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, Jan. 10, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Looking For Some Feedback

southpaw,

A Baptist Pastor who talks too much?! Tell me it isn't true! But I do believe that you, sadly unlike some managers, do communicate the team style when the team is forming and thus avoid many problems.

I played on a team once where at the beginning of the year the TEAM decided what their style would be for the season. Didn't work any better than when the manager does it, because there are always some guys who have a higher opinion of their skills and feel overlooked or under appreciated. Either way, these "overlooked" players will still be grousing about the manager and his "poor judgement".

I like swing's statement about expressing appreciation, whether for your manager or fellow teammates. It is very healthy for the team. One year I was out of action a couple of months for rotator cuff surgery, but I could still run, so I went to every tournament and became a rabbit. I never fielded or batted or pitched, but I was available off the bench every inning. My manager more than once expressed his appreciation as did some teammates who were gassed and enjoyed the rest. I enjoyed that period of time even without full faculties because I was still recognized for my contributions.
, Jan. 9, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Looking For Some Feedback

southpaw, it must be a pleasure to play on your team. Good guidelines.

As to winning at any cost, I think the solution is to be upfront when forming the team. If you are a win at any cost, then marginal players from the start will know they will likely ride the bench in important games. In my experience, there are such players who enjoy being part of a winning team or playing with friends or just the joy of the friendships, who will not complain about being skipped in order to bat the best 10 in an important game. There are also players who will rebel at this (and usually they have a higher opinion of their skills and worth than do their teammates and manager) so they should play with a different team.

I have been on both types of teams. I enjoyed both experiences. I did not enjoy when managers were not clear at the beginning about how it was going to be, and the dugout suffered from disgruntled passed-over players or irritated good players who saw lesser talents in their position in important games. Communication of your expectations is vital.
, Jan. 3, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: New age eligibilty rules for 75s and 80s - Reactions?

Fred S, you are absolutely right. As younger guys can join a team (you can be multi-rostered in northern California), then some of the older, slower, declining guys no longer have a team to play on. Understandably, the younger, faster, stronger guys will take the starting positions. This leaves older guys, some of whom have been on the same team for decades as it aged, shut out as they realize they will not get much playing time. There are a couple of teams I know of that refuse to upgrade with younger guys and continue to play with the friends they have enjoyed for years. They don't win many tournament games, but I admire their commitment to each other.
, Jan. 3, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: New age eligibilty rules for 75s and 80s - Reactions?

I have many friends who are on 75 and 80 teams. For the many on this site who are youngsters (I'm talking to you, 50s and 60s), they likely have no idea of the toll that age takes on these teams. Most of these older teams carry the maximum roster of 22 people and it is not uncommon that they find themselves with a tournament looming and they do not have 12 healthy players to compete!

Also, it is a rare tournament that one or more players is able to go with faculties intact as the tournament progresses. Muscle pulls, dizziness, injury bleeding, and stamina often cause a player to be unable to go full strength, or even to continue to play. Thus, again, the need for a large roster.

With the ability to have more younger players on the roster, as well as picking up subs at times, these teams will have a more successful season. I personally do not see the need to add so many younger players to a 75 team, but I do think it is necessary for an 80s team. I would have argued for 2 73-year-olds and 3 74-year-olds. Having a roster of too many younger players makes the competition less even and may reduce the number of teams, as well as robbing 70s teams of some of their older players who may be still able to compete on a 70s team, but are even more valuable on an older team. I know my older team is losing three valuable players to the next age bracket.


, Dec. 28, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Product review
Discussion: Trump Rock

mad dog, I am coming around to your opinion about using the 52/300 ball. I have no problem, even as a pitcher, having a true home run batter hitting a blast off of me. I watch it sail just like everyone else. I even brag about the super long balls that these boomers hit no matter whose team they are on.

I do have a problem with pipsqueaks like me hitting a hot ball to the wall with our composite bats. Or bopping an infielder or pitcher on a screaming line drive. Or driving a ground ball through the hole before an infielder can take a step. Since it seems a lost cause to ever rein in these hot bats, the 52/300 would restore the competition of the game, be safer for those occasionally plunked, and bring some balance back to defenders and strategists.
, Dec. 26, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Product review
Discussion: Trump Rock

I am not a fan of the Trump Stote since we only hit it in SSUSA tournaments in Sacramento, where the heat is often in the 90s or more, and the decline in the afternoon is very noticeable. In our other NCSSA tournaments, we hit the Baden Fireball which holds up extremely well in hot temperatures.

That said, my older team is not a fan of the Rock used in Las Vegas. We find it too hot, even playing against our age group. For every marginal long ball hitter on our major team who might reach the fence, we have a dozen who have trouble fielding this hot ball as it flashes past, or get bushed chasing it to the wall when opponents hit it long. And, as stated yet again in recent posts by others, it is probably illegally labeled and is much hotter than the label indicates. It's a "trick pony" ball that we tolerate in Las Vegas once a year, but would not want to use regularly.
, Dec. 22, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Active retirement communities with senior softball leagues

Del Webb in Lincoln, CA, has it own ballpark! And no hurricanes or tornados. Actually, almost every year-round community in California is close to major retirement communities and ball fields with senior leagues. Northern California has 100+ teams in its NCSSA and most of them never get snow.
, Dec. 20, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: player fees

Yes, hotel costs do add up. In our case, with teammates scattered over 150 miles, we have always left lodging up to individual players. Some have the means to pay easily; other room together; others stay with family that may be in the area; some have special travel club deals; others are close enough to drive or willing to get up very early to drive to the tournament. We do usually book a block of rooms at a discounted price at a nearby hotel, but only about half the team uses them. Some even want to pay a bit more because their wives prefer better accommodations. Some don't mind the cheapest rooms in an area and book a Motel 6. Taking those costs out of the equation has never been a problem in the years of our team.
, Dec. 19, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: player fees

HAT MAN, missouridave's solution is very similar to ours. Our sponsor only buys shirts and hats so we also scan the calendar and decide in February what tournaments we are going to participate in. We add up the tournament fees, divide by all players on the roster, and everyone pays the same share.

If a guy misses a tournament, there is no refund since the fee is still the same whether 12 guys play or 16. Occasionally, when a player is injured and misses several tournaments, we refund part of his fee. Where does that money come from? It is an unusual year when we don't end up dropping one or two tournaments because we can't get a reasonable team together, so there is usually some money left over each year. This is what covers injured players.

Most of our tournaments are in northern California so the normal fee is around $300 for a tournament. We also go to 2 or 3 SSUSA tournaments which are much more expensive. Still, the cost is not much for the fun of the tournament. It also helps that we are an older team, so we have 20 on our roster to divide the amount owed. We don't guarantee any playing time although we try to get everyone into some games in the tournament. We typically play 5 or 6 games on a weekend, so there is ample opportunity to give everyone playing time even if 16 show up.

As to league fees, everyone pays a flat $55 fee for the year. Being in California, we usually get in 90 games a year. Some are present for every game; others seldom attend because of work schedules. I'm stunned by Fred S having to pay $190 a year for league play! However, we ump for ourselves and the City rec department is very generous with field costs, so we have enough money left over from our $55 to subsidize a holiday party, a skills contest with prizes, an annual free tournament just for members with a free barbecue including families, batting practice every week, and sponsor some tournament teams (about $600 each). We have a good group of unpaid volunteers who take care of organizing and hosting all the events throughout the year.
, Dec. 12, 2016
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Hope Your Holiday and Holy Day are as Blessed as Mine!!

southpaw, that is such good news! She is one I was praying for and likely the recipient of many petitions from this extended softball family, even though most have never met you and probably will not this side of heaven. Thanks for your blessing request for us.
, 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 fieldsódangerous 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.
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