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, 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.
, 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.
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