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Discussion: Recreational Softball Leagues...What\'s Wrong?

Posted Discussion
Nov. 2, 2005
BossBandit
Men's 50
55 posts
Recreational Softball Leagues...What's Wrong?
I had an interesting discussion with some of the administration of the City Parks and Recreation Dept here in Tampa the other day. It was regarding the decline in both the numbers of teams playing in the city and, also, the decline in the quality of the competition. It was the managers position that the "new bats" were a major cause in the decline in numbers. His position was that people were hearing so much information about how dangerous the bats were, and additionally how expensive the game was becoming to be competitive that they were moving to other forms of recreation.

Any comments on that???

My position had a lot more to do with a couple of what I consider to be more significant issues...

1.) Poor conditions of most of the fields in City except for our main complex, which, of course, the recreational coed and womens teams are not allowed to play regularly.

2.) Poor facilities at most of the parks, i.e., restrooms, water fountains, dugouts, etc.

3.) Poorly motivated officiating staff that is not monitored, trained, or disciplined after being hired.

4.) Lack of originality in the design and execution of promoting recreational activities in the city.
Nov. 2, 2005
wolfin42
Men's 55
32 posts
Our City rec leagues have declined not because of equipment but with the three bullets you have mentioned. The lack of the City Rec departments in ensuring leagues offer more than fields to play on,keeping costs in check, and being active in ensuring the leagues are operating with some type of a goal. Whether the goal is te ensure everyone has fun, or development of competative leagues and rec leagues. A prime example is in order to provide the older softball player an oppurtunity to play it is necessary to start my own senior league with no participatation by the city becasue they are not interested. No equipment is not the main issue.
Nov. 2, 2005
Walk
192 posts
Nothing new here in KC same problem and of course the admins want to blame someone or something other than their selves.

We have a couple of great complexes here that are in perfect and yet no teams. The senior leagues on Tuesday and Thursday night are the only time one of the complexes are full with softball.

What is the problem or problems? Bad umpires, bad managment, and no one knows what bats and balls are suppose to be used. I hate to say it but ASA is killing the game.

The skate board park that is also housed in the complex we play at is always full. The soccer fields are always full and the golf course is always full. Two of those sports are more dangerous than softball could ever be and golf is popular. Also you see young adults and adult leagues at the skate board park and on the soccer fields.

The time has come where softball leagues are going to have to do more than just provide a half azz park and umpires to attrack players.
Walk
Nov. 2, 2005
taits
Men's 65
4251 posts
Here is my opinion about my area, Fresno, CA the city as well as the "BOD" of the senior league, DO CONTROL the BATs and BALLS. They try make sure they are ASA bats, but at same time insist on using CORK balls. Their reason comes out as "for the safety of the players". But also fear of being sued, the real underlying motive. But the city can't even maintain the park consistantly. Sprinklers come on during games, lawns are mowed most of the time, trees shade some of the lights, Lines are not always there, as are the umpires.
Just too many items need some correction for what the city is charging for field use. League has 50's to 70's players with most definately only recreational players. Great bunch of guys but far from being committed to anything but rec league play on a regular basis.
Nov. 2, 2005
BossBandit
Men's 50
55 posts
Makes sense to me that if you're not motivated to fix a problem you would blame somebody else. That's typical in government work. We're starting to try to develop some information here in Tampa so that we can go to the Council or the mayor and try to bring some pressure regarding adult recreation because it is being neglected universally.
Nov. 2, 2005
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
588 posts
My belief is that slowpitch softball is baby boomer sport. The numbers get smaller every year because it is just not the sport of the younger generations. Sure you have problems with respective parks, but I see an overall decline at the parks here. It reminds me of what happened with men's fastpitch which gets smaller all the time. We only have one park that even still has this. I would guess the same is true of 16" softball. The biggest increase in slowpitch that I have seen here around Indy is in girls slowpitch. I see so few new young teams in leagues, and the mean age of players in leagues keeps getting older.
Nov. 3, 2005
taits
Men's 65
4251 posts
I see the problem as something that involves politics, money and "power". Assn's along with manufacturers debate battles over standards, of bats and balls. Players want the best, they pay for it. Should to be able to use it, or should not be available. Same applies to balls. Too much control over the game has taken place over the last 4 years or so. Players are fed up with not knowing if what is comming to market will be legal where they will be playing. And that even changes every year in the middle of it..
Balls keep getting changed cor and comp wise and already down to 40\375's or less in games.
Restrict one but not both bats and balls. Won't be long at this rate before we all using wiffle balls and foam bats.

BTW, Mush ball (16") games are fun, I used to have a league back in the 70's for one.
Nov. 3, 2005
taits
Men's 65
4251 posts
Nancy Allen:
I'm trying to include Women's open slow pitch teams in the tournments I'll be putting on in Fresno, Ca. Also, Men's 35+.
If you know of contacts for either please forward to me. I allow the U-2 and use 47\525 balls. I am set for six tournaments in '06 at the FOD at Fresno's, Granite Park.
tait_ebay@yahoo.com
559-298-0591
Nov. 3, 2005
BossBandit
Men's 50
55 posts
I think that it is amusing to be seeing the ASA, which was rumored to be moving toward the 40 core ball for the coming new year, to now be considering approving the 44 core/525 compression ball for competition. Perhaps, someone up there finally realized that they were tripping over there egos and p*&&*ing off the masses. Could it be?
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