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, March 7, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: Question about single-wall metal bats

I remember the transition time. The manager kicked in to buy the first aluminum bat and we ALL used it. Wow! A bat that won't break! After awhile another guy got tired of swinging a heavier bat than he liked and he bought the team a lighter bat. Similarly, our big guy bought a heavy bat for himself and anyone else on the team to use.

I remember that they all eventually got dented. But we all kept using them. No one saw any advantage to using a dented bat. The performance began at one level and stayed consistent. No thinking of a "hotter" bat in those days. That began with the titanium bat and the double walls. The aluminum bat in our minds was just practical.
, Feb. 29, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Mendoza Line

Webbie, an interesting topic. I think I side with DieselDan on this one. For teams that have a limited geographic pool of talent, or older teams where the number of able players is reduced, there are many factors other than batting average that make a player vital to the team's success.

Also, not every team is keeping players with the goal of being a champion at the Major Plus level. Most teams, I suspect, stay together for reasons beyond championships. I loved it when my team won Vegas, but that wasn't our ultimate goal. We just wanted to play competitively in all the other 20 tournaments we were in that year. We would have had a fun and satisfying season without winning it all.

I have been on teams so desperate for a competent shortstop we would have accepted one even if he hit .300! And we rode a power hitter to a couple of tournament championships even though his batting average was one of the lowest on the team (too many long fly outs). We have also kept a pitcher with a low batting average because of his success in limiting opposing teams. And I played one year on a team with a left center fielder who was so good he covered for weak, slow fielders in left and right center. Lots of things to consider beyond batting average.
, Feb. 24, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Players looking to join a team
Discussion: 50-55 tournaments MICHIGAN

kws, joel is just having fun with you, but there is some more information that is needed.

Senior softball is made up of teams in age group segments of 5 years. For example, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, etc. Of course, if you are fit enough and good enough, you can play with younger guys (a 57-year-old on a 50 team, for example). What you can't do is play with older guys if you're not old enough. So one need, it to know your exact age.

Second, senior softball divides teams into skill categories: AA, AAA, Major, and Major Plus. This is a tough one for a manager who has never seen you play. Are your skills closer to AA or to Major Plus? Again, a need—what team would best fit your skills?

Third, teams often have guys who commute hundreds of miles to play with them, but are there tournament teams in the Pontiac area that need to pick up more guys? This is not your need, but is there an opening?

Fourth, you don't list your positions. Some teams are desperate for a pitcher; others need outfield help; any one would welcome an excellent shortstop. What are less needed are catcher or first base, unless you are a very good or very powerful hitter. What are your skill positions? What kind of hitter are you—high average or slugger?

Fifth, do you have experience with senior bats? They are high performers and also expensive. Will this be a need for you to afford and obtain the right equipment?

Last, you do need someone to ride with to tournaments. This is not unusual—lots of guys on a team carpool and ride together. But you actually have a need and can't take a turn driving. That is another need joel was referencing.


, Feb. 22, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: bat rolling

Here's an example of Professor Smith's research:

Park with 300 foot fences. Known pull-hitting slugger is at bat. Left fielder plays him deep. Ball is well struck, LF runs back, crosses the warning track, leaps, and pulls down the ball right in front of the fence! Great play! Fans cheer. Even the team at bat applauds the catch.

Two innings later. Slugger up again. Picks up a rolled bat (with "only" 2% more performance), exact model as his regular bat. Pounds the ball again, LF again gives chase, jumps up against the chain link fence, glove stretched high, ball easily sails above his glove by a foot or two. Home run! Fans cheer. Knowledgeable teammates of slugger are a bit muted. Left fielder mutters: "I didn't know he had THAT much power."

Altered bats are illegal for a reason.
, Feb. 17, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Intentional walk rule

Good idea, Fred, but it won't work in this particular situation where you have a batter described as having great bat control AND power and has already threatened opposing players. Nope, I would just get him out of the league, or get more assertive umps.
, Feb. 17, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Intentional walk rule

In our senior league, intentional walks are not allowed, even to fill first base with a man on second. Just aren't. And it is considered poor sportsmanship to deliberately walk a guy by throwing the ball 2 feet outside the mat. Nope, we pitch to everyone…which doesn't imply we just groove it down the middle. When I have a feared hitter I nibble away, throw a pitch at the top of the arc (maybe a bit over 12 feet if the umpire lets me), or try to lay a 6 foot pitch on the front of the plate. But, no intentional walks. That said, the batter that jackbrun refers to sounds like a dangerous jerk and wouldn't last long in our league.
, Feb. 16, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: ASA Bats

mad dog, maybe we have mellowed in norcal since you terrorized the tourney circuit back in the day.:=) For the most part, it is academic as almost all norcal tournaments now disallow run through. Wish it would return as an option since it still has some positive advantages and my experience is that there are far fewer collisions with run through. I agree there is always a runner who might "accidentally" bump the fielder's throwing arm, but those kind of players cause other harm as well in running the base paths.
, Feb. 15, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: teams looking for players

mck71, good points. I agree that when the ump stands off the plate (not having to watch for the edges) he is more accurate in judging the height of the pitch.

bond_171513, good points also. Like you, most of the tournament players I pitch against take the first pitch, especially in their first at bat against me. I do the same thing as a leadoff hitter. That's when I throw a strike (or unfortunately take one if I'm leading off). As you both acknowledge, some fielders hate the nibbler pitcher because they sit back and lose focus. I often get praised by my teammates for keeping the game going and keeping them alert. And yes, they do groan (but not too loudly) when I walk a batter.
, Feb. 15, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: ASA Bats

mad dog, I have been playing in a rec league that has a run through rule for more than ten years. Our players range from 50 to early 90s. Having a run through has saved untold number of knees of over-65 players when coming to an abrupt stop at second or third and sliding is even more dangerous for the older players. And as far as collisions, we have about 2 or 3 significant collisions a year in our 120-140 games we play. Significant in that they could result in injury (but don't always). In my 80 or so tournament games I play each year, we have about one incident per tournament or about 16 per year. I think run through is the safer way to go.

I do agree that it makes for bad habits when it comes to tourney play. Early on, I ran through once or twice and was trapped off second or third, but I haven't had that mental lapse for many, many years.
, Feb. 15, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: teams looking for players

I'm siding with Fred S on this one. I've been pitching for more than 60 years, and counting batting practice, rec leagues, and tournament play, I have literally pitched more than 1,000,000 pitches. In the old days (post-fast pitch), you not only had to worry about the umpire's interpretation of height, but also his eye for depth (did it go through the individual batter's strike zone) and inside/outside pitches. With the introduction of the mat and home plate as part of the strike zone, the main issue is the umpire's interpretation of 6 to 12 feet. If it hits the mat, it's a strike, and most umps are very good at perceiving that. And occasionally, I get an ump who will give me a strike even if there is a divot in the ground next to the mat or plate. "The edge of the ball brushed the mat" that ump will say. I prefer the accuracy of the mat over the vagaries of the ump.

What would be a good thread is the pros and cons of the "edge-nibbling" pitcher who occasionally walks a batter versus either the "thrower" who seldom walks a batter, or the pitcher who comes down the middle when behind in the count. How important is a walk as contrasted to the pitcher who gets batters to swing at pitches outside of the strike zone? I'm a pitcher who hates to walk a batter and would rather give up a single after a 3-0 count (with the potential for a fly out or mishit ground ball). Am I wrong?
, Jan. 17, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Travelling question

I have flown with my bat bag several times. It is as safe as any other piece of luggage you check. Like ChileHead, I also put my change of clothes in the bag to lessen carryon luggage. That said, I also carry my glove with me on to the plane. Everything else can easily be replaced if lost in transit; my glove is an old friend.
, Jan. 1, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Winter

Dbax, I feel your pain. In our league play this morning, batting practice was delayed and we started 15 minutes late. Although it wasn't frost on our artificial grass, the grass was crunchy from the earlier frost and it made a crunchy sound when you stepped on it, so it spooked a lot of the guys who kind of went and sat in their warm cars for awhile. Such are the struggles of we who live in California in the winter.
, Dec. 25, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: SCREENS IN TOURNAMENTS

SAH, good points. But it is not just getting older. It is also the ability level where a team plays. Sure, in the Major Plus, they get a pitcher who is pretty accurate, who can vary the height, who can pitch short or deep, and, hopefully, one who can defend himself on a ball up the middle.

But most senior softball guys DON"T play at the highest level. And in my years of experience playing Major and AAA, a pitcher is not necessarily a great fielder. We carry three pitchers on my team. Most teams have at least two. There are more than 100 teams in my association in northern California. Let's say there are 250 pitchers. If they are good fielders, they might be needed in the infield, not pitching.

For most of those teams, what they want in a pitcher is one who doesn't walk many, if any, opponents in a game. It seems to be O.K. just to "serve it up" and let the defense work, as long as a gratuitous walk is not given. From watching most of these northern California teams over the years, the Major Plus level pitcher with excellent attributes is a rarity in lower levels. And of course, the batters are not necessarily any more skilled and a lot of them don't have the bat control to not hit it up the middle, especially if the pitch is over the outside corner. Result: lots of pitchers get hit or experience near misses, because the batters are swinging hard with a composite bat.

If you want safety, go back to single walls. I'd do it readily, and a lot of men I know who have stopped playing senior softball because of the hot bats would return. Not just for safety reasons, but because the hot bat has changed to game to favor offense at the expense of defense, and they got disgusted with the game (especially when pipsqueaks like me can hit the long ball).


, Dec. 15, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: carrying bat to first base

I had a player on my team with a habit of carrying his bat all the way running to first and then tossing it as he passed first. One game he must have gotten carried away since he carried his bat all the way to second on a double. There was a lot of grumbling (illegal…no, it's not…could hurt someone…might interfere with the ball thrown in from the outfield…etc.). When challenged, ump ruled him safe as no interference. Runner called time out and ran over to toss the bat to his dugout.
, Dec. 15, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: volleyball question

I think it would be allowed if the player were between 6 and 12 feet high, although not all umps can judge height correctly (especially on the tall guys).
, Dec. 5, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: new rule 6.16 WIND OR SUN AFFECTING BOTH PITCHERS

Dbax, I agree that this rule change has nothing to do with safety, but there is always grousing from batters facing a low sun and it does make a mockery of the game. Evidently SSUSA is trying to upgrade the game, although I have doubts that this rule change will be effective. What about pitchers who throw wrong foot or no step at times; pitchers who step sideways as they deliver; pitchers who like to throw from 60 feet (do they also get to step out 8 feet on the same angle?); pitchers who adjust the height to fit the angle; etc.

As a pitcher, I will miss this situation. My team was playing a potent team earlier in the year and it turned out that if I threw the ball about 10 feet and on the outside of the plate, the batters could not see the ball, even with welders glasses. This sun condition lasted most of the game with me throwing a bit higher as the sun rose. We won, 4 to 1, but it wasn't a particularly fun game for either team, although we were happy to have beaten a team ranked higher than us.
, Dec. 4, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: SCREENS IN TOURNAMENTS

In our rec league in California, there are mixed ages, so we have older guys as well as young 50 studs. Thus, a screen has been mandatory for many years. We play from 100 to 140 games a year, depending on rainy weather (not much the last few years) and among the younger guys, there are several outfielders who can throw from 240 feet and reach home plate on the fly! And there are tons of other outfielders who are playing weaker hitters in close, sometimes from only 175 feet, and many of them can reach home on the fly. We have an outfielder's throw hit the screen about once a year. What size monster screens do they have in Florida where a throw hits the screen 50 times a year?!! Or aren't the pitchers allowed to cut off the throw?
, Dec. 4, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: 50's vs. 55's

Bballer3, I assume that the 50 Major all-star team would not include any individuals who have a 50 Major Plus rating (as might be found on a 50 major team), so I would choose the Major 55 Plus all-star team. That would be worth paying a lot of admission to see in action!
, Dec. 2, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: SCREENS IN TOURNAMENTS

jfsully, good points. Here's another: In my years of tournament experience, I have noticed that the pitcher is often one of the older players on his team. A good pitcher, by which I mean an accurate pitcher, is very valuable and will often be asked to play with younger teams or stay on when other teammates move up to the next age bracket. A very good pitcher, one who is not just accurate but deceptive/high or low arc/very good fielder is regularly sought by younger teams. I know a left-handed pitcher, for example, who plays with a team 15 years his junior. It's not for his bat, which is average for his age, but for his pitching skill.

The result: younger, stronger batters are hitting potential shots at a pitcher who is older than most of them are, which means slower reflexes and diminished eyesight. The hot bats are not just less safe for a pitcher on a team because of closer difference (my third baseman plays from 85 feet away!), but because pitchers are older than most of their peers on a team or in a bracket.

In our rec league, we have three pitchers who are 30 years older than some of the younger players, and two pitchers who are 25 years older!! It's possible because screens are mandated for our mixed age rec teams.
, Dec. 1, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: For 70 and over. 11 players on the field. Like or Dislike

I've been playing with a man up the middle for years because of the older teams I have been on. Never heard a complaint. There have been complaints about bases going from 65 to 70 feet. This is a disadvantage to older batters, some of whom truly hobble down to first.

I could live with the extra infielder either way. I don't think the man up the middle has caused many players to drop out although I respect antieinstein's decision to play with a 65 team because of it. Most of the older players I have known through the years have dropped out (not counting those because of medical reasons) because the hot bats have greatly extended the size of the fields and it is very difficult to get 65 and older outfielders who can handle an entire tournament chasing singles and doubles again and again to a fence 300 or more feet away! It's the hot bats that have driven many players from the ranks.
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