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Discussion: LET'S FIX THE TOP--Part Two

Posted Discussion
July 29, 2011
DD
Men's 60
75 posts
LET'S FIX THE TOP--Part Two

Just what is wrong with the top division of senior ball? Currently, the top level is Major Plus and Major Plus represents a mere 6% of registered teams. That's simply not enough teams to have a marketable business. Yet, Major Plus players are arguably the most passionate, committed, and frequent players in the sport. IN OTHER WORDS...HEAVY USERS. In my case, as a player/manager on two teams, I will play in 26 tournaments this year...many other Major and Major plus players can say the same or even more.

Business leaders always want to satisfy their heavy users...that's just common sense...yet in today's climate, SSUSA is giving these heavy users planty of reasons to look elsewhere for a more satisfying experience....

...TOO FEW MAJOR PLUS TEAMS IN TOURNAMENTS;
...HOME RUN LIMITS;
..."STIMULUS PACKAGE" (as Tate22 calls it) RUN SPOTS;
...EXTRA FIELDERS FOR LOWER-RANKED TEAMS;
...GAMES OVER IN LESS THAN 7 INNINGS (getting better here);
...EXTREME RESTRICTIONS ON PLAYER MOVEMENT TO OTHER TEAMS;

... it's a virtual blizzard of rules and restrictive regs that make it rare indeed for Major Plus players to play Major Plus rules in any given tournament.

The same restrictive rules apply when major teams play down. It's time to consider merging the Major and Major Plus divisions into one level...the top level of senior softball. The numbers don't lie and with a third of all players now in Major or higher, teams will look for tournaments that allow them a satisfying, complete experience.

We can do this.









July 29, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
DD,all this would be nice if the teams that get moved up to M+ would actually stay around and play in that div.seems maore times than not,as sson as a team wins a major tourney that gets them moved up they disband.

now with merging the 2 divs will most likey have the same effect b/c now you have a more talented teams (M+) dropping down to play.the M teams won't like that a whole lot,as if a M team drops to AAA.


you have brought up some good points,just not sure it can happen this way,but hey,who knows.....

also ya might check on the double ups and no longer playing teams in the major div.that number sounds a little hi for them.
July 29, 2011
Pricer
Men's 50
622 posts
Great topic! Sometimes in softball we create more problems by creating more rules & divisions. Honestly ask yourself a question. Why can't there be two divisions in each age bracket? Upper & lower? Go back to the rules before time limits came into play. That would solve the levels in which teams would choose to play. Either you can play upper or you can't. JMO
July 29, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
pricer i think 3 div would get more teams out to play,upper,lower and a rec div.let the rec play the present AA rules,and not sure how to set up the other 2 divs,but there would have to be some sort of limits on somethings.open innings is ok with me,in the two higher div(aka,no run rules per inning)the hrs would have to be regulated tho,maybe give upper at least 10 if not more,with 1 ups,make lower 3-5,with outs,or just do 1-ups from the start.
i don't know,lets keep this rolling and see what happens.
July 29, 2011
Pricer
Men's 50
622 posts
I think for the easiest solution. Two divisions first, three after a year or two. No tourney would suffer for a lack of teams.
July 29, 2011
perly
88 posts
The problem with Major + is the same problem the young guys have with upper level softball. There are 3 Major teams in the U.S. Resmondo, GTL Cartel and Team Combat.

These teams go out and get the best sponsors and players and dominate softball. What is the incentive for A/B teams to want to play the big boys. Don't tell me the only way to get better is to play these guys, that doesn't wash. I read a local young buck website all the time and the guys talk about playing up and getting better but when we have a "B" tournament the C/D/E teams all run and hide.

Bottom line, teams/players want to compete and have a chance to win.

Fixing the Major + problem won't be easy. Talk on the young guys boards is to have a Major Player list and let a team have 3/4 of these players. Will that work for them or us? We won't know until it's tried.
July 29, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
perly the A and B teams do play the big boys,along with some C and D teams.we have a tourney here in dallas every year and 1 or 2 of the big boys come in and play in it,well this tourney does draw 20-30 teams and most are E and D teams just looking to see if they can take a nick out of the big boys,or even just to say they played against them.one of the local A teams went to the border battle to play against the USA and the CANADIAN teams and guess what,they beat the canadian team and held their own with USA.this same team last year beat one of the big boy teams in tourney,so they do go to play them and see how good they are.

i do agree with a major list,and limit how many a lower team can have play on their team.that would help out major teams and some AAA teams(for the major player who has no local team otherwise to play on),just don't let them play AA.

hey lets keep yaking and maybe someone will stumble upon a great idea,or manage to take all of these and make something of them.
July 29, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Why is there more than one division/classification? The age groupings are pretty small, only five years. So if you cannot compete with the other flesh-and-blood teams your age than so be it, no disgrace in that.

Other than to win what amounts to a JV division, what is the point?
July 29, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
same as there are in kids ball,E thru major,so what is the difference.and has been since the mid 80's...........
July 29, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Good question. I don't know why they have them either, and who wants to win E? What does that prove?

That you can be a 12th grader winning a middle school tournament, that is about what it means.
July 29, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
tell the assoc's that,they are the ones who started them.how many players do you know that want to put all that time in to play major ball,with out being paid to do so,as that is what is gonna have to be,since there are but only a couple of completely sponsored and player paid teams in the USA.so maybe that is the reason behind the many divs,but hey you tell me,why.
July 29, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
I always suspected it was the associations' way of suckering more guys into paying to participate, so they could say they won E, or Q, or X, or whatever they got up to.
July 29, 2011
Pricer
Men's 50
622 posts
With two division it will solve most of the problems. The few teams that insist on paying for the best of the best to win tournies that they walk thru, will last a year. When the rest of the teams indicate they don't want them in their tourney, they cahnge their make up real quick. USSSA, ASA, NSA and others all started the E division for the recreational player. Cut off blue jeans in tennis shoes type player. Ever since then players have drop down instead fo having the goal to play up. Eliminate all the choices. Way to many. JMO
July 29, 2011
perly
88 posts
maddog, you are correct about the C/D/E teams playing the big boys on occasion, expecially in the USSSA Conference. This is still not the norm for the lower level teams. And when it's time for the state and nationals they all want to play where they can win.

Gary19, your idea about having one division will never fly. Maybe you don't care if you have a legitimate chance to compete and win but most guys do care. Teams from big cities or with big dollars will always have the advantage. There need to be different divisions, just maybe not so many.

Where I live, in the Florida Panhandle, there is nothing but D/E ball primarily. We have one "B" team and maybe 10 "C" teams. Believe me, winning the "E" Worlds means a lot to these guys. May seem rediculous but it's true.
July 29, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
here in tx,E and D ball is the norm,like you said perly,we have a few C teams and 3-5 A and B teams combined.hell i don't think there is more than 30 legit A teams thru out the states.
July 29, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
perly, I care about winning, but winning something meaningful. Again, I don't want to be a 12th grader winning a Freshmen tournament. Means nothing!
July 29, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
mmm so the ncaa div 2 guys should not be proud that they win their div,or the naia shouldn't be proud of their div wins.our whole society is made up that way,those freshmen compete at freshmen levels and i think they are proud when they win.i don't see 12th graders playing down at the freshmen level,they play at the 12th grade level.you play a level and thats, that.
July 29, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Actually not as proud, or as good. But in those cases the different NCAA divisions play by different scholarship rules, so they are not apples to apples. In our case, we are theoretically free to pick up whatever players we can and be as competitive as we an make ourselves.

Just like in HS track, let's say. The child that wins the small school division running an 11.2 100 gets to be called a champion while the large division 5th placer finisher that runs a 10.9 gets nothing.

Personally I would rather run the 10.9 than the 11.2 and live with my 5th place finish. I am glad my kids always felt the same way.
July 29, 2011
Al33
Men's 55
183 posts
Gary,
Another bad analogy with school kids. 12th graders don't play against freshman.

Softball is set up with age groups and talent levels. You play within your age group and talent level.
I'll bet a "AA" champion is just as proud as the Major+ champion of their accomplishments and they should be.

The kid in track that runs the 11.2 because he might be from a small town or a small school still deservs to be a champion. That's why they have divisions and levels.

I guess your entitled to your opinion, but in my opinion it don't make no sense.
July 29, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
I understand they don't, but the analogy still holds up. For a 12th grader to want to move down to Freshmen just to win would mean/prove nothing. Just as grown men playing down just to win is equally hollow.

Your age is something you can't control, your talent/ability you can work on to improve. Yes we all have individual ceilings, but how many really work at it. My point is to win at AA or AAA when other guys who put their pants on one leg a time are willing to play Major+ or even Major just doesn't mean a whole lot.

So you would rather win with 11.2 becasue your competition is inferior than lose with a 10.9 running against the best?
July 29, 2011
Al33
Men's 55
183 posts
G19,
Again you can only hide so long. If you win at the AA or AAA level, you'll be playing with the big boys.

If I'm a legit competitor, winning at 11.2 can be just as good as 10.9. It depends on my level. Using the school analogy, why do you think they have different levels in sectional and state playoffs?
Chances are the lowest level competitor isn't ever going to beat the highest level competitor no matter how much they try to improve. Therefore the 11.2 is just as good as the 10.9 based on the talent/ability level that you are.

College is much more than just about different scholarship rules. Another bad analogy. It's also about talent and grades to name a few.
Most DIII athletes will never be able to compete at the DI level no matter how much they work at it even though they both put their pants on he same way.

Enough said, this is counter productive to the issue being discussed.

July 29, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
AI33,guess he is not proud of his kids as they didn't go to the best schools out there,they only went to lower rated schools.....
July 29, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Al, I understand that eventually you will play with the big boy, at least until you break up and reform.

There are different levels in high school based on school size, as it should be for true team sports. But for individual sports, how many classmates I have rarely affects how an individual performs.

Sad pup, where did that come from? My kids attended arguably the best public school academically in Ohio, one that competed at the Division 1 athletic level. There were 14 letters earned between them, including 5 years of being varsity captains. Two of them went on to play in college.

As far as pride, one graduated from the U in 3 years, has his MBA, has bought and sold a boat, and lives in a penthouse condo overlooking Miami Beach. Another is a Sargeant in the Army. Another has her B.S. from Johns Hopkins and is beginning Med School at Northwestern next month. The younger two are still in undergrad. Not a lot not to be proud of there.
July 29, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
but did any one of them get a rhodes scholarship,did anyone go all the way to the top of any sports pro team,see what i'm getting at.with you down grading what others have accomplished is the same as me saying your not proud of your kids,that is all..........
July 29, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
I really don't get it.

I did not mean to insult anyone, but I just don't see the need for all of the classifications. What is winning at the fourth or fifth level down really winning? If I have to keep looking for levels until I can finally win one, what have I really done?
July 29, 2011
Pricer
Men's 50
622 posts
Sometimes in softball we create more problems by creating more rules & divisions. Honestly ask yourself a question. Why can't there be two divisions in each age bracket? Upper & lower? Go back to the rules before time limits came into play. That would solve the levels in which teams would choose to play. Either you can play upper or you can't. With two division it will solve most of the problems. The few teams that insist on paying for the best of the best to win tournies that they walk thru, will last a year. When the rest of the teams indicate they don't want them in their tourney, they cahnge their make up real quick. USSSA, ASA, NSA and others all started the E division for the recreational player. Cut off blue jeans in tennis shoes type player. Ever since then players have drop down instead fo having the goal to play up. Eliminate all the choices. Way to many. JMO
July 29, 2011
E4/E6
Men's 60
850 posts
"Generally" you cant teach or improve athletic ability, you either have it or you dont, of course there are exceptions to this, but "generally" it holds true.
Does that mean players dont want to move to the next level, not at all, it just means they are playing to their ability, "generally".
Not every player has the ability to play M+ or M, or AAA, but they are still trying their best to compete. That gentlemen is what is important here.
July 29, 2011
einstein
Men's 50
3114 posts
Hey John.
Great to see you up and about.
I thought the need/desire to win
was totally cultural and a learned phenomenon
till I coached 9 year old, pre-little league
guys one year.
I tried to tell 'em it wasn't important when we lost but they with their crying and
true disappointing demeanors
showed otherwise.
But I agree there is huge differences
in talent and temperament in sports
and the need for levels is real.
Great to see you back.
July 30, 2011
Jawood
Men's 50
794 posts
Too many divisions and not enough players. Right now there are 4 divisons. Cut it down to 3. Upper, lower and rec is all that is needed. Major, AAA and AA.

Too many age groups and not enough players. Right now there are 8 age groups. Cut it down to 6. How to do that is debatable for sure but, possibly an age group for every 8 years instead of 5. 40+, 50-57, 58-65, 66-73, 74-81, 82+.

July 30, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
jawood i do think your are correct on not enough players.from what i have seen is that a guy comes out to a tourney for the first time with a team,and sees the missiles being hit and says to hell with this,and says i'm used to playing softball not dodge a missile game.they go back to their league and forget about tourney ball,just not fun for them.
July 30, 2011
grumpy55
Men's 60
102 posts
Mad Dog,
I agree with you on what you say. We have brought out guys to practice and to some Tournys with us and then we never see them again after they comment that they didn't realize the speed of the ball coming at you. It does not make them sissys just their thoughts. A couple are friends also. I am just a 60 triple a player and probably don't know any better. Maybe in the future they can tone the ball down, that is the cheapest way, and maybe you can get some of these guys out.
July 30, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
grumpy it is just what i have seen,i play 60 AAA also,and feel the same way as you,guess there are 2 of us who don't know any better...LOL....but i'm gonna play till i drop,don't care what the assoc's make us play with.my only suggestion with the ball change,was that so many have complained about the pitcher protection and such and wanted screens or a bunch of other changes,but still wanted to hit the lethal equipment we now use,like i've said before that sounds real selfish on their part.

are you going to dalton in sept,if so look me up.i'll be with the dallas spurs,#77.

have fun and good luck the rest of the season.....
July 30, 2011
Enviro-Vac
Men's 60
394 posts
Huntsman prolley' has more divisions than any senior tournament I know and also prolley' gets the most teams.
July 30, 2011
Enviro-Vac
Men's 60
394 posts
...just saying
July 30, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
it does work for huntsman,as they usually have 20-30 teams per div there and have a week to get it in.they divide up into 5-8 team divs.

yes jimmy,but the top div does take a beating when there is only a team or 2 that are really of the top level.how many times did we have to play a M+ team there,yes and we held our own a few times,but just saying it does get tiresome to play upper level teams when they drop down.

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