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Discussion: Equaliizers - Are They Equal? Maybe Not

Posted Discussion
Feb. 24, 2011
audieh
Men's 60
241 posts
Equaliizers - Are They Equal? Maybe Not
Here are some interesting facts based on the recent ToC tournament. There were 2 major plus 50 teams and 3 major plus 55 teams. Due to the small number of major plus teams these teams had to play major teams in the round robin. The results were 1, yes I said 1 major plus win, and 9 major wins! The scoring was also skewed with the major plus teams averaging 16.6 runs per game and the major teams averaging 21.2 runs per game. This is a 4.6 run differential per game which would lead me to believe that the major plus teams having to give 5 runs or an extra 11th defender creates an unfair advantage for the major team, or the major teams are just as good as the major plus teams.

I have seen these results repeated in other tournaments as well. Based on this limited sampling it would appear that no equalizer is required and the major teams are every bit as good as the major plus teams!

However, my personal experiences has shown that the major plus teams are having to play with the major rules of only 5 home runs. This is a major impediment to the major plus teams which are typically built with more home run power. This results in the major plus team hitting home runs for outs and/or power hitters having to purposely hit opposite field or up the middle to keep the ball in the park. Since the major plus players tend to be power hitters and not base hitters this limits their success.

I believe the senior softball associations should at least analyze this predicament and considered instituting one of the following corrective actions.

1) When major and major plus teams play give the major team the 5 runs but play with the major plus home run limits of 10.

2) When major and major plus teams play give the major team the 5 runs but allow any home runs over the 5 limit be singles and not outs.

I believe a tournament or two using one of these two changing would prove some interesting data which could then be used to make changes if they are deemed necessary. If not, it appears based on this limited analysis that the major teams have the advantage. The proof is in the 1 and 9 record exhibited by the major plus teams.

What say you!

Feb. 24, 2011
Jawood
Men's 50
791 posts
The difference between upper Major teams and Major-plus is nothing! Combine them! Play any rules you want! THE BIGGEST ISSUE IS THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH TEAMS TO WARRANT A MAJOR AND MAJOR-PLUS DIVISION. Major - AAA - AA, that is all we need!

Maybe at the end of the year, in Phoenix, you could split it into two divisions based on PERFORMANCE of the teams throughout the season, but for these little so-called national, buy your own ring tournaments, combine them. This is what the teams want, teams to play! Nobody wants to play 2 team tournaments.
Feb. 24, 2011
Swampy
24 posts
I know you are supposed to play hard and want to win every game, but the seeding games are not as important to the major plus teams when they know they have to play a two out of three tournament with only one other team. The incentive to win the seeding games is in favor of the major team because the wins will factor into the game times and the quality of opponents during the early bracket games. This is one thought on the combining of two divisions during seeding play. I do agree that giving up the five runs, plus limiting the home runs for the major plus teams does put them at somewhat of a disadvantage, especially the tournaments when they are the only major plus team and have to play every game under this scenario. I have seen the looks on the pitchers face when the major plus team is out of home runs and the balls start going back towards the middle, I'm not saying they are intentional directed at the pitcher, but the guy is going for a hit. and they don't want them coming that way! Without any statistics to back this up, but only a quick thought about the situation, I think by eliminating the 5 runs, and reducing the home runs for the major plus to 5, would be more fair than giving the 5 runs and allowing the 10 home runs for major plus.
Feb. 24, 2011
leftyodoul
Men's 60
97 posts
This is a controversial subject and there are a lot of different opinions on how to remedy this situation. I do agree with Jay that the Major and Major Plus teams should be combined. Afterall, who wants to spend their time and money to fly across the country to play in a 2 or 3 team tournament? I think that it could be done easily. Just implement the 5 home run rule when a Major team is playing a Major plus team (without the 5 run or extra defensive player handicap) and when two Major plus teams meet they could implement the 10 home run rule. Additionally, I don't understand why more power hitters don't switch to non-senior bats after their team has hit it's limit of home runs. That way you could keep your normal swing and not have to worry about hitting a DBO. I'm not a power hitter but it just makes sense to me.
Feb. 25, 2011
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2629 posts
Audie, I touched on this subject earlier in another thread. I agree, something needs to be changed. For the past few years I've been a proponent of having only 3 divisions, maybe the time has come.
Feb. 25, 2011
Swampy
24 posts
The simple solution would be to combine the two divisions, which would make for more competition. There would probably be teams scrambling to get to AAA or wanting to know what teams are coming to the tournament prior to them making the decision to come. There are the teams that don't care who they play and welcome the challenge, and you have the ones that don't want to play anyone and whine because they wouldn't get their 5 runs or the 11th defensive player. Reference the home run hitter not changing their swing with a non-senior bat, why would a player want to hit a 295' fly ball?
Feb. 25, 2011
Mario
Men's 50
370 posts
Why not let the Major teams hit 10 Hr's as well as the Major plus teams. I would rather give 5 runs to the Major team and still be able to hit 10 Hr's. I think people would be pleasently suprised at the out come.

Lefty - switching bats for me would not make that much of a difference. Senior bats just add 20' or so. This only makes a difference when you miss one.
Feb. 25, 2011
Mario
Men's 50
370 posts
With all the bat companies making these bats so hot why not go to unlimited Hr's like back in the old days. Only then will you be able to see the difference in the Major and Major+ teams.
Feb. 25, 2011
Mario
Men's 50
370 posts
I for one am not a big fan of the divisions. If your team averages 25 runs a game, what difference does the nuumber of Hr's you hit make. Most Major teams are as capable defensively as the Major+ teams, sometimes more so.
The Hr thing gets people in the head. I have witnessed this my whole career. Back in the day, we used to win the flip and and take visitors if the other team did not have as much power as us. I can remember the first time this happened to us. The other team won the flip and took visitors. I went back to the dugout and told our coach that we might be in trouble. The other team scored 28 runs in the top of the first. But because we were not intimidated by this we put 24 in the bottom of the inning. There were many times when we took visitors that the other team would just melt right before our eyes. Some of these teams were good teams that averaged 25-30 runs a game, but mentally they could not handle it. I see a lot of that in senior ball. There are some really good Major teams that can and should be playing with the Major+ teams. I for one always want to play the best competition that I can.
Feb. 25, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1964 posts
Mario-you have hit the nail on the head with your observation of the HR thing. If you hit through the lineup and score 25 plus a game-you will be in the game at any level. We used to take visitors occasionally for the same reason-you put up that 20 spot in the first and the other team goes to sleep. Back in 1983 with Shallow Waterbeds we put up a 29 spot in the first in a championship game. Dudley Copeland and I both had 3 hrs in the inning and I was on deck to try for 4, but didn't get up. Our opponents got 1 run with 3 hard shots for outs. We then proceeded to have a 17 run inning with one out and the other team conceded and walked off the field at 46-1. Great strategy at times.
Bring on the best teams out there-I want to play you straight up!!!
Feb. 25, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1964 posts
By the way, not to hijack the thread (sorry)-I do agree with just one of the penalties-5 runs or lower HR rule. They really debated this in Tucson at the meeting and I am sure it will be talked about again next year.
Feb. 25, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3929 posts
mm not sure how to even this up.as a major team we used to have to take visitors if we took any of the equalizers.we didn't mind to much as we could be up 10-0 when the home team came to bat with no chance to get even.the prol would be with the open inning as the m+ could use it and could go on a tear to win.

now for the middle being open when hrs are up,why.if you a good enough hitter you can stay out of the middle.what your telling me your hrs go up the middle and if you mistakenly get on top of a ball the pitcher will be in trouble,so what is different with no hrs left.just don't see the reason why you should be going middle,if your pulling the ball for hrs,when they are gone.

i do believe now that the M+ div should be unlimited,like back in the day.
Feb. 25, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Aren't the following enough equalizers?

We all put on our pants one leg at a time.

We all have access to the same equipment.

We all have access to the same training and practice type of facilities.

We are all roughly the same age.

We all have roughly the same amount of experience.

Now what people do with all of those are up to them.
Feb. 25, 2011
DoubleL10
Men's 65
811 posts
Let me share my perspective as one who has played on very good Major Plus and fairly good Major Plus teams as well as very good Major and fairly good Major teams. Back in the 90s in the days of open senior rosters, our 50 M+ teams usually played in tournaments with 2 or 3 teams at most in the Nationals. Since we were sponsored, all we worried about was what time do we play. Also, back then, we played unlimited HRs. Since our teams were very good, it was cool for us. Now, with the geographic restrictions and the fact that our last 60 M+ team folded, we are playing Major and are a fairly good team. My views, of course, have changed since we are now self-sponsored and certainly do not want to be cannon fodder for the M+ teams IF Major and Major Plus were combined. We rarely hit our 5 HRs a game much less the 10 that the M+ teams get. It was a lot of fun the last two years as a Major team playing against 10 to 15 teams in the Nationals rather than many less in the Major Plus group. Even though we haven't won anything, sometimes we are competitive and sometimes not. BUT, the fact that we and, I think, most other Major teams are self-sponsored, we would be VERY selective about our trips if we got stuck playing Major Plus teams. Again, I have been on the other side of this equation, and, as the higher-rated M+ team, you know you should always be competive and favored to win against Major teams. In fact, most Major teams are afraid of being re-rated if they beat Major Plus teams - even in seeding games.

This concern will be less for me this year since I'm moving to the 65s and playing M+ again. We will also play 60 M some of the time.

Feb. 25, 2011
Jawood
Men's 50
791 posts
DoubleL10, Your discussion is right on. We are a team stuck at Major-plus with no one to play. We have no money and average about 4 HR's a game ... that's Major-plus power?

Most of the Major-plus teams are there because the Sacramento brass has to provide the one or two teams that are well financed a place to play. It's those couple of types of teams that should have to "play down" to the Major level, not the chosen ones that are "cannon fodder" for them and are no better than the top 10 or so other Major teams.
Feb. 25, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3929 posts
yeah larry can see that,when i played 50 m in san diego we had tom play the mavericks and the lv stars a lot in the local style tourney's,and sometimes in seeding rounds of the larger ones so the M+ teams could get in games.we held our own in the local tourney's,but usually the teams weren't loaded up like they are for the bigger tourney's.we had a really good defense,but not the power a M+ usually had.while they hit it out(with hrs after limit being a single or walk back then) we had to hit and run and it would wear on us. i do think they could go to having only 3 div's but think a lot of teams would drop b/c of the eventual sand bagging that would go on,yes i know it happens now,but think it would get even worse.just saying....
Feb. 25, 2011
garyheifner
349 posts
I understand the problem the M+ guys have and logic would say combine M @ M+ so you can have more teams to play. Being on a legit 65AA team, I am worried about the trickle down effect. 65AA has been the most fair division I have ever played in the last 3 years with any of 6-8 different teams who could win at the big tournies. It is not unusual to see the 1-4 seeded teams losing in the 1st round of championship play. If combined, I can see M teams trying to bail to AAA and AAA teams trying to make a case to move to AA. We are a good AA team but have had little sucess against the AAAs even with runs. If SSWC combines you big guys, I hope they will be slow to let teams bail.
Feb. 25, 2011
Beasley
Men's 50
169 posts
I've only been playing in SSUSA a couple years now, but I've been saying that the so called "equalizer" gave the Major teams too much of an advantage.

In addition to a couple of the proposed solutions, you could:

Allow the Major team to choose 5 runs or an extra fielder. The game would be played using the Major+ runs per inning and homeruns. Or possibly compromise on the number of homeruns and runs per inning.

Don't make the Major+ teams totally play to a lower level, make the Major team play up some.

In my opinion, you don't classify a team by the number of homeruns they hit. You do it by the number of runs they consistently score - regardless of how they get them. How many times have you seen a team come out and hit more homeruns than you, but your team kicks their butt because your guys did what they do best - hit, hit, hit.

I also agree with combining the Major and Major+ divisions. Without sounding like I'm disrespecting anyone - I would rather play the very best and loose than sandbag and win. I didn't like teams that did that back in the day and I don't think it's right now.

The other things that needs to stop is that just because a team is ranked #1 within their state, doesn't mean they are a Major+ team. 2 years ago, Deerfield Storage was ranked #1 in Florida and classified Major+. Dude, let me tell you, we probably weren't a Major team. Last year, Tapley was ranked #1 and classified Major+. Don't get me wrong, they're a good team but not Major+. This year it's Hollis (so far). Whichever rocket scientist that came up with that idea needs to go back to the space station for another couple years.

Just my two cents guys.
Feb. 25, 2011
audieh
Men's 60
241 posts
John, great points. When the #1 team in Florida is only allowed to have players from 1/5 of the state they will never be a competitive major plus team. The only way to have a major plus competitive team from Florida is to assemble the absolute best 12-14 guys in Florida. Then you can play even with anyone in the country. Hopefully SSUSA will understand that this year in the ratings.
Feb. 25, 2011
leftyodoul
Men's 60
97 posts
Gary19 - It's not about how you put your pants on, it's how you choose to structure your team. Do you load up with long ball hitters or do you emphasize defense and speed. Face it, every association in the country bases their classifications primarily on power. As you move up in classification you are allowed more home runs. If your team consistently hits their allotment of home runs and hits DBO's and you have some success you WILL be moved up.
Mario - If you want,I can loan you a LOG that you won't have to worry about going yard when using. I'm convinced that for a lot of jackers it's an ego thing. It's a selfish way to play the game. I won't play with anyone who puts personal accomplishments ahead of team success.
Feb. 25, 2011
DMac
Men's 60
185 posts
Just my opinion, but I think the best way to equalize the game is to get rid of the CR and limit the extra hitters to one or,at the most,two. If you hit, then you run for yourself and play the field. Give me those conditions and I will be happy to play a Major Plus team.
Feb. 26, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
DMac, I like that. Make the clods who are just hitting specialists play the complete game. Kind of like it was intended to be. Great post!
Feb. 26, 2011
stick8
1264 posts
Beasley, imo your not disrespecting anyone. You're encouraging the game to be played the way it's supposed to be played. And your also encouraging teams and players to improve themselves. To me that's what the game is all about. Anyone who feels that's disrespectful is not a serious player.
Rankings are like polls. They may be a fodder for conversation but when the first pitch is delivered the score is 0-0.
Feb. 28, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1964 posts
Audieh-I also think the double equalizer needs to be tweaked. We played a 55AA team in the pool play and lost-only 1 hr and the 5 runs proved too much. I do like the idea of the higher level team automatically being the home team if they have to give away the 2 equalizers. Or, possibly having 2 open innings to give the higher level team a little extra edge, but they would have to produce to win. I know-time constraints. One other idea might to be to allow unlimited hr's in the open inning to give the higher level team an edge back. The fourth idea I had for consideration might be just a 3 run spot and the lower HR level to be played.
Gary-CLODS? Really-name calling is not necessary.
Feb. 28, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Maybe a bit strong, but on the right track. Too many guys who can only hit, and don't seem very interested in running or defense.

If they don't want to play the GAME, let them just have a HR derby circuit.
Feb. 28, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3929 posts
webbie it used be the team giving the equalizer was the home team,don't know why it is not still,it is a good idea,and would give the team giving it a chance in the open inning to come back if needed.the team getting the equalizer has already gotten the advantage with the runs or extra fielder.how about splitting the hrs between the upper and lower team,meet halfway between.
Feb. 28, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1964 posts
Halfway between-now that's an idea I hadn't heard, maddog-good one for consideration.
Feb. 28, 2011
neck10
491 posts
audie after the ten over the fence with 5 being singles would the over the fence be outs then????????????
Feb. 28, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1964 posts
Hey, how about when the double equalizer of 5 run and lower HR limit is used, that hr's over the limit are singles instead of outs? That might just be the re-equalizer we are looking for.
March 2, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1964 posts
Or maybe singles up to the limit of your division--if you are AAA playing AA, then you get 1 hr and the next 2 would be singles and out after that.
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