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April 16, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: cor and compression

We have been playing with the Dudley 52/300 in league play and then for batting practice the next day before league play. So far, the Dudleys hold up real well. Sometimes a ball that's been hit for a couple of months of batting practice will be tossed in when the game ball is over the fence. Still firm, some sheen to its cover, and hits about the same. One consideration, though, our league play is in the mornings so we don't have much experience with temps over 65 so far.

Ball hits well for true sluggers. They notice little drop-off. Also works well for those few who cut the ball. Regular hitters notice the drop off in distance with the 52/300. We went to it for safety since our league has a wide age range. No one's complained yet, in fact some didn't even notice the different ball, and boomers are happy as long as they can hit the long ball now and then.

I agree with wagon487 that the 44/375 is the better ball and flies farther and the Baden Fire holds up well in the heat of a tournament afternoon. Of course, there are many who would rather see the game dimensions reduced to the vast majority of parks available, returning to the old days when a home run was rare and earned and not due to hot balls or bats. Sadly, a lot of those guys no longer play and thus part of the drop off in senior players considering the booming size of the over-50 male population.
April 2, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: Introducing the latest technology

Webbie, I think I remember hearing about the water bat, but the guy who bought the bent-handle bat for the team (yes, about 10 of us used it, some for much of the season) evidently was tapped out and didn't purchase any other innovative bats. Steve's three-sided bat sounds interesting. I was using a thin-wall single wall that was badly dented when I first started playing senior softball but a teammate told me it was illegal. Don't know why since it didn't do much for me.


April 2, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: Introducing the latest technology

Webbie, of course we caught the last line. It was our April Fool on you not to mention it! On a more sober note, I'm going to rummage around in the garage to see if I can find my old bent handle aluminum from the 80s. I'm nostalgic for it and need to swing it again for old times sake.
March 21, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: pitchers mask

Donny, I agreed with your first post completely. It was "?" responding to me who somehow thought I was saying that long ball hitters of decades ago could not hit one out with a wooden bat. Not even close to what I said. In fact, I acknowledged that teams often had a slugger or two that COULD hit it out. Since softball began there have been powerful men, who work on their skills, that could hit a softball a mile. As a pitcher, I was always cautious with these titans and would back up after I pitched to them. But they were a rarity.

Proof? When softball began to erupt as a popular sport, rec departments by the thousands all over the country were carving out land to build new ball parks to accommodate the need for more fields. They surveyed the sport, asked experts, and decided that 250 foot fences would contain the vast majority of flies to the outfield. As proof of that, they sometimes put children's playgrounds, picnic areas, flower gardens, etc. on the other side of the fence, or even roads with cars going by. Any rec department that would commission a short fence like that today could be sued for negligence!

What changed? Not the balls particularly. Not the hitters significantly. But the bats, and not even the single wall aluminum, but the double walls, then the triple walls, then the composites! Some of those bats were so hot they were universally banned as dangerous or uncompetitive. And now you have the situation with batter after batter, in their fifties, sixties, even seventies, who never hit one out in their life, capable of clearing the fence with their composites!

Vance+50 makes my point. I'm a prime example. For 50 years I played on the same field with 260 foot fences and NEVER reached the fence in hundreds of games. I never even reached the warning track. Then I get one of the early Miken II bats, am at a tournament with older fields at 265, and hit two out in the same game! Did I suddenly become that much stronger in my sixties, even though I'm not working out? Nope. It was all in the bat. That's why I wear a mask when I pitch, mandated or not.
March 20, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: pitchers mask

That shot to Chapman's face was scary and it won't be the last in baseball. And these guys are in their 20s and 30s, in the prime of athletic condition, and they still can't catch up with a 90+ mph batted ball from 60 feet away.

Now go to the senior pitcher who is 50 feet away, with the slower reflexes of an older man, and the balls still coming at 90+ toward him at times! For decades, softball, mostly played by younger men, was easily contained in parks with 250 - 270 foot fences. The bat/ball combination was such that a home run over the fence was a rarity, usually struck by your slugger. Now, in many games, home runs are routine and not just 275 feet to clear the fences, but 320, 340, 360 feet! Imagine the ball speed to travel that far. It's no surprise that SSUSA felt forced to mandate masks.

Yes, it is about the composite bats that have made a mockery of the old bat/ball standard. What else is the answer for men in their 60s and 70s who can now clear the fence when they never hit one out in their prime athletic years playing softball (like me, for example). They have somehow gotten stronger?!
March 18, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Huntsman World Senior Games

I love the Huntsman: the area, the nice field conditions, the amenities, the ceremonies, the health prevention emphasis, playing guys from other parts of the country, the other sports being contested while the softball is on, etc. So, why haven't I gone in the last five years?

I've been on two teams in that time. One team stopped going because of the crazy scheduling that sometimes results in just one game a day, and this results in a lot of extra days and unnecessary expense for lodging and food that is costly. The schedule could be corrected by Huntsman organizers.

The second team hasn't gone for years because of the sandbagging. Seeing teams that we were equal to playing in a lower bracket and bringing home the gold really bothered them. The deliberate sandbagging (each player playing a new position; batting opposite-handed; etc.) in seeding rounds was another irritation. Huntsman organizers seemingly make no use of season-tested ratings of hundreds of teams to try to make the brackets and competition balanced.

The last time I attended, I was playing for a new team as an add-on (and on a team where many of the players were a bit above my skill level) and it just wasn't the same. Didn't really bond socially in just one tournament, so it hasn't interested me to join a new team just for the Games since that experience five years ago.

These complaints are certainly not unique to me. We have all heard them or experienced them. But thus far, the Huntsman organizers seem to not respond. Hope this thread is a beginning of a new direction.
March 5, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: pitching rules

mad dog, keep pushing. Played in a tournament recently where your favorite ball was used. There were a few gripes about the ball not carrying as far, but of course the outfielders adjusted and moved in. Then my third baseman took a shot to the nose. Not a bad hop, just a lot of top spin on a fairly hard infield. After bleeding profusely, being looked at by paramedics (nose was broken), refusing to go to the hospital, he was told there would be an automatic out if he failed to bat in his next turn and only after that could we skip over his position because of injury (seemed like a strange interpretation). Manager told him to go stand in the box and hope for a walk (not bad odds with a wind and a pitcher struggling). Stand he did, but couldn't resist the inevitable fat pitch, and hit it well (too well, it carried to the left fielder).

My point is your point: I'm not sure he would have gotten off so easy if he were hit with the same velocity by a Baden Fire Ball, for example. Keep pushing. Our rec league has gone to the 52/300, and some guys have not YET noticed the difference!
March 4, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: pitchers mask

Vance, you're on to something. I played 8 games at a complex in California recently—not a bad bounce the whole time! The infield was hard because of the heat and low humidity, but it was so nicely groomed that despite being fast, it wasn't a problem for infielders. Bad infields don't have to be that way, but since so many are, I, too, have seen more and more infielders wearing a mask—usually a Rip-It with better visibility.
March 3, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: pitching rules

Hello Matt43, I too have been pitching for a long time (my 62nd season this year) and have never taken a hit to my face. I have stopped innumerable line drives coming right at my head, however. I attribute this to being ready to field, quick reflexes, and luck.

That said, only in the last decade have I had to field shots from composite bats (and that by players as young as 50s because of the strength of our team and playing in tournaments with brackets ranked by ability, not age) and some have been scary close that I have not fielded, nor hardly seen.

Even more to the point, over the decades I have taken shots to both my arms, my chest, my gut, my hip, my thighs, and below the knees uncounted times. Why? Didn't I have the same readiness, the same quick reflexes, the same wooden or aluminum bats? Of course, but getting hit is just part of pitching. That's why I credit luck to not taking one in the face. If I can't even defend against a shot coming at my thigh, for example, why do I think I can stop all shots to my face? So, I wear a mask.
March 3, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: pitchers mask

Since the introduction of the new mandate, there have been many threads on this message board talking about masks for pitchers and personal preferences. You would be rewarded to go back and read some of them.

In summary, from my own 5-year mask experience, here is how I would approach it:
1. Decide if you want a pitching helmet or a pitching mask. Both are used in women's fast pitch softball and both are available for senior guys to use. The helmets are safer, protect the temples better and also the back of the head, and even the neck area on some designs. The cons: slower to put on and take off, hotter in warm weather, don't always allow the use of one's glasses to fit underneath, and heavier. It is also more difficult to put a bill on most helmets to protect from pitching into a low sun, or protect from rain showers. With masks, it is easier to provide a bill: some come with one attached; some guys expand a baseball cap to fit over; others glue a bill on; I use a slip-over bill that does the job. None of these approaches are as helpful and convenient as a regular baseball cap and no mask.

2. Decide if you want a plastic mask (advertised to be as strong as lucite) that is lighter with no bars, or a metal mask that frankly has better visibility on a ground ball at your feet than any plastic mask. Both styles work well when the ball is coming right at your head. Another consideration is peripheral vision if that is important to you.

3. Don't worry about the cost. Most are under $100 and as long as you have to buy one, might as well buy one that is reliable and comfortable.

4. If at all possible, try one on before ordering on-line or buying at a sporting goods store. I have had three different masks over the years and two I couldn't wear! One was too small for my head, even though it was the largest (designed for women's softball, remember) of that brand, and another was too constricted around my chin so I had difficulty communicating with my fielders, though some of my teammates considered this a benefit:=) And if you are balding, don't forget to try the mask on over your cap or watch cap, whatever you plan to wear underneath to prevent sunburn.

Good luck, and start wearing it at league games and even batting practice to get used to it for tournament play.
Feb. 27, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: The Back Nine

Sweet, Marv, with lots of wisdom.
Jan. 23, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Runner Hit by Batted Ball

Ouch! All these scenarios of a runner on third getting hit by a batted ball give me the shivers. Yes, I have been hit more than once while on third and a sizzler comes at me, but I don't have the courage to just stand and take it. The only reason I got hit was because I didn't jump high enough or squat low enough.
Jan. 22, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Swing Makeover #12.Using a Double Knobcuff for max power and the 70's Senior Bomb Squad from St. Petersburg, Fl

Perl, thanks. Exactly the kind of information that interests me. And I'm sure that most (all?) guys who can still hit the very long ball could also send taters over the fence with a wooden bat when they were young.
Jan. 21, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Swing Makeover #12.Using a Double Knobcuff for max power and the 70's Senior Bomb Squad from St. Petersburg, Fl

bogie, thanks for those names of bombers still clearing the fences in their 70s. It would be interesting to have more names so we could both honor them and look for them in tournaments.

Out here in California, perhaps the most feared slugger in the older divisions is one that most of you wouldn't know. It is Gene Conn, who will be 76 this year, and no 310 foot fence ever stopped him. I saw him hit one into the parking lot last year that hit a tree at about 320 and would have gone about 380 if not for the tree.

To my knowledge, Gene doesn't travel outside of local tournaments, so he likely has never played in recent years (or ever?) on a Major Plus team. His exploits in the past decade were legendary. One player pointed out a time when he hit a ball that cleared the left field fence fair but curving foul, crossed the street, cleared the 8 foot fence of a diamond on the other side, and surprised the heck out of players there when it landed on their infield! It would have been about a 450 foot shot.
Jan. 20, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Players looking to join a team
Discussion: LOOKING FOR A TEAM

Paco13, I love a guy who likes to play SS as well as the other positions you mentioned. And I especially love the comment that every player has to be able to hit to have a winning team so you are at ease hitting where the coach puts you. You're too young for my team, or I would forward this to my manager. I'll bet you'll find a team soon.
Jan. 20, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Mask or Pitcher Protection Screen

There is no argument that the screen provides better protection for the pitcher who uses it for that purpose. But not every league insists on its use that way.

We have a mandated screen in our league and have for more than a decade. Setting it up and taking it down is no more a bother than putting out the bases and collecting them, marking batter's box, etc.

Our rule is any ball hitting the screen is a dead ball. Sure, the occasional ball will glance off the side of the screen (about one a year in my personal experience pitching) and can become dangerous to the pitcher transitioning to a fielder (permitted in our league).

As I have stated in other threads, the screen soon becomes natural. In the course of a year we usually NEVER have a third baseman hitting the screen trying to go to first, and maybe a few times all year does an outfielder hit the screen throwing home. It is not a factor.

Guys who want to practice going middle like it because the pitcher can be safe. We have a league where teams are chosen each day from players present, from 50 to 80s in age, including a few skilled women players. Usually, as a courtesy, a batter will warn the pitcher that he is going to try to hit up the middle.

Experienced pitchers, who know where a ball might likely be hit depending on the location of the pitch or experience with the individual batter, have become quite skilled at being an important part of the infield defense. I could live with using a screen in tournament play. It's not that big a deal.
Jan. 15, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Is Pitching Mask mandatory

Pricer and Skeptical are focussing on the correct problem—it is the bats, the ridiculously hot bats that entered routine senior softball play in the last decade. And every new bat on this board in the last year or two brags about how "hot" it is—it's not getting better.

My observation is that it has driven many, many players out of the game because of its effect on diminishing defensive prowess and earned home runs and running ability and a lot of the strategy of the game. For younger guys like my son, they just are done with shaved bats and don't play any more. For comrades of the past that are my age or a bit younger, the hot bats changed the game and it wasn't as fun for them anymore.

In any event, the cat is already out of the bag. When SSUSA required pitchers to sign a waiver two years ago or wear a mask, they were admitting that conditions had become so dangerous that a mask was a wise protective item, and thereby opened themselves up for a lawsuit.

This is my 62nd season of pitching. When I began, the distance to the plate was only 37 feet, 8 1/2 inches. Scary? Sure, but with wooden bats, I was never severely injured when I got plunked and I was able to field most balls up the middle. There's a reason the pitching distance was moved back and back and now is legal up to 60 feet away—the bats got hotter and more dangerous.
Jan. 15, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: GSC Bat - Status

southernson, I swung a prototype of the GSC in Reno at the SSUSA tournament last May, so it is surely getting close one would think. As I mentioned then, they only had end-loaded available to try, so it wasn't my cup of tea.
Jan. 13, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Why are teams not rated the same in USSA SPA ISSA

L points out that "most players and sponsors will say we are wasting our money" by playing a bracket that is too competitive for them…and so they stop going to those tournaments. I admire L and his team for being willing to test themselves against a higher division, but I think he is correct that many players/teams don't want this.

That said, and it seems that ISSA is very liberal at letting teams rate themselves and thus enter a lower division than their real abilities, why do teams keep going to ISSA tournaments? Are there really so few SPA and SSUSA tournaments around that they keep entering ISSA's offerings? Or do they also drop themselves and thus it is ultimately the AA guys who suffer because they have no lower division to sandbag in?
Jan. 10, 2014
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: CERTAIN FEES!!

Duke, I've never played in a Top Gun tournament so I can't comment on quality comparisons or overscheduling fields. And curveball's comments about higher prices in California is probably accurate.

What I can tell you is that Northern California Senior Softball Association scheduled 56 tournaments in 2013 (although some were cancelled for lack of signups) and the fees ranged from $285 to $310, with the average fee being $300. These tournaments use the same umpires as SSUSA, play on the same fields, and are typically well-run and competitive, due to NCSSA's decision to bracket teams by ability, not age.

These are mostly played in California (with California prices) and a few played in Nevada or southern Oregon. And NCSSA is not a for-profit organization as SSUSA is, so it is run by volunteers and costs are lower thereby. TDs do try to break even (in some tournaments) and most try to make a profit, either for themselves, their team, or their Club.
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