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Discussion: No one really cares about player safety!

Posted Discussion
Nov. 23, 2008
Duke
Men's 60
702 posts
No one really cares about player safety!
I was getting ready to play a game and take my warm up pitches. After the first pitch, our catcher threw the ball back. I could not see it, because of the sun. I mentioned that to the umpire, and asked to play after the sun went down. He replied that we had to play, because there was no time to reschedule or delay the start. What about player safety? The umpire did not care and said to play ball. I yelled over to the other team, but they did not seem to care and did not reply. I could have done the smart thing and walked off the field, but I did not. My dumb! I did the next best thing and pitched the ball, and turned my back and dropped to the ground as low as I could, so I could only get hit on my back. I made sure that I stayed within those pitcher safety lines, so it would be an out, just in case I got hit. LOL! My catcher had to roll the ball back to me for almost 4 innings.

Regarding the actual pitcher rule, it has nothing to do with pitcher safety, NONE WHATSOEVER!! Translating the rule into simple terms, there is no pitcher safety rule at this time. Reading between the lines, the rule reads "it is OK to injure or kill the pitcher, but the batter will be called out." End of story! What does everyone think?

Andy Smith,
Double Nickels,
Manager/Coach
Nov. 24, 2008
coachron
14 posts
No condoning the umpires actions or the other teams, but it looks like both teams played under the same conditions. I don't think there is any stipulations regarding sun for Pitcher Saftey. I am not sure how fast the innings were, but that is a awfull long time for the sun to be in the same position in the sky.
Nov. 24, 2008
Dbax
Men's 60
1265 posts
Never heard of any game or tournament where the umpires or directors said, "Let's sit around for awhile and let the sun go down so everyone can see better." Just doesn't happen.
Nov. 24, 2008
taits
Men's 65
4344 posts
Dbax,
Last year in St G. our second game, the sun was in the pitchers 2nd baseman and two out fielders eyes, for both teams late afternoon, other teams pitcher got hit, I had 2 go by my head I never saw and the ump called the game for 20 minutes to let the sun set.
A rare thing but avoided many injuries, no doubt.
They saw playing is assumption of risk, but that assumption also has safety issues that fall on the umps on up. Like the holes in the ground or loose bases.
I'd think the sun is one of them that can be adjusted time wise even during a game, and yes it will upset the schedule. Afterall, the "Wind" is mentioned as a reason for delay. Biut how many times to they use that one. Maybe once a year somewhere..
Perhaps getting some of these rule makers out there to face some good batters might help.
Nov. 24, 2008
Duke
Men's 60
702 posts
Hey Guys,

I too never thought the sun would be a factor for more than an inning or so. It just seemed to never get out of the way till almost sunset. I was not asking to just wait till I could see better, but till I could see at all. It was the same as being in a thick fog. Never saw where the ball was going for the first inning or so, then the next 2 innings, I could kneel low to the ground and see the ball from my knees down. I was nailed once in a situation like that, and it was not a pretty sight. Anyway, say and think what you want, this is just not a safe situation. I will say this, as soon as I can, I will be getting a face guard, chest protector, and shin guards for future situations like this, as I do not wear these things in normal play.

Andy Smith,
Double Nickels,
Manager/Coach
Nov. 24, 2008
breeze53
Men's 55
40 posts
Florida Half Century has just put in place a rule, that a screen will be used if the sun is blinding the pitcher. I think they are going to committee to disgust the situations that would arise by having a screen on the field. Bob
Nov. 24, 2008
curveball
Men's 65
400 posts
Breeze, as a pitcher, I've always been against a screen. But, after playing against Arizona at Desert Breeze in the 65 Majors with the late afternoon sun behind the umpire, I think that screen may have some merit. Neither pitcher could see a thing, lots of growling when anything went middle. We was totally blinded and could see nothing coming off the bat at all. I did find out how far I could back up though!. In the name of saftey, not a bad idea.
It has merit.
Nov. 24, 2008
shortly50
Men's 50
41 posts
I believe if the player does not think it's safe to play it's the players responsablity to keep yourself safe not anybody else
Nov. 24, 2008
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Good point. If you really believe it to be unsafe, take yourself off the field. I have done that during lightning.
Nov. 24, 2008
AZBaller
44 posts
So if we are gonna have a rule for the sun in the pitcher's eye's, then we need a rule for the sun being in the batter's eye's at certian times of the day. Where is all this crap gonna end, just play ball and quit bitching. Most of you guy's have to much time on your hand's to think all this crap up. You need to take up golf or schuffle board, or maybe ping pong, no sun in your eye's playing ping pong, but then again you would find something to bitch about playing ping pong.....
Nov. 24, 2008
taits
Men's 65
4344 posts
AZBaller,
Perhaps a fantasy softball league would be in order. All of us on here have access to the 'puter. We can quit playing ball and go online. Become couch spuds and drink a beer at the same time. lol
It is gertting out of hand, but there is a problem, actually many of them, and some of us are airing many thoughts about some of them. Other(s) just don't like anything it seems.
Besides, not much going on in the way of playing from now till Jan or so.
You have first pick... lol
Nov. 24, 2008
risotopgun
Men's 60
2 posts
my take on the new pitchers rule after playing a few tournaments is simply this......for the safety of the pitcher as well as preserving the integrity of the game as it should be played, it would be far better if the pitchers were required to wear safety equipment and forget about the pitchers box rule.......it does nothing to address the safety of the pitcher . pitchers get hit both intentionally and unintentionally...let's protect them with a rule that works for all involved.
Nov. 24, 2008
Maj + player
16 posts
Hi Guys, I am a 30 yr umpire and I will always put the safety of the players ahead of (we have to get the tournament in). I have personally had two games stopped in the 45 and over ASA nationals because of sun in my pitchers eyes. It is a very dangerous situation and I think that some of the more experienced umpires will or should agree with me. I have stopped games in Nor Cal tournaments because of the sun. It is only a safety problem if it is in the pitchers eyes. Everyone else can back up further if you are not comfortable. It is not a safety issue if it is in the batters eyes as I actually swung and missed because of the sun in a Nor Cal tournament last weekend. Yes! It was strike three and I am a .750 hitter on the year in Major ball now. It is still a game and the umpires are totally responsibile for the conditions of the playing field once the first pitch is thrown. Come on guys, protect you fellow players from possible lights out. I hope this will enlighten some of you players that some of us umpires (and player) do think of your safety on the field. You fellow player and umpire, Tim Reed
Nov. 25, 2008
TOMAR77
Men's 55
197 posts
Andy, last year in winter worlds our pitchers could not see,due to the SUN, both teams git-r-done and blackhawks felt it was to dangerous to continue our umpire agreed game was halted for about 15 minutes.We then re-started the game. Cooperation is the KEY, everyone needs to consider SAFETY 1st, everything else is secondary!
How did Double Nickles do?
Tomar77
Nov. 25, 2008
Joncon
289 posts
I saw a pitcher throwing into the sun get knocked unconscious. He was face down, twitching in the dirt for about a minute.

A short break in the schedule should not be too much to ask for. Tournament directors should realize that these things happen. Most parks have at least one field where this is a daily issue.
Nov. 25, 2008
Ken
Men's 55
462 posts
I donít understand why teams have to play on fields that have sun problems at certain times of the day. There has been a lot of discussion on pitcher safety, and balls hit up the middle. This situation is much worse for pitchers because they have NO chance to field the ball or defend themselves. I was in the game that Duke was talking about and it was definitely not safe for either pitcher. You can pitch inside, but the ball can still go up the middle. For pitchers, the window for unsafe conditions is only about Ĺ hour to 45 minutes at sunset. I would think that any organization implementing rules for pitcher safety would realize the danger to pitchers facing west at that time of the day and work around it. A few years ago, in the Winter Worlds, we played in the morning and the sun was so bad for the batters that our pitcher struck out six people SWINGING, lol. Our pitcher was able to get the right trajectory so the ball was coming right out of the sun. He actually struck out the side in one inning. While it wasnít a safety issue, it wasnít fair for the other team. Morning sun seems to be an issue for longer than sunset, and it probably isnít feasible to schedule around it, but if possible, they should try.

Tommy, we went 4-3, and took fourth. It was a fun tournament with good competition. Saturday we had an 8:00 night game, and it was a little chilly, lol.
Nov. 26, 2008
Omar Khayyam
989 posts
Come on, guys, isn't the sun situation really preventable? I've been pitching for more than 50 years and pitching directly into a setting or rising sun is the most dangerous thing imaginable. You can be the best fielding pitcher in softball and still get beaned by a pitch you CAN'T see. It's bad enough trying to pitch blind when you can't see your arc, but I can do that. But what I can't do is field a ball I don't even see.

Solution: never schedule early morning games on a field where the sun is a problem for the fielders (I don't even like it when it is a problem for batters! Had a tourney this month where there were more than a dozen strikeouts between both teams on an 8:00am game. That's not softball, it's gambling). Any TD can easily determine the problem fields, if by nothing else, going out on Friday morning and evening and looking.

So don't schedule games on those fields at those morning hours. Evening scheduling is more problematic, since tourney delays can push a game into a dangerous setting sun situation. Solutions there are: 1) let the game be delayed by the ump until safe (you are already getting home late in such a situation) 2) have a screen available and put it up. Not a perfect solution since it takes the pitcher out of the game, but it is safe...and the pitcher adds nothing anyhow because he is blind! 3) move the game to another field (often just one or two fields of a four-plex are delayed) where it is safe.

And don't give me all this baloney about how a screen is so difficult to work around. I pitch more than 100 games a year in day play where a screen is mandated by my association. After a couple of weeks you get used to it, as do the infielders. I don't like the screen for most batters because I fear a ricochet off the edge, but it is security for older pitchers or against younger power hitters. Ever play in a park with a tree in left? Or a short foul territory? Or a baseball mound? Sure you have, and you quickly learn to deal with it. Same with a screen. If it is necessary, either because of the sun, or hot bats, or lively balls, use it and quit whining.
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