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Discussion: pitching screens

Posted Discussion
Nov. 14, 2012
BudLeftField
56 posts
pitching screens
the villages,fl- screens to protect pitchers are optional. All batted and thrown balls that hit the screen are in play. Pitchers do not have to stay behind the net after pitching. Seldom does anyone use this screen in a game. Most of our pitchers wear masks and shin guards, and alot of our infielders are wearing masks as a result of numerous injuries.
Nov. 15, 2012
17Black
Men's 50
219 posts
Screen is in play^^^^^???

If ball hits frame and goes foul, foul ball then?

Stuck in netting, pitcher runs around screen to untangle and throw to base???

Had my first experience with screen this past summer in one weeknight league.

I'm tall, but I think it makes MORE DANGER? Balls shoot off the screen frame past my noggen all the time.

Also took away a lot of double plays on easily fielded balls up the middle.
Nov. 15, 2012
BudLeftField
56 posts
17 Black-If ball hits frame and goes foul before passing first or third base, it is a foul ball. We have no rule for ball stuck in net. I would hope that situation would be covered when going over the ground rules. Most likely a dead ball. Either that or a big arguement. I think the screen as well as masks for the pitchers and now even batting helmets are provided because of injuries. We had a base runner hit in the head with a throw, so now we have helmets if the batter/runner wants one. I haven't seen anyone use them yet.
Nov. 15, 2012
?
82 posts

Does anybody know why it is that in all forms of Baseball and Softball from T-ball to college to Major League, batting helmets are required for batting and base running, but in slow pitch softball is this rule exempt?



Nov. 15, 2012
4Four4
Men's 60
82 posts
YES. Softballs - Hardheads - Rubberarms. No screens please!
#4
Nov. 15, 2012
neck10
493 posts
sreens are fine took a bad one in fall ball a couple weeks ago should use screens in all leauge ball its just like batting practice anyway so why risk getting hurt when it means nothing.these kids dont have a clue where the balls going sure they didnt mean it still can hurt you bad
Nov. 15, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
"leauge ball its just like batting practice anyway"

Oh please. Unless you, and not just you neck but the others who have expressed this kind of attitude, play at least the second highest level of tournament ball this holier-than-thou attitude is just silly. Tourneys are no different than league, just a bunch of teams who pay their way to get in.
Nov. 15, 2012
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
When I pitch batting practice (which I do every week) I consider it a success if a guy hits 8 out of 10 off of me. That means I'm throwing strikes, not too high nor too low—a successful batting practice pitcher.

When I pitch in league (or tournament) I consider it a failure if a guy hits 800 off of me. I try for shutouts at both levels. If I groove a pitch for a batter, it was a mistake and I don't plan to make many mistakes.
Nov. 15, 2012
neck10
493 posts
gary I play leauge in traverse city michigan its layed back we have trouble getting guys to show up must less take it serious so I just use it as a place to get some swings the guys I play tourney ball with are all serious I play in the 55 major division im 59 so ready to go to 60's after this year.we won three pretty good tourneys this year toc in feb louisville in june & the northern championship in august & I wouldnt dare pitch in one of thos tourneys all im saying is some of us guys who pitch leauge donr have the glove that these tourney pitchers do
Nov. 15, 2012
garyheifner
360 posts
While in Florida last week played in a local senior pick up league in Naples on Thursday. Players ranged (all ages) from recreational to M + tournament players who hit bombs. They use a screen on all 4 diamonds. It was approx. 2 feet wide and 5+ feet high. 1st time playing with one out there. In the 9 inning game I played in, "2" balls struck the screen. Dead ball-do over if it hits any part of the screen or frame. It really wasn't a factor and while hitting I didn't even notice it. Just hit the ball towards the biggest opening/gap. I left feeling it in no way altered "GOD forbid" the santity of the game or was an insult to the game. Regardless if there is a screen or not and you pitch in any game of 12" regardless of association or age group, you are totally nuts if you don't wear at least a face mask and cup.
Nov. 16, 2012
curty
Men's 60
103 posts
we use a screen in our local league and any ball that hits any part of it is a foul ball and treated like any foul ball i.e. on third strike it is an out. Thrown ball is live. Screen is placed in front of the mound not more than 6 inches to either side. pitcher must adhere to current pitching rules.We use this for senior & co-ed. I have not heard a single complaint.
Nov. 16, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Sad to say, I might agree to the screen IF YOU ARE USING THE SPECIAL BATS.

But that is the rub. Why keep dumbing down the game to feed the insecurities of old guys?

neck, I got you!
Nov. 16, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
440 posts
G-19 (thanks for tip about Pinnacle-played yesterday)
Back to the thread: G-19- disagree with last comment. The time difference at that distance for
a well hit ball is immaterial whether it is a Senior bat or USSSA bat. Do the math. Older guys have slower reflexes- not rocket science. The difference is in technique by the pitcher. Better
technique reduces the risk. The older group of our org. refuses to use a screen and it scares me
frankly. It is a question of risk assessment not bats. If you are young, have good reflexes and proper form after delivery, the risk is less but there is a risk. Stop blaming the bat and deal with reality.
Nov. 16, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
HJ, you're welcome.

As far as the bats, while I realize USSSA bats are pretty hot I don't think on average they are as hot as the senior bats. So of course that has to make some difference.

But keep in mind those are not the only two choices. There are ASA bats, not as hot typically as either. Why not go to those when the others are too hot and hence dangerous? Because the guys who want to do now what many weren't in their 20s and 30s won't do it. Sad, but apparently very true. THAT is the reality.
Nov. 16, 2012
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
HJ, are you saying that all the hundreds of senior pitchers that have been drilled over the last 5 years, say, all had poor technique?! I think most would disagree (as I do). What they do seem to be unanimous on is that the ball is coming faster off the composite bats and human reflex time, which is scientifically known to diminish as we age, not to mention deteriorating eyesight, is what results in a formerly good fielding pitcher getting hit by a batted ball that he picks up too late to field. Solution could be a return to ASA bats, or dumbing down the ball, or a screen, but it is NOT poor technique that results in a pitcher getting plunked by a heater back at him. Of course some pitchers are a danger to themselves by not getting set to field after the release (and/or backing up to give themselves more time), but most of those guys stopped pitching after a year or so. Those left, in my observation, have very adequate technique; they're just older...and older...and older.
Nov. 16, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
440 posts
Omar, I do not have the experience in SB to speak from a historical basis. I prefer to read the science. The science I have read points to technique. However, I did point out about reflexes and you rightfully add eyesight. Additionally, technique suffers with fatigue. My simple point is that I don't believe dumbing the bats will appreciably solve the "hundreds" (your description) of senior pitchers getting hit. I had the privilege to recently play indoors with
dead steel bats and dead balls and the good hitters (much better than I) generated tremendous ball speed. The pitchers were backing up. My thesis is the pitchers will be hit no matter what
ball and bats are used so they should be protected by screens and/or face masks and shin guards. If ASA bats can generate 100MPH and senior bats say 105 MPH the time difference at say 50 ft. is immaterial.
Nov. 16, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
440 posts
I base my previous 2 posts on the following:

http://www.acs.psu.edu/drussell/bats/ban-safety.html

It is pretty dense reading and I do not pretend to understand all of it. The professor calculates that at 54 feet the time difference for the ball to arrive with a difference of 10MPH is less time than 1/2 the time to blink your eye.

This is the professor's words:

The table at left compares the available pitcher reaction times (the time for the ball to travel 54 feet from the bat to the pitcher) for a range of batted-ball speeds. The calculations show that a ball leaving a bat at 97-mph, corresponding to the professional quality wood bat used to set the NCAA standard, will arrive at the pitcher's mound in just under 4-tenths of a second, while a ball hit from the highest performing metal bat currently allowed by NCAA rules would arrive two-hundredths of a second sooner (0.02s). And the difference in arrival times corresponding to a 10-mph difference in batted-ball speeds is only 0.038 seconds. To help provide a perspective for the 0.020s difference in arrival times for balls hit with metal and wood bats, consider that it takes 0.095s to blink an eye[11]. In other words, the difference in arrival times between a ball hit by a wood bat and a ball hit by a high performance NCAA approved metal bat is only one-fifth of the time required to blink an eye! And the difference in the arrival times associated with a 10-mph faster batted-ball speed is less than half of the time required to blink an eye.

I find it very hard to believe having an extra 0.020s to react to a line drive would make any difference in whether or not a pitcher would be able to protect himself. When we look at the actual physical reaction times of players below, I think the inescapable conclusion must be that banning metal bats will not necessarily enable pitchers to avoid being hit by line drives hit directly towards them. The difference in arrival times corresponding to a 5-mph difference in batted-ball speeds is just not large enough to justify a claim that restricting players to using wood bats would make the game safer based on the argument that using wood bats would allow players sufficiently more time to react to a hit ball
Nov. 16, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
HJ, how many softball games has that professor played?
Nov. 16, 2012
garyheifner
360 posts
Did any of you pitchers experience this?

I pitched about half our tournament games this year. Caught or played outfield in the rest. We played in 10-11 tournaments?? I had Zero problem reacting to and fielding line drives and one hoppers above the knees. I concentrated real hard on watching the ball and bat come together. I never felt scared or nervous about pitching vs. senior bats.

However, I did have a problem with hard hit balls below my knees. It seemed like I couldn't focus fast enough looking down. Thought I had my glove in the right area but had quite a few bouce off the end of my glove.
Nov. 16, 2012
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
HJ, I think it is not only the difference (as noted by the professor) that balls hit by composite bats DO arrive faster at the pitcher (even if only slightly faster), but that more and more batters are able to drive the ball faster than in the past.

The common experience on this site is that composites add about 40 feet to distance...for all batters. These are real hitters, not a machine in a professor's lab. This means that more and more batters are hitting the ball harder, faster, longer.

My point is that in the past I only had to watch out for 2 or 3 hitters on a team that could launch a rocket up the middle. Now I have to be on careful guard against more than half the lineup. The same thing has happened with infielders. In the past, my third baseman backed up for one, maybe two batters on a team. Now he routinely plays 10-15 feet behind third base because of the increased speed of the ball through the infield.

garyheifner, I have had the same experience as you. Thought I was just getting older and having to fight the belly to get down on a low grounder, but it also has something to do with the ball arriving faster before you can get down.
Nov. 17, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
440 posts
G-19- snide remarks are not necessary or helpful
when people are trying to have a serious discussion- and the professor I believe is a SB player- which is totally irrelevant-

GF and OK I agree totally with everything you are saying, my point is that it is not the bats-
more older hitters are good hitters and would be just as dangerous with ASA bats.

If you give me any distance and difference in batted ball speed I can compute the time difference. Remember .02 seconds, is not 2/10ths of a second- it is 2/hundredths of a second. The time difference is just irrelevant and that is my point.
Remember a ball hit up the middle means it was hit dead center and probably in front of the plate so the effective distance is less. Less distance means less time difference to get there.
Don't blame the bats, but protect the pitchers.
Nov. 17, 2012
Pricer
Men's 50
622 posts
Instead of finding more ways to protect ourselves and spending more money doing so. Why don't we save tons of money and go back to equipment that would make the game safe. JMO
Nov. 17, 2012
?
82 posts

Pricer

At what point in time would that be?



Nov. 17, 2012
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
HJ, I still think it is primarily the bats.
1. Everyone, including the professor, acknowledges that given an equal bat speed that the ball leaves the bat faster than with any double wall or any single wall. The difference is small, but it is there.

2. My first Miken was the best balanced bat I ever owned. It felt lighter in my hands and it just swung faster. Maybe due to more expensive and careful production, but it gave me (and tens of thousands of other batters) more confidence and I hit the ball harder...and the ball came faster.

3. The composite bat has a wider sweet spot than previous metal bats. This means it is much more likely that the batter hits with a part of the bat that has the most rebound...and the ball goes faster more often than with a metal bat.

4. With the wider sweet spot, the better balance, and the faster launch speed, batters are more often swinging from the heels to hit the big boomer, and swinging wildly is the opposite of placement hitting, with a result that more balls go up the middle inadvertently than in the past. When Mikens were new, I pitched against a team that I had faced many times before. I knew most of the guys, good guys, good sports, but they were all excited about the potential power of the composite. In that game, I had 12 hits up the middle in six innings! Were they trying to hit me and take me out? No, I didn't think so, since that would be against their character. They were swinging as hard as they could and swinging wildly.

5. With all of the above factors, many former punch and judy hitters (like me) were suddenly able to reach the fence...or even clear it! So when a miss hit occurs, there are more batters in a lineup sending the ball faster up the middle than there used to be.

It's the composite bat. And you're right, pitchers now need to be protected more. I wear a mask and shin guards now after pitching 55 seasons without them.
Nov. 17, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
440 posts
OK- As usual everything you say is true and on point. But everything you say applies to composite ASA and USSSA bats- MOI, balance, sweet
spot etc. The bats are the same except they are tuned differently. Clearly, all things equal, the
Senior bat will create a faster ball speed. And a
faster moving ball will get to the pitcher faster. However, and this is my point, a 100 mph
ball hit with an ASA bat and a 106 MPH ball hit with a Senior bat will get to the pitcher at 54 feet .0021 seconds faster. 2/100ths of a second is simply immaterial.
Your arguments are all correct, but the bats are all the same except for the ability to generate slightly faster ball speeds and the time to the pitcher is virtually the same.

Let me give 1 more extreme example. A 100mph ball travels 54 feet in .3681 seconds, slightly less than 4/10ths of a second. A 110mph ball travels 54 feet in .3347 seconds. The difference is .0334 seconds, which is only 3.34 hundredths of a second or about 1/3 of a 1/tenth of a second. The problem may be the bats, but it is not senior bats, it is any hi
tech composite bat. We both believe the bottom
line, pitchers must be protected or risk serious injury which they can't prevent all of the time.
Nov. 17, 2012
?
82 posts

Omar Khayyam

So if you use an aluminum bat, you can't hit a ball hard enough to hurt a pitcher?



Nov. 17, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Absolutely nothing snide about it at all. Studies in this case tell little of the story. The best, perhaps only, indicator of how the game is played is from those who actually play it, not just study it.

Hence, my question. Whether he plays or not is completely relevant.

NO one can be "just as dangerous" with an ASA bat as with a senior bat. That is just nonsense. Senior bats are much livelier, period. To say anyone can perform the same with either of them is silly. And to even hint that senior bats have nothing to do with this issue is folly. Common sense tells you that.

And I can tell you quite definitively that the first time I played with the senior bats after years of the ASA bats the difference in how quickly balls got to me was noticeable. Drastically noticeable. I don't need a study to tell me that, after 30 years on the field I know that with my own eyes. As does anyone else who has played the game and wants to be honest with themselves and with us.

Nov. 17, 2012
0
56 posts
So Gary19

With all your knowledge, experience and desire to return to yesterday's game.....

Tell us...

What was the COR and Compression of the softballs used 20-30 years ago?





Nov. 17, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
440 posts
I have no problem with a person honestly saying they would prefer playing on 270 foot fields with the ball and bat combination used 10, 20, 30, whatever years ago. That is opinion.
I am dealing with the facts as applied to today's bats. Today's composite ASA bat is not the same as a wood ASA bat of 30 years ago.
I am dealing with today's reality and that is that today's composite bats whether ASA, USSSA or Senior generate tremendous ball speed. As stated above a 100 mph ball gets to 54 feet only .0334 seconds slower than a ball hit 110 mph. That is a fact and frankly, I don't think there is a 10 MPH initial speed difference. I am making the best argument for you and the difference is much less than a 1/10th of a second. All of today's composite bats are dangerous to the pitcher and all the factors mentioned by Omar are true and just make it worse. Unless the balls and bats of today are radically changed to make exit speeds of the ball much slower and the ball made less dangerous on impact, senior slowpitch pitching is dangerous to the pitcher and the pitcher needs protection.
Nov. 17, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Returning to yesterday's game might not be such a bad thing if it means getting rid of time limits, run limits, screens, bogus "courtesy" runners, time limits, and pitchers looking like hockey goalies.

I have no idea the COR or Compression, I just know from standing 60' from the plate watching balls coming at me they were, ON AVERAGE, not coming toward me as quickly as they do now with the special bats.

HJ, who was still swinging wood in 1982?
Nov. 17, 2012
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
HJ, I agree that there is little difference between composite bats, whether for ASA use or SSUSA. My gripe is with all composite bats. They were only introduced to produce longer balls and higher averages because of the larger sweet spots.

The original aluminum bats were a great improvement over the wooden bats because of their durability. That was a technological improvement with little performance advantage. Now we hear nothing but complaints about the short life of the composite, especially with its dramatically higher price. The composite was a technological improvement purely for the ego of the male softball player of advancing years (and fatter wallet)!
Nov. 17, 2012
0
56 posts

Gary19

YOU DON'T KNOW?

YOU DON'T KNOW?

So there is something you don't know...:)

After all your ranting and raving you don't know the COR and Compression of the balls used in the past were much higher than the ones used today.

So a maybe a 47-50 COR 525 or higer Compression ball hit off a DeMo Double wall 120 bpf bat of yesteryear would not be very much different from a ball of lower COR and Comp hit off composite bats used today. Maybe that is why there were no Senior bats back then.



Nov. 17, 2012
curveball
Men's 65
400 posts
Omar, the DeMarini bats of years past cost us more than the composites do today. And, they didn't last as long as the composites I've purchased, they dented very easily...............
Nov. 17, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
0,

All of your lame sarcasm aside, when did I ever say I do?

I am sure they were, but so what? I don't try and field a COR or Compression, I have to field a round, 12-inch ball moving toward me at today's accelerated speeds off the special bats.

And no, the combination of yesteryear was different than today's senior combination. At least that is the observation of this pitcher who has stood 60 or so feet from the batter for the past 38 years.

And there were no special bats back then because the technology at that time would could not provide it. No more reason than that.
Nov. 17, 2012
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
Curveball, you're probably right. I never had the funds to think about purchasing a DeMarini, so I didn't know they were selling for $300 like my Miken in 2003. Also, I forgot about the dents. I hit with two aluminum bats that both had dents. No "bat police" back then because shaving a bat was considered serious cheating and guys had more integrity, so no one told me that dented bats were also illegal! Who knew. I thought it deteriorated performance if you failed to rotate away from the dent.

?, as to aluminum bats not hurting a pitcher, of course they did. When I was pitching from 37 feet, I got winged a couple of times by wooden bats. I'm sure that aluminum bats hit pitchers often, might have even seriously injured some. Big bruisers swinging hard will always be a risk for a pitcher. Part of the game. My point is that the odds for getting hurt has greatly increased with the composite bats. Still got big studs swinging hard, but now the bat is hotter, even relative to a dumbed-down ball, and the sweet spot is bigger, and bat weights have gone done for faster bat speed, so the pitcher is more at risk than ever.
Nov. 18, 2012
curveball
Men's 65
400 posts
Perhaps because Ray (DeMarini) was from Portland, the Pacific NW was loaded with his bats. They never did cost $300, they were $250, $51 higher than todays composites at list price.
In the Pacific NW, the umpires wouldn't allow a dented bat. They thought it was easier to hit if the bat had a flat spot!
Nov. 18, 2012
mad dog
Men's 60
3932 posts
first i want to kwon where in any softball assoc are you allowed to pitch from 60',none that i know of.....

enhanced performance bats have been out since the mid 80's,so they have been around for a while,just went from metal to titanium/doublewall to plastic....yes back then there was bat altering,most would endload them....

curveball i wanted a demo back in the day(mid-late 80's)in the worse way,and they were only approx $100 and custom made for your swing,then he got real serious.......my first doublewall bat was the block letter 95 model,$300 from direct sports......
Nov. 18, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
440 posts
I only entered this thread because I wanted to disabuse the idea that senior bats created a significantly greater risk to pitchers than composite ASA or USSSA bats. Omar whom I trust I believe is agreeing. G-19, the well hit ball gets
to the pitcher in well under 1/2 second. Perhaps with your 30 plus years of pitching you are forgetting that you are not the same physiologically as you were. Your eyes cannot focus as quickly, your contrast vision is probably not as good and your reflexes are definitely slower. These are all facts common to all human beings. Perhaps what you think you are experiencing is just you. That said, I do agree with Omar that all composite bats now make it easier to hit so there are probably more rockets
hit to you, but they are not appreciably faster than in the past, and the senior bat is not the problem, the problem for pitchers is all composite bats. The sports complex is not stupid and it knows it will kill the game if it makes
the ball bat combination too hot. And maybe today's old dudes are stronger so maybe some toning down is necessary to save pitchers and perhaps the game.
Nov. 18, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
pup, you look dumber with each lame attempt to look witty.

You are allowed to be 60' from the batter when he strikes the ball and you are waiting to field it. THAT is what is relevant to ball speed and pitcher defense, NOT where the rubber is located.
Nov. 18, 2012
CAPT D5
124 posts
Experience showed me the senior bat produces about 10% farther distance, and accelerates enough faster to cause significantly more concern for pitchers. Go out and pitch batting practice to guys who hit 350 plus feet. I have seen enough fear generated by the senior bat to know its a real concern. The weaker hitters are those who need the senior bats, and are the majority who cause its continued existence in my opinion. Fragile egos are not the reason for senior bats, normal competitive instinct is the likely reason. Fragile egos may have much to do with the BS on the topic, as with much of old man softball. My suggestion is to somehow limit the senior bat for hitters who don't need it. I only use the senior bat because my competition uses it.
Nov. 18, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
CAPT, I respectfully disagree. It is all about the insecurity of old guys. The bats do nothing for competitiveness because both teams have them, so they are not providing anyone with a competitive advantage over their opponents who also use them. And God forbid that most (not all, but many) of these guys want to actually outwork their opponents or their own aging.

All the special bats provide is the ability to hit the ball further than most guys guys were hitting 30 years ago, and that feeds the egos of these guys.
Nov. 18, 2012
CAPT D5
124 posts
Gary, Respectful disagreement is good, we need to encourage and respect differing views. Too much petty disrespect and wasted energy if not. Its just a game, the people and mutual respect is whats important and makes the game worthwhile, otherwise its all a waste .
Nov. 18, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
440 posts
G-19, excuse my ignorance but where did you come up with the 60 foot rule? I checked the SSUSA rules which are on this website and couldn't find it.
All I found is that the pitcher's foot must be in contact with the pitcher's box until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand. I found nothing about what happens next, so absent some rule I can't find, the pitcher can retreat as much as he wants.
Incidentally, the farthest the pitcher's box is from the front of home plate is 54.3 feet since the back of the pitcher's box is 56 feet from the rear point of the pentagonal home plate and that point is 14.7 inches from the front of home plate. Theoretically you could be 60 feet from
home if you retreated quickly after releasing the
ball. Of course to be 60 feet from ball contact,
you would have to be 61 to 62 feet from home since a ball hit up the middle is usually hit in front of the plate. Please clear up the 60 foot rule. Thank you.
Nov. 18, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
No "rule". It is roughly the distance I am from home plate after I release the pitch and by the time the batter is making contact with it. That is why I said I can be 60' "when he strikes the ball".
Nov. 18, 2012
Qnine
Men's 50
17 posts
In senior league in Cleveland Or you can said Maple Hts we use a screen to protect the pitcher the pitcher only pitch . He can not play on a groundball or popup if the ball hit the screen it is an out if the pitch get hit with the ball outside the net the batter get an double
Nov. 18, 2012
CAPT D5
124 posts
So Gary, you are saying all players who use senior bats have fragile egos and they do not use the bat mainly to keep from giving an advantage to their opponent. So if a player doesn't have a fragile ego he should play with what?, a wood bat if he has a strong ego. Just want to give your view due respect on this. You repeat this view concerning the fragile egos of those using senior bats so often, perhaps I am missing something by just dismissing your view as a return of petty insult toward tournament players. Certainly, there have been plenty of disrespect from tournament players expressed toward you. Do you use a wooden bat as an expression of a strong ego?, or do you use the most competitive bat permissible in your league to keep competitive. I will grant you the last word on this so to avoid being drawn into a negative worthless exchange.
Nov. 18, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Certainly not all, just the ones who would refuse to play without them. And there are some, including guys on here, who have said that.

I use the best bat I am comfortable with that is permissible in my leagues, but settle on one and don't chase the next big thing that promised to hit the ball 5' further. But I also would NEVER refuse to play in a league where senior bats are not allowed.

Played in an ASA league with my son this year, it was fun to have defense. Might play in a local senior league next year that controls bats to something roughly an ASA equivalent, from what I understand. Fine with me. I play to win, to have fair competition, I guess I believe in Herman Edwards. If both sides have the same bats or at least access to the same bats what those bats are or aren't is not really important to me. Let's just go out there an play to win. No homeruns in a win is MUCH better than however many homers or technologically hard hit balls in a loss.
Nov. 18, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
440 posts
If the senior league you play in is competitive
the guys will use the hottest ASA bats available
(which generally cost more than senior bats) and the ball will get to you virtually as fast as if hit by a senior bat. That is the facts and pontificating doesn't trump science.
Nov. 18, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Sure, but they will still be more rasonable for the oldest, slowest group still playing the game than the special bats banned for guys under 50.

And no, no way it gets to me as fast. Real life trumps laboratory science.

HJ, sounds like you believe that timing college wide receivers in the 40, seeing how high and far they can jump, timing shuttle runs, and various other "measurables" tells you more about how good a player the guy will be than watching him actually play football.
Nov. 18, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
440 posts
Gary, you are smarter than that. The real problem is we have no certainty respecting the actual exit speed of the ball off the bat comparing ASA,
USSSA and Senior bats when hit under the same circumstances. Once the ball leaves the bat there are other factors such as spin, air pressure, gravity, etc. But these are basically not a factor over 60 feet. The only variable is the speed of the ball. I concede that a Senior bat will create a faster exit speed. I concede a ball off a senior bat will get to you faster. My argument which you don't get or don't want to get or just
don't believe is that the time difference comparing the different speeds is so minuscule that it just doesn't matter. Omar gets it and realizes that all composite bats create great ball speed more often than in the past since the bats are engineered to make hitting easier. Please think about what 3 or 4 hundredths of a second means and realize that that time difference probably doesn't matter respecting whether you get hit or not.
Nov. 19, 2012
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
HJ, you are correct that I think all composite bats with their greater distance and faster exit speed have changed softball for the worse. And it isn't just safety for the pitcher that I worry about in this regard.

Gary19 is correct that several posters on this site have stated that they would not play in a tournament (or an Association) that did not allow the senior bats, while to his credit, Gary19 has often stated that using a bat that was not so hot would not be a consideration of ceasing participation. I agree with this, and have even argued in the past that senior softball is slowly dying out because of the dropouts who are not having as much fun with diminished value on defense, base running, and strategy.

Back to the pitching screen question and your information on pitching speeds, I'm sure all pitchers will agree that there is quite an adrenaline rush when a ball is coming 100 mph right at you! Whether you field it, duck it, or deflect it, you realize you were very close to serious injury. I have decided I will keep pitching as long as I can protect myself (which I have done for 60 seasons, not counting the occasional broken finger, deep bruise, or damaged leg).

What concerns me is having to field one of those rockets almost every tournament, not just once or twice a season as in the past (pre-2000). The number of players in every line-up who can now do serious damage because of the composite, big-sweet-spot bat, wild power swing is obviously increasing and that's what makes me uneasy as a pitcher.
Nov. 19, 2012
garyheifner
360 posts
Omar

I will slightly disagree with something you said above. I can remember in my USSSA days teams yelling out the pitcher is afraid of the ball or doesn't play defense. That prompted a barrage of middle shots. Some of my friends and I from the old days still remember a tourney in which our #2 pitcher had "19" middle shots right at him in two games. They were right-it was like dodgeball.

I saw only "2" hard liners hit a pitcher this past season at the 65AAA level. In both cases the pitcher was at 50', standing vertically, hands at his side and in NO defensive posture or back peddle.

As to Gary 19s comment about 60 feet, in the U-Trip days, I released, ran back as fast as I could and often turned the double plays so the infielders (SS-2nd) could play on the grass. I pitched against some of the best A & B players in the world and with the ball and bat combo of the era, it was like being a hockey goalie. Past you before you saw it.

In senior ball, I pitch from the 56 foot line and walk back 2 or 3 steps. I am very comfortable with that distance/reaction time even though I don't get them all.

I really don't think most seniors players target the pitcher. If a pitcher throws one to the outside 1/2 of the plate, he has to be ready. Where I have seen the most middle shots is when the SS really shifts towards 3rd baseman/SS gap and the middle opening is huge.

Nov. 19, 2012
swing for the fences
Men's 50
999 posts
I think if everyone policed their own team/players, and kept the middle shots to a minimum we wouldn't need any silly rules or screens.. it's when you get the handfull of knuckle heads that have total disregard for the pitchers safety and choose to go through him instead of using bat control to go over or around and everywhere else!
Nov. 20, 2012
Omar Khayyam
994 posts
garyheifner, I remember teams also where they assumed the pitcher couldn't defend and some would hit at him. That's not been my experience when I'm pitching. :=)

When I say hard liners at the pitcher, I'm not just talking about those coming right at me, head high. I consider a shot that misses my legs because I jump, or my stomach because I dodge (with my glove out hoping) or God forbid, the one that I can hear going by my ear but did not see, as shots up the middle when I say I experience about one per tournament, not one or two a season.

I used to back up on every pitch, but that's very tiring over 5 games, so now I try to do it only on the power hitters (if I know them). I do take a defensive position after every pitch, not just stand there like a target with my hands at my side!

I don't think most players target the pitcher, either. But there are an awful lot of poor control hitters in AAA and Major where I play, and my other points about "power swings" work against controlled hitting.
Nov. 20, 2012
Paul P
Men's 65
43 posts
As for the pitching screens, I've played with them once in a tourney where the rising sun was right behind homeplate, and so to protect the pitcher, a screen was placed. If the screen was hit, it was a dead ball out.

Played in an open league with mostly 20-somethings. I was 55 at the time. If the pitcher was hit by a batted ball, dead ball out. If the pitcher was injured by said batted ball, ejection of batter and his bat confiscated for 30 days (theoretically for testing, tho I'm not sure if that ever took place.)

Can't say I agree with either of these situations, however, I do understand the necessity, having spent a lot of time in the mid 70s pitching ASA ball.

It was always my opinion, that if a pitcher didnt want the ball up the middle, he wouldnt pitch it down the middle. Additionally, its always been my mantra, "flat in, flat out".

Ive played this game at a high level for 46 years now, currently 65 Major Plus, and I think the game is fine right where it is. The better players adjust and they don't shots at the pitcher.
Nov. 26, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1976 posts
HJ-you bring up some of the things I have said a few times on the speed of the ball getting to the pitcher. It gets there quickly, yes, but the difference between now and alloy bat days is very small, almost too small to make a difference. The pitchers are back a few feet more, too. The big difference is the larger sweet spot generates more 'sweet spot' type hits.
CaptD5-I think you will find most of the guys that could generate a 350 foot shot or more now, also could generate those shots in the past with the alloy bats and higher compression balls. The speed of the ball getting to the mound then was about the same as the speed of the ball getting to the mound now, and they were closer to the hitter.

I would be surprised if you found any M+ or M pitchers in favor of the screen for tournament play. Maybe an answer is to make the screen optional for AA and AAA and see how many actually use it in tournament play. Omar, I still bet most won't. First one dead ball strike, second one in an at bat is an DBO.
Nov. 26, 2012
#19
Men's 60
252 posts
The thought of placing a screen on the playing field is ludicrous ... Hitting a screen placed on the playing field resulting in a DBO is folly ... Perhaps those who wish to play by these rules can start their own leagues/associations.

#19
Nov. 26, 2012
Dave m
5 posts
All I know is our rec league went to a screen this past season. After pitching with the screen I never want to go back without the screen. All the stress is removed, all the worry about getting drilled is over. If we are truly worried about protecting pitchers the screen is the way to go.
Nov. 26, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1976 posts
Dave m-what tournament level do you play and how old are you? Just curious how accurate my observation above is.
Nov. 26, 2012
Tim Millette
484 posts
Swing, it's interesting ready your last post.

The question is...

Was it one or two pitchers you hit this season?

We're you a knucklehead pitcher hitter, once or was it twice this year?

I believe the composite bats/ senior bats are the main problem pushing this screen thing......but then again....I have never been addicted to the composite cocain, so I guess that makes me a little different then most of those playing senior ball.....

It would be interesting to see how this game would have eveolved if every batter was required to pitch the next inning after he hit a ball up the middle....

Now that would be funny......and yes I know... I go up the middle for hits "from time to time". Thank heavens for the five man:-)
Nov. 26, 2012
swing for the fences
Men's 50
999 posts
I hit nobody this year! Let's say I did. Intent wasn't there and it would of been a accident! Bottom line I could live with those type of situation s being outs!
Nov. 26, 2012
Tim Millette
484 posts
I could have sworn I heard you hit one or two pitchers in SF this year?

Maybe it was just Renaldi hitting three pitchers?

Or...did you hit pitchers but it doesn't count because it was not senior ball?
Nov. 26, 2012
swing for the fences
Men's 50
999 posts
You heard wrong,,, I didn't hit anyone last year. Nice try on stirring the crap pot, but you are the only turd floating!
Nov. 27, 2012
Dave m
5 posts
Webbie,
I play AAA and am 59. One item I did not mention is we play at night under the lights. There is a definite difference between seeing at night and during the day at those balls going up the middle.
Nov. 27, 2012
#19
Men's 60
252 posts
Dave m ... Sounds like you need to find another past-time ... Board games?
Nov. 27, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1976 posts
Night games are a problem for seniors-we just can't see as well as we used to.

Thanks for the input Dave-there is one vote for screens at the AAA level.
Nov. 27, 2012
neck10
493 posts
screens are fine just make it foul ball if you hit it hit it on third strike your out. if you hit the screen 3 times seems to me your trying to hit it we play with screen in leauge it lets you practice going up middle knowing if you moiss it you cant hurt anyone.Id say the screen gets hit once a night & thats 4 games being played.
Nov. 27, 2012
neck10
493 posts
I bet sombody will come up with old style lights to get rid of the problem of not seeing
Nov. 27, 2012
Tate22
Men's 55
259 posts
My experience with screens is they are a distant 2nd place to appropriate protective equipment in protecting pitchers. Screens are awkward to play around, and take away a key defensive play, the come-backer, or even better, the come-backer that turns into a double play. Screens also give a false sense of security to the pitcher hopping out from behind to make an instinctive play on a shot up the middle. The injury risk comes from being struck by the batted ball, and the best thing to mitigate that risk is adequate headgear, shin guards and ultimately, a light weight chest protector. Of course, a ready defensive stance and a quick glove also help.

A reasonably equivalent risk in sports is the baseball catcher. The evolution of light weight,durable protective equipment means catchers live to fight another day, NOT that a screen is in front of them. Even with equipment, catchers are quite mobile. The same protection exists for our pitchers, is currently within the rules, and does not adulterate the game as does a screen. Bright sun, bad lights at night, single wall bats or Mikens, the pitcher is still protected, as is the game.

The best part is, if your macho man ego is too threatened by using the protection, you don't have to use it. Take one in the pie hole, tough guy! Catchers gear has been referred to as the tools of ignorance, but the ignorance is found in the decision to not use the only method that truly protects.

JMHO
Don Newhard
Nighthawks 55 M+
Nov. 27, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1976 posts
Don-welcome back. Haven't seen you on for a while. Was a pleasure meeting you this year. I agree with you. If we start with screens at the mound, are screens for the infield far behind? I really don't want to see them in tournament play.

Nov. 28, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
440 posts
If a league permits full protective gear for pitcher, and the pitcher has protective headgear,chest protector and shin protection is it then OK to hit up the middle or is that still not OK??
Nov. 29, 2012
stick8
1283 posts
Tate22 you bring up an excellent point about pitching screens. There are some pitchers I know who don't like them because they find it difficult to effectively pitch around them.
Nov. 29, 2012
JDub
Men's 50
131 posts
GET RID OF SENIOR BATS AND NO NEED FOR SCREENS OR HOCKEY GEAR ! ! !


Regards,
Jeff White
Nov. 29, 2012
stick8
1283 posts
You wouldn't get an argument from me on that JDub!!
Nov. 29, 2012
garyheifner
360 posts
JDUB

If they banned all bats and went to broom sticks, I would still wear a mask, soccer shins guards and cup.
Nov. 29, 2012
0
56 posts

garyheifner

You are correct.

Wearing protective gear really DOES NOT have that much to do with use of Senior Bats.

Just yesterday witnessed a short stop get his teeth knocked out from a thrown ball hitting 2nd base and ricocheting into his face.

Wearing a $40 face mask is MUCH, MUCH cheaper than having to rushed to the hospital and paying thousands for facial and/or oral surgery. And worse, losing precious time from playing ball.

For me, I have enough medical problems (heart & cancer for example) that can keep me from playing ball. By wearing protection, I am eliminating as many unnecessary hurts and pains as I can so I can spend as much time as possible on the ball field.


Nov. 29, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1976 posts
JDub-the problem would still exist with pitchers with lesser bats because the distance is so short the reaction time is not enough different to make a difference. I've seen some pitchers i believe would need gear against a wood bat. a pitcher needs to realize where he is defensively.
Nov. 29, 2012
JDub
Men's 50
131 posts
W25,

Although I'm only 50+, I've been Pitching long enough, and through every Bat Era since Wood!

I agree, "some pitchers i believe would need gear against a wood bat. a pitcher needs to realize where he is defensively." As a True Pitcher, not just a Body willing to Toss Cookies, I Realize we are now at 53+ feet, no longer at 45 feet! So to Reiterate:

GET RID OF SENIOR BATS AND NO NEED FOR SCREENS OR HOCKEY GEAR (for some) ! ! !


Jeff White #7
Arizona Elite

p.s. Malo37, Quit double-posting as there are No Awards for He who Posts Most (LMAO 37) ! ! !
Nov. 30, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1976 posts
JDub-I've posted on here that I felt a 'measured step back' would not be a bad thing. The alloy bats (Orange Crush, etc.) and the 47/525 ball was a combo they were trying to cut back when the composites came out. But we all know ($$$$$$$$$$$$) that won't happen.
Nov. 30, 2012
JDub
Men's 50
131 posts
LOL, I still have a Blue Mizuno Rage - NIW (New In Wrapper) (LMAO) ! ! !


Jeff White #7
Arizona Elite
Nov. 30, 2012
southernson
259 posts
ASA, USSSA, Senior Bats.....

They all come quick up the middle when hit hard....
Nov. 30, 2012
canIjack
Men's 60
322 posts
Don't like the screen idea
at all.
Personally, JMO, It will always be about the ball being used in the game
I don't care which bat you use. The most important piece of the puzzle is the Ball. Change the Ball to a lower compression ball, Face mask and shin Guards, and sign off, that all you need to do and let’s play.
JMO
Nov. 30, 2012
Pricer
Men's 50
622 posts
If everyone feels the bats don't make that big of a difference. Then lets go back to wood and the old cork center strung wound ball. Almost every comment regarding the bats are not the problem, it's the balls. Then what the lovefest with the bats? They cost more money and don't last nearly as long.
Nov. 30, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1976 posts
JDub-I broke my orange crush 2 years ago in an SSUSA tournament. I hit 3 out with it. It's not an offense killing change.
Nov. 30, 2012
Tim Millette
484 posts
Swing..... Let's see.... Where to start with your pitcher hit list...

Olympic club THIS YEAR?

PHX Worlds about 14 months ago... Pitcher in the stomach game stopped to take care of him?

Maybe even another guy in sf league?

You call be a floating turd for wrongly saying you have hit pitchers last year? Huh? Interesting

What it rely comes down to is, in todays senior games, if a pitcher is not wearing catchers gear the knucklehead description starts with him.

Maybe you can still correct your pitchers hit list memory?

And no... I don't think you were aiming for the pitcher... It just happens

Dec. 1, 2012
swing for the fences
Men's 50
999 posts
Timothy, your Bitch (AKA MR ON Base percentage) gave you the wrong info... I didn't hit anyone on Olympic club this year! Any yes the last pitcher I hit was in the worlds two years ago.. And I apologized to him right on the spot... nor did I go that way the rest of the game and Told him I wouldn't be... It does happen and my point about hitting through the pitcher stands. It should not be allowed!

But it is amazing the length you will go through to try to prove a point.. sending Mike Rennels to my ex coach to see how many people I hit last year, is just amazing! Mikes new name is T B! You figure it out smart guy!
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