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Discussion: TIME TO EXTEND TIME LIMITS

Posted Discussion
Aug. 18, 2010
DD
Men's 60
71 posts
TIME TO EXTEND TIME LIMITS
Unlike other sports, baseball (and its offspring, softball) is meant to played without a time clock.

But, economics and other factors have made it prudent to enforce time limits in order to complete the entire slate of games at tournaments and even in rec league schedules. We have accepted this reality...until now.

Our recent experience in the Cal Cup at Woodland/Davis, however, suggests time limits have reached the point of diminishing returns. Our first four games all ended after 5 1/2 or 6 complete innings. The only two played to completion were the "championship" games in which no time limit was invoked.

If you do the math, that's 67% of our games shortened by time constraints.

In five previous seasons with 50, 55, and 60 aged teams I play on, no less than 40% of ALL games played are ended before the completion of 7 innings. THAT'S TOO MANY.

If you check your team's stats, you will probably find a similar situation.

If you agree with me that too many games are shortened by time limits...then help me send a message to Sacramento and other tournament organizers to stretch that time limit and make the time shortened game a RARE exception...instead of the common occurrence it presently is.
Aug. 18, 2010
taits
Men's 65
4316 posts
While I agree with you, your talking about their BUSINESS, which in making money, not their game concerns.
They make more money if they can keep the pay out for umpires closer to an hour or have a rain out. Even though some pay per game or scheduled Êgame, in case of rain.
But they are too short, imo.
Would be interesting to know haw many games would have had different outcomes if they went the whole 7, not to mention outs for Hr's.
Nothing like playing softball on 1. a BB diamond either, I have done that twice in Mesquite.
or 2. open fields, all over the place.

Aug. 18, 2010
Jawood
Men's 50
788 posts
Once again, one way to help get more of the game completed is go with a 1 and 1 count. You will get a minimum of 10 extra minutes playing time by doing this.
Aug. 18, 2010
Duke
Men's 60
697 posts
Hi Dennis,

I agree with you, especially in smaller tournaments, where there is more time available to play. In the larger tournaments, this may not be so easy, unless we play into the night. I think we could realistically consider incresing the seeding games to 65 minutes and bracket gammes to 70 minutes. With Jawood's 1-1 count, this would definitely increase our innings of play.

Now I try to be fair, regardless of who's side I agree with. Remember, as seniors, we are guaranteed 5 games. We could cut down the seeding games by one, and increase game times and guarantee 7 innings per game?? Another thought might be leave the seeding games as is, and guarantee all bracket games 7 innings??

Just my opinions!

Andy Smith,
Double Edge,
60 Major
Aug. 19, 2010
birdie
Men's 60
677 posts
Jim, We won the if game against a very good Bay State team. Have an IC Light for me. Harry
Aug. 19, 2010
birdie
Men's 60
677 posts
Sorry put the previous message on the wrong thread. I should not be doing anything without two cups of coffee. Harry
Aug. 19, 2010
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Hey Dennis,
Great comments.
I'm with JWood.
1-1 count is a must.
I remember SPA a couple of years ago
as I don't know if they still do it
but all bracket games went to completion.
We played some marvelous
2 hour plus games that live forever.
I think increasing time of each game
as the tournament progresses is
a positive.
Aug. 19, 2010
E4/E6
Men's 60
850 posts
Since 1970 the number of runs scored per game has more then doubled on average. You want more innings, get rid of the Senior Bats and Lively Balls. Bring the scoring down, you will get your innings.
There isnt anything we or our associations can or will do to extend the time alloted. It wont be long before we see 55 minute games. imo
I have played in tournaments that used the 1-1 count, and still didnt get out of the 5th and 6th innings.
Aug. 19, 2010
taits
Men's 65
4316 posts
E4-6,
Now compare the equip from back then to now.
Any bells & whistles going off?
Aug. 19, 2010
mad dog
Men's 60
3930 posts
lets see i have been playing 60 min(asa),70 min (usssa)since the 80's,and haven't seen anything else,whats the problem now.actuually was a better game back then,as all aspects of the game came into play,running,fielding,hitting backside,etc.not the hr derby's of today.people actually knew how to hit instead of just swinging from the heels.
Aug. 19, 2010
E4/E6
Men's 60
850 posts
Scott, By comparison its more like TnT and Trumpets.
We all know Senior Softball has always been a hitters game, problem with that is now it is a hitters game without much defense or strategy.

Aug. 20, 2010
Webbie25
Men's 60
1956 posts
Jawood-totally agree with the 1-1 count. 4-3 gives the batter yet another luxury-waiting for your pitch. I know I start thinking about the time limit when we get to the 4th inning any more. Thinking back-it is rare any more to actually get 7 innings in. We played 5 last night. El Paso we played 5 innings every game up to the last 2.
Maybe the problem isn't the lively bat/ball combo. We just need to work on our defensive skills, reflexes, and ban teams that play like seniors whose skills are waning in the field. THAT'S IT!!! Ban any team that cannot hold the other team under 15 runs!!!!
Darn it, got my tongue stuck in my cheek again!!
Aug. 20, 2010
taits
Men's 65
4316 posts
The 1-1Êcount start only 'saves' an average or 3-4 minutes a game. About a half an inning.
I believe there are tournaments where when the time runs out it is OVER then and there. someone posted that some time ago. I do not remember is final score reverted to last full inning or not. But would think so.
Also depends if you get the one to waste.
Add unlimited height to pitch...That will change the defense.
The 'banning' of teams that can't do as stated by Webbie, will screw the brackets even more. Some are 2-3 team as it is now, you might end up with no one there.
Aug. 20, 2010
lemons
Men's 65
302 posts
In our league games, each team hits for 2 innings at a time. After 3 outs, clear the bases and start the next inning. That saves the time of changing sides each inning, and it seems to help a lot with staying under the time limit. We also use the 1-1 count. Most of the games easily go 7 innings.
Aug. 20, 2010
E4/E6
Men's 60
850 posts
We can dance around the truth as much as we like, we all know why games rarily go the distance, it isnt age, skills, counts, number of teams, umpires, players or the lack of hustle on and off the field.
Plain and simply it is the increase in scoring created by our Techno giants. The wizards who are making a killing from bat/ball sales to Senior Softball and at the same time killing the sport.
Slo Pitch Softball has been around along time with negligible change, except for the last 10 years or so, or since the introduction of the composite bat.
Now there is change thats called for on many levels, time constraints, PPR's, screens, waivers, the list goes on and on.
We are seeing how radical change works if its out of control, thanks to an overzealous President. Some in Senior Ball are trying to do the samething to us, change change change. Why??? Its worked very well for us for all these years. Whats next? Holographic Umpires?
Aug. 20, 2010
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
John.
In NorCal we have live bats and balls,
equalizer home runs, 5 run innings
60 minute games with open inning
and we have a blast.
I would like to see us go to 1-1 count
which increases innings played
and stimulates a faster-paced,
more aggressive style that is
more satisfying for most to all.
Aug. 20, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Help me out here. Back in the day:

MUCH larger tournaments.
NO 1-1 count.
NO runs/inning limits.
NO time limits.
NO problems or complaints.

At least that is how we were playing tournaments in Ohio and the neighboring states.
Aug. 20, 2010
DD
Men's 60
71 posts
E4/E6: The trouble with making statements such as you have made is that there is no way to prove them...or refute them. Your contention that scores have doubled is only your perception of the matter…there is no data to support your claim other than the scores we see at tournaments that are posted by the organizers upon completion.

Scores in 14 games at Woodland for the 60/Platinum Division averaged 19-12...are you claiming all games in 1970 were 9-6 affairs or lower? I don’t remember it that way it all…I remember a lot of scoring…ALWAYS…in slo-pitch…and an occasional low scoring game…just like today.

Scores have doubled since 1970? For whom? For 50 AA? For 60 Major Plus? There was no senior softball in 1970, so are you comparing what your teams/leagues did back then with what seniors do now? What is the basis of your claim? If you do the research, you’ll find scores in SSUSA events today are a lot lower than you think.

Furthermore, your assertion ignores the #1 reason umps and TDs give us for delayed games…namely that teams take too long to get on and off the field. Lemons’ idea about changing sides half as often has some merit. With pitchers needing to put shin gurads on before taking the mound, they should never be left on base with two outs...run for them so they can get their gear on before the inning starts…that’s a huge waste of time MANDATED BY ORGANIZATIONS, NOT PLAYERS.

Finally, as recent experience proved conclusively at a rain-shortened tournament in Prescott, AZ, reducing the number of pitches permitted per at bat DRAMATICALLY speeded up the game. When officials adopted the unusual one-pitch format, games were played to seven innings without even a hint of being shortened. How one can claim a lower pitch count won’t speed things up is beyond my comprehension.

All of these methods will help…but the burden of faster play should not be TOTALLY on the players and teams…organizers need to consider a modest time extension as well to make shortened games A RARE EXCEPTION instead of happening 40% or more of the time.

Good business is good business…and in this climate companies who thrive are looking for ways to keep their customers happy instead of giving them reasons to look elsewhere.
Aug. 20, 2010
frampton
Men's 55
55 posts
I'm in my seventh year of playing senior ball in NorCal, cannot remember ever playing a game of less than six innings, and we often get seven in. Granted, it's AAA, but I don't have a problem with the way the game is now. Last weekend in the Cal Cup we played (and lost, that was a drag) a 6-4 game. So in my part of the world, there's still defense being played. When we play on 300' fields, there are typically three or four homers a game. Without really checking, I'd say our average game score is something like 19-17; I know our team feels that if we score 20 we're in good shape to win if we're playing any kind of defense at all. Seems like the softball I've always played . . .

I personally hate the 1-1 count -- even though Einstein will attest that I'm not up there looking too often, THAT seems to me to be a change in the rules of the game far more radical than improvements in the bats. Just MNSHO.


Aug. 20, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
frampton, I agree completely about the 1-1 count. Good pitching will get the bat off the batter's shoulder.

If he is up there looking at a lot of pitches, look at the pitcher.
Aug. 20, 2010
E4/E6
Men's 60
850 posts
DD its hard to argue with your assessment. Unless of course you have stood in the shoes of those being assessed. Which seems to be what you are saying. Fair enough.
My point is this, due to the use of Composite bats and the more lively ball, their are far more hits then we have ever had. Thats just a natural assumption of course. With every hit there is time involved, which slows down the game or shortens it.
There are exceptions to everything, Joe has pointed out how well NorCal works with their current system and rules.

Aug. 21, 2010
db14
90 posts
Hi DD....DB14 here. I 'm sure i will get blasted by the regulars and others but here goes. WHAT IS THE BIG HURRY? We all have our reasons but frankly i thank the big guy that i am still able to go out on weekends in the sun with my friends playing a game that i truly enjoy. If it takes a bit longer or the games run over or could be extended so be it. I do agree that 60 min is in today's game is not sufficient time to get in seven. No 1-1. I do however greatly support a "modest time extension" however selling that to the TD's is another issue. Food for thought i ran across some old CA. USSSA programs (1984, 1985) stating 70 min. time limits on games....interesting!
Aug. 21, 2010
Webbie25
Men's 60
1956 posts
db14-I even remember 75 minute time limits back then. One of the driving forces behind shorter time limits is the umpires. Getting paid by the game fostered a strong wish for shorter games. They put a lot of pressure on TD's and league directors for shorter games and it worked. I think most of us agree we want to play the full 7 innings no matter how long it takes. There is no question that 1-1 does shorten the game and I would love to see the game where that is the only alteration to the game we have played for a long time. I rarely walk unless they are pitching around me and I bet a good percentage of players are the same. It is a hitters game-swing the bat.
taits-I was kidding about banning teams that couldn't hold a team under 15.
DD-In the 70's and early 80's we had a team that played on the national level. I remember that we felt if we scored double digits every game we would be in every game. Wood bats! 20 was a great game. A .600 average was very good. Metal bats and blue dots increased scoring a tremendous amount-that combo started producing games in the 30's and even higher. I think what really points out how lively these bats really are is distance. I was a consistent HR hitter, but rarely hit the ball over 350. Now, at 58 I hit the ball considerably farther consistently. Lighter bats make a difference-yes-but I have trouble believing that I am that much stronger now.
Back then you never saw a line drive that 'took off' and sailed over your head in the outfield like a well hit golf ball. I remember first seeing that with the blue dots and the 'hot' balls. You see that a lot with this bat/ball combo.
frampton-we played R&R an 8-7 game in Reno on a quiet morning-no wind-those aberrations happen. The other 3 we played them were in the 20's.
Aug. 22, 2010
ChiPrimeMarty
Men's 55
65 posts
With a 1-1 count I see more batters swinging at the 1st pitch because they don't want to fall behind 1-2. With no count batters know they can sit back and wait for that one big fat pitch, so they take more pitches.

It's already such a hitter's game, and when you add Senior bats into the mix you get higher scores that take more time. A lot of guys still have the muscle but not the quickness defensively and certainly not the speed, so a lot more balls are finding gaps ... and skin & bone. Hotter bats and slower reflexes are a recipe for injury, and we've seen attempts to protect the pitcher that are changing the game.

At 50AAA most players on good teams can hit HR's with U2 bats, so conscious efforts are made to NOT hit HR's except with runners on base in key situations. Talk about changing the game -- trying NOT to hit the ball as hard as you can! With HR limits and older players with slower reflexes I'd like to get rid of the Senior bats and make it so that when you hit a ball over a 300' fence you've actually done something.

In the Midwest good tournaments are few between and/or far away, then they try to cram as many games into the day as possible and the schedule quickly falls behind, expecially if there has been rain (frequent the last couple years). I'd like to see more tourneys with fewer teams. We had 10 teams in a 2-day tournament at Lansing in May, and played 5 games on Saturday. Everybody was banged up on Sunday.

My wish list:
More tourneys with fewer teams
75 minutes, not 65
1-1 count
USSSA/NSA bats, not Senior

I don't like the idea of staying in the field for 2 innings because it would change the rhythm of the game and swings of momentum -- but I think the flip rule makes sense when the home team is down a lot of runs going into the 7th.
Aug. 22, 2010
Hit the gap
Men's 60
143 posts
This is from the 2005 Senior Softball Summit meeting:

Recommend: that the 1-1 count with a courtesy foul be used by all organizations.

Summit Response: Most organizations do not use the 1-1 count because of widespread complaints from players. Tests have shown that it only saves 2 or 3 minutes per game.
Aug. 23, 2010
Jawood
Men's 50
788 posts
The summit was/is wrong, the 1 and 1 count saves enough time to get an extra half to full inning a game. ChiPrimeMarty point that most players hit the first pitch when playing with a 1 and 1 count game to not to fall behind is correct. So how can a 1 and 1 count only save 2 or 3 minutes per game? It doesn't, it saves about 10 minutes.
Aug. 24, 2010
Webbie25
Men's 60
1956 posts
Jawood-just from observation, I have to agree with you that it is closer to 10 minutes a game. My biggest concern is the umpire in 1-1 because if he calls a bad first strike on you, then you are not only in the hole, you have to worry about him calling another bad one. The mat takes most of that worry away.
I do not like the idea of staying in the field for 2 defensive innings, for 2 reasons. 1. If the offense gets going on you, could be 2 long innings back to back. 2. This is a game of momentum. Learning to sustain that momentum for several innings in a game offensively and defensively is key to winning. Chi is correct- Double innings disrupts this flow and changes the inherent feel of the game. However, I do agree with the flip rule, though. If you can get 10 runs ahead before the seventh inning in a game of restricted runs, you deserve to get the home advantage in the seventh and this also potentially shortens games that are one sided, possibly by quite a bit.
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