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Men's 60

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Feb. 22, 2018
Topic: Rules of the game

Elsewhere on this Forum you will find extensive discussion about ratings. As we hear every year from disgruntled managers and players about the injustice of an arbitrary move-up, it might be time to state the obvious.

The SSUSA rating system is a absurd game. Sacramento can't even follow their own guidelines much of the time. The process lacks integrity, transparency, consistency, and accuracy.

SSUSA makes the rules. Then breaks the rules. Hiding behind the disclaimer "...SSUSA reserves the right to change a team at any time..." they might as well have written "We'll do anything we want whenever we want---deal with it."

The policy says rating appeals are reviewed ONLY twice per year, December and June. Less than 15% of the effective dates of changes are estimated to occur in those months.

"We don't rate players, we rate teams" goes the mantra. Ridiculous. Players change teams all the time and then are considered a higher-rated player and thus often ineligible to play where they wish. The idea that players don't carry ratings is pure rubbish.

We're told as part of a team's appeal process SSUSA looks at recommendations from umpires on game cards. I've signed about 300 game cards over the last 14 years and have not seen one umpire comment. Just sayin. They might, but I doubt the comments are terribly relevant.

Same goes for the reports from Tournament Directors.

And, finally, the sending of Sacramento's recommendations to the 12 SSUSA Directors for review and comment? Nonsense. Rarely if ever has any of that information been shared with managers. And what provisions are made for the obvious conflicts of interest such as when a SSUSA Director is also a team manager?

None. What we get is His Georgeness perched in his lofty Winery Tower issuing edicts about players he hasn't seen in 5 years. Maybe has never seen. He doesn't attend tournaments. Doesn't see the players. Doesn't account for the devastating effects of aging on some. Doesn't care. Surrounded by gatekeepers, he is inaccessible. Incommunicado. And unaccountably off base much of the time.

All of us support the idea of parity in the game. Nobody has any fun when the score is so lopsided as to not even be a contest. But, we're a far, far cry from fair with this arbitrary, capricious, and disingenuous system.

Time to reboot.

June 2, 2017
Topic: General and miscellaneous

Anyone familiar with the 65 Major Plus division for the past 3 years knows the name Timberworks (formerly 15 Hitmen.) The current reigning World Champs, Twerks (as they are affectionately known throughout the land) have racked up an impressive list of tournament victories including yesterday's Rockin Reno crown. Starting in 2015, the 15 Hitmen (now Twerks) have won every SSUSA tournament they've entered except two---the 2015 Worlds in Vegas, and the 2016 NorCal Cup in Sacramento. Quite impressive.

Which makes it all the more astounding that their current manager, an SSUSA Tournament Director, would stoop to the stunt he pulled in yesterday's loser bracket finale in Reno.

Rockin Reno is a tournament that uses the Trump Stote. But the Twerks manager must have thought he was in Las Vegas when he "accidentally" slipped in 3 Trump "Rocks" to start the game. Quickly capitalizing on the illegal ball, the Twerks hit a 3-run homer before anyone noticed they were hitting the "Rock" and then all hell broke loose when it was detected.

Tournament Director Dave Dowell was summoned and he quickly ruled the BALL ILLEGAL under section 3.5(F)with the penalty being an out was called at the time the ball was discovered to be illegal. The 3-run homer was allowed to stand.

Based on this rule interpretation, some may consider it a brilliant move on the Twerks part, even if it was underhanded and unsportsmanlike. Most players assume the integrity of the other manager and often fail to notice immediately when they're being cheated.

Interestingly, in case you're wondering about sanctions for using unapproved equipment, the penalty for using an ILLEGAL BAT is immediate ejection from the game, surrender of the bat (or risk a 1-year suspension and possibly more), an out is called on the hitter, and all baserunners return to the previous base before the illegal bat was used.

Furthermore, the penalties for using an "ALTERED" SOFTBALL are game forfeiture on the first offense and team ejection from the tournament for subsequent offenses with possible additional disciplinary action.

Disciplinary actions for using an ALTERED BAT are tantamount to the death penalty for the offender.

But strangely, the penalty for using an ILLEGAL BALL is 5 minutes at the blackboard writing I will not cheat fifty times.

Since the Twerks manager is a prominent SSUSA Director for the past 10 years or more, one would assume he had knowledge of the Rule Book regarding such matters. He said he "accidentally" grabbed the wrong balls out of his bag...but SSUSA provides the balls we are to use; they were all Trump Stotes...and the question must be asked, "What was a bagful of "Rocks" doing in your dugout at a Stote tournament?"

As they say on ESPN...."Come on, man!!"

Terry Hennessey and the gang have provided us with a Seven Article Code of Ethics on the very first page of their Official Rulebook. Article 7 states: (I will) Not commit any act that could be considered unsportsmanlike conduct. Article 1 states: (I will) Abide by the the best of my ability.

You might think an SSUSA Tournament Director would be held to at least that standard. But you would be terribly wrong.

With respect, I say to my friends on Timberworks, your terrific in-game performance was sullied by a cheap trick, a lowdown move by the master of mendacity.

Now, where did I put my Original Ultra.....?????

July 16, 2015
Topic: Website comments

They're at it again in Sacramento. The annual midyear Ratings Raffle where some lucky teams get the classification of their dreams and some others get to weep and gnash their teeth.

Couldn't help but notice the change involving Event Lab out of Minnesota, one of the toughest, hardest hitting, most competitive bunch of hombres this observer has seen in a long time.

In the 65 Major Plus division in Las Vegas last April, Event Lab piled up 37 runs in our opening best-of-3 series game, rattling us for 10 runs in the open and winning 37-36.

And, as if that wasn't enough, they went out and scored 40---YES, FORTY RUNS---in Game 2. That's 77 runs in two games and I am proud to say I was there and saw it all. They added 9 more in the rubber game for a 3 game total of 86.

Line drives all through their lineup...gappers, bullets in the 5-6 hole...screamers up the occasional dinger...not a cheap hit in the bunch...and there must have been 100+ hits from those guys. Our ears were ringing. My pitchers suffered shellshock. We all have PTSD.

It was a marathon day...over 7 hours on the field...before we prevailed in the deciding game. But, not a head was bowed in their dugout...they are as tough as they come...arguably the best team we've seen this year in 32 games.

So....imagine my shock to see they were dropped to Major yesterday...BUSTED a rank...surely George in Sacramento must know something I don't. How in the name of all that is holy did you come up with this decision, Your Georgeness?

And congratulations to Event Lab...I think. If that's what you wanted...but WHY? And you unsuspecting Major teams in 65---better start ducking for cover. His Georgeness let a Panzer Division loose on the playground.
Sept. 6, 2014
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Partial Knee Replacement Experience

My orthopedic surgeon told me a year ago my MRI suggested I might be the "poster boy" for partial knee replacement. He sent me to a specialist more experienced in the procedure and the specialist nixed the procedure in my case.

The problem was I had too much arthritis in the remaining two compartments according to the latest MRI. He said the partial would be a waste of time.

The original surgeon explained partials as a less invasive procedure that (WHEN CLEARLY INDICATED) offers less bone and blood loss, possibly less pain, and a shorter rehab---all good things in my book.

In my reading about this condition, I learned some partial knee replacements were done when they clearly were not indicated, thus resulting in poor surgical outcomes.

As a result, my surgeon also said many partials eventually need to be revised, meaning a full knee replacement will eventually be required. Furthermore, the medical data seemed to indicate those patients who had had partials and needed full replacement surgery later, did not do as well as those who had done the full knee replacement in the first place.

For these reasons, I decided to forego the partial and when I'm ready have the full knee replacement done. In the meantime, to coax out another year (maybe 2) of playing, I bought a loader knee brace and make liberal use of ibuprofen, Voltaren gel, and ice packs to get through tournaments.

I consider myself fortunate as my knee gives me considerable pain when playing ball; however, once that subsides (usually within a couple of days after the tournament) I can walk, bike, play golf, and otherwise live a low-pain life. As my friends know, I'm a chicken and am putting this surgery off as long as possible

To be fair, I know of several players who have had excellent results with partial knee's an awesome decision and one you should make with as much information as possible. In the end, only you can decide what is best for you.

Good luck.

Aug. 4, 2014
Topic: Rules of the game

As I said starting this thread, I've been on vacation and unable to get to the computer to respond. Thanks to those who take issue with my premise. Let me reply.

First, to Rich (Swing 4 etc): I don't mean to say we NEVER score seven runs in an inning...we do 65 team scored 4 of them in a row in Reno in the title game. So it does happen...but only as often as to essentially ruin most games by shortening them to 6 or even 5 innings. Since the expansion of runs allowed (first 9 and then 7) fewer than 10% of all non-championship games in Major Plus go seven innings. At over $120/game, that's unacceptable.

Now, to Dave (Mango): Defense is important at any level, not just major plus. As you'll see later, the argument that Major Plus teams play better defense does not hold water, either. As for using the 7 runs per inning mechanism to get more at bats...well, what is so sacred about getting 4 ABs in a game? Wouldn't 5 or 6 plate appearances be better? And, as for who plays more softball, let me ask you the same question---games that go 5 innings in 70 minutes...or games that go 7 innings in 90 minutes?
SSUSA proved a few years ago when they raised the time limits by a mere 5 minutes that 7 innings were quite reachable---WITH A 5 RUN LIMIT. They should go back to that standard.

And, my good friend, Mark (Webbie): You know my passion for the defensive side of the game. I would love to believe your contention...however...I can't. Nobody plays better defense than those 40 year olds we saw at Reno...simply stupendous plays left and right---ahhhhh, young legs. But, their average game score in Reno was 23-18 (41 total runs) in 48 games played. By contrast, the average 50 Major plus score was 25-17 (42 total runs) in 25 games; the average 55 Major Plus score was 26-18 (44 total runs) in only 12 played; and the average 60 Major Plus score was 19-14 (33 total runs) in 12 played.

The 40 Masters with 5 runs per inning have game scores commensurate with the highest levels of older division play. The only way for older Major Plus division teams to score more runs is to let them play seven innings.

Reducing the number of runs allowed per inning from seven to five will enable them to do that.
Aug. 1, 2014
Topic: Rules of the game

El Staffo---at odds....???...decidely so.

Those players who proposed and advocated seven runs per inning no doubt had the best of intentions, but the empirical data just doesn't support their contention,

Even at 5 runs per inning and an open, Major Plus games should feature scores with both teams routinely in the the math.

But, they don't. Look it up.

So much for "groove" theory.

July 31, 2014
Topic: Rules of the game

Coming down to my last weekend on vacation in San Diego...and with way too much time on my hands...I find myself asking, "Why seven runs per inning in Major Plus?"

I've played assorted major plus divisions since 2009. Lots of games. Maybe hundreds. If major plus hitters are so damn good to need 7 runs per inning (instead of the more appropriate five) shouldn't tournament game scores reflect higher run totals?

Let's runs per inning x six or seven innings (one of them open) should routinely generate game scores with both teams in the high 30's and 40s, at least...maybe even breaking 50 once in awhile.

They don't. Most major plus game scores are in the same range as many other can look it up.

What seven runs per inning does do, however, is eliminate the possibility of a seven inning game.

It's time to end the silliness...bring back 5 runs per inning and seven inning games to Major Plus. And while we're at it, drop the homerun limit to 6. Rarely does any team hit 9 out, anyway.

Thank you.
March 9, 2013
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Bat/ball combos of yesteryear

I remember when the game first began we didn't use any balls. We had burlap sacks from the produce market and we stuffed them with rags. Each sack would last about 2 innings, almost as long as an SSUSA 60 major plus game lasts today. Then we'd replace the sack with another.

The sacks became all bent and battered and didn't roll well or bounce true...until one day old Peterson came up with the idea of a round ball...and THAT was a breakthrough idea that is still in use today. Peterson would be proud.

We used a broom handle one of the guys sawed in half---presto!!, two bats!! The heat from all that sawing created the first "hot" bat...and boy that really caught on, too.

It was very efficient back then because the old unusable ragsacks were then converted to mitts for the fielders, thereby reducing many broken fingers and bruised palms, for once round balls and hot bats were adopted players could hit harder and farther.

Of course, in those days gentlemen played at the highest level possible. It was a matter of personal pride to play the best players around...then one day after a huge flood some of the guys were removing the sandbags used to hold back the water and one got the idea, "Hey if I tell everyone I can't play very well, maybe they'll let me play at a lower level and I'll pick up an easy t-shirt...then I'll be long gone before those suckers figure it out---with the t-shirt, of course. Oh yeah, I got the t-shirt"

Thus, sandbagging was born. Those of us who've been around the game for a lifetime remember the good old days. Some of the newer guys may not know. I like to share such things.
Jan. 12, 2013
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: LET'S PLAY SEVEN

With the new year comes an old refrain, "Let's Play Seven Innings." Recent rule changes in Major Plus might help, but it isn't at all certain dropping home runs from 12 to 9 and runs per inning from 9 to 7 will be enough.

Some questions:

1) Why not stop the clock every half inning for just 30 seconds to give teams a little cushion? Players should not stroll on and off the field, but they should not be forced to sprint on and off either. At the end of 30 seconds, umps start the clock again. This could allow up to 7 additional minutes to complete the game.

2) Softball is NOT a time clock sport. Those sports that are ALWAYS have instances where the clock is stopped---free throws in basketball, time outs, incomplete passes in football, penalties, etc. If you're going to run softball as a time clock sport, why not stop the darn thing once in awhile?

3) Everyone understands the need to stay on time during tournaments, but why sacrifice the lifeblood of the game to the false gods of punctuality and profitability? With a 5 game guarantee and a tournament cost of $525 and the math. You're paying over $100 per game and getting the bum's rush. That's shabby treatment of paying customers. You and I are paying customers. Repeat after me, "I want seven inning games."

4) If umpires are paid $25/hour or more to do these games, why not ask them to do a bit more? Some perspective: school bus drivers are trained in CPR, First Aid, Hostage Negotiation, Crisis Management; they are required to pass bi-annual fitness and agility tests, re-certification tests, vision and physical exams, and more. Average salary: less than $13/hour. At almost twice that rate, softball umpires should be able to handle a new wrinkle like stopping the clock intermittently during a game.

5) Competition is usually great for customers. If SSUSA has the lion's share of the business, SPA (and others) have to build a better mousetrap. One of the ways SPA does it is with a guarantee of seven innings in ALL bracket games in every tournament. They hedge that bet with a "mercy rule" and most players I've talked with are fine with that. SSUSA has already conceded this principle with their guarantee of seven innings in all championship games. Why not take the next step and do as SPA does.....a seven inning guarantee in all bracket games for 2013?

SSUSA/LVSSA/SSWC/ISA is to be applauded for its business model, its leadership in providing opportunities for players across the nation, and its tremendous success. They have proven time and again to be responsive to customer complaints and in my experience have always been approachable with reasonable discussion. They have made significant concessions and improvements on many issues, including time limits.

But, they're still missing the mark on this subject---at least in Major Plus. There are solutions and they can be implemented today in time to make 2013 a successful year. Let's institute some changes to make a complete game the rule...and not the exception.

Hey...let's play seven.

Aug. 1, 2012
Topic: Rules of the game

Cal50...about 1 1/2 years ago this situation had reached the intolerable stage. Because it was a "hot button" issue with me, I checked our stats and found a staggering 52% of our games in 2010 had been shortened to less than 7 innings.

To their credit, SSUSA responded by adding 5 minutes to all tourney games, giving us 70 minutes for bracket contests...which is the current standard. That seemed to solve the problem, as we noticed fewer than 10% shortened in accepatable number in my opinion.

But, with the changes to rules involving homeruns and runs per inning effective with the LVSSA/SSUSA merger for 2012, we are back to WAY more than half our 60/Major Plus games being shortened. In this division, if you don't make the finals, forget playing seven innings.

This is a conscious "business decision" for organizers as many have pointed out. The need for staying on time, the costs of umpires, and other factors have been used to justify this clipping of customers. The notion that it is somehow the fault of the players for taking too long to get on and off the field between innings is disingenuous nonsense.

In what other business do customers stand still for such larceny? If you order a 12-oz beer and get 9 ounces, do you take it and sulk...or do you say something?

Consistently shortening a game you are paying almost $100 or more to play is UNACCEPTABLE treatment of paying customers. As strong as SSUSA has become, it's impossible for me to understand why they continue this shabby practice---particularly when SPA has demonstrated for years a more player-friendly approach.

July 29, 2012
Topic: Rules of the game

Just completed the SPA Nationals in Georgia and wanted to report on the pure satisfaction of playing seven inning bracket games. For the importance of seven innings, look no further than the 60/M+ losers bracket final pitting GSF against Mobley/Gin on Field 2W in Dalton, GA.

Going to the bottom of the 2nd inning it was 18-3 the end of the 4th it was 18-15 and 70 minutes had passed. But instead of the dreaded call for "OPEN INNING" in the fifth...we just played ball and what followed was the stuff of dreams.

Mobley pounded out 9 runs in the top of the 6th and took a 29-20 lead into the bottom of the 7th...when lightning struck and GSF scored 10 to win a heart-stopper.

With the win GSF advanced to the finals. If the game had been time-limited, an entirely different result would have been recorded.

I share this with the utmost respect for that Mobley team in the other dugout...they easily could have put us away...that is not the story.

The story is the need for seven innings. Seven innings is a ballgame. Five or six innings because of a time limit is not. Many teams are late-inning closers and need a full seven. Just the day before, a gritty bunch of players from Jim and Joe's battled til the final out of the 7th inning, overcoming a 17 run deficit and putting the tying run at the plate---BUT THEY NEEDED A FULL SEVEN INNINGS TO DO IT.

SPA understands the players want poured rain all weekend and games were weather-delayed 2-3 hours in Georgia...but SPA was still able to honor their guarantee of seven inning bracket games. WHY CAN'T YOU DO THIS, SACRAMENTO???

Tournament entry fees for SPA and LVSSA/SSUSA Worlds are $695. We got 7 games in Georgia...cost per game $99 and change...others only got 4 games...cost per game $174...for that kind of money...and for the sheer joy of playing...shouldn't we get a full seven innings in Las Vegas come September?

June 8, 2012
Topic: Tournaments

GSF decided to add this event to our schedule...dates are Aug 3-5. We figure Master Collision/Scrap Iron will be there...any other 60 Major Plus teams willing to make the trip?

The Western National Championships, along with the Eastern Nationals in Raleigh the same weekend, make up the first step in winning the Triple Grand Slam. Those two winners play a National Championship game during the seeding round of the Worlds and that win is the second step. Winning the World Masters crown in Las Vegas during this year's LVSSA/SSUSA tournament is the final piece.

It has been done before, but it isn't easy. You have to enter the Western (or Eastern) Nationals to have a chance at the Triple Grand Slam.

May 24, 2012
Topic: Rules of the game

Point taken, Bob. I really didn't think you were that cagey, but some of your minions have elevated your motivation in absentia.

No excuse for getting it wrong, however.
May 24, 2012
Topic: Rules of the game

Joe, I take whatever you say so seriously you get your own thread.

If you're going to quote me, please get it right. What I said (years ago) was without the lower divisions paying the freight, "...Major Plus teams would be playing home run derby in the parking lot for a case of beer..."

That's still true, by the way. And nice to know you still remember and are quoting me.

But, I digress. Our team has no East/West player exemptions, although we have explored the possibility. Have not found the right fit.

As for Border Rules, we follow the rules as they are posted. When California teams were restricted from adding out of state players, GSF became an AZ team and was able to add CA thinking by Woody to get around the rule and still stay legit...result? Two World chamnpionship rings in 2009 and 2010. Nifty.

You and I both know Major Plus and Major teams (at least at 60) have only small shades of difference and could be combined easily. The only thing that militates against the combination is the home run rule. Simple equation: too many home runs equals dumb game. Dumb game equals don't want to play it. Dumb game equals managers sandbag to avoid it...and that is the current situation.

I only learned recently Major Plus teams have some of the rule exemptions you are alluding to...I say dump them and make it all one division subject to consistent rules throughout.

May 24, 2012
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Reno...Home Run Rule

I would not mourn the loss of composite bats for one minute, Gary, but I'm afraid they are an institutionalized evil...I cannot envision any scenario that would provide for their elimination...with the possible exception being a slew of horrendous injuries that could be directly attributable to their use. Other than that, which would be terrible for softball, I don't see it happening.

On the other hand, modifying dingers has been done. And quite successfully. It's a better game...and it will, in the long run, provide the solution for the problems associated with the top level...too few teams, sandbagging with the "Game of Five" or other variations, players being penalized for playing up, etc.

Just last year, SSUSA listened to the many complaints about time limits shortening too many games, reviewed the numbers, and FIXED THE PROBLEM with a simple but effective 5-minute extension.

They can do the same with this...I'm confident they will. I just don't have a year to give it while they do the research. I turned 65 last week and am slowing down by the hour!!
May 24, 2012
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Reno...Home Run Rule

Thank-you, SSUSA Staff, for explaining it again. Forgive my fit of wishful thinking...for a minute I thought sanity had returned to your rulemaking regarding homeruns in all divisions.

Once again, Major Plus is crying out for balance.

Timid managers will continue to sandbag. Who wants to play a 4-or-5 inning game with 24 or more balls sailing out of the park? With 9 runs/inning and unlimited HRs, that's what you've got in this division CONSISTENTLY.

Good ballplayers will avoid the top level because of the emphasis on offense.

Players who get the M+ "label" will continue to be penalized for their ability.

And great defensive players will eschew major plus because their skills are neutralized...while 350 pound FATSO (who can't run or play defense) gets to extend his career at the expense of someone else who runs for him.

Major Plus is supposed to be the best division in softball. Why then discourage the best ballplayers from playing it?

The fix?? Balance the game again.







May 24, 2012
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Reno...Home Run Rule

I read this thread again and understand the HR limits only apply to the 40/Masters...but my question on the use of different softballs still stands.

May 24, 2012
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Reno...Home Run Rule

Is it correct to say (generally) the HR rules have remained the same as they were in 2011...EXCEPT when we play in Las Vegas? When we play in Las Vegas (the recent Southwest Championships and the upcoming fall LVSSA/SSUSA World Masters) HRs are virtually unlimited.

While we're at it, when we play in Las Vegas, we use the Trump "Rock" ball, but everyplace else we use the Trump "Stote" ball? Is this also the case? Both are evidently 44/375 balls, but the big hitters sure like the "Rock" better.

Inquiring minds want to know...please advise.
Feb. 4, 2012
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: What should a healthy senior program look like?

This was reprinted from a July 29, 2011 post on this subject. At the time, HRs were limited, but since then, with the LVSSA/SSUSA merger allowing for unlimited HRs once again, I know of several teams who declined to enter the major Plus category because of the REnewed emphasis on pure long ball offense.

Reprinted from Message Board, July 29, 2011---
"What does the top level of senior softball look like? Or better yet, what SHOULD it look like?

The current perception of the top level (now known as Major Plus) for many, many players is that it is dominated by the home run. Historically, with the disingenuous "One-Up" rule that allowed for unlimited homeruns, there may have been more than a shred of accuracy to that perception.

But, since 2008 when homeruns became limited in all divisions, THE FACTS ABOUT MAJOR PLUS TELL A DIFFERENT STORY...that explodes the myth of Home Run Derby in Major Plus.

Since HRs are now counted and the overage ruled as dead ball outs, fewer than 10% of all Major Plus games see the limit reached by even one's less than 10% of all games for BOTH teams to hit 10 each.

Thank God for that...20 balls that leave the park in any one game is TOO MANY...and the game quickly becomes boring.

My experience in Major Plus (55 and 60) has taught me the best teams do everything well (and I'm looking at you, Turn Two in 60s, and Nighthawks in 55s)...they pitch well, they field well, they run the bases smartly, have good arms in the outfield that prevent extra bases, they hit to the opposite field when the situation calls for it, they hit very few solo homeruns, their managers manage the game and substitute accordingly, they courtesy run for injured players but don't burn out all their fast guys before Sunday, and a lot more.

In short., they do all the little things correctly...and shouldn't that be the hallmark of the top level of senior ball?

The Major Division---(minus the "plus")---should feature the best speed, the best arms, the best defense, the best pitchers, as well as the top hitters. The HR is a vital part of the game...but it is only a part...and too many of them quickly turns the sport into a comedy that good ballplayers do not really want to play...why should they? Too many dingers neutralize their skills because there is no defense for it.

The top level of senior softball---the Majors (minus the "plus")---should find an acceptable HR limit...say 6...merge the divisions...and have at it. With 5 runs per inning and a reasonable HR limit...all the ingredients are in place.


Oct. 4, 2011
Topic: Associations

We congratulate LVSSA and SSUSA for their merger recently announced and hope the future holds all the promise officials are counting on.

As a player, though, I'm not at all sure this will work out very well for the paying customers. Why?

Well, for one thing, there is a NET LOSS OF ONE TOURNAMENT. There will no longer be an LVSSA World Masters tournament. There will be one LVSSA/SSUSA World Masters event and NO OCTOBER World Championship tournament in Phoenix. You teams that loved to play in both...sorry, one will have to do next year.

It's being ballyhooed as the largest tournament in the world...but SSUSA already made that claim the last 5 years their press releases elsewhere on this website. You can probably plan on a sizable entry fee bump, too...and that will be "justified" by the argument that you were paying more for two events...a $795 entry fee should seem like a bargain!!

For another, NO SEVEN INNING GAMES. Rules enforced by LVSSA (and just adopted by SSUSA) will guarantee shortened games as was the case over the last two weekends in Las Vegas. Thirteen games in two different major plus divisions provided just one 7 inning game; seven 6 inning games; four 5 inning games; and one 4 inning game. If you think softball is a seven inning game, better find a different organization because you are not going to get seven with the current set of rules in place.

SSUSA has reversed itself by now allowing for virtually unlimited home runs in all divisions except AA. After several years of sanity with respect to reasonable limitations on HRs, SSUSA has allowed the guppy to swallow the whale with the adoption of LVSSA's unlimited (and preposterous) HR rules.

With the exception of all but a few major plus players, the verdict is in. Limit home runs...make the excess OUTS...and bring some balance back to the game. Defense and seven innings, along with hitting makes for a COMPLETE GAME...and that is what most players want.

Business is business and we cannot fault SSUSA for doing what it had to do to take over a proud but obviously struggling competitor. However, paying customers MUST be satisfied...and it remains to be seen if SSUSA will continue to do that.

We remain guardedly optimistic....but red flags are billowing above this proposed merger.

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