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, Dec. 7, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Sun rule

I admire nickname36 and his commitment to softball. However, in playing on various teams for more than sixty years, I have never had enough teammates with that bravado to continue in the following conditions:
1. Lightning strikes within a mile. Ump suspended the game. What a wussy!
2. Wind blowing so hard the pitcher could not depend on a strike. Ump said he would only call strikes. Violation of rules!
3. Setting sun not just low, but directly behind batter. Ump allowed suspension until sun set. Wimpy!
4. Sleet storm hits the field making footing treacherous and TD cancelled rest of tournament. Not fair!
5. Heavy rains meant running in the mud and water. After the third player took a bad fall, TD canceled the day's games. Sissy!
6. Power went out for evening game and field was dark. Rec department canceled rest of games. Taking advantage of our fees!

Nope, in all of those situations I had no one on the team disagree with the powers-that-be. They always agreed it was the wise move. Why don't my teammates know that "pitching and batting is part of the game...so if you don't like it...grow a pair." That aside, I have briefly played in hard wind, low sun, sleet storm, and heavy rain. That's when I was young and foolish (except I was old and foolish playing in the sleet). Too bad 95% of the players are "winers" and not committed enough to the game, even at the risk of their safety.
, Dec. 1, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Sun rule

Dbax, you're not thinking this through. I had just such a game at Palm Springs. It was February. The sun was low. The teams on the field before us said it was hard to see the ball coming in and theirs was consequently a low-scoring game. I was pitching and the sun was at my back. I pitched the entire game by slightly changing the arc of my ball so that it kept coming out of the sun. One of the best games I ever had against a higher-ranked team (Major Plus) with 9 strikeouts and won the game 5 to 1.

Was it a fun game for either side? Of course not! These kind of games are ludicrous. This is not just a field with the sun in a left-handed batter's eyes, for example. It was a cloudless day and a low winter sun, with no background trees to block the sun. The single run they scored was a home run which the batter admitted he hit by just hoping and swinging hard. Our runs were helped by a less effective opposing pitcher and a shared pair of welders' glasses.

I think TDs are negligent when they schedule such games on these fields. It's not dangerous for the defensive team nor for the batting team (it is slow pitch, after all). But it's not really softball as meant to be played. I'm not proud of my strikeouts or the win, other than my ability to be consistent with my "sun ball".

I have similar adamant opinions about games scheduled with the reverse conditions that blind pitcher, short, rover up the middle, second, left center and right center fields. The pitcher can request a screen, but the other fielders are in a dangerous position. Solution: don't schedule such dangerous conditions. Either find another empty field or delay the game until the sun goes down or rises higher, whichever is pertinent, Our team no longer goes to such tournaments where the TD uses these poorly-designed sun fields—dangerous on one field or ridiculous on the diagonally opposite field.
, Nov. 26, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: slow pitch slider

WILD, 30 years ago I threw a consistent softball curve with a palm ball. Very difficult to control as I had to kind of push the pitch rather than throw or spin it. But for some reason, the ball would curve most of the time. Then my team changed and I had a weak second baseman and a poor right fielder and I stopped throwing a curve that would break away from right handed batters. Two years passed, my team's fielding improved, and I never could throw the palm ball again!

The video showed me how to curve a cricket ball and a foam ball, even a hard ball (perhaps) but it didn't give me much help on how to throw a slow pitch softball. Can you explain your technique?
, Nov. 7, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: injured player

Saw an older player break his hip on his swing. He was sprawled across the plate for 20-25 minutes until paramedics came with stretcher. Pretty hard to try for a walk when the plate is covered by the player. Unusual situation, but so is any player injuring himself and unable to continue play.

I have pulled a muscle in my back on a swing and not able to continue to field or run; have seen players pull already strained hamstrings; can imagine other muscle/tendon pulls while at bat, but unlikely to not be able to even get to first for a CR, or not able to stay in game as hitter in next turn at bat and hope for a walk then. Breaking a hip is rare and truly does not allow a player to continue in the game. One of the reasons our manager always wisely lists himself as a sub but subbed in only one game in the past season when everyone else was batting and a player pulled a quad.
, Nov. 2, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: new to senior ball

Hitting a mat consistently is not as easy as it looks. Our club has an annual skills tournament and one of the events is pitching for accuracy. Over the years, we have had about 15 tournament pitchers compete and only one has hit the mat 100% of the time. Most tournament pitchers are around 50% with the more skilled around 75% and the most skilled at 90%.

That said, DieselDan and B94 are correct that in actual play a pitcher will often deliberately miss the mat to induce the hitter to swing at a bad pitch. Factor in any wind, trick pitches with spin or no spin, illegal height pitches hoping the ump will give the pitcher a break, pressure situations, nagging injury to hand or arm, etc. and to the observer it will seem that many pitchers are just not that accurate. It's true that many pitchers would walk batters if they would stand there and just not swing, but just as many batters will be struck out if they just take pitches from a skilled pitcher.
, Oct. 29, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Is it a strike if ball hits front edge of strike mat and also kicks up some dirt?

bkb555, seems like that would be the case, doesn't it? We have been using the one-inch strike mat board for a couple of years, off and on, in league play. In approximately 100 games, not ONCE has anybody tripped, fallen, or stumbled on it, and in a few cases the catcher had securer footing making a play at home where with a rubber mat he might have slipped with his back foot. Also, not once on a play at home has a thrown ball hit the mat and careened away (nor does this happen with a regular mat). We have become quite used to it, and many defensive players prefer the sound of the smack on the board. It also helps our volunteer umpires be more accurate on close ball/strike calls.
, Oct. 26, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: rule clarification II

Had a similar situation in a tournament recently, but I suspect it is more common. Guy scheduled to bat is talking, next batter innocently goes to the plate and bats out of turn. No one on other team realizes it and only the talking guys says "Hey, you skipped my turn!" Wrong batter makes third out.

Next inning at bat, guy who was skipped goes up to get his at bat. Gets on base safely, then who bats? Guy who made mistake in previous inning is sure he will be noticed if he bats again, but that's what the lineup says. Other team is clueless and neither challenges the leadoff batter, nor the fact that the guy who ended the previous inning with an out is now skipped and the next batter after him hits.
, Oct. 26, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: 4-4-4 Game

Yes, I've played that game several times but it doesn't quite work because of the absence of a catcher and pitcher. The team at bat can catch, but what happens when bases are loaded? And in our case, it took a good-natured pitcher who tried to throw all plums against every team. The pitcher was often a tournament pitcher who appreciated the practice, but when he tried to get cute and practice some difficult pitches (outside front corner, 13 foot back corner, knuckleballs in the wind, etc.), there were complaints. Also, having a catcher call strikes and height limits on his own team was a stretch.

One of the rules is that you need unlimited courtesy runners when a team is at bat who can enter any time and anywhere, because a batter on base is often up with only four batters. One rule variation is to have the fourth batter keep batting until a man got home or was forced at a base, who then took his turn batting.

We stopped playing it as a senior league because it was way too tiring on the team at bat. We never got more than three innings before everyone was exhausted. A little better game was 5-5-5 where there was always a pitcher trying his best, an outfielder up the middle behind second, and a little more breathing room for the team at bat (which had to catch for themselves). One variation is to have the outfielder up the middle move to catcher instead. Still a tiring game, but at least it is a competitive game when you are shorthanded.
, Oct. 21, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Pitching screen

I've never seen this Powernet and am having a hard time visualizing it. Nonetheless, sandbags or stakes, seems like it will have a mobility problem. In our leagues we have left-handed pitchers and righties, guys who like to throw from 60 feet and those always on the rubber at 50. As a consequence, the screen gets moved around a lot, half-inning to half-inning. We use the older screen with four feet, not that heavy to move, and move it does! We get about 8-10 years service before it needs restringing, and it gets used about 12 hours a week, including batting practice. It is folded up and stored every day we play. It loses a bit of structural stability after 5 years, but still functions, even with a bit of a lean sideways of a couple of inches.
, Oct. 20, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Pitching screen

Anchoring the Powernet to the ground is highly frowned upon on the artificial turf fields that are common in drought-stricken areas like California.
, Oct. 20, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Speed up rules

garyheifner, seems like the time-honored custom of an umpire saying "batter up" could be followed by "play ball" and then "strike one" as the pitcher delivers a ball, even though the stalling batter is not yet in the box. Bet the umpire would only have to do that once and the next batters would be ready promptly.
, Oct. 20, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Speed up rules

DieselDan, you are absolutely right. I am a pitcher for my team. I am also one of the fastest runners on the team and have plenty of stamina, so I also courtesy run for other teammates. When I am stranded at second, trot home, have to put on my shinguards (mandated at one time) and my face mask, sometimes have to adjust my shield if I am facing a low sun, take a swig of water, wipe the sweat off my forehead, there is no way I can be back on the mound in one minute. Most umps recognize that I was on base and give me a break with a couple of warm up pitches, but some umps yell (play ball) before I have a chance to take one warm up.

But even with that, I often have to wait for outfielders to stroll to their positions. I used to have less tolerance for that, but now that I occasionally play the out field, and it's the 5th inning on a day where the temps are pushing 100º, I see why they sometimes don't run out to their position. Since hustling for 5 or 6 games in a hot weather tournament is not going to happen with guys past 70 in my age group, I'm one of those advocates for batting two innings at a time.
, Oct. 16, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: New Player

Someone thinks a player has major level skills and puts them on a major roster. Whether they actually played (unless disabled for the season) or not, it is still logical to assume they are a major level player. In the same way, I was not able to make the Vegas Worlds one year and my team won! I had played with them all year. My team was rerated up after winning, and so was I! Even though I didn't play or help the team win. But I haven't complained because I am at the skill level of the rest of the team and if they could win, so could I.

Same logic applies to AAA, Major Plus, etc. If you have a new team, and more than three of the players were on a major roster the past season, your team will be assumed to be of major quality. This takes into account the superior player who may be on a team because of history of friendship, but is the only high-ranked player on the team, so his team is not ranked upwards.

The more difficult challenge is when a team has several superior players, they win major tournaments, the team gets rerated to the next level, and then most (or all) of these really good players move on to other teams. Sometimes the team is stuck with the higher rating, even though they are no longer that superior. We play against such teams all the time in tournaments, where they were dominant the previous year, but now are normal, or even sub-par. Takes a year to get rerated down it seems.
, Oct. 16, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Speed up rules

DieselDan, we use this practice in our league play. Not only does it significantly shorten the playing time, but it seems to give defenders more energy (especially outfielders) and it eliminates any warm-up by the pitcher between innings 1 and 2, for example. We get more innings in as a result. This would be a good change that does little, if anything, to alter the game.
, Sept. 30, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Players looking to join a team
Discussion: Looking to start playing senior softball

Greg, thanks for the additional detail. There is lots of softball activity in the Sacramento area. Good luck, someone is bound to be interested.
, Sept. 30, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Players looking to join a team
Discussion: Looking to start playing senior softball

Greg66, welcome to senior softball, but you won't get many responses without more info on yourself. For example:
Age?
Interested in rec league, tournament, travel tournament, what?
Position experience: Outfield, infield, pitcher?
Skill category: novice? fun player? good player? Lots of experience? very good player? top player?
Location in NorCal: Eureka? Chico? Sacramento? Bay area? Modesto?

, 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.
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