way too far back in the wrong direction and we're all being had.

Just a note to all my friends.
I won't comment on this website to any man, woman or child
who doesn't have the decency and the stones to stand in
for who they really are.
My conversations are only with those
who chose to be accountable for their words, actions and opinions.
Aug. 19, 2008
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Words to live by.
Aug. 19, 2008
jrhunch
96 posts
the baden balls that were used in salam va.were a joke.why have a beautiful complex with fields 300 ft. with high fences,if you are going to use only 240 feet of the field.i saw 3 hrs the whole time ,2 were at 8am games with 70 degrees and another with a wind blowing out to lf.we should get what we are paying for.entry fees are too high.we win nothing .at least we should have a ball that is correct.40 core under 70 degrees 44 core over 70 .why do balls with the same specs hit so different?why do we follow the rules and tds and asscs. change them when it is in their best interest?how many times have we travelled great distances and then the balls are changed?
Aug. 20, 2008
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Hey JR,
Why do the balls with the same specs hit so different?
Great question and there are a bunch of guys not least of which is the old Stoneman
who's done a ton of research on balls but I/we've just recently learned that TD's can order as well as the manufacturers can make the same make and model ball hotter or notter,
so the same balls from one tournament or year to the next
can be made very different which is not only deceptive but sounds like
a breach of contract.
TD's I believe have the primary responsibility to ensure that the ball
is to the expectation of the players and if not like we've learned at SPA this year
we won't go anymore, Ridge.
TD's, need to hear and believe us that we seniors need good bat/ball combos or
we won't like it and we won't participate.
Present standard is a good 375x44 ball and 1.2 bats.
Aug. 21, 2008
Mango
Men's 50
90 posts
Einstein,
Hey Joey. Iíve got to disagree with you. I thought the balls at SPA were fine. You needed to hit them just decent to get them out. You werenít going to have too many mishit homeruns (we had a couple). The weaker guys werenít going to hit them out. We scored in the 40ís a couple of times so thatís pretty decent.

Now as far as us not scoring many runs against you guys. We only scored 23 because they called the game for the mercy rule (you guys only scored 8 off Mick). They made us stop hitting by rule. We were still hitting with I believe no outs when they called the game. In fact Bully mentioned to me today that we might still be hitting as we speak had they not made us stop hitting by rule.
:)
Mango
Aug. 21, 2008
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Mango, my good man.
We got eight runs off Mick but will Mick will tell you
he's never had an easier time of it.
My boys went flat, exhausted, spent from fatigue.
No excuse, just a fact.
Mick is still one of the best there is
but he never had to break a sweat.

At first I didn't think the ball wasn't the worst ball in the world
but I didn't pitch another game that weekend
where anyone scored more than 10 runs off us.
If you remember we were ahead of you after the seeding games
in the tie breaker having allowed the fewest runs.

You guys have an abnormally monster hitting team where
you've got 5 or 6 of the longest hitters in the game
playing with you so it's hard to use you as a barometer
for how hot the balls were.
As I remember you played most of your games with the wind blowing out
which is another reason why you may not have noticed
the true caliber of the ball.

I too was cramping and exhausted from not being in good enough shape
to compete at my best in the finals on Sunday and didn't give you the game
I wanted to.
Hope we can do it again.
Tell Bull next time I'm going to strike him out.
Tell Mick and Turbo hi for me.
Aug. 22, 2008
Dale
Men's 50
76 posts
You know what, Einstein my boy?

It's monsters that are supposed to hit the ball out in less than ideal conditions.
Aug. 22, 2008
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
"TD's, need to hear and believe us that we seniors need good bat/ball combos or we won't like it and we won't participate."

Speak for yourself. I would rather have wood bats, kapok-center balls, and 20 teams in my bracket than Ultra 1s, Titleists, and 4 teams. It is about competition. If you just want to hit bloated homers, stay home and take BP.
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