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Discussion: Is balanced softball more satisfying?

Posted Discussion
Dec. 11, 2009
Omar Khayyam
984 posts
Is balanced softball more satisfying?
Iím thinking of my championship softball team of 1989. Those were the single wall days.

We had one home run hitter who could probably hit one over the fence with a broomstick! We had a second slugger who hit about two home runs a season. I was the pitcher and never gave a thought to a long ball, but had fun trying to frustrate batters. My catcher was stocky and slow. His satisfaction was hanging in there when a guy came crashing home. My third baseman had limited range, but a rocket arm and he lived for the opportunity to gun a guy out at first. My second basemanís arm was too weak for many double plays. He liked to figure out batters and position himself to rob guys of hits to the right and had a high batting average. My shortstop was the home run hitter and fielded as well as he hit. The first baseman was great at catching the short hop and got a lot of praise and self-satisfaction on fielding the rushed throw. He also got the occasional double or triple as a pull hitter.

My right fielder was the slugger who played a decent outfield. My center fielder was the fastest guy and loved taking the extra base or running down the long fly. My left fielder was the surest glove, but his hitting was usually long fly ball outs. My last outfielder was a rover who delighted in poaching on the opposing batterís favorite spot and he was also the fastest home to first.

We won our league that year, and a couple of tournaments. We all enjoyed playing and got our joy and satisfaction in different ways. Now letís put that same team into todayís lively bat/ball combo age of senior softball. Are we happier?

It makes no difference to our home run hitter, except he is a little ticked that his abilities and his committed work to staying in shape and weight lifting have been denigrated as other lesser talents also hit home runs. Heís still a great shortstop.

My slugger is happy, because more hits are homers, but he has also been exposed as a poor fielder who canít catch up with the rockets coming his way.

My first baseman and catcher still canít hit home runs and are still slow. The first baseman has fewer fielding opportunities and the catcher is now in a safe zone.

My second baseman canít catch up to the faster infield hit and neither can my third baseman. They both feel inadequate and frustrated as balls whiz by them. Their batting averages are about the same.

My center fielder is frustrated that so many balls sail over his head and the fence, balls that he would have run down before the hot bats.

My left fielder is happy now that lots of his long flies are home runs and he still fields O.K. when he gets a chance.

My rover has gone to be a fourth outfielder. The hot bats have lessened his effectiveness. He misses the old days.

Iím happy that I can hit a home run, but saddened that my pitching work is less appreciated since there are so many technology-aided hits that would have been outs in the past. Iíd give up the home runs for a return to a more balanced game.

Two guys happier; five guys less satisfied. Letís return to the days of balance between offense, defense, strategy and base-running. Itís the way softball was meant to be played.
Dec. 11, 2009
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
That's interestingly revealed
and captivating.
I wanted to read every word
from start to finish.
But this is your version of these guys'
likes and dislikes and
I'd like to talk to them and see
what they think.
Plus, you're are a pitcher like me
and pitchers love going to a lesser ball with batters able
to do less, score less and hit balls
less hard.

Most to all of the guys I talk with, OK,
want to play/hit with lively bats
and balls.
I think the game has really changed
since then and evolved in ways
that we can't go back and most guys
like me, really don't want to.
You're very smart and write
with interest, brilliance and ease.
Keep 'em coming.
Dec. 12, 2009
JohnBob
Men's 60
246 posts
einstein,why don't these guys that you talk to that want to play with the lively balls and senior bats say so on this message board? I would like to hear from then especially the line drive hitters that you say would suffer the most if a hot ball is not used.
Dec. 12, 2009
spoonplugger
Men's 60
57 posts
This isn't league softball-it's Tournament. The best players-best teams-best equipment. There is a clear goal here- Best of the Best. And to think-I have never even talked to Einstein. Maybe some of you pitchers and 1st and 3rd baseman should only play Church leagues,etc. when your skills diminish. No matter where you ever played, some always outshine the others.
Dec. 12, 2009
butch17
Men's 55
415 posts
spoonplugger,

Just curious what position do you play?

What age bracket? What division? Sorry cant tell by your posts.

Happy Holidays
Dec. 12, 2009
spoonplugger
Men's 60
57 posts
Butch17: 1st-3rd-some outfield. 60. Major.
Dec. 12, 2009
JohnBob
Men's 60
246 posts
butch17, congrats again for you teams win at world champinships in 55 M+.
spoonplugger are you saying you like all these rule changes that are being put in because of the danger to pitchers due to these senior bats and if we hit hot balls that only adds to the danger. Are you saying that you are over 60 years old and your skills have not diminished? I also play 3rd and manage our 60 Major team. Was your team in Phoenix in October?
Dec. 12, 2009
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
hey johnbob,don't be pumping butches head up,you know he is old and his head can't take it,LOL.

spoon either you don't go after balls(at 1st/3rd) or really don't understand the danger any pitcher is in with these bat/ball combo's.at the corners you get at least 15' more to start with,a pitcher has to get back 3-5 steps(depending on were he pitches from in the box).
Dec. 12, 2009
butch17
Men's 55
415 posts
JohnBob,

Thanks it was nice win against a very good MTC bunch and they are great guys.

mad dog I guess I'm going to have to play church leagues, etc. with my diminished skills. Must be why I dont like the hot balls.
Dec. 12, 2009
southpaw
Men's 60
729 posts
I wonder how many teams and/or players there would be if only the "best of the best" participated?
Dec. 12, 2009
butch17
Men's 55
415 posts


Would that be the "best of the best" in hitting, fielding or maybe it would be you have to be the "best of best" at both.

Who would determine? Would it be by idividual or by team?

You now have me wondering exactly what is the "best of the best".

Dec. 12, 2009
Player25
Men's 55
51 posts
I feel balanced softball is much more satisfying. Many players work hard at staying in shape, working on their defensive skills, etc. only to play in a game where just some offensive skill is used. Also to play against others that do not put forth the effort but are still able to get hits due to the pace of the ball and not the location is disheartening.
Dec. 12, 2009
spoonplugger
Men's 60
57 posts
JohnBob; No-the Trump Stote isn't such a hot ball-The guy that's hitting the ball to me is over 60 and his skills have diminished too-No. maddog;Love the hot corner-with a 6-12 foot pitch a pitcher with mobility should be able to move 3-5 steps back. butch17;yes team-the final score determines.
Dec. 12, 2009
Omar Khayyam
984 posts
Southpaw, I think you already have your answer as to how many teams become the best-of-the-best. How many times have we read complaints on these threads that tournaments have only two or three Major+ teams entered. The best-of-the-best can be fun to watch for offense, but unfortunately it leaves out the 8000 of us who are not that great.

I think there SHOULD be tournaments only for the best-of-the-best, open rosters, sponsorships, televised, maybe 10 a year. For the rest of us, tournaments are a chance to play our best against unfamiliar teams (contrasted to league play) and try to win with defense, strategy, teamwork, and other forgotten arts in this age of souped up bat/ball combos.
Dec. 12, 2009
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
but as 60 yr olds(which i turn in jan) our fielding goes south quicker than our bats.i get to play with the kids bc i still hit the ball hard even with ASA equipment,for the fielding side for the kids,its pitching(if they don't have one that can or will),1b,c.sometimes i get to play 2b if they are real short on fielders and have an extra pitcher.now for the seniors its middle inf,outfield occ,and pitch some.
Dec. 13, 2009
southpaw
Men's 60
729 posts
Thanks, Omar K, your response is correct. That is my answer and that is why I stil love to play softball.Admittedly, I am just an average player, so, all those things you mentioned--strategy, balanced offense and defense, teamwork, are very important aspects of the game. I would add, timely homeruns, solid base running, pitching strategically, playing with your brain and not just brawn. But above all else, the comraderie and fellowship with outstanding people from all over our great nation is most important of all.

IMO: for Einstein it seems that blasting one over the fence is all that is necessary. For Dirty, it is simply a win that is important. For Spoonplugger it is elitism. Omar, your summation is good for me: "For the rest of us, tournaments are a chance to play our best against unfamiliar teams (contrasted to league play) and try to win with defense, strategy, teamwork, and other forgotten arts in this age of souped up bat/ball combos."
Dec. 13, 2009
butch17
Men's 55
415 posts
I agree with Omar and southpaw but would like to add the friendships that are developed is #1.
Dec. 13, 2009
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
yep butch i have to agree with ya on agreeing with omar and southpaw.
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