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, April 28, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Changing Format for 70 Year Old Division

I have played on an over-70 team for several years now. The team loves to go to Vegas (me, not so much) and our only concern is playing in the heat and the possibility of playing 3 or more games in a day in 90º plus. There is no older team that I know that can perform well for 4 or 5 or 6 games in a row, especially in that heat. The usual result is that guys start dropping off (dehydration, muscle cramps, exhaustion, etc.) and if you make it to the winner's bracket coming out of the loser's bracket, you usually don't have a competitive team facing a well-rested team.

Two years ago in Vegas, SSUSA had us play a round robin tournament. Two games a day, in the cooler morning, plenty of time to return to the hotel to cool off and rest and then to take the ladies to do something in Vegas. We loved it! Unlike curveball's experience, round robin play is the norm in northern California. Of course it is a tie-breaker nightmare at times ( three teams end up 4 and 1, for example, with each beating one of the other two), but tiebreakers work and everyone is satisfied.

We all know that a death on the playing field is not uncommon in senior softball, especially with teams over 65. I wonder how many of these could have been averted with a physically less demanding schedule?
, April 24, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: and ideas concerning "where to place teams in tournaments"

I love Ho's analogy to a bowling team giving a handicap. Back in the day, I was on a high average bowling team, and even with the handicap, we seldom lost to a lower average team, even when the handicap was 80%. Just too much difference (including the ability to bear down and perform better by the higher average bowlers).

Same in softball. Major and Major Plus teams have more ability to bear down when necessary. Don't you remember the last time you saw a Major Plus trailing in the 7th to a lower-rated team and then it was hit, hit, hit, until the Major Team's score was out of sight. I honor any lower-ranked team that can keep up with those barrages and occasionally defeat a higher-ranked team.
, April 24, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Out of the Batters Box.

I have seen it enforced at Golden Eagle in Reno. I agree it is a bit unfair to big guys (although as a pitcher I love it), but there is no reason, with the rule being as it is, that someone develops the habit of consistently stepping out because they like to be forward in the box. It's a rule. Live by it until it is changed somehow.
, April 24, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Playing with a 5 man infield...

Our team has had it both ways. At times we have had an excellent rover and it is true that now and then he tracks down a soft fly, and even occasionally gets to a ball this is misplayed by a shortstop or a second baseman and still makes a play.

We also have an excellent 5th man who plays on the edge of the grass up the middle. He routinely turns 2 or 3 double plays a game.

The fifth man is more valuable for us playing as an infielder and also covering second base in lieu of shortstop or second baseman.
, April 22, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Arroyo to Big League Dreams Friday Nite

Here's a different perspective:

Older self-sponsored team carries 20 on roster and 16 show up for major tournament.
Entry fee for tournament is $595.
Being an older team, 11 wives and family members come along to support team at tournament.
Three day tournament in midweek.
All games at Big League Dreams park: entry fee each day is $5.00.

16 + 11 = 27 enter the BLD park. 27 x $5 = $135
$135 x 3 days = $405

The REAL entry fee for this tournament for this team is $1000.00!!!

Does your team sign up for a tournament that costs $1000?

Also: no food or drink (other than water) allowed in the BLD park for fans or players. Snack bar prices are higher than most (all) venues throughout the year.

Advantages for that tournament for older team:
Air conditioned central room with windows for between games.
Nice permanent fan seating (not always in the shade, however).
Interesting field configurations and smaller fields easier on old bodies.
Artificial turf in infield eliminates most bad hops.
Beer sold at the snack bar

Still, do you go for $1000 minimum cost?
, April 18, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Women's softball
Discussion: Need a Team for Tournaments

Sounds like an asset for a team. Impossible to contact without some other helpful information:
Age? Could be 64...67...72...
Location? Could be northwest, California, Texas, New Hampshire, Georgia, Michigan, etc.
Name? Probably not Mr. Firecracker or Perky Clubmeder
Contact info? Phone number? Email address?

Help us out here, Clubmeder (I'm not looking personally as my team is too old for you), just a reminder of what folks need to include when looking for a team. I do give you praise for being one of the few on this message forum to correctly spell "camaraderie"!
, April 12, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Tournament seeding

Dave, you gave in too soon! When I saw some preference given to the manager with the highest zip code...and being a California team with zip codes in the 94000's...I saw some real opportunity for us in the more "scientific" approach to home team advantage. But don't worry, we won't protest and threaten to quit the SSUSA if we continue with a simple coin flip.:=)

How is the move going? Hope there aren't too many of the normal problems (like the power not being on at the new place, etc.). See you at the Western Nationals since I have to miss Reno this year.
, April 9, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Product review
Discussion: Pitchers Chest Protection

Downs, what a wonderful, informative post! One of the best in the history of this blog. Many a pitcher should be grateful to you and your research!
, April 3, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Mat vs. board

As a pitcher, I prefer the board for all the reasons mentioned above. We went to a board in our league some years ago. There were a lot of concerns that the right handed batter would trip on the board when starting to first. Never happened even once. Now we alternate mat and board. Some think the board is not as stable when the catcher is reaching out for a low throw.
, April 3, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: A new product for Senior Softball Players

Webbie, hats off to the champ! On a related topic, why do guys say "pissed off" when that usually brings relief, and yet "pissed on" usually results in a fight?
, April 1, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: A new product for Senior Softball Players

Webbie, you must be really from the sticks (somewhere like Idaho or New Mexico). This product has been on the market since last August! My team of over 70s, notorious for our limited bladders (we once dropped out of a tournament since the nearest facilities were more than 100 running steps from our dugout), ordered several of this unique product in September. We no longer use it and here is why.

First, the cost. $59.99 seemed reasonable for what it could do, but we lost our sponsor, a real standup guy and CEO of U. R. Inal and Sons, when he found out that he was paying for S&H costs of $275.00 for this “equipment”!

Second, our right center fielder, Peanuts, found a blessed relief at a crucial time right before the batter hit a shot to his field. Normally, our guy is a reliable fielder with reasonable speed, but what he didn’t realize is that a full cup acts as a weight that begins swinging around your waist. He looked like the Penguin trying to escape from Batman, and needless to say, he didn’t make the catch. He declined to give an excuse to the wives who were watching.

Third, the sliding shorts were inadequate to the task as well. Joe Pisscopo, our first baseman, is a notorious beer lover. At the next tournament, he thought there were no more games on Saturday and when we caught up with him on his third beer in the snack bar, to tell him to return for the final game of the day, he was sure glad he had worn this product. But upon availing himself of its protection, he found himself trying to stretch a hit into a double and slid nicely into second. There he found that there is an absorption limit and the other team’s second baseman still won’t talk to him, now six month’s later. I should note that Joe weighs about 290 and most of his weight is in his butt and belly.

So, just a warning to other readers in the waning moments of this day, that this remarkable product does have some potential drawbacks. It’s not the whiz you think it is.
, March 31, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Collapsible Pitching Screen

Jethro, a lot more protected than just one team and family. Our league has used Pitch-Safe exclusively for more than 15 years. We have about 300 members and have 120 playing days per year here in balmy California. In that time, we wore out two screens. Go for the better quality—it will last and last and will protect hundreds of players in thousands of games. (It is also easily repaired when cords break from use and weather.)
, March 12, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: New ball ?

I thought there was an incident a few years ago when teams were throwing in a ball that had been stored in a cooler. It was a legal ball by description and definition, and had it been in a spring tournament when temps were in the 40s, it would have been normal. But I seem to remember that this was disallowed (the pitcher, of course, immediately realized that the new ball was colder than the other balls in the 90º heat}.
, March 12, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Female pursuing action to join all male league

Yes, leagues do differ. Our league allows women and we have several women players who can keep up with most of the men (we also have players up to age 93 and we integrate them into teams by ability).

A more interesting question would be: can she join an SSUSA team and play in some tournaments?
, March 11, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: shoes

The best turf shoe is one made by Tanel—wear like iron, including the cleats, lightweight, high-top—but sadly, no more. I noted the coming end of that company and bought a couple of extra pairs, but the day will come when I will need new turf shoes. I'm interested in responses for current shoes.
, Feb. 18, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: A True Equalizer

Here's the challenge with doing away with the equalizer:
In northern California in 2016 there were an even 100 teams registered for the association. Of those 100 teams (from 50 through 80) there were 10 Major Plus (counting two Major in the 80 bracket). So, 10% of the teams are elite in terms of skill, athleticism, perhaps balance, and experience at high quality competition. That means 90% of all teams are not at that level.

Northern California has about 40 tournaments a year. As a result, most teams never play out of state (if you take away Reno, then a big majority of teams only play locally). If there were no equalizers, how would those teams realistically hope to ever succeed against the elite? They wouldn't, and eventually either half of them would not play at all, or they would form an association that excluded elite teams.

Most of these teams are formed on the basis of friendship. They might be motivated to practice a bit more; maybe take batting practice before tournament games; get in better shape; but realistically, they will not dump friends to add superior players and thus will never be elite teams because there are too many holes both in fielding and lineup. Realize that a great majority, maybe almost all, of AAA teams over 60 have no one on the roster who is capable of hitting a home run under normal conditions.

There are teams who aim to turn the roster over every year to improve, and that means dropping great athletes who are not committed to staying in shape as well as updating the quality of athlete. But where are these new players to come from? I suppose if you were to take one or two great players from the Major teams, you might be able to form a couple more Major Plus, but that still means there are going to be one or two teams maximum in every age bracket who will dominate when there are no equalizers.

The result will be the demise of tournament softball and will contribute to the already diminishing senior softball sport. In California, with its better than average health statistics, and its influx into the 50s of thousands of men each year who were once (and some are) softball players, the growth of teams has plateaued. In other words, the sport is shrinking compared to the potential players. Saying farewell to all AA and AAA players who have no hope of competing and winning, will hasten the decline.

I enjoy beating a better team straight up (usually in seeding rounds) as much as anybody. I don't do a victory dance when we defeat a better team because of a multi-run handicap. But I do want to keep playing and eliminating any kind of equalizer would probably be the end of our team who are drawn from enough distances that we don't socialize much, if at all, outside of tournaments. We are held together by the chance of winning against our equals.
, Feb. 17, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: A True Equalizer

Davy, an excellent point. I am in the same age group as the mighty San Francisco Seals, multiple World Champions. This means that my teams have played the M+ team many times over the years, especially in northern California which has about 40 tournaments a year. We ALWAYS receive an equalizer when playing the Seals. Over the two decades, we have triumphed about 3 times which is about 5% of the time.

Yes, we have played them when they had injured players, when they didn't try their best (due to players skipping a lesser tournament), when they even forfeited a tournament win by not playing the championship game because they wanted to get home, etc. This doesn't include a few out of state tournaments when we also played them, sometimes in an exhibition or seeding game. We still count it a significant victory when we are able to defeat them with the equalizer.

This is just a personal anecdote, and maybe my memory fails and we have beat them 10% of the time with an equalizer, but Davy's point is that it isn't an "equalizer" when lower rated teams consistently lose to higher rated teams. An equalizer should mean the lower ranked team should win 40-50% of the time.
, Feb. 7, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Batter Throwing a Bat

Can't believe a guy is playing senior softball and still throwing his bat. I learned this rule in sand lot baseball about 65 years ago! How many times has someone shouted DON'T THROW THE BAT! whether that be the umpire, the batter, the catcher, or the coach. Usually takes about a month of thoughtful attention to relearn a new habit of not throwing the bat. As to tying it on one's wrist, I wouldn't want to be a first baseman as the batter comes stumbling down the line with the bat whipping every which way. I'd fee safer if he just carried the bat and didn't drop it. For that there is also no prohibition as we learned on this forum a few years ago.
, Jan. 26, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: National Senior Games In Birmingham AL

Senior Games is a national movement. I also played in Palo Alto/Sunnyvale a few years ago. There are several challenges:

If you don't have a TD knowledgeable about skill levels, there can be some very lopsided games. Few TDs ARE knowledgeable about teams from other regions. The result, even with handicaps, can still be lopsided.

If you do have such a TD, the entry fee is much higher than most more local tournaments. In California, the entrance fee was about 50% higher than the typical tournaments in the area. We attended once and never went again.

As a result of high fees and potential mismatched teams, the number of teams is much smaller than one would think. The result: mismatched teams not only by skill but by age. Last year, I believe our regional Senior Games mens softball tournament was cancelled for lack of interest and too few teams.

I think that in addition to the medals, participants also receive T-shirts. I wore my Senior Games long-sleeved shirt just this week! And I don't think we earned it by winning our bracket.
, Jan. 18, 2017
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Courtesy Runner From Home

taits, here are a few reasons why SSUSA might not allow such a runner:

1. Some guys don't even want courtesy runners, much less from home. Ignites the controversy anew.
2. Setting rules is difficult because of lack of agreement (one base only? all CR can get? doctors' s note? disabled placard? disabled placard "in the mail"? restriction on CR eligibility? start from where?, etc.)

And some reasons leagues do allow it:

1. Most leagues are controlled locally with their own specific rules to fit the league and its players.
2. Most disabled runners are friends with other league players who are willing to give them a break.
3. Most guys play with less intensity in league play than in tournaments. For example, I usually hit the first pitch close to the strike zone, rather than wait for a plum. It is good training for tournaments when you have two strikes on you. Some guys in our league refuse to walk and will even reach way out for a pitch. Try that in tourney play and your manager will soon have you on the bench.

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