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Discussion: Questions concerning ranking and skill levels.

Posted Discussion
May 17, 2010
JimS
Men's 60
11 posts
Questions concerning ranking and skill levels.
I have gone thru the process of appealing my team’s ranking and I have struggled with the powers that be to know who can or cannot be added to a roster. It is my experience that the decisions are far too subjective as to the skill level of teams and the skill level of individual players. Today we should be able to accumulate the data necessary to make these decisions more objective and easy to understand.

Can skill levels be more clearly defined?

A team’s skill level--AA, AAA, Major or Major+--could be determined by its average offensive performance rather than by how many runs it wins or loses games. Offensive performance means average runs scored per game and team batting average in Summit member tournaments.

For Example:
A ‘AA’ team would be a team that scores 14 or less runs per 7 inning game and has a team batting average less than .625.

A ‘AAA’ team would be a team that scores 15-21 runs per 7 inning game and has a team batting average of .625 to .667.

A ‘Major’ team would be a team that scores 22-28 runs per 7 inning game and has a team batting average of .668 to 700.

A ‘ Major+’ team would be a team that scores 29 or more runs per 7 inning game and has a team batting average higher than .700

How to track a team’s batting average:
Score cards could be made so that the umpire, at the end of each ˝ inning, in addition to marking runs scored also enters the total at bats and number of outs. Errors would be counted as extra outs. The TD and his or her staff would have time to do the small amount of arithmetic necessary to compute each teams batting average for that game and this info along with the final score is entered into that associations data base. Summit members have, it seams, an ever increasing ability to crunch numbers and this is no more complicated than spread sheet software so this shouldn’t be too difficult or too costly to accomplish. Over time, the data collected should provide a more accurate definition of each skill level than my examples above.

Should a team be moved up a skill level because it wins a National Championship of a Summit member?

I would suggest a move be considered only if there were at least eight teams in the bracket and that at least five of the ten regions described by SSUSA are represented, otherwise the tournament is in fact a regional championship. Still, the team’s offensive performance should have the most consideration.

Who are ‘impact’ players?

The players whose individual batting averages are at least fifty points higher than the team batting average
would be ‘impact’ players

If a team is ranked Major should all of the players on the team be considered as Major players?

I would suggest that the players whose individual batting averages are at or above the team bating average are Major players while those with averages below the team’s would be AAA players. This would apply to all skill levels.

These are my thoughts and I look forward to your comments.

May 17, 2010
Jawood
Men's 50
798 posts
The main reason why it is so difficult to place teams into divisions is because there are too many of them. 3 is all that is needed and one of them, AA, should be easy to place teams into.

They only big decision would be are you Major or AAA? If you win the majority of the time at AAA, you get moved up to Major. If you don't see any success at Major, you get moved down to AAA.

I don't see this as being that complex. I appreciate your thoughts, JimS, but all these stats are not needed. There are a lot of different ways to be successful but the bottom line in classification is wins and losses.
May 17, 2010
Harri
Men's 65
59 posts
We have decided to disband because of SSUSA's refusial to lower our rating. They sight stats as reason to move or not move a team, but I feel it is more political than anything. We attended the TOC in Feb. We lost all six games by an average of 11 runs, yet maintain the same rating. I know they can come up with an explanation as to why we will not be lowered. The rules, however, are set up so they can pretty much do what they want.
JimS...I appreciate your frustrations.
May 17, 2010
E4/E6
Men's 60
854 posts
Harri, why not do what everyone else does, just change the team name.

Jawood, I agree with the thought of 3 divisions, but I think most major teams are closer to M+ then AAA. I suppose you would have to look at each division carefully to see who is at an upper and lower level in each division. It would take some time but certainly would be worth looking at.
May 17, 2010
Jawood
Men's 50
798 posts
You are right E4/E6, having fewer divisions would mean a little more separation of the teams within it. It would however stop this "micro managing" of everything determining what division teams are going to play in.

Harri, Hate to see you have to make that decision, I'm sure a lot of friendships are involved.
May 17, 2010
Omar Khayyam
1002 posts
JimS, thanks for doing some hard thinking on a difficult problem. One factor that might complicate your analysis is that in many tournaments, there are 5-run maximums in an inning and it is hard to tell the difference between a team who easily scored 5 runs without an out, and another who scrambled 5 in with two outs.

The real challenge is the teams like Harri's, where the results are so common sense and yet a reranking is denied. This is especially true with teams like his in the 65 (and 70+) brackets, where injuries are more prevalent and skills can decline more rapidly. A good team from a year before can quickly become an average team, but it is hard for SSUSA to acknowledge that.
May 18, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Jim, so to you offense is all that counts?

I would prefer to go on wins and losses, after all isn't that why the games are played?
May 18, 2010
JimS
Men's 60
11 posts
Wins and losses are what determines who wins a tournament and are most important in that respect. But if your team wins a tournament averaging 14 rpg and your opponents average 8 rpg that gives you a winning diffeerential of positive 6 runs and that could get you moved up from AA to AAA. My point is that that would result in creating a weaker team and this is what happens with the current guidelines
Heres another thought. How about creating a handicap system where the stonger teams are a low number and weaker teams are a high number. Then we don't need skill levels and all teams in an age group play in one bracket with the lower handicap spotting the higher handicap runs according to the difference in their handicaps.
May 18, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Spotting runs is a terrible idea. Just changes the way the game is supposed to be played.

Let's not turn softball into bowling, or golf.
May 18, 2010
Jawood
Men's 50
798 posts
JimS, They do use a run spotting system in some senior tournaments. We do not like run spotting either as Dirty says. Do you really feel good about beating a team by 3 when 5 of the runs were given to you? When our team can get runs given to us (against 40+ teams) we will not take them.

If a lower team was given the opportunity to score another run an inning by earning them, that would be a good system, imo. For example a AAA team playing a AA team ... AAA can score 5 an inning as usual, but the AA team can score 6. EARN THE RUNS! Play the game on the field and not on paper.
May 18, 2010
taits
Men's 65
4395 posts
On average the AA team would have a much harder time playing that way and I think you know it. They are not the same 'quality' team the AAA team is. Would be harder to 'earn' that extra run that way.
Some never get all the runs they could get since it starts from the 2nd inning and the games sometimes end early it 6 or 7 innings.
The system in place really only addresses ratings or age differences. Not both fully.
But they can do it as they see fit and works fairly well where implemented.
What is worse is:
1. Lessening the HR's allowed for the older you get.
2. Stating safety is a concern, yet allowing hotter bats to evolve.

May 18, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
I can't argue with the idea of having to earn something, but any kind of handicap system is wrong. As far as I could tell the other team put its pant on one leg at a time too. So why should I, or anyone, get an allowance from another team of flesh and blood.

What kind of accomplishment is beating anyone under those circumstances?
May 18, 2010
taits
Men's 65
4395 posts
Perhaps to use something you might would be you playing against Tiger Woods in a golf game or driving against AJ Foyt in a car race. Heck i don;t know...
Nothing will be equal but it's what they came up with to TRY to equalize it, that's all.
May 18, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
I was always taught that if you want to be equal, or better, with someone else you should work hard and improve. Why don't guys seem to be looking at that as a viable option?
May 18, 2010
E4/E6
Men's 60
854 posts
Gary would this include playing a team 5 or more years younger during tournament ball?
May 18, 2010
Omar Khayyam
1002 posts
E4, 5 years younger? I was in a tournament two years ago where, because of limited number of teams, we played a team 15 years younger! You forget how fast younger guys can run, how much harder they can throw! We got massacred, even with our 5 run handicap.
May 18, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Five years is really not much of anything. Might that younger team be better? Sure. But probably not at all due to age.

In general you have to go at least ten years for the age difference to really mean anything. Now this is assuming the older guys keep themselves in good shape, and if they don't whose fault is that?
May 18, 2010
curveball
Men's 65
404 posts
Wrong on your opinion dirty, again with out the experience. The skill level and condition of the player are on an increasing rate of decline at each 5 year increment. %agewise, you'll lose more as a ballplayer with each five years you play. That's why SSUSA allows you to play down 1 age group and one skill level heads up.
This one you will find out on your own as the years "slide" by. You won't see as much change in your age group, but you will see it accelerate greatly from 60 on. Natural ability and keeping yourself in shape only slows the process slightly, but the decline still accelerates on an increasing curve.
May 18, 2010
taits
Men's 65
4395 posts
Dirty, 
I agree with the try harder to improve, but far too many are in a comfort zone and will not leave it.

The = stuff is what it is, and works as best as it can with what is provided by those who RUN the SHOW.
Like with the rules some work some do not, that applies to past and present.
May 18, 2010
taits
Men's 65
4395 posts
Omar,
I played with 18 up this past weekend, HS ball ballplayers up into my age, in a ASA T. It was really amazing what I saw that day. Lightning speed, reflexes and illegal bats....
May 18, 2010
taits
Men's 65
4395 posts
Dirty,
Five years ago you weren't playing senior ball.
Far too much has gone awry since then.
Not all are lucky enough to stay healthy, avoid accidents, et al, but we still get out there and give it our best....
May 18, 2010
E4/E6
Men's 60
854 posts
I suppose technically you are right Gary, however in the real world a team maybe comprised of guys of vastly varying ages. I know our team (60's) has guys from 59 to 64, we have played teams from the 65 age division who have had players well into their 70's.
In our case we have been together as a team for at least 8 years +.
My point is each age d8ivision is 5 years, but in actuality the players will generally be older or at the extreme of that age division.
We can fight aging only so much before the flesh refuses to follow.
May 18, 2010
Omar Khayyam
1002 posts
taits, I played with 18 year-olds until 10 years ago, and then left to play senior ball exclusively. I had almost forgotten the difference until that tournament.

When one stays in shape, like I do and like my team pretty much did, and we played guys about our age, maybe a bit younger at times, we were feeling pretty good about ourselves. The age difference shocked us when we saw the schedule, but we knew the young team was not a strong one.

Then our lead-off hitter lined one into the gap—at least that was what worked in other games—but the left center fielder raced over and caught it! A couple of plays later, we had a man on first who took off for third on a single to right. He was thrown out by three steps at third! This hadn't happened to him in years!

In the next half of the inning, their lead-off batter hit a sharp two bouncer to our shortstop who has a lively arm. He fielded it cleanly, fired to first, and SAFE! That's when we realized that 15 years is a LOT of difference!

They were pudgier than us, probably a beer team, and didn't hit many more long balls than we did, but the difference in the field, both legs and arm, and on the basepaths, spelled doom to our attempts to overcome Father Time.
May 18, 2010
taits
Men's 65
4395 posts
Omar,
Better the clock ticking away, than the reaper guy.
We played strike zone I knew the umps well and laughed every time I hit the plate which was often. Zone wasn't in the flyer for it.
Had excellent OF, two threw from about 10 off the fence (300) to the plate straight shots. Singles were trips for most of them. Had a great time other than the bat issue.
May 18, 2010
Omar Khayyam
1002 posts
taits, you're right about the alternative!LOL

I like to go watch the young guys play, but with the advent of universal double walls, it is no longer a game that I can hope to win against the boys. Ah, well, I have many fond memories since starting to play with the men when I was 13. Loved every year of it!
May 18, 2010
mad dog
Men's 65
3948 posts
omar i still play with the kids even at 60,and yes those little turds do have the legs and arms we used to have,LOL.i pitch mostly for them and am trying to figure out when i'll stop playing with them.my prol is i'll be only able to play 1 nite a week when i do stop(with at the most 2 tourneys a month max) as i have but one place to play in the area i live.now i can drive a 150 miles over to dallas to get some playing time in if i want.

for the ranking of teams,i think we should rank the players instead of teams.give them a number ranking and add them up,for a team ranking.
May 19, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Teams should be ranked by wins and losses on the field. Those are why the games are played, and little else really matters.
May 19, 2010
curveball
Men's 65
404 posts
Ranking by wins and losses won't stop sand bagging. Losses at the smaller tourneys to allow winning at the Worlds and other big ones.
May 19, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
No, it probably won't. Nothing really will except for (a) some pride amongst us old guys and (b) reducing the number of divisions to two.

But who is to rate each player? Who knows BOTH the offense and defense of everyone? Probably no one.
May 19, 2010
taits
Men's 65
4395 posts
Like you are going to regulate that.
What we have is what we are stuck with unless another comes along.
The player database I have asked for years, with NOTHING. They have the majority of the stats to work with for players, & could likely get more if tried. But stats change and since the work force is slim pickins they really do not have the time to deal with it.
Curveball, you are on the mark there.
May 19, 2010
E4/E6
Men's 60
854 posts
I am sure we have all seen teams that bring in a couple of their better players for Saturday/Sunday play. Or Sunday if its a 2 day.

Gary, there is more to playing then winning alone. Of course we play to win, but it isnt paramount to having a good time with our friends and team mates. We have found we are a much more cohesive unit when we have no expectations and just go out and play.
After all, we are 60 freaking year olds going on 12.

SSUSA's system isnt perfect, but then what is?
May 19, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Sure there are other things, but they are VERY secondary.
May 19, 2010
mad dog
Men's 65
3948 posts
E4/E6 it happens a lot with the 60 age group(players coming in for elim round),as we have to play on Fridays and over half are still working and can't get all the time off to play on Fridays.
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