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Discussion: anyone use a pitcher screen in league play

Posted Discussion
Sept. 4, 2010
madsenior
54 posts
anyone use a pitcher screen in league play
do you know of any leagues that are using a pitcher screen and how is that working.
Sept. 4, 2010
taits
Men's 65
4305 posts
Only problem I have seen is an outfielder trying to throw to HP direct w\o using a cut off player.
None from 3rd to 1st or visa versa. Or 2nd to HP:
Was used in Port Angeles, WA this last week as senior games I believe they were in a couple games.
Judge for your self through link, but down a ways.

http://www.bashbro1nwseniorsoftball.com/id351.html
Sept. 4, 2010
lemons
Men's 65
302 posts
We use a screen in our 60+ league and the only times it has done anything other than protecting the pitcher is when he might have had an easy double play (if the ball hits the screen, it's an out) or bother an outfielder if he intended to make a throw all the way to the plate. The pitchers have an option to remove it, but usually don't.
Sept. 4, 2010
Omar Khayyam
984 posts
Hey madsenior, I have been playing in league play for 10 years with a screen (it was mandated before I joined the senior league). I am also usually pitching. It is surprisingly "invisible" once you get used to it!

A throw from an outfielder to home hits the screen about 1 or 2 times a year! And we usually play around 140 games a year (it is California). We go whole seasons without a single infield throw hitting the screen.

Sure, it interferes with the pitcher fielding a routine ground ball that hits the screen (we rule this a dead ball. Some leagues rule it a strike; some only a strike on a second hit by the same batter in the same at bat). But it almost never interferes with a popup (once you are used to its position).

Its advantage is it frees many hitters to practice hitting the middle and not hitting a friend; it is a protection for the pitcher who steps behind it on a known middle hitter or a power hitter. Its disadvantage is a potential ricochet from the side into the pitcher (this has happened to me once in 10 years).

I routinely field ground balls for outs and double plays, catch line drives, rush in for "bunt" mishits, and, yes, have some shots whistle under my glove. I position the screen about 8 feet in front of me and quite a bit to the left.

Our league is mixed ages, from age 50 on up, so the screen isn't necessary for some of the weaker or some of the older hitters. We have some pitchers who would not pitch if the screen were not there because their reflexes have slowed enough that it would be dangerous.

Hope this helps.
Sept. 5, 2010
Webbie25
Men's 60
1953 posts
We have screens for senior league. I agree with Omar-screens should be mandatory for league play so everyone can play and not worry about hitting a pitcher that is just out there to play a couple games a week for fun. I would lobby hard against them for tournaments, though.
Sept. 5, 2010
curveball
Men's 65
400 posts
My post would match Omar pretty close. Here in Palm Springs CA we use it in both our A and B league, 50+ league. I have never seen it block a throw yet.










we also have an open league that uses it on Thurs nights. 50+ get to use senior bats, 49- use USSSA bats, a lot of which are doctored. There has been no complaints in that league about the screen(even with kids!) and playing the younger guys gives us seniors great practice for tournaments. I doubt we'd be able to do this safely without the screen.
Also agree with Webbie, not in tournament play.
Sept. 5, 2010
Omar Khayyam
984 posts
The most frequent advocate of screens in tournament play is einstein who believes that the safety option of a screen would compensate for the super hot bats and also let batters go middle with a clearer conscience.

I think there are other, and better, ways instead of a screen to return defense to tournaments and also increase safety. I DO advocate for a screen in a tournament when the sun's position makes it dangerous for a blinded pitcher. In those situations, it should be mandatory and provided by the tournament director.

I also believe that I could live with mandated screens in a tournament since I live so easily with them in league play. I understand that not every player feels the same way.
Sept. 5, 2010
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
i don't like screens for any play,with that said, i have never played with one except for practice games and throwing BP.it makes me lazy with it,pitch duck behind the screen and just watch.also like omar i might move it to a spot i can't cover,to me that would be abuse,make it touch the rubber,or be within 12" maybe, and no more than 18" forward.also make sure the screen is no more than 3' wide max,with 6'6" tall.

now for the sun prol,why just for the pitcher what about the other fielders????
Sept. 5, 2010
Omar Khayyam
984 posts
mad dog, I agree about the sun problem for infielders, particularly with hot bats/balls. Actually, I think TDs should schedule around poorly oriented fields to alleviate the danger, but I know this is difficult, especially if the TD is too lazy to get out at sunrise and again at sunset to check the fields before he makes up the playing schedule.

As to not liking screens for any play, remember the old saying: "Don't knock it if..."
Sept. 5, 2010
Omar Khayyam
984 posts
Sorry mad dog, I didn't address the placement challenge of a screen. If you make it touch the rubber or be no more than 12" from the rubber, it loses its effectiveness as a protection—hard to step behind a screen that is behind you after you have stepped toward the plate while pitching from the rubber.

The real reason I put it far forward (although I realize it does block off more of the infield), is that I like to field my position, not just jump behind the screen and I don't want to get tangled up with the screen. Selfish, I know, and I could live with a screen closer to the rubber, but wouldn't like it as well.
Sept. 5, 2010
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
omar,just saying that you shouldn't be able to block off a part of the field and leave the middle open for the pitcher to be able to field.with that situation the screen would not be effective in protecting the pitcher as it should,to be on the field,not just to help them block a part of the field that the pitcher couldn't get to,to field.i too would not want it behind the pitcher after pitching,i happen to be a pitcher that doesn't step forward,just throw and back up a couple of steps and get set.i think the screen if used,should be as close to pitcher as possible and let him pitch.
Sept. 6, 2010
Omar Khayyam
984 posts
mad dog, I'm not advocating putting the screen 30 feet from home and blocking off a hit to second base! It is still close enough to step behind when I play in league, which I do for about 5% of the batters (known hard hitters up the middle). If it weren't for the ricochet possibility, I would just back up quick!
Sept. 6, 2010
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
i know you don't do the 30'but your post said 8' in front and to the left of ya,well with that placement you plug a good size hole toward 2b.how wide is the screen you use.
Sept. 6, 2010
amr-4-lc
38 posts
guys - we used a screen for the 1st time this year in our senior league. outside of a couple minor issues it seemed to work fairly well. with that being said, the general consensus by the pitchers in the league was that they DID NOT like the screen. the major complaint was that they became ineffective as a fielder (and i know you run into the issue of safety vs. being able to field your position), our rule was if it hit the screen - automatic out. if the pitcher fields the ball behind the screen - dead ball, batter and all runners awarded 2 bases (the pitcher was allowed to field anything that remained in front of the screen). the most obvious problem we had in our league was the pitchers moving the screen to either side of the rubber depending on whether a lefty or righty was at bat. the arguement from hitters was that the screen should be placed just in front of the rubber, with the rubber itself positioned in the center of the screen. the screen was not intended to be used as another defender by taking away a portion of the middle shot that was available to hitters. it was simply there for the protection of the pitcher. we had a couple of instances where batters refused to get in the batter's box until the screen was centered to the rubber because the pitchers moved them over to take away part of the remaining middle shot that was open. will we use the screen next year, i really don't know - but i suppose that's something that will have to be sorted out at next years meeting.
Sept. 6, 2010
curveball
Men's 65
400 posts
amr, I wouldn't like your league rules either, your league went too far!
We call anything that hits the screen a foul ball, if your in a count that it must be hit fair, then you are out. The pitcher is allowed (and should) to field anything within his reach. He must be behind the screen at contact (umpire judgement).
We allow the screen, just like the pitcher, to be placed with one side of the screen or the other in line with the any part of the rubber. Same as the pitcher.....he has to stay with one front remaining in the box.
You have to allow a certain distance in front of the rubber so as to allow the pitcher to get the ball over the screen if he chooses to pitch from the rubber. With a 12' arc max. and an average 3' stride, the screen is going to have to be 8' or so in front of the rubber.
As far as to the right or left for a righty or a lefty, you allow the pitcher to go from side to side, why not the screen? If the screen and the pitcher are off to either side, you still have a whole side available.
Sept. 6, 2010
amr-4-lc
38 posts
cureveball - i forgot to add and remembered after reading your post. the net was suppose to be centered in relationship with the rubber - but the pitcher was allowed to pitch from off to the side of the rubber - his foot did not have to be in contact with the rubber, just close enough this way he was equal to both sides of the rubber and not using the screen as an extra defender on one side more than the other. this way he was also able to pitch from either side equally and not have to worry about pitching over the screen if i read your comment correctly.
Sept. 6, 2010
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
curveball,throwing over the screen is a prol with only 8' to get it up and over.when i do bp i put the screen on the left edge to the middle of the rubber(i throw right handed) and maybe 12-18" in front of it and use the side as my guide.i do like the idea of it being a strike if hit.

i'm a little bit of a fanatic about no screen for play tho.my league has adopted the lines on either side as their PPR and this is a kids open league not a senior one.
Sept. 7, 2010
Dirty
Men's 50
1375 posts
Ray, from talking to some guys at Stafford I get the impression that the screen could be there as long as Shelly wants to pitch. But, I suppose, who knows?
Sept. 7, 2010
Donny C
54 posts
We use a screen and I as a pitcher have both pro and con answers to this. It most certainely protects the pitcher and that can be very good when facing a power hitter. It does stop possible double plays and takes the pitcher out nearly entirely defensively. I at times become to complacient when pitching (with screen) and this stops me from being in the game the way I should. The league screen hinders me when playing where a screen is not being used. One needs to be on there toes whenever playing defense, any position, and league play with a screen hinders that. I would rather have no screen and be alowed a much higher arc, and a larger pitchers mound thus allowing the pitcher to do much more than just dish out strikes. I know I can throw font back sides but that really does little to stop a good hitter. Lets face it there is not a whole lot a pitcher can do to have much of an impact on the game with such low arc. Low arc makes it a hitters game and coupled with hot bats and balls a pitcher can do little. I do love using better bats and balls however. Donny C.
Sept. 7, 2010
mad dog
Men's 60
3935 posts
donny i like you ideas about pitchers,what do you mean by a larger pitching mound.if you mean wider maybe no more than double the width-24 to either 36" maybe 48".i do like the senior piching box we have now,but would be ok for a wider one.i like a 3-15' for arc of pitch.maybe add an inch to either side of the mat.

we also could just use the 52-275 ball and not have to change a thing.
Sept. 8, 2010
stick8
1261 posts
Madsenior we have a mens tourney every fall called "the pitcher safety tournament". We play it on a hardball field, use a pitcher screen (hit the screen your out), use the evil ball (caution: this sucker will fly), unlimited home runs and use 80 ft bases. The pitcher is not allowed to be a fielder, It's simply a gimmick tourney which is fine but it's not something that I would like to see in major tournaments.
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