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Discussion: Update from USSSA National Convention

Posted Discussion
Nov. 13, 2012
stick8
1325 posts
Update from USSSA National Convention
Just hung up with my UIC who's at the USSSA National Convention. In an effort to be more involved with senior softball & attract more senior teams to play USSSSA senior tournaments USSSA has implemented the following for 2013:
1)all senior bats will be legal
2)all games will have a MANDATORY pitching screen in use at all times and it will be MANDATORY for pitchers to wear a face mask or cage while pitching.
--ball hits the screen--dead ball out runners do not advance
--pitchers can be fielders
--as of yet nothing has been determined if teams or USSSA provides the
pitching screens and masks
Personally I have some reservations about #2.
Feel free to tell us what you think. Thank you in advance!
Nov. 13, 2012
Robo2
229 posts
No problem with having a screen. I do question why pitchers must wear a mask if a screen is in place. Rest is OK.
Nov. 13, 2012
southernson
261 posts
Our pitchers will NOT be wearing the hockey goalie outfit, for Halloween on the clay----so no USSSA for our group.

Nov. 13, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Sad, sad, sad what the sport is sinking to.

Or more accurately what the insecurities of old guys is creating.

And great point, why a screen and mask?
Nov. 13, 2012
wagon487
Men's 50
538 posts
I'm not buying it....i'm simple like that....seems like over kill!
Nov. 13, 2012
swing for the fences
Men's 50
1010 posts
I have zero problem with all the above.. I am sure there are some pitchers who will welcome it and some that won't... in an effort to protect the most vulnerable person on the field, I think it's a good move!
Nov. 13, 2012
TOP DOG
Men's 40
13 posts
The problem I have with this is that if the ball hits the screen then its a dead ball out. If thats the case then the pitchers should not be able to field any balls. Its like giving the defensive team an extra player on the field. Just think... if you play a 5 man infield you can put your 5 man on one side of 2nd base and your pitcher can slide over towards 2nd base and with the pitching screen covering the middle its like having 7 GUYS COVERING THE WHOLE INFIELD!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dont get me wrong... I'm all about safety but this is just stupid!!!!!!!!!!! If you want to try and help protect pitchers then just make it that if the batted ball hits the pitcher on a line drive with out him putting a glove on it then the batter should be out. BUT if the ball hits the ground 1st or if the pitcher gets a glove on it then its a live ball! I can see it now.... bottom of the last inning down by 3 runs and Guy swings for the fences with bases loaded and 2 outs and he misses it and hits a very slow dribbler up the middle and nobody gets to it and it barely hits the screen. 3rd out , game over.. What a way the end the game!!!!
Nov. 13, 2012
400
Men's 50
80 posts
WOW this is like having soccer moms invade the sport of baseball.
Nov. 13, 2012
number27
12 posts
I 've played with screen before, no issues, batted ball in screen should be strike, not DBO. Only draw back to screen is it will take away some potential double plays. I am ok with that because the trade off is I can now shoot middle without fear of injuring or pissing off pitcher because he thought I was aiming for him which I always try hard not to but sometimes it just happens. Besides moving bases to 70' will offset lost DP's started by pitcher.
Nov. 13, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Protection my butt!

Wanna protect the oldest, slowest group still playing, get rid of the special bats. Anything else is bogus lip service.

And again, why both a screen AND a mask? How ridiculous!
Nov. 13, 2012
miken44
78 posts
i agree with the use of a screen but there should not be a dead ball out if you hit the screen also no need for a helmet with the screen it is about time to protect the pitcher if the pitcher is allowed to make a play on the ball does he have to go behind the net before he can make the play if he is standing outside of the net then where is his protection we use a net in our league but the pitcher has to step behind the net before he can make a play it should be a strike if the batter hits the net not a dead ball out
Nov. 13, 2012
swing for the fences
Men's 50
1010 posts
I say I'm fine with strike or dead ball out...
Nov. 13, 2012
DCPete
242 posts
Basically, makes no sense at all. If the pitcher stays behind the screen, then what purpose does the mask serve?
And if the pitcher doesn't stay behind the screen, then what purpose does the screen serve?
And if the pitcher doesn't stay behind the screen, why should it be a dead ball out or even a strike if the ball hits the net?
Are they trying to protect the screen from being broken?
Whoever came up with this clearly didn't think any of this thru . . .
Nov. 13, 2012
crusher
Men's 70
403 posts
I support a screen. here are the rules....

batted ball hits screen then no pitch.....

miss-hit ball should not be an out.

pitcher is protected,,,,
if I decide to hit a ball out of the park
and hit it low at the pitchers head at 70+
years old he is going to be down.

So I think the screen should be the rule and if the screen is hit it is just a no pitch.

And yes to you POS's g19 I pitched in the young league until 59 years of age and took their best and only got hit on foot 1 time.

CRUSHER
Nov. 13, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
crusher,

uhhhhhhhh, okay. Not sure your point to the last line, but sure whatever you say.

Pete, just another of the "whacky" rules caused by the special bats I so frequently get to point out.
Nov. 13, 2012
swing for the fences
Men's 50
1010 posts
I wonder if North Cal SS will be adopting these rules?
Nov. 13, 2012
Omar Khayyam
1004 posts
Thanks for the news, Stick. I predicted a couple of years ago that screens would become mandatory. In this case, USSSA upgrades to a senior bat and then mandates a screen PLUS a mask! Wow. I predict that SSUSA won't be far behind. Kind of hard to say that a pitcher can sign a waiver because of the hot bats and then another association mandates a screen for safety. Why is safe for an SSUSA pitcher to not use a screen with composite bats, but not for an USSSA pitcher?

As to the rule, I can live with a screen. Play with one every week and it's not a problem. I love the idea that the pitcher can also be a fielder, and thus the requirement for a mask. Don't like a DBO for hitting the screen. No reason for such a penalty. The pitcher is already protected with a screen and with a mask. Why penalize a mishit so much? I could live with the ball hitting the screen being a dead ball, but would prefer that it be a strike to keep the game going.

Who will provide the screen? TD, of course, which makes it standard, well-maintained, and very affordable. About $1.00 more per team should purchase the screen within its lifetime.
Nov. 13, 2012
swing for the fences
Men's 50
1010 posts
USSSA seems to be sick of the bat shaving! So I can see why they went to allow all senior bats.. This is why I moved so fast to SSUSA from the kids game for the same reason, sick of the cheaters cheating to compete when I know they shouldn't be on the same level.. if all have hot bats and so so balls it levels the playing field for all!
Nov. 13, 2012
swing for the fences
Men's 50
1010 posts
Oops, meant to ask if North Cal SS and SSUSA will be adopting these rules anytime soon?
Nov. 13, 2012
Tim Millette
522 posts
So for those that think UTRIP is the trend setter for senior ball...

I cannot wait for the one and one count,

pump faking,

umps not calling illegal during the pitch,

and.... The three foot hump six feet off the ground.

All of these things would be great for senior ball....

Maybe our NorCal ss will incorporate all these great things at the same time they put screens on the field?
Nov. 14, 2012
Rube
3 posts
Rather then go through all of that, and its obvious that nothing can really be done about the senior bats (or the shaved senior bats), why not drop to a "dud" ball. This would alleviate some of the issues in my personal opinion..

Steve R
Nov. 14, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1995 posts
How big is the screen? We played Senior Olympics with a 7 foot wide screen. It was all they had and took away too much of the field. 3 feet wide is enough to get behind, unless you are 'wider' than that. How tall will the screen be? 6'? Will it adjust for the height of the pitcher? Does a pitcher 5'5 get the same screen height as a pitcher that's 6'8? The taller pitcher could get hit, negating the safety factor. For a lot of teams with a strong defensive pitcher, it will be like having that 11th defender up the middle. Will it be positioned wherever the pitcher wants it? For a left handed hitter on the right field side of the rubber and for the right handed hitter on the left side of the rubber? Does it sound like I don't like the idea of screens in tournaments? You're right.
Nov. 14, 2012
Paco13
376 posts
My question is. How many Senior Utrip tourneys have you played on the last 5 years? Me personally none. So in simple words who cares what they do or ASA does they are nobody when comes to senior ball. My 2 centavos.

PR NINJA OUT.

JESUS TE AMA!!
Nov. 14, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Rube, if that was done then guys in their 50s and 60s would not be able to hit balls they weren't in their 20s and 30s, and that would ruin the illusory experience for them.
Nov. 14, 2012
Jawood
Men's 50
800 posts
USSSA has senior softball?
Nov. 14, 2012
Rube
3 posts
:-)

Yeah I know that Gary, but sure would make the game more competitive...I have and do pitch for Major and Major plus teams and its getting out of hand...someone at some point is going to get really hurt. Since policing the bats is never going to work, at least throwing in a ball that is less then "a rock" it would even up the playing field a little.
Nov. 14, 2012
#19
Men's 60
252 posts
Crusher ... If you've been a pitcher for such a long time, and have only been hit once, and it was minor, why the need for a screen?

#19
Nov. 14, 2012
Robo2
229 posts
It needs to be treated as a foul ball or batters will continue to hit it and wait for a pitch down the middle. I did not think of this before. So a hit screen with 2 strikes is an out.
Nov. 14, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Rube, I completely agree, but I think we are out-numbered by the guys who need to hit harder and farther using the R&D and technology of others to have fun and feel good about themselves.

#19, great question, but you seem to be expecting logic. Good luck with that one.
Nov. 14, 2012
crusher
Men's 70
403 posts
#19 - I did not bring this up. I am not against having a screen either.

The need of a screen?? I have hit pitchers (not on purpose), I have hit balls just beside a pitchers head and the pitcher reacts after the ball goes by his head. The pitcher probably only has 4 tenths of a second to possibly half a second to see the ball and react to a HARD hit ball.

I really do not like to see anyone hit. Sometimes it takes many surgeries to correct a facial hit.
Nov. 14, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
crusher, no one likes to see someone get hit.

Now, one way to help with that is to get rid of the special bats. You on board with that?
Nov. 14, 2012
#19
Men's 60
252 posts
Crusher ... I have hit pitchers, too, but never on purpose ... If a ball is coming off a bat to quickly, then perhaps something should be done there rather than placing a foreign object in the field of play and then making random rules governing the foreign object.

#19
Nov. 14, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
#19, you make waaaaaaay too much sense.

But keep in mind the game now has numerous "random", or I call them whacky, rules to accommodate the deep psychological need many seem to have for the special bats and the extra offense and danger they provide.
Nov. 14, 2012
crusher
Men's 70
403 posts
#19 - Every pitcher I hit(again never on purpose) was with an aluminum bat. With the composits I make sure not to hit up the middle.

The aluminum bats gets the ball to the pitcher in less than a second. The pitchers more in danger are new pitchers.
Real experienced pitchers seem to have an uncanny reaction to a hit ball.
Nov. 14, 2012
Robo2
229 posts
Our team uses a pitcher screen in BP during the off season. So I do not see any issue with having a "foreign object" in the field. Especially if it is there for a safety concern due to slower reactions.

I am all for using less lively bats if they are supplied by the tournament. Otherwise cheater bats come in.
Nov. 14, 2012
Omar Khayyam
1004 posts
crusher, I agree that pitchers might have better than average reactions, and experience helps anticipate a hit up the middle. Likely, the many who wanted to pitch in the past were driven out by the danger when they realized they couldn't get their glove in place fast enough for a screaming line drive up the middle.

And this has always been the case. I began pitching only 37 feet from the plate back in the 50s. It was fast pitch, so there was no time to reverse weight and back-up on a batter. Even with wood bats, the ball could be very hot coming up the middle. Either you could protect yourself, or you found another position.

The composites, with the extra speed that allows the ball to go 350...400 feet for some batters have exacerbated the problem. I can see why associations are mandating screens because few pitchers are really safe at those speeds. Even with backing up after release, the pitcher is vulnerable to getting hit by a ball they can't stop, and these are experienced pitchers with faster than normal reflexes.

And of course, as pitchers continue into their 60s and 70s and even 80s, their eyesight and reflex speed decline enough that a strong batter that age has even more of a dangerous advantage. I appreciate batters like you that work hard not to hit a composite up the middle. May your tribe increase!
Nov. 14, 2012
boston
307 posts
Played with a pitching screen during senior olympics. The pitcher would always stand on the 3rd base side of the screen to pitch. Then stay there the whole time as a defender. Makes no sense if the purpose is protection. As I have stated in the past I'm all for eliminating senior bats.
Nov. 14, 2012
DCPete
242 posts
This is another argument for a return to the unlimited arc.
The pitcher has time to back up or move to the side and the umps no longer have to make the call or argue with the hitters about illegal high pitches.
Sure it's more challenging for the hitters, but this helps to reduce the impact of the senior bats on the overall balance of the game.
There were arguments in the past with unlimited arc as to what constituted a pitch that was too deep; with the mat the only possible ball/strike argument left would be the flat pitch call.
Nov. 14, 2012
cal50
Men's 50
288 posts
Pete....I agree with you. It would also put more defense back in the game as there will be more miss hits.

Nov. 14, 2012
bernie
Men's 55
64 posts
This is just another instance of the game passing the heirarchy of the rightous and all knowing softball associations by, inspite of a clearly successful format being used for years right under their noses..Do any of the kids organizations recognize the ability of 50 year old seniors? These rules have been obviously designed to protect the multitude of 75 and over players from breaking a hip. No offense to all you 75 and older guys, please.
Nov. 14, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Pete, I have nothing aqainst unlimited arc. But if you are only recommending it as a way to combat the special bats, then once again the tail is wagging the dog.

Bernie, very correct. Never understood why, from a rules perspective, 50 year olds who often are still playing with the kids have to use the same senior rules as 75s. Makes NO sense.
Nov. 14, 2012
stick8
1325 posts
Interesting and informative responses! The jist I get it most of you are at least accepting of having a screen. I'm not certain if these rules are amendable or not but given these new rules (all other rules are the similar as SSUSA--5 runs an inning plus open inning, different hr's for each level, etc) would your team play in a USSSA Senior World Series?
Nov. 14, 2012
crusher
Men's 70
403 posts
stick8 - a good chance more senior teams would play in USSSA ,

The only question I have is how many senior teams now compete.
Do they already have senior play, and, is it very well attended now? This is a problem to get it started.
Nov. 16, 2012
southernson
261 posts
Trust me, senior bats or no senior bats, it gets there in a hurry, even when you are 6 feet behind the rubber and backing up.

The screen kills too many double play balls, just don't like it. And yes I've been hit multiple times...

But did someone in this conversation say "unlimited arc"....ah, finally something reasonable as a weapon for the pitchers, but that will never happen in SSUSA, I wish it would...nothing's worse than hearing big whining men complain about arc....
Nov. 16, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
The same whining old guys if the special bats were taken away.
Nov. 17, 2012
tattooball
623 posts
I was in the manufactures meeting when they announced this. Some of the originals posters info is not correct. No masked for pitchers and hitting the net is not correct, as I know it.
Nov. 17, 2012
LP
302 posts
we dont play u-trip dought if we ever will. if everyone wants a screen for the pitcher, which i wouldnt want, why not just play with a rubber coated softball if your afraid of the regular ball.
Nov. 17, 2012
Omar Khayyam
1004 posts
Ah, southernson, the unlimited arc. What a year that was (and it only lasted a year in my area because of the whining of the batters). Throw that puppy up 15, 18, even 20 feet—and those were they days when it had to pass through the strike zone and hitting the plate was a ball. I had a couple of shut outs and lost a no-hitter in the last inning that season. What a joy for the pitcher. Actually, any guy that can hit fungoes was pretty unaffected by the high arc. It's amazing how many men cannot hit a fungo.
Nov. 17, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Omar, officially the ASA had unlimited arc at the national level in 1975 and 1976, the first two years I played. Good times if you knew how to throw it. A one-hitter, four strikeouts in one game, and 27 in a 26-game season. Without the benefit of foul balls counting as third strikes.
Nov. 17, 2012
Omar Khayyam
1004 posts
Gary19, I think you're right. I dimly remember that ASA allowed unlimited arc for two years, but due to the whining and crying in our area, our rec department changed the rule the second year for league play. Maybe even half way through the season. Did you ever have a pitching umpire behind the plate? I had one, a young guy like myself at the time, and his strike zone was very generous, considering the mathematically narrow window a 20' pitch has to go through, and he had no tolerance for second guessing. Don't remember him tossing anyone, but he certainly gave warnings about challenging his calls.
Nov. 18, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
You could often tell if the ump was a former, or perhaps even current, pitcher by how he called the game.
Nov. 18, 2012
bkb555
99 posts
we dont play Utrip senior softball (yet) but I think the net rule should be revised.....not an out but a strike and an out after second time....anyone can miss-hit a ball and hit the net but if you do it 2 times in an at bat, then THAT is the penalty of hitting low....we did just fine in our senior league with u trip bats....sure, the balls didnt go out like the senior bats but then it brought the game back to the players and no more "excuse me" HR's like the senior bats produce now...i have both bats and the senior bats are insane compared to U trip bats
Nov. 18, 2012
Qnine
Men's 50
17 posts
I play in a senior league with an net and if the ball hit the net it is an out . If the pitcher get hit with the ball outside the net the batter get an doubler.The pitcher can not field the ball in play ,no popup or groundball,the net is to protect the pitcher . All he do is pitch.


ASA has change thier standard on asa bat for 2013 So watch out Gary-19 when you are playing in Mayfield Village this year with your son or senior abll
Nov. 18, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Q, thanks for the heads-up! lol

Any idea how that will effect either Mayfield Village league?
Nov. 18, 2012
Qnine
Men's 50
17 posts
ASA bat standard move up to 100mph standard and with 300comp. and 44cor balls .THE ball will come off the bat faster even in Mayfield
Nov. 18, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
That's okay. There should still be more defense than with the senior bats, I would think.

Though I have heard they do ban even some ASA bats, though I could be wrong about that.
Nov. 18, 2012
Qnine
Men's 50
17 posts
All ASA bat banned back in 2004 are still ban . But the standard was lower to 98 and then to 94 in wrapper to max at 98 broken in. Now it is up to 100mph just as u-trip the new 2013 bat with ASA stamp are legally and maybe good as the og freak or senergy2 or pst worth
Nov. 18, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
I am sure these new standard bats will be better than the previous ones, but I am only guessing they will stil be less than the senior bats out today.

Q, if you get a chance try the new indoor cages in Brecksville. Well, not new but remodeled. VERY well lit, and from what I have seen so far very accurate and consistent pitching.
Nov. 18, 2012
Qnine
Men's 50
17 posts
Where in Brecksville alway looking for better place to work out still hitting in Solon waiting until Febuary before starting live pitching in the tunnel
Nov. 18, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
It is the old Fielder's Choice on Mill Road. Off of Brecksville Road, just north of the intersection of Brecksville and 82.
Nov. 18, 2012
Mango
Men's 50
92 posts
If the screen is to protect the pitcher it is not logical that he can then be a fielder.
Nov. 18, 2012
Mango
Men's 50
92 posts
If the screen is to protect the pitcher it is not logical that he can then be a fielder.
Nov. 19, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Mango, it is called wanting to have the cake and eating it too.
Nov. 19, 2012
cutty
43 posts
The Middle of the field is like any other part of the field. If you place a net during tournament play, you have reduced the game. I do understand about the safety part of the game, but most picthers can wear protective gear on let,s play on. I don,t hink this will help attract more senior teams. I think you should take the game to the people. I,ll been playing senior ball for eight years, and i have never had a USSSSA tournament my back door. I know it takes work to get this done. 6 hr,s drive time verses, leaving on thursday and returning on sunday night. This may attract more teams. i guess the pool games or neccessary for seating, but take a survey and see what the players want. It,s senior ball.
Nov. 19, 2012
5ToolsinOhio
Men's 50
160 posts
2nd year playin senior ball and the play in games are a joke, strap a set on and play 2 and out, possible 3rd game add on i can live with.
Nov. 19, 2012
cal50
Men's 50
288 posts
I enjoy playing the 5 games. If there were not that guarantee, I doubt that I would play more than a couple of senior tournaments a year.
Nov. 19, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
The "seeding" games are little more than expensive exhibitions.
Nov. 19, 2012
stick8
1325 posts
As I was informed on friday night USSSA Senior rules as outlined above are amendable and may changed. What those changes will be is not known at this time. As soon as I get information I will post.
To addrees the question if there are USSSA Senior softball tournaments the answer is yes--there were world tournaments. They used to have a USSSSA East world tourney and a USSSSA West world tourney. This year one was scheduled to be played in Glen Burnie, Maryland but was cancelled due to lack of entries.
Nov. 21, 2012
jsheeran
Men's 50
41 posts
Stick and others, you might know the answers to or have an opinion on some of my questions / comments below regarding USSSA Senior play.

It's my understanding that USSSA has not allowed Senior bats due to insurance reasons, is this true?

And since USSSA did not allow Senior bats I assume this is why there is little if any interest from Senior teams to play in their 1 or 2 Senior tournaments per year? Is this true? Or is it just that their 1 or 2 tournemants just happen to fall on weekends that conflict with other more popular SSUSA, SPA or ISSA tournaments?

Our team would play in a USSSA Senior tournament with USSSA bats without the pitching screen and pitcher's mask / cage. Especially if it was in Michigan at a great complex like Liberty Park. (remember the post regarding the poor Potterville complex). The USSSA bats are pretty darn close performance wise to the Senior bats so this is not a factor to us. Do you agree?

How many Senior teams would play in a USSSA Senior tournament with only USSSA bats on a great complex? If not, why not? Is not being able to use a Senior bat the only reason?

Nov. 21, 2012
ju25
Men's 55
149 posts
Happy Thanksgiving Stick,
Did your UIC mention anything about the new stamp bats for next year? I heard a rumor on another site that it would only be enforced for USSSA sanctioned tournaments, and up to the director in league ball for one more year.

Hi Jeff,

I heard the same thing about the insurance, USSSA bats once boken in are pretty close to senior bats(at least for me)and I would play in a USSSA tourney as long as they tested the bats. Shaved and rolled bats have become the norm in USSSA. My league team plays in an over 50 ASA tourney in Port Hope, Mi. every year with ASA bats and the Worth green dot ball(marshmallow) and have a great time.
Nov. 21, 2012
jsheeran
Men's 50
41 posts
ju25 - yes agree to playing with non-altered USSSA bats.....I forgot about the jerk cheaters who disrespect the game. It's a shame we need to even bring up illegal shaved and rolled bats.
Nov. 21, 2012
Olden Slow
Men's 65
183 posts
After Mondays league game, several of us went for coffee and discussed a wood bat only division in our league. We are going to propose it for next season...It will be interesting to see if it flies...Most of us agree, it would be a lot more fun...Oh yeah and we are putting 70' bases into play as well..
Nov. 22, 2012
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2734 posts
This past fall our league went to the screen. I should say here that we use senior bats and 44/375 balls. If the screen is hit it is scored as a strike, so, on the third strike it's an out.
I pitched 5 or 6 games and when facing a weaker hitter I don't get behind the screen, I'm aggressively moving right or left, which ever way I think he is placing the ball. When big hitters that I know hit the middle come to bat I tend to stay close to the screen.:)

In previous seasons several pitcher have been hit and we needed to change something.
I suggested going to the 52/300 ball but that was quickly dismissed.

There have been discussions about the screen just being another fielder, not being used for protection but I don't know if anything would or can be done about that.
All in all I think that using the screen has worked out well.
Nov. 22, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
"and we needed to change something"

Bruce, was any thought given to changing the bats? If not, why not?

And why was the ball discussion "quickly dismissed"?
Nov. 22, 2012
stick8
1325 posts
Jeff to answer your questions:
==Insurance reasons are why USSSA didn't allow senior bats in their tournaments. They felt that due to the age of players and the hotter bats there was a larger risk of players sustaining injuries thus the higher amount of insurance costs.
--Not being able to use senior bats appears to be the main reason why participation was low in USSSA Senior tournaments but there are others. I'm not certain if ISSA, SPA or SSUSA events fall on the same weekend as the USSSA event. This years USSSA Senior worlds was in October in Glen Burnie, Maryland was cancelled due to lack of entries. Last year in Maumee there were 13 teams total for all divisions---it was nothing more than a local event.
--I do beleive once broken in USSSA bats are reasonably close in performance to senior bats. That being said many senior players still prefer their senior bats and that's ok as long as everything is equal. Liberty Park would be a great place to host a senior tournament--it's something myself and our UIC are looking to do. It's a matter of picking out the right weekend.
--Like your team, our team would likely play in a USSSA senior event with USSSA bats at Liberty park. Our team played the USSSA Senior Worlds in Maumee in 2009, 2010 and 2011 with USSSA bats only for two reasons 1)geographically it was close 2)it was a world tournament. For our team our sponsors weren't willing to spend the money to fly & play a USSSA event with no senior bats.
--To your last question you'd probably get only local or just driving distance teams to play. The thinking at the convention was senior bats would attract more teams. Time will tell I suppose
Nov. 22, 2012
stick8
1325 posts
Jimmy, as I understand it the new bat standard will be enforced in all USSSA NIT and qualifying tournaments. Local leagues it will not be enforced.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!
Nov. 22, 2012
stick8
1325 posts
Update for rules as of today (Thanksgiving):
--pitching screen? Yes
--mandatory pitcvhing masks? No
More to come...
Nov. 22, 2012
jsheeran
Men's 50
41 posts
Stick, thanks for the answers and feedback.

No mandatory pitching masks is good. If a pitching screen is mandatory this most likely would be an issue with our team playing.

Have a great day?
Nov. 22, 2012
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2734 posts
Gary, no, we didn't discuss changing bats. We have 4 other divisions in our senior league and they all use ASA bats. If we wanted to use ASA bats we would ask to play in another division.
Another reason is there are too many doctored bats so by using senior bats we are playing on an equal level, well almost.
But wait, you knew my answer before I replied!
Nov. 22, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Not sure I knew it, but it is what I suspected.

Just reinforces my point, guys won't give up the benefits of the R&D of others. What I don't get is why guys who don't need the special bats, you being one of them, so easily give up a lot of your advantage by letting lesser hitters equalize themselves with technology.
Nov. 22, 2012
17Black
Men's 50
222 posts
My gripe with USSSA was always the pitching rules, and I played and pitched under those rules for years. Not the rules so much, but finding umps who understood what they mean.

Still looking for an ump that can call "three feet from release" consistently or even understand what it means. I used to get dizzy watchng guys antics on the mound. I used to get dizzy on the mound.

I used to do the splits and scrape fingernails in the dirt and release. Don't want to do that anymore, even with yoga!!!

I'd throw "legal" pitches with three/four/five foot arc's that were called flat, and released from my nose with a one foot arc that were illegal and called strikes----I even got thrown out of a game for arguing with an ump when he called a strike on a pitch I threw that was a ball, after calling two strikes in a row balls.

Having not played any USSSA in over a decade I assume those are still the rules? USSSA going to use a mat?????

I'm not sure the senior game needs all that stuff? Too many guys have vertigo now!

I liked Tim Millette's comments above.

Nov. 23, 2012
stick8
1325 posts
Jeff I share your concern with a pitching screen. Some pitchers do get drilled but IMO unless their is an unusually widespread occurrence of that happeening there is no reason to consider a screen. Even at that pitchers can always opt to buy equipment to protect themselves. Three years ago SSUSA adopted a middle hitting rule--any ball hit thru the middle at or below the pitchers head was a dead ball out. That rule didn't last very long.
This and other things gary19 points out (who I agree with btw) isn't the way the game was intended to be played. Before we know it senior softball will be a complete gimmick-type game.
Nov. 23, 2012
stick8
1325 posts
17black as a USSSA umpire I have a way that I've worked on for years to determine where 3 ft from the pitchers release point is. Most pitchers release the ball from their knee or just below or above their knee. Using the length of a bat as a guide (34") the bat from the knee up goes to about my pectoral muscle in my chest. Add 2 inches and your right at the neck line. Watching carefully the release point of the pitcher if it goes to my neck level or above with a perceptable arc then the pitcher has his three ft from release. Again keep in mind watching where the pitchers release point is the key plus a perceptable arc or in ballplayers terms a "hump".
What's just as tough is determining where 10 ft from the ground is.
Nov. 23, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1995 posts
stick-I've been playing slowpitch for 44 seasons now. I saw pitchers get hit back in 1969 when I started at about the same rate I see them get hit now. Back then they pitched from the 45 foot rubber and I never saw any moving backwards on the pitch. They really did start moving back more during the 'hot ball era'. Now, that 10-15 feet back (and sometimes more) that the pitcher can pitch from and move back to comes closer to balancing the bat difference in such a short distance than you might expect. Bigger sweet spots do create many more harder hits, but a high percentage of players do not go up the middle as often as they used to(me included). The 'gear' for pitchers, for those that wish to wear it, is enough. Tournament players know what the game is. Screens for tournament play is something I do not want to see. They are great for league play.

Also, stick, you are really correct on the difficulty of calling pitches precisely to the rule. I just look for consistency from an umpire.
Nov. 23, 2012
swing for the fences
Men's 50
1010 posts
Webbie, I don't want to see screens either! I would like to have one simple rule.. umpires descretion on dangerous balls hit through the pitcher.. if he's hit or ball deeemed dangerously close to the pitcher is an out.. next time ejection.. simple rule to keep the middle guys off the pitcher.. common sense should take over with the player playing the game! I already play this way and have been! I don't try to go through the pitcher!
Nov. 23, 2012
Omar Khayyam
1004 posts
Webbie, you play at a high level, so you might not have observed that a lot of pitchers, especially 60 and older, are men who have lost much of their functioning in their legs. This is probably more prevalent still in AAA and AA, where lessened mobility doesn't allow these guys to run for themselves on base, or function at many other positions than catcher or possibly 1B, so they can be enough of a liability that a major or major plus team may not want them.

These guys are not able to retreat rapidly after a pitch to be set to field a shot up the middle. Some of them are exceptional fielders with quick reflexes and good gloves, but they just aren't very mobile backing up (or of course, left to right). But even their good reflexes as they age aren't enough for the high speeds coming up the middle. Add to that the question of stamina that begins to affect men in their late 60s and older, and you have mobile pitchers who just don't want to run back except on known sluggers or guys who often come middle.

Lots of these guys (we pitchers talk to one another) would probably welcome a screen. I have never been in a tournament with a screen (except for sun problems) but almost all my league play uses screens. I can take them or leave them, but many pitchers prefer them, and you would be surprised, probably, about the one-time experienced, good pitchers who no longer play that position because of the danger to themselves (sometimes eyesight, etc.). They might return with a screen. Wearing protective gear is either too cumbersome or they still don't feel protected enough.
Nov. 23, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1995 posts
Omar-After playing AAA for 6 years, I do know a lot of pitchers have lost their legs. But they are still out there pitching and playing. Maybe the answer is optional screens at the AA or AAA level, or the older age groups. There is a fine line between suggesting screens at the lower levels for safety, and being looked on as condescending for saying it out loud. But, if the problem was that bad, I would think there would be a lot more lobbying for screens. The pitchers I've seen at M+ are still quick and I don't drive the middle because I know it will be fielded. I doubt any of the ones I faced this year would be for screens in tournaments. But, a lot of the AAA pitchers I played against didn't wear gear and played the position well, too. They probably don't want screens, either, I would guess. How far do we go in MANDATING safety?
Nov. 23, 2012
slyone25
Men's 50
19 posts
I AM ALL FOR HAVING A SCREEN FOR THE PITCHER'S, IF IT HIT'S THE SCREEN ANYWHERE IT'S A DEAD BALL STRIKE, IF IT HIT'S SECOND TIME IT'S A STRIKE, AND IF IT HIT'S A THIRD TIME BATTER'S OUT. NOW THAT'S ON A ZERO-ZERO COUNT, IF YOU HAVE ONE - ONE COUNT HIT IT ONCE IT'S A STRIKE, HIT IT AGAIN IT'S AND OUT. I DON'T THINK THE PITCHER NEEDS A MASK, IF THE BALL GET'T HIT UP THE MIDDLE HE SHOULD BE BEHIND THE SCREEN, IT WILL PROTECT HIM. BUT IF HE MAKE'S A PLAY ON THE BALL THE BALL AND TOUCHES HIS GLOVE ANYWHERE IT'S A LIVE BALL. WE'VE PLAY WITH THE SCREEN AND HAVE NEVER HAD A PROBLEM. NOW LINING THE SCREEN UP. IF A RIGHTHANDED PITCHER SHOULD MOVE IT IN FRONT OF THE MOUND TO THE LEFT WITH THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN BEING LINED UP WITH THE EDGE OF THE MOUND. LEFTHANDED PITCHER'S MOVE IT TO THE RIGHT. I HAVE A FRIEND THAT SELL'S THESE'S SCREEN'S IF ANYONE WANTS ONE.
Nov. 23, 2012
Omar Khayyam
1004 posts
slyone25, that's how my league deals with a screen to some extent. If the pitcher plays the ball and hits him or his glove, it is a live ball. However, if it hits the screen, we just call it a dead ball. I prefer a dead ball strike exactly as you suggest, but so far that idea hasn't gained much traction with the rest of my league. Been playing with the mandated screen (some bad injuries to pitchers just before my time in senior ball) for 13 seasons, and it seldom causes any problem.

Sounds to the inexperienced like a screen would be in the way of hitter and fielders, but in reality, it is pretty much a non-issue.

Webbie, I agree that all pitchers I've seen play at the major plus level are capable of protecting themselves without a screen. Any line drive that strikes them and injures them is part of the game in that there are risks fielding in any position, and especially pitcher and left-side infielders. But as has been pointed out many times on this site, those elite pitchers are less than 1% of all senior softball pitchers.
Nov. 24, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1995 posts
Don't underestimate a lot of the AAA pitchers-we played against a lot of good ones. I have also seen a lot of the major pitchers that are good, too. I think the one percent figure is way too low. Pitchers-how do you feel about it? There should be a lot of them on here!

btw, I have hit the screen twice with throws from center field to home in league. Our pitcher is going to tip it over from now on if necessary.
Nov. 24, 2012
Omar Khayyam
1004 posts
Webbie25, I wasn't saying that Major Plus pitchers are the only good pitchers, I was just remarking that there are so few Major Plus teams that their pitchers, with their skills and derring-do and experience, are mathematically only 1% of all the pitchers in league and tournament play. And unlike most rec and AA teams, and many AAA and even Major teams, pitchers in Major Plus must perform, not be tolerated because they are buddies with the other guys.

I would guess that when a pitcher for a Major Plus team cannot make a tournament, that the manager tries to recruit another excellent pitcher, not just rely on his right fielder who throws a consistently accurate batting practice ball.

As to hitting the screen from the outfield, maybe it just has to do with getting used to it. I play about 130-140 games a year with a screen. I cannot remember the last year, even, when a throw from center field, or a relay of that throw, hit the screen. Didn't happen in 2012. Of course, it may be that none of our guys have a rocket arm like you!:=)
Nov. 24, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1995 posts
Sarcasm?? I love it. It's just I can't get it past the screen anymore and i guess I didn't tell you it 'rolled' into the screen....

I'd like to hear from a lot more pitchers and see how they feel!
Nov. 24, 2012
Pricer
Men's 50
622 posts
Don't like it and will not play with it!
Nov. 25, 2012
68Levi
16 posts
Won't play with the screens. Our pitcher wouldn't eaither. We depend on his defense to shut down the middle. He is responsible for anywhere from 3 to 6 double plays per tourney, and numerous other outs. That is a big part of our game.

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