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Discussion: LET'S FIX THE TOP OF SENIOR SOFTBALL-Part One

Posted Discussion
July 29, 2011
DD
Men's 60
71 posts
LET'S FIX THE TOP OF SENIOR SOFTBALL-Part One

Since becoming an active player in 2004, I have been convinced that SSUSA/SSWC management is determined to protect the lower division of the sport. The primary mechanism to do this is the Ratings procedure which is designed to elevate more competitive teams and prevent tournament bloodbaths being rendered to AA (and weaker AAA) teams.

Point taken. Most of us support the notion of protecting your 'bread and butter' customers...and historically AA and AAA teams have comprised upwards of 80% of all SSWC registered teams.

However, that is no longer the case. Through the aggressive elevation of good teams (another position most of us support) the current slate looks like this. These are ratings for 50, 55, and 60 teams only...no offense to 65+, but I did not tabulate your results for this thread.

TOTAL NUMBER OF RATED TEAMS---695
TOTAL NUMBER OF AA TEAMS---129 (19%)
TOTAL NUMBER OF AAA TEAMS---334 (48%)
TOTAL NUMBER OF MAJOR TEAMS---185 (27%)
TOTAL NUMBER OF MAJOR + TEAMS---47 (6%)

Even allowing for duplication and several defunct teams, this data suggests teams rated Major and higher now comprise over a third of all SSWC teams...36% to be exact. Major teams now outnumber AA teams by a significant margin.

We applaud the elevation of competitive teams to appropriate levels and hope it continues.

However, with a commitment to protect the tournament experience for the lower division, isn't it now time to offer the same assurances to the top level?

Future threads in this series will explore ways to do this...feel free to contribute. As always, Sacramento will respond, but only if they know what you want.
July 29, 2011
DD
Men's 60
71 posts
CORRECTION: Major and higher teams comprise 33%, not 36%.
July 29, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1930 posts
DD-this is great. As you know-I went to the convention and we talked a lot about Major Plus then. They tabled it for more discussion, because there is just not an easy, clear answer to this. One of the big problems is that as soon as teams are moved up, they don't want to play M+ and break up. I'm not sure, but maybe the drive to improve is not what it once was and the idea of the work it takes to play at the next level up is something a lot of guys won't deal with any more. They have reached their comfort zone playing. Maybe the 'been there and done that' when they were younger and don't need to do it again feeling kicks in. Maybe we have been playing for the same team for 15-20 years, as I have, and the 'family' is more important than playing up.
I know there is a feeling that the only way to grow M+ is to force teams up, but I'm not sure that would work. DD-keep talking-maybe email Dave directly, as you will find they are keenly aware of the situation and want to make M+ work.
See you in Prescott this weekend.
July 29, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3919 posts
i do think your numbers for the major teams might be off b/c of team name changes,teams dropping and such.i know of one 60 major team who has had 3 names in just the last 2 years,even tho they still play major,and it isn't to hide neither,just different sponsor and such.
July 29, 2011
Marv19
Men's 60
423 posts
As a small, by comparison, regional Association we have to be flexible. If not we wont get you guys to play. When we started we took a poll and found that most didn't like the HR rule. So we adopted the one up. That and the way it was written the Ump has to be a mathematician. Just keeping track of 3 strikes and 4 balls is sometimes problematic for some :O) As players we also said it wasn't far to punish for a HR when 1 up so we made it a single. Even though the big guys play on fields 315' to 325'. I know one guy that can hit a pop up 300' feet. So this was met with overwhelming acceptance. This year we have tweaked the upper division 50/55 M/M+ by going to a 5-1-1 rule. 5 HR then 1 up and a single. Additionally we opted for a 7 run equalizer in those upper divisions as well. In a perfect world we could say have 6 teams in all age brackets and skill levels. But when you have only 20 to 25 teams participate on any given weekend with 50 to 65 year old's then we have to deal with reality. Nice thread Dennis
Aug. 1, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1930 posts
Marv19-good points on the equalizer,the fact that it may be tough to keep track of the 1-up, etc., and the HR rules. I don't like seeing a 300 or longer shot ever being an out. Darn it, to be able to do that with regularity has taken hard work over the years and a certain measure of talent. There are those times when a home run hitter will feel like he can hit any pitch out of the park at any time. Then to have to keep the ball in the park or it is an out is just adverse to what we practiced all of our lives to be able to do. But the other side has problems, too. 55-48 in the 3rd inning and they have thrown in 3 dozen new balls already and the game is nearing an hour and a half already.
On the equalizer, one change I would advocate immediately is that once a higher division team hits the lower level of home runs that they are having to play, instead of an out, they should be awarded singles up to their normal level of home runs.
That's the big problem with figuring this division out-unique problems faced only by this division.
Aug. 1, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3919 posts
webbie awarding the singles still will get the 3 dz hit out of the park,even tho they are 1b's or walks.the way i see it,if ya play lower,deal with the hr limits,if not go play a higher div.yes i do know that is better said than done b/c of geography,but the lower divs need the limits to keep a sandbagging higher teams from dropping down to just win a ring,which has been done already.

i do like the 3 div setup,upper-lower-rec,it still wouldn't solve all of our prols but who knows.

marv you are right with the smaller participation tourney's(20- even up to 50 teams sometimes)in getting all age divs parted out fairly.we are lucky here that we can get mostly 5 teams for our 60 AAA div,but in seeding rounds usually play at least 1 M team,yeah it is a pain to play the same guys all the time,but we are playing,guess that is the good thing.
Aug. 1, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1930 posts
mad dog-you didn't read it closely-it would only be walks or singles up to their normal limit of home runs and then an out. Right now it is a double whammy with the lower limit and an out.
You will never get rid of the sandbaggers and that is one reason things are as they are.
Aug. 1, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3919 posts
i think i understand what you mean webbie,that hrs over even the lower teams limit would be walks/singles,what i'm saying is,that there still would be the 3 dz hit out to retrieve even with walks and singles for over the limits.the upper team will still hit them out with really no penalty for them,they are not making outs doing it,so really no penalty,just a lower limit for 4 bases,instead.
Aug. 3, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1930 posts
No, mad dog- Illustration
Major plus 10 hrs, major 5 home runs. Teams playing each other with 5 hr limit.
Major team hits 5 home runs-next one is an out.
Major Plus team hits 5 home runs-next 5 only are walks or singles and then (when they have hit their normal limit of 10) after that it is an out.
Thinking-Major plus should not be 'double dipped' on the home run rule by limiting number AND making it an out. They should not be penalized with an out until they go over THEIR normal limit. This plus the 5 run equalizer seems equitable.
Same goes for lower divisions.
Aug. 3, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1930 posts
Sorry, DD-didn't mean to get away from the issue. I added this blog to get the issue back up on the board. I hope more guys will put their 2 cents worth in.
Aug. 3, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3919 posts
webbie yes that should happen when they play down,it happens to all teams that play down regardless of the 2 div's playing.also you said that 3 dz balls would be hit out in the unlimited game,i'm saying they still would be if the extra hrs were walks/singles,thats all.the reason the higher has to play with the lower teams limits is they are supposed to be better than the lower team,hence the 5 runs and play with the lower teams hr rule.now it used to be that the higher team if giving runs was always the home team,now i see they flip for it....

i wish i had answer for the top but it will always be the lowest participation div,just saying.we don't have enough players of the highest ability to be able to play is what i think.
Aug. 4, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1930 posts
But to me that is a triple whammy-5 runs spot, lower home run limit, and an out. It becomes very apparent in a AAA vs. AA game where the AAA team only gets 1 hr and then out, especially if you get a wind blowing out.
I still have a problem with hitting one out requiring a 'penalty'. It used to be 'special' to hit one out and you got to run the bases. Now it can be a liability???
Back to the subject. One big question that remains unanswered is why teams break up when moved up instead of facing the challenge of playing the best. We used to travel to play the best before there were any divisions. Now, rather than take the bull by the horns, we break up the team and reform at a lower level. Why?? Giving up??
Aug. 4, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3919 posts
but webbie,how do you get an even match when a team plays down.......as for the breaking up,maybe the team got on a roll and won something,but doesn't have the way to get the extra talent to move up to the next div.i do feel we should have a list of players when they are on a team that wins a major,that they be frozen to that level for a year,let them be able to play down,but that team can have only so many or they will have to move up a div.the kids do it for their assoc,they call the higher rated players bumps for the lower rated teams.

i just don't see anyway to help the top div,unless you break up all the teams and disperse the players to different teams,and we know that a lot of them don't want that.we could go with a sponsor div,and have those type teams play exhibition tourneys at reduce fees,kind of like a good will ambassador for the sport,maybe even book local younger teams to play against them,at tourneys.
Aug. 4, 2011
garyheifner
334 posts
I have always been and will be a strong supporter of what Terry and the gang do in their efforts to make the competition equal and fair. My 65AA team was moved up I guess because we won the Midwest in Kansas City. A 3 team field. We beat a much weaker team and then beat a good KC team 9-2 and 9-7 with both games still undecided in the 7th. We lost to a 70s AAA team in the prelims. The Chicago Seniors AAs were moved up and have not won anything of note. That leaves only a handful of AAs in the Midwest. The AA teams left in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana etc usually don't show up in Phoenix. The Gray Sox and Seniors always go. It is very possible you won't see a 65AA midwest team show up from east of the Mississippi. I believe that in Phoenix last year the Seniors finished around 4th and we were 6th or 7th. Kinda indicated our true AA ability. However, we will give our best at AAA and see what happens.
Aug. 5, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1930 posts
mad dog-I believe if you continue to play better competition, you get better and learn to compete with them. The 'fear factor' goes away, you relax and play your game. If you can 'get on a roll' once, you can do it again. I mis-typed in my last post-I said 'we' break them up, I meant the teams themselves break up and reform. I don't think you can get the system much more even than they have it when a team plays another from a different division.
Aug. 5, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3919 posts
webbie i understood what you meant by the break-ups..no prol....yes some teams do get a little better by playing up,but also get real down when they are constantly getting beat up on by having to play upper teams,they get the attitude why even go(as you can see by this board,a couple of teams have decided not to do it anymore).you can only get just so much better,unless you have the talent to go with it.me i don't mind,i see it as an opportunity for the little David to slay Goliath.

take shaq o'neil,spent countless hrs practicing shooting free throws,did he ever get better..no....

i do think ssusa has done a good job in pairing teams and getting playing conditions/rules for 2 diff age/div teams,also.like i said before,just don't know how else they could do it.
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