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July 3, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Bert Bennett Memorial tournament

Tim, how I wish all TDs had your mindset and communication skills! Well done!
July 3, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Renewal of ID cards.

Jeb financed a brand new 4-wheel drive SUV on a monthly payment plan and was looking forward to driving it at his mountain cabin on the winding roads in that area. The snows were heavy that winter, so he didn't get an opportunity to go to the cabin and take it out of the garage. Then, before he had it ready to go, a spring flood inundated the area and all of the roads were damaged to some degree and impassible. The county worked hard to repair the roads, but it was slow work and a week of rain not only halted the road repair, but flooded the area again so the county had to start over! It was fall before Jeb had any hope of taking his car out of his garage, but a wind storm knocked down so many large trees from the saturated soil, that his access roads were once again blocked and it was weeks before the logs could be cut and removed. Finally in December, Jeb had his chance but an early storm ripped out much of the patchwork from the spring and summer and again Jeb was blocked from reaching his cabin to drive his fun car.

That next January, during a break in the storms, Jeb retrieved his SUV and drove it back to the car dealer and asked for his money back for the last twelve months on his vehicle because he didn't have a chance to drive it the whole year!
June 26, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Western National Tournament location

Jawood, I haven't played at Maidu in 20 years so I will take your word for it and hope not to play there! But ease up on poor Carson City—it has its own rustic charm and is O.K. unless the wind is blowing (which, sadly, it usually is in the afternoon).
June 25, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Western National Tournament location

Jawood, where do you usually play in Sacramento for the Western Nationals? We play at Sacramento Softball Complex. So-so fields, not horrible; terrible drainage? Maybe, but since it doesn't rain in Sacramento in the summer, and groundskeepers control watering, so what?; no concessions? They have a sit-down cafe; and offensively hot is true, except with low humidity it is usually tolerable, not offensive!


June 5, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Net for Pitchers

neck10, that is certainly true. However, with 1800 deaths in California in the last three months among people over 50 compared to zero (to my knowledge) of pitchers hit in the chest, it seems you are much more likely to catch the virus and die than die being struck by a batted ball. In addition, I see more and more pitchers wearing chest protectors since it is a legitimate concern.
June 4, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Net for Pitchers

L, I remember that wonderful season! Unlimited height. I pitched a no-hitter. I had numerous multiple-strikeout games. And the batters complained like crazy. Turns out not every player can hit fungo! lol Only lasted one season here and then back to normal and the scores soared again from single digit to multiple digit. Ah, the good old days for pitchers!
May 20, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Please, a story from anyone! Anything but Corona, Corona, Corona!

I'm late to the game of Senior Softball, but at age 60 I leave the rec leagues and start playing with a senior club. I have never had a big bat (until the Miken came along) and the first league games show it—a singles hitter. Nonetheless, I am a better-than-average pitcher and a manager picks me up for his tournament team. I tell him I am busy most Sundays and will miss half of many tournaments. That's O.K. he says, you can pitch two games on Saturdays.

First tournament I'm with the team and we are playing on a field with no fences. In my previous 47 years of softball, I have usually batted 7th or 8th, occasionally 2nd. That's where I am in the first game, batting 8th. Being down in the order and a pitcher, the left fielder plays me in short in the outfield. I hit one over his head and steam into third with a triple! Maybe the second or third triple in my career. Next time up, he doesn't recognize me and hit one by him—another triple! Last time up in the game, right center field is way in because I am reckoned as a pull hitter. It irritates me and hit a good shot to right center for...another triple!

Equals my life output for triples! I don't play that Sunday with lots of things going on at church. At the next tournament, my new manager has me in the clean-up slot! I tell him I am not that kind of hitter. He tells me he saw what he saw and he wants me batting fourth. I fail miserably trying too hard to justify my position. For the next six tournaments, I am batting fourth and doing a terrible job. Finally, he puts me in batting second and my average improves. Never batting clean-up again for any manager. Still pitching, though.


May 16, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Best changes to improve virus safety?

Terrific idea. I would add that the ball in play is similar to tournament conditions where each team has their own marked ball for use every inning. Thus only teammates handle the same ball. Umpire has the backup balls (as he does in tournaments) in case of long foul or home run over the fence. Don't need to put bats in distanced places, just make sure the one retrieving the bat picks it up by the striking part, not the handle. This assumes that each team is cautious, doesn't sit too close, washes hands frequently.

I have often wanted to play a one-pitch game where the opponent pitches the ball (instead of the more normal pitch to your own team). If the ball hits the mat—strike three! If the ball is hit foul—foul out. If the ball is let go by and it misses the mat—ball four. This means the pitcher must try for the out but can't miss the mat by much or the batter walks. Illegal pitches result in a walk. lt seems like it would be a pitcher's game, but if he is not careful he has walked the bases full! The batters will generally get a grooved pitch to be sure it isn't a ball four. That's the equalizer.
May 8, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Reno Tournament

There is that! lol The next time I hit a walk-off homer will be the first in a few years. I'm much more likely to come nose to nose with a second baseman or shortstop when I'm trying to stretch a bobbled single!
May 8, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Net for Pitchers

GaryHeifner, I agree completely that the rubber is the most dangerous part of the field for us. Some infielders complain about bad hops, but they are nothing compared to the hop off the rubber and you are already closer to the batter than any infielder.

I am fortunate that most of my games, including the Big League Dreams fields, have artificial turf and a painted rubber. Solves the problem! I have had some rubbers on a dirt infield that is so eroded that I feel like my foot is on a small mountain when I pitch from 50 feet!

As to taking our lumps, I say that and other pitchers say it also, but the injuries to pitchers can be terrible. A friend of mine was hit in the face (wasn't wearing a mask as it was not a sanctioned tourney but a league game) and it rearranged his face—broke his nose, his jaw, his palate, and knocked out several teeth. The ER doctor said he was lucky—that much power on other parts of the head could be fatal! Do shortstops playing 90 feet away ever suffer a compound leg fracture from a batted ball?

I agree with you, pitching screens will be standard when the first fatality or even concussion with little recovery happens. Too bad it will have to be that. Of course, a lot of the danger could be alleviated by returning to an aluminum bat, but too many egos for that, so the screens will come.
May 8, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Reno Tournament

DieselDan, your math is correct and I think the softball field is safer than a box/store supermarket, but there are still problems with social distancing while playing the game. I cannot remember a game when there was not at least one close call at a base which brought forth a groan from one team or the other, particularly at first. In fact, in most games I play, there is a play at first several times in a game, and the first baseman standing on the bag while the runner hits the orange bag is not social distancing.

Also, it is a rare game where there is not at least one forced out call at second or third or just a play where the runner tried to take two bases. Again, I have uncounted times come face to face with the defensive player at second or third when I was trying to come to a stop at the base. And let's not even count the times when opponents, or outfielders, collide and end up on top of one another.

Also, when I am playing, whether on defense or offense, there is a lot of huffing and puffing and deep breathing on the field. This affects the opponent as well, in some case, as teammates.

The distances are great, but the chances for closer than six feet during play, or twelve feet considering the heavy breathing are quite common every game. Desperate to play myself, but it might be too soon.
May 3, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Any Chance for California Tournaments

I believe the rule in Sacramento is no team sports until end of May at earliest. My team has already given up on Sacramento in May, sadly. I want to play!!
May 3, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: SSUSA action shots, team pictures, Umpires, Fans Wives etc

Jack, extremely generous offer, and a good project while we are stuck at home. Thanks for this, and for your photo efforts over the years.
May 3, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Dugouts

jfsully, LOL!

Jawood, my wife and I have fun watching TV presenters on Covid precautions touch their nose, eyes, even mouth! Habits of decades are hard to break...and usually unconscious.
May 3, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Net for Pitchers

lowprofile, most of these screens are extremely portable and not that expensive. They last for years. It would easily be within SSUSA's budget to buy a dozen screens, transport them to tournaments (they would all fit in an average trunk), have the umpire or first team of the day set them up; last losing team of the day takes them down and folds them up. We buy screens about every 7 years (about 1200 games). Screens are coming to tournament play is my prediction. Nothing else is as protective of the pitcher.

Didn't talk about placement of the screen in my league for the last 20 years. The placement has never been legislated! No rule! Some pitchers place it almost on the rubber; some pitch around it; some put it 3 or 4 feet in front of the rubber; some put it off to the side so that no part of the frame extends over the rubber, but usually aligned with the rubber. Never had an argument about giving the batter or pitcher an advantage. I should note that our league is very friendly and there is lots of camaraderie amongst the entire league, not just teams. Net placement might be more contentious in a tournament with strangers playing each other.
May 1, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Dugouts

Not an insurmountable problem in California with its absence of summer rain—just seat guys in the dugout by batting order and when the bench is full (4 or 5 guys?) the others line up in batting order along the outside of the fence! But in areas of thundershowers, for example, where guys might be able to wait it out under dugout roofs, not so pleasant.
May 1, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Reno Tournament

Although I plan to focus on softball if possible, I would prefer to obtain a heavily discounted casino hotel and just skip the gambling and not overpay for the "luxury" and "resort fees" of the big chain hotels.
May 1, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Net for Pitchers

B. J. Excellent question about potentially futile mandatory screens. I think it was a compromise between those who disliked the screen and those who wanted the screen for every pitch. Those who don't use the screen effectively are considered fools by the cautious (although not to their face) and those who jump behind the screen every pitch are considered timid by the fearless (although not to their face).

Many pitchers position the edge of the screen halfway over their bodies and deliver the pitch around the screen. Another nice compromise. Personally, having the screen halfway bothers my vision and I also want to be more prepared to field a ball in tournament play and not get used to relaxing after the pitch is released.

The screen was never thought necessary, of course, in the age of wooden bats and less lively balls. I began pitching from the official distance of 37 feet 8 inches! One famous pitcher in our area pitched without a glove—and that was in tournaments, including the world series of softball. I'm not talking about the large softball favored in some parts of the country, but the size we use today.

As the balls got hotter, the pitching distance was moved back to 40 feet, then 42, then 45, then 50 feet, the current distance, primarily for safety of the pitcher. Then came the metal bats; then the composites. Soon we saw mandated masks...and shin guards...and soon I believe it will be chest protectors and screens. All of this safety protection so big boys could hit 350 foot home runs instead of the standard 200-250 feet of the day. And pipsqueaks like me could reach the fence with good hits and even clear some fences in older parks that I couldn't even reach when I was 30 years younger! Ego, my friends, ego.
April 30, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Net for Pitchers

This is my 20th year of pitching with a mandated pitcher screen protection rule. Our league probably has more experience than most since we play 2-3 games per week and often 6 games on a Saturday in winter. Here are my observations about the screen in response to questions above:

Screen is not optional in our league. Been mandated since a pitcher was plunked in the chest and the ER doctor said it could have been fatal.

Any batted ball hitting the screen is a dead ball. Some, including myself, believe it should be a dead ball and a strike, but majority disagrees.

Pitcher does not have to stand behind the screen at any time, but most do once releasing the pitch. Pitcher is allowed to field any ball. This lessens the protection of the screen, particularly a ricocheting ball, but lots of pitchers want to defend (and take their lumps at times).

Any thrown ball on a play that hits the screen is a live ball. This happens very, very rarely. Maybe once or twice a year in the 100 games I play. That is once every 700 innings or 2100 outs or about 2500 batted balls.

Balls hitting our screen (more properly a net) do not bounce very far anywhere. Some stick in the netting, rolling to the bottom; many bounce back a foot or so; those hitting the frame of the netting—watch out! Could go anywhere (which is why we play it like a dead ball).

Hitting the screen/net three times in one turn at bat has happened maybe once in my 20 years, 10,000+ innings. It is a bit more common, especially for middle hitters, to hit it twice in one at bat. This happens maybe once a month.

P.S. Masks are optional for the pitcher because of the screen.






April 26, 2020
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Reno Tournament

Didn't think that an older team like mine would ever play at Golden Eagle again, but shutting down Shadow Mountain as well!! Doesn't look good for Reno.
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