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Discussion: Puzzled?

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May 14, 2012
southpaw
Men's 60
734 posts
Puzzled?
I do not know how it is in the rest of our wonderful country, but here in the South there are very few fully sponsored teams. Those teams who are sponsored usually carry 16 to 20 players. My puzzlement applies to the sponsored as well as unsponsored teams who carry so many players and have a number of them who are just back-up players.

The back-ups play very little, pinch-running primarily, and get into games most of the time when they are out of hand. Is it just wanting to be on a winning team so bad, or the comraderie, or...?

The only acceptable reason for me is if financially someone would not be able to participate at all, then go be a backup. Otherwise, playing the game is the primary reason to leave home 2-4 days, spend a lot of money on lodging, gas food, etc.

Some years ago, my nephew was my starting 3rd baseman. Early in the season, he left for a far more talented team and sat on the bench the entire season so that he could get a championship ring! He did get the ring, along with a bunch of splinters in his derriere!

For me, I had rather be on a team, participating, and lose every game, especially at our age. What do you think?
May 14, 2012
canIjack
Men's 60
322 posts
Well I've never been a back up player, and I won't start being one now. and I won't play with losers just to play a game of softball. It anit that serious.
But........if I had Never Won a Championship Ring,and had a chance to be on a Team that could Win one. I could be a back-up player/Cheer leader and would ride the Pine of a fully sponsored Team. Anything other than that,I would pass.
Southpaw you know These Chanpionship Rings are hard to come by, so if given the chance to be on a Chanpionship Team, Yes I would take the invite if asked. But I would be ready to play whenever they put me in(thinking somebodies is about to lose their spot). JMO
May 16, 2012
southpaw
Men's 60
734 posts
C-Jack, with all due respect, now I am confused as well as puzzled. First, you state that would never be a back-up player, then you conclude by saying that you would be a B U!!

For me, it is simply my attitude that at our age, it is just the sheer enjoyment that I am still able to play the game, win or lose. It is not about championships; it is not about rings or trophies; it is about being part of a team, contributing, and actually playing the game.

That's why I stated that I had rather be on the field losing every game instead of riding the pine while everyone else is winning the game. by the way, losing games does not make us "losers".

May 16, 2012
the wood
1087 posts
Southpaw:
IMO, there is no right or wrong answer here... it simply boils down to what makes you happy. In So Cal there are enough players to build a quality team with players that want to win. Having been on that path for most of my softball career (playing to win), I will say that you don't win with people who refuse to be back up players. That is the hardest roster spot to fill and you aren't likely to win w/o them. Fifteen all-stars does make a winning team.
The availability of sponsorship money does make it easier to find role players. But, in the absence of it, a guy is either a team player or he isn't. Again, this has been stated in the context of a team whose goal is to win.
Bob Woodroof
May 16, 2012
the wood
1087 posts
My Fault. Fifteen all-stars DOES NOT makea winning team.
BW
May 16, 2012
canIjack
Men's 60
322 posts
Well sp, You ask us... What do we think? I told you just. Now You what to critique and comment about what I just wrote. Man, I didn't mean to offend you. But I do see that you and I are not even, on the same playing field. No further comment.
May 16, 2012
mad dog
Men's 65
3948 posts
kennard i read the same thing from ya tho.your very first line says you wouldn't be a backup...then ya do a flip on us....which way is it,just asking.....i'm also not the one to ask to be a backup,i feel my game is good enough to be playing,like you....
May 16, 2012
Omar Khayyam
1003 posts
Every coach knows you need a roster larger than 10 guys to win over a season. Injury, illness, family or work emergencyŚlots of things can cause a player to miss a game, a day, or a tournament. The smart coach has back-up players ready to fill in on those occasions.

So what else is a back-up? An outfielder that seldom gets in a game because the starting outfielders remain healthy? A pitcher who doesn't start because another pitcher is on his game and baffling hitters? An infielder who also rides the bench because the other infielders stay healthy and effective?

And in some cases, the back-ups are just as skilled as the starters, but strategy calls for a certain lineup. Factors like huge fields where stamina and speed is important in outfielders; a cold or windy day that negatively affects some hitters more than others; a slow slugger where speed is necessary to defeat a particular opponent; a blistering hot day that causes some players to quickly wilt more than others; etc. are all important considerations. A player who would not sit on the bench on such a team is not a player I would want as a manager. Players need to trust their manager's skill and understanding of strengths and weaknesses, and accept their role in any individual game. If you don't trust your manager, change teams.
May 16, 2012
stick8
1320 posts
Very good topic!! Allow me to add that honesty from a coach or manager who makes the decisions on who plays and who doesn't is very critical when assessing whether to join a tournament level team or not although a one night a week "beer league" team might vary. What role did the coach tell you that you would undertake? Were you told up front you were a backup? Were you told up front you were a starter? Were you told that you would be in some type of rotation with other players? Were you told if you weren't a starter that you'd get a chance to earn your way to a starting job or vice versa? I'm sure there are other questions that could be asked but imho honesty from those in charge would be huge in this scenario.
May 16, 2012
Omar Khayyam
1003 posts
stick8, I agree with you. A manager is better off when he levels with his players about their role on the team and also tells them why they are not starting a particular game. I might disagree with the manager in his evaluation of my abilities, but I respect his attempt to start the ones he thinks are best able to win that game, and I enjoy hearing his reasoning. Sometimes, it has changed my mind about myself or another player that I think should be playing or batting higher, etc. Never too old to learn.
May 16, 2012
canIjack
Men's 60
322 posts
Try this again. I said... I would only be a back up if I had NEVER won a Championship ring. But I've been blessed to have Won more than enough rings for 1 man. So I WOULDN'T play back up on anyone's team Sponsored or not. Now, am I flipping or flopping? LOL.
Please don't get me wrong
I thank GOD for back up players/role players. The pinch Runner,hitters. They are the back bones of Teams. They add to the Greatness of Teams.
May 16, 2012
garyheifner
367 posts
The playing time for my Chicago Classics Gray Sox 65s won't be an issue this year as we have lost three players due to health/surgery for the season. We will have 10-12 for each tourney. In previous years, we have had 14-15 players. Regardless of the importance-stature of the tournament everyone batted in the prelims and switched around on defense. Sometimes each inning. In the championship bracket play we cut it to 11-12 who played at a time. However, those that sat out a game, played in the next, etc. It has created great team unity/loyalty and balance.
Regardless of who goes down in a game, we have someone who can play that position and hit.
May 16, 2012
stick8
1320 posts
Good points Omar, especially listening to why a manager does what he does. It could be used as a motivator to work harder so the coach won't ever sit you out!! It's hard to appreciate what a manager goes thru unless one becomes a manager. It seems as if it can be a full time job at times!!
May 16, 2012
southpaw
Men's 60
734 posts
Thanks for your comments and of course, The Wood summed it up well. There is no definitive right or wrong answer.

I try to have 13 or 14 players at each tourney and I do have a few friends who play 65/over who are my roster strictly for emergencies.

Being puzzled is more about those teams who bring 17 to 20 players to every tourney and every game and seeing those who could be starters on other teams sitting the bench and playing very little is really where I was coming from.
May 16, 2012
Omar Khayyam
1003 posts
stick8, back in the olden days, I was playing rec league with a team that included a lot of young guys (older teens and young 20s). This was when you could not reenter if substituted for. There was a lot of griping by the younger guys about our coach, an oldtimer and wise old head who was twice to three times their age.

I was representing the sponsor and I solved the problem by assigned each griper to be "manager of the week." When they saw what goes into worrying why so-and-so isn't here yet, trying to get a lineup to an umpire demanding it, trying to focus on your managing while also playing a position, and getting the same flack about "play me, play me" and the same second-guessing, they learned their lesson. They played together as a team for a few more years, none of them ever wanted to manage, and they were very supportive of our manager and his decision-making.

May 17, 2012
southpaw
Men's 60
734 posts
One last point if it is o.k., due to lack of clarity on my part.

Almost everyone has commented from the coach's perspective and I certainly understand why extras are sought--for a variety of reasons. However, I was primarily looking for the players' perspective--all the motivations for choosing to be a backup player. Thanks
May 17, 2012
swing for the fences
Men's 50
1006 posts
I know for our team it is essential to have role players! I know there are lots of games last year I wished we had some backups to give us a break... There are a lot of games through the season that guys here and there can take a break. Is Keeps starters fresh for championship round. We have told those role players straight up what their jobs would be. It's a luxury and as important a starter IMO for Sucess at a high level from a team standpoint. The Longhorns out of Calif Had 16 plus guys on their roster and they spread it around to keep guys fresh! It's a winning combo.. And I truly appreciate those selfless players that are willing to backup the starters!
May 17, 2012
stick8
1320 posts
Omar that's quite a story about those gripers being "manager of the week". It reminds me of players who've never umpired before who as you put it are constant "gripers" at umpires. One in particular that I know did try out umpiring and found out what it's really like. While he still questions calls the constant griping from him has receded. Lesson learned.
May 17, 2012
Wes
Men's 65
312 posts
garyheifner
would you call me at 1-502-905-9386
Wes
Louisville
May 17, 2012
Omar Khayyam
1003 posts
stick8, I forgot to mention that my experiment had the blessing of the manager who was about ready to resign because of all the second-guessing. He happily managed for the next few years.

southpaw, I've never been on a team where I was a permanent backup, but I think I could handle it. I'm on a team now with a large roster (the older you get, the more necessary a large roster is to cover injuries), and our manager sits guys for one game a tournament.

I had a health problem about 4 years ago when I couldn't bat, but I went to two tournaments as a rabbit and enjoyed them both. The camaraderie of the team, the sense of contributing (even if not starting) in a successful tourney, the exercise and adrenaline, the enjoyment of after the game (often dinner together for us), all of these factors are there even if you are not a starter.

To never start, and even ride the bench for several games for a healthy team that doesn't need a runner or someone to spell them in the field, that might not be so easy to take. I could do it, but it probably wouldn't be the same. Interesting thread.
May 18, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1993 posts
Our Desperado team has taken up to 20 guys to tournaments-including the TOC. When we won the TOC in 2011 in 55AAA, all 20 contributed. When guys were not playing defense, they ran to save outfielders legs AND be in the game. At times we had slower guys running for faster guys to keep everyone involved. (The veritable Tortoise running for the Hare) It worked well for a team with a true family spirit-on and off the field. And everyone has 4 rings now. Some teams can make it work, and being the only 55AAA team in Albuquerque-team options were limited. It is one of the things that makes senior softball great.
May 19, 2012
hombre
Men's 60
220 posts
Steve, our team has 20 players on the roster. So far this season we've had:
one retirement due to repeated knee injuries
one broken foot
one knee surgery recover
one cataract surgery
one eye injury
one shoulder surgery
one carotid surgery with possible nerve damage

And the season has just begun.

Several tournaments we have had to play every player that was available. Especially with and older team, this is why some teams have 20 players on their roster.
May 20, 2012
southpaw
Men's 60
734 posts
Thanks again for your comments. Hombre (Jim) I just moved your team to the top of my prayer list! I thought I had difficulties.
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