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, Sept. 15, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Product review
Discussion: Cleats

lb16, I had a similar experience to yours recently. I was playing at a BLD park with artificial turf infields and grass outfields. It's always a hassle what to wear since I both pitch and play outfield. I pitched a game and had on turf cleats (my beloved Tanels that wear like iron) so I was both comfortable and a shade faster running the bases. In the next game, at the last minute, I was switched from DH to outfield and had to run out in my turf shoes.

To my surprise, I still had good traction and so I kept the turf cleats on the rest of the day no matter what position I was playing. Now you've got me thinking that maybe I should wear my turf cleats all the time. If only Tanel hadn't stopped making them. I saw that coming and bought three boxes, but some day I'll need a new pair by another maker.

My only question: do turf cleats really work well in tall grass (poor maintenance by financially strapped city crews is common in California) and on wet grass (not usually a problem here)? Seems illogical, but maybe I am missing something.
, Sept. 7, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Vendors

Agree with TimMcElroy that it will be the Trump Rock at Vegas. I think the reason that it isn't used at more tournaments is that I have heard lots of complaints about it at Vegas: "so hot it is dangerous"; "makes a "tiger" out of a pussycat with the ball flying farther"; changes the complexion of teams with the extra distance (not to mention the hot, dry conditions); "makes it a Mickey Mouse tournament"; "it's exhausting chasing so many long balls in the heat"; etc. I also agree that the Trump Stote does not hold up in the heat, but there are many other balls that DO hold up in the heat that could be used (Baden Fire, for example). If I had to choose, I would pick the Stote and hope for morning time slots! It is not as much fun for my team playing softball with a tennis ball.
, Aug. 29, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Broken hand and wrist

Mac33, most doctors tend to be prudent. Who wants a malpractice suit when the player says "doc said I could play but to be careful. I tried to carefully slide face first into second!".

That said, Fred has a good point. Many doctors don't want to inhibit the get-better attitude of a patient, so they might work with a patient.

In my case, I chose a general practitioner who is younger than me and also an athlete. When I asked if swinging a bat could aggravate my sciatica, he said "no, I'd rather have you active".

In a recent situation with a hernia repair, I was eager to make the next important tournament. The surgeon said "too soon." I asked him what damage could actually be done after the repair. He couldn't think of anything related to the hernia or the surgery, so he said "go ahead."

In any event, after my rotator cuff surgery a few years ago, I was shelved for quite a few weeks, but that didn't stop me from being a courtesy runner for my team. Sure there was a slight risk of a fall and a reinjury, but it didn't happen and I can tell you that my team loved having a fresh man off the bench to run when the temperature was nudging 95º. Maybe you can be a capable rabbit for your team even if your swing/throwing/batting is still affected.
, Aug. 24, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Why are there rules?

OZ40, you made me laugh! Thanks for the chuckle.
, Aug. 24, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Associations
Discussion: Unfavorable weather conditons......

Cat, I agree about the time limits. There is every reason to limit the time on RR play. It only takes 5 innings to get an idea where a team ranks compared to its opponent, and eventually to other teams in the bracket. I'd rather finish earlier in RR and then have another 5 or 10 minutes in bracket play where 7 innings can make a difference for a team coming from behind.
, Aug. 24, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Associations
Discussion: Unfavorable weather conditons......

CAT, it might be good to look at rec leagues with older (over 70) players and see what ideas they are coming up with to make playing more feasible for older players. Here are a few from our older rec league:

Allow middle infielder (already the rule in most associations for over-65 I think) for 11 man teams.
Allow courtesy runner from home (starts behind extension of third base foul line).
Screen mandated so less mobile player can pitch and more mobile move to other positions.
Force out at every base when advancing.
Over run at every base allowed (but must return to touch bag if advancing after over run).

These rules are well-accepted by our players and don't materially change the game, but are SO good for knees and hips that are wearing out.

Of course, in tournaments, you still have the young man problems of the composite bats which hit balls to the fence (not too many home runs over the fence in 70 and older play), and have resulted in fields growing larger and larger. Picking up the ball at a 320 foot fence, I have to relay to the next-door fielder, who relays to short or 2B who has come out, who relays to home...and by that time the batter has huffed and puffed around or is at least wheezing on third base.

Till fun! Plan to play until at least my mid-80s.

, Aug. 24, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Why are there rules?

I'm impressed with the eloquence of some of our posters. Well done.

I've never played in Arizona (I assume this is the venue in question) and know nothing about the TD (other than what I've read over time on this blog), so as an outsider, here is what I am gathering:

Team decides to play in tournament and either ignorantly or deceptively has under-age players on team. They are given a spot in tournament and scheduled to play other teams.

Other players get wind of this team and protest to TD that team has under-age players (which will become evident when said players can't produce an SSUSA membership card...unless they are REALLY planning to cheat and going under assumed names). If deliberate cheating, team should be banned from all tourneys in future, in my opinion.

TD now has a choice to make, none of them great:
1. Let the team play exhibition (safety issues with this choice)
2. Ban the team and try to find a replacement (pretty tough at such a late date)
3. Ban the team and award every other team a forfeit victory (not much fun and violates minimum games played)
4. Redo the schedule and remake brackets (short notice, maybe field unavailability, last minute time changes to communicate to managers)

TD chooses the exhibition option.

TD gives out third place award to exhibition team (seems unlikely, but such is the claim). Anything I am missing?

, Aug. 22, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Associations
Discussion: Unfavorable weather conditons......

k man, I don't have to screw up my knees. At my age, they are just wearing out! lol
, Aug. 22, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Vegas Worlds

mad dog, my entire team is on retirement pay. I don't know about the others, but I stay in very modest casinos (under $50 usually), eat just for fuel, set my gambling limit at $20, and never go to see a show. Of course, if my wife were going...all bets off. My time is free so I stay at places away from the strip and just get up earlier to make the first game.
, Aug. 22, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Vegas Worlds

Sure, it would be nice to know exactly where our fields would be so we could find a hotel (LOTS of options in Vegas) within close distance for the tourney. But c'mon, mad dog, in our California tournaments, some guys get up early and drive 2-4 hours for a late start Saturday game, just to save one night's Friday night cost of a hotel. You've done it too, I'm sure. Driving an extra 20 minutes to a distant Vegas site is not a backbreaker.

As to playing more than two games, our older team played only two games each day last year, and most guys felt it was one of the sweetest tournaments they had been in—avoided draining oneself in the heat, fresher each day and playing our best, results probably the same as seeding rounds and then a long bracket, lots of free time to make the wives happy, come home Wednesday night if willing to.
, Aug. 22, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Associations
Discussion: Unfavorable weather conditons......

k man, good points! My main point was that when we play two in, two out games, the outfielders are fresher and jog into position. You are exactly right that playing the outfield takes a toll.

In a recent tournament, one of our best outfielders pulled a groin. Short-handed, I played outfield every game, every play, and didn't pitch a single ball. The weather was 98º. In addition to my own hits, I also courtesy ran at least three times each game, four times having to run first to home on a long ball triple behind me. We also had a new guy at infield in front of me so I had to back him up more than usual.

The result: I wasn't strolling out in the final games, I was TRUDGING! My apologies to all outfielders that were offended. You have my respect, and if the ump wouldn't stop my warmup pitches while my outfielders are barely leaving the infield, I wouldn't mind waiting a bit. I like to throw as many warmup pitches each inning as I can.
, Aug. 18, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Associations
Discussion: Unfavorable weather conditons......

CAT, I believe that you are correct that most of the lost time in a game is players walking on and off the field. In our winter leagues, we play two innings up, then two innings fielding. Almost all of our 7-inning games end on time, and that's with a 4-3 count. One other thing I have noticed as a pitcher with this format, is that most outfielders, who have sat for most of two innings at bat, will jog to their outfield positions, rather than stroll as in a hot summer tourney game. This makes a big difference when I am ready to pitch, but in a tournament often have to watch the outfielder's back as they stroll to their position.
, Aug. 18, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Using screen for pitcher

Our 50 and over league has mandated a screen for 17 years since a near-fatal hit on a pitcher. Our rules are very similar to those of rispis1974's league. We also like to have the screen as much as 4 feet in front to avoid having a pitcher trip over the legs when going behind the screen. We don't have a rule about a thrown ball lodging in the screen since it has not happened in the more than 2000 games since the mandatory screen.

There is some sentiment for a batted ball striking the screen being called a dead ball strike, but it is currently a dead ball no pitch. We have lived successfully with these rules for years.

I agree with coop3636 that frequent use of the screen (as in my case) does degrade fielding ability because of the reflex step to the screen side in a tournament without screens. But my prediction of a couple of years ago is that the screen will become normal for tournaments in a few years because of the continued use of the hot bats.
, Aug. 9, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Western Nationals Field Conditions & Balls

NYGNYY, nothing different than in the past. Played in Sacramento where dirt infields are extremely hard because of the constant baking, low-humidity heat. This will result in more bad hops than some fields. However, the field crew watered and raked the infields more frequently this year than some tournaments in the past.

As to the ball, it was the normal Trump Stote. As we all know, when it gets hot it gets soft, so not many long balls after about noon on our playing days when the temps were around 100º. Same conditions for both teams.

Also normal: players complain about the Trump Stote at every hot weather tournament location: have for years; nothing changes.

Players complain about fields in all drought-condition fields (Sacramento, Phoenix, Woodland, Reno, etc.) although Reno does get occasional rain...or even snow (which leads to a different sets of complaints). Too bad you missed it. There was a good turnout.
, July 26, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: to SSUSA

Fred S, I feel for all the older guys in the N.E. Not only is your season shorter, but the pool of senior softball players is likely smaller. I play in California, where there are tournaments almost every weekend, and the 80+ senior team that my older league buddies play on, plays about 18 tournaments a season. I can imagine that it is tough to build a competitive 80+ team...or even a team that can stay heathy enough all season.
, July 25, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: to SSUSA

Fred S, Considering the limited group of 80+ players nation-wide, wouldn't this have the potential of resulting in a few "super-teams" and eliminate a lot of average 80+ players from serious competitive opportunity.

Of the 80+ teams I know, they have several players on their rosters who really aren't in good physical shape (always need a runner, no power much beyond 125 feet, etc.), but are in the games because of long years of personal relationships and friendships. If a team could cherry-pick the best from anywhere in the country, this would harm the normal 80+ teams scattered throughout the states. If some of these teams lost a couple of critical guys (e.g. good fielding pitcher; number four slugger; ground-covering shortstop; etc.) they would likely fold in discouragement.
, July 20, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: WESTERN NATIONALS

Dubai, remember that I was one who WANTED to go to Aurora, but I could not convince enough of my teammates. We haven't even gone to Oregon the last two years. As Swing said, there is plenty of competition here already and guys don't need to travel for it.
, July 20, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: WESTERN NATIONALS

I don't doubt Aurora has beautiful and well-maintained facilities. I wanted to play there the last time it was in Aurora, but only a third of our team was interested. Swing for the fences has it right—in California there are 273 SSUSA teams from men's 40s through 80s, and there is lots of fun competition right in the state with tournaments almost every weekend.

Of course you play the same teams most of the time. Even the welcomed Scrap Iron teams come west from Colorado often enough to be familiar teams. But in Reno, recently, we ended up in our bracket playing California teams that we already knew, rather than a lot of new out-of-state teams.

The reality is that SSUSA has those 273 teams, but Colorado, for example, has 19 teams! I know a western regional in Colorado would draw more outside teams, but evidently not enough to overcome the many California teams that already play in the tournament here and aren't willing to travel to Aurora. It's a 17 hour drive from Sacramento to Denver, for example, and surprisingly expensive to fly considering the low fuel costs. Nope, the Western Regionals will likely be in Sacramento for the foreseeable future.
, July 15, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: USING COURTESY RUNNERS

An often misunderstood concept by umpires and by managers! When I was rehabbing from rotator cuff surgery, I was a sub at tournaments and courtesy ran in every game although I never swung a bat. Probably unnecessary to add that I never slid headfirst into any base. LOL
, July 15, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Paulie D

Dancer & Paulie D, how about age and approximate skill level as well? When I had 30 years of softball playing experience, I was only in my 40s and my skill level was modest. I'm impressed with Paulie's versatility and attitude—a shortstop willing to catch is a rarity in my experience.
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