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, Nov. 8, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: SCREENS IN TOURNAMENTS

Ho, not sure your argument will last for long. Are you saying that insurance will not cover an injury involving the orange bag at first? It wasn't part of the "field" 20 years ago. How about chain link fences? When I first started playing, they were not part of the "field"—it was either an open field or a wooden fence. And if someone is injured while standing on the mat at home and it slips out? Not part of the field until 20 years ago.

You see my point. It is easy to mandate that a screen IS part of the field, just like different fencing, the mat at home, the extra bag at first, etc. If league rules or tournament rules say a screen is mandatory (as the rules do in my league and have for 16 years) then it is "part of the field".

I think a mandated screen is coming to tournament ball as it has already in many rec leagues. It's the only realistic or acceptable solution to cope with the hot bats. It's unfortunate that it doesn't seem to be a likely option for corner infielders. When most senior softball is played with a screen, then tournaments will have to use it or the pitcher won't be covered because the ABSENCE of a screen will not be considered part of a proper field.

As to screen interference, as I have posted many times here based on my 16 years of experience pitching with a screen, it is a rare occurrence when a ball thrown from the outfield to home hits the screen (not even once this past year and I play about 100 games a year with a screen) and even rarer when a throw from third hits the screen. Can't remember the last time that happened. On the other hand, it is a rare game when at least one ball doesn't hit the screen from being hit up the middle.
, Oct. 17, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Winter World`s

Dbax, I agree with you. There are relevant comparisons:

In the Huntsman, it is well known that many teams show up with non-roster power players far above the skill level of the regular season roster. Add to that, some teams sandbag in the seeding in order to dominate in the brackets. It diminishes the value of a gold medal. The only teams I admire are those who truly went with their own roster (or a same-skill level sub) and won against the cheaters.

The same thing happened in bowling. In the 60s, when automatic lane dressers became common, it was soon realized that by altering the oil sprayers one could goose a lane so that any bing-banger could score well. Averages soared, the rare 300 games became ho-hum, three game series scores were out of sight. Those in the know, such as myself, were not fooled and dissed the high average bowlers unless they proved themselves on neutral lanes. I stopped bowling because of this…and obviously so did the majority of bowlers and the sport has declined.

It's the same with the Worlds. With the favorable conditions and the extra-lively ball (can I say "illegal"), the Worlds are no longer an accurate measure of a team's over-all superiority and have become a "joke" as you say. I will guess that the first pitcher in the future to be tragically killed by a combination of a composite bat and the Rock will be in Las Vegas and that event will change a lot about senior softball.
, Oct. 12, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: First time for everything

That's nothing. Canseco did it better…and he didn't even need his glove!
, Oct. 2, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Las Vegas World Tournament automatic seating

Dave, I agree with the recent change to seed the winners of East Coast and West Coast high into the brackets. It is a good incentive for those two winners to come to Vegas, not to mention try their best to win the respective "semi-final" tournaments. What is disappointing is to win one of those tournaments and not have the other Coast team show up. In that case, I'm not sure that randomly seeding the frustrated coast champion is the wisest approach. I would still seed them first in recognition of their accomplishment. Can make a good difference to be top seed in a hot weather tournament with uneven brackets. If other teams don't like it, they can try to win either East or West tournaments.
, Oct. 2, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Outfield conditions a BLD

My team has played at several Big League Dreams complexes in the past couple of years, and my overall impression is that they are having trouble earning a profit and thus prices keep going up for entry, captive audience food quality is not too good, fewer employees in the food area means slow service, and grounds maintenance suffers. This is most obvious in parks with natural turf outfields where mud holes can develop. On artificial infields, there can be maintenance issues in front of second and third base, especially, where younger users slide, and the pitcher's area can suffer from repeated usage.

That said, we had no outfield issues with the BLD fields we played on in Vegas. The dugout misters were a nice touch and kept the dugouts remarkably cool for 100+ heat. The only issue was that in one dugout, more than half of the mister heads malfunctioned and dripped water instead of misting and resulted in a dangerously slippery condition when stepping up out of the dugout. More than one of us slipped (no injury though).

I've seen much worse field conditions in other BLD than in Vegas, but it is irritating when you pay an extra $100 for field entry (including the women fans) above the expensive team entry fees and the fields are not in top shape.

Arroyo Grande fields were marvelous! Well maintained; great infields, nice fencing. Not enough shade in dugouts and pitching rubber set at 53 feet so ump had to watch carefully both front (allowed for 50 foot distance) and back.
, Sept. 23, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: Original gray Miken Ultra (without center rod insert) VS. current MIken 2 piece endloads

Watched a longtime fellow player hit the ball farther with the gray Ultra than he ever did at a younger age (he was in his 60s), and once it was banned, he never reached that distance again, although he switched to the Ultra II. As Enviro-Vac notes, it is no good comparing his swing now to what it was a dozen years ago.
, Sept. 17, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Doc Romero

The restrooms are about a block away: round trip is 1/5 of a mile! Plan well my friends or give the wife the keys to the car. But this is not the most remote field. Played in a tournament on one field in Turlock, CA, where the ONLY restrooms were 1/4 mile away round trip. More than once a player was late for the start of a game when we played back to back. Prostate problems and far distant restrooms are a real challenge for over 65 players. My team greatly appreciates TDs who provide nearby PortaPotties (thank you SSUSA).
, Sept. 8, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Vendors at The Worlds

Check with your favorite vendors. I looked for mine last year and was told the vendor fees from the city were so high that some didn't bother to come (not to mention the locales spread out over the entire area). I was ready to buy shoes which really need to be tried on in my opinion, but no luck.
, Sept. 1, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Using one ball for all games

Fabe, there is more distance between a rock and a sock than one letter! I would guess that several balls are able to withstand the heat of Vegas (and other locations) without severe deterioration in performance. The Baden Fire is one, but there probably are others.

The Baden is nearly as hot as the Rock and so I agree with Mango that both change the game too dramatically, especially when used with composite bats.
, Aug. 31, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Question regarding Senior Recreation Leagues

We have three leagues in this area of northern California south of San Francisco.

The night league has a 50 minimum age, four teams, and all senior bats are allowed. However, the league voted to return to single walls to avoid having too many balls clear the fence, thus irritating neighbors. Very few players in this league over 60.

One day league has four teams, and again age minimum of 50, but integrates players all the way up and into their 80s. This league has a single wall only rule; double walls allowed for 70 and over; senior composites allowed for 75+. Mandated screen for pitchers.

The other day league also has four teams and the same rules as above. Some players participate in all three leagues.
, Aug. 20, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Using one ball for all games

Know what you mean about the Trump Stote. Hit it in a recent tournament on a hot afternoon and fielders kept moving in a step every inning! On the other hand, don't think the Trump Rock is a legal ball, only used at Vegas because of LVSSA tie-in. I have heard many complaints about the Rock because it is too lively (probably why it is illegal) and wears out fielders and makes a mockery of the game with so many long ball hitters and power shots through the infield. Might as well hit a tennis ball.
, Aug. 11, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Western Nationals 50 Major predictions

Sun fields are a constant complaint and a serious one. My team does not not play in a couple of tournaments every year because of the number of sun fields and whether you are squinting into the sun to try and hit it or dangerously trying to field the ball, it is not really competitive softball but luck ball.

You can bet as a pitcher, I love to have the sun directly behind me. Last time that happened my catcher pointed to the sun before each inning and I dropped it out of the sun. Struck out 6 or 7 or 8—why keep track on a joke game. And it isn't just for 20 minutes. On that field we were hitting blind for a full six innings. In the bottom of the sixth, we could finally see the ball a bit (and some of us were wearing welders glasses), and the other team didn't get a look until their top of the seventh. We were ahead 1 to nothing for 5 innings on a couple of fluke hits; a guy on the other team got the first legitimate hit—a home run!!! to tie the game; we went ahead 3 to 1 being able to see the ball in the 6th; and the other team got a couple of hits but no runs in the top of the 7th. For two major teams, that was a travesty as unchained44 said.

It's a difficult problem. Avoiding a field for sun is tough to schedule. When it is dangerous, I think it should be a must…and not just a screen for a pitcher. The middle fielder, short, and second base all have safety issues with a hard hit ball. Never mind the outfielders who might not see the ball but are not likely to get killed trying to field it. The best solutions seems to just start all teams later in the morning and accept fewer teams in the tournament.

Dealing with the sun issue at sunset is exactly the same problem, but by that time, most teams are willing to delay the game until the sun changes position because it only means getting home a bit later and doesn't throw the whole day's schedule off.
, Aug. 7, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Religious ceremonies at tournaments

Haven't had the opportunity to be part of prayer on the softball field in recent years, but 20-30 years ago, one team in our rec league started it and soon all the teams were praying before and sometimes after games. Don't remember if the ump was invited.

Most of the guys gathered together. It was usually short. It was almost always a prayer for playing our best and good sportsmanship and always a prayer for any player who got hurt during the game. Very inoffensive. Hard to see how anyone could be bothered by it or feel someone was "pushing" their religion or "preaching" at them.

Best benefits were it always diffused any bad feelings from a play on the field and it gave players on both teams the perspective that there is more to being fellow neighbors than softball.
, July 11, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: VEGAS FIELDS

It's not just Vegas, it is most scoreboards at most parks. Seems like there is seldom any daytime staff to work the scoreboards and it is a rare umpire who is interested in doing it himself. Even Big League Dreams often have scoreboards that are non-functional. I agree that this has little to do with field quality, but it has something to do with overall quality.
, July 5, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: Finally got P413

DonB, what hopeful news! The long-awaited, long-promised, long-given-up-on, GSC bat must being shipped now! Can't wait to see the reviews (I swung one in Reno in 2013 or 2012 but since the only samples were end-loaded, it wasn't to my taste).
, July 1, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Which Sports Do More Americans Participate In?

Sparky.1, thanks for the information. Extremely interesting. What should be of concern to readers of this forum is the rapid decline of slow-pitch softball in the past decade. If we lose the younger ones now, I doubt if they will start to play again once the half-century mark comes around. Very troubling.

I have expressed my opinion many times on this forum that I believe the lessening of standards and conditions (particularly the composite bat and its consequences) is very much a part of the reason that senior softball has plateaued, and if you count how many more men have entered the golden years, it is actually declining as a participation sport.

I make the analogy to bowling. Back in the day, I was a top-rank bowler. Within a 15 minute drive in the suburbs where I live, I could bowl at nine establishments. Now there is one, ONE!, in that circle of 15 minutes. What happened? In order to make more bowlers think they were really good, lighter pins became the norm; sideboards were bouncier for more pin action; lanes were goosed to head the ball toward the pocket. Result? When I had the highest average in the County (14 bowling alleys), a 200 average was rare (there were about 6-10 in the County). When I lost interest in the too easy conditions and stopped bowling, a 200 average was rather commonplace. And already within 5 years, three bowling alleys closed. Bit by bit they went broke as serious bowlers lost interest due to the soft conditions. Now there are 3 establishments in the entire County! How many teams will there be in softball within ten years?
, June 29, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Bats
Discussion: Hitting from tee vs. hitting pitched ball

I think a major factor in hitting the ball farther in a game versus a tee, is the quality of the ball. An extreme example: I bat leadoff for my team. In some games, I am the FIRST to hit the game ball. It is brand new, just out of the box, nothing has softened it up. Along about the fifth inning, most game balls are noticeably softening. And in our local tournaments, if you foul the ball off with a long fly over the fence, the backup ball is the 7-inning used ball from the previous game!

Most guys hitting off a tee (or batting practice for that matter) do not use balls that have no more than 50 hits on them—it's too expensive! I've hit some real socks during batting practice. Doesn't bother me much because I am just trying to get my swing right and loosen up, and I can tell from the feel whether I hit the ball well, even if it doesn't reach the deeper fielders. Come game time, especially morning games, if I hit the ball on the sweet spot I expect it to FLY.
, June 20, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: ARC OF THE PITCHED BALL

k man, lucky you if you were able to play with unlimited arc for a "few years". In our area, it lasted one year. Best year pitching of my life. This wasn't senior softball, so I still had to land behind the plate and make it seem that it went through the high zone of the batter, but I had more strikeouts, more low-scoring games, than ever in my 63 years of pitching! What a blast!

But, of course, there were howls from batters about how hard it was to hit, "ruining the game" etc. I was amazed at the number of players that evidently can't hit a fungo. Anyway, the rule changed back to the old limit of 12 feet after one season and the whining hitters returned to the slugfest (such as it was then with wooden and single-wall aluminum bats).

I'd love to see a rule change back to unlimited arc. Would be a great pitcher protection step. I could stroll back to second after the pitch and be ready to field any shot up the middle. But it seems unlikely to happen as evidently the young-un's are already complaining about 12 feet as being too difficult. Final step in this direction? T-Ball.
, June 14, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Best ball in Hot Weather

Webbie25, I know by his reputation that Steve Imlay is one of those true boomers that can clear the fence with any ball. When he said "almost no home runs" I took that to mean that there were probably home runs every game, and no doubt by Steve, just not the quantity that he was used to. Just like the Stotes that we hit in Sacramento in the afternoon. Doesn't change my opinion: Steve hits one out I admire and cheer; pipsqueak like me hits one out—time to change the bats/balls to bring some sanity back to the game.
, June 13, 2015
Omar Khayyam
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Best ball in Hot Weather

Sacramento was 105 one day and the Stote definitely did not hold up as the temperature rose.

However, with the overly hot bats that have dominated the last 10 years, I'm not upset that we aren't seeing multiple home runs every game. The game seems more balanced and fun when outfielders are involved every game and infielders have a chance to contribute.

My suggestion would be to go to a 52/300 that holds up well, not changes as the heat and humidity rise. It seems to have less impact on a body when a fielder is struck, but travels about as well as the Stote when the temperature rises.

The Baden Fireball does hold up well as has been proved tournament after tournament in the summer in northern California where it is the ball of choice. However, it is nearly as lively as the Rock, and for that reason, not a favorite of mine for tournament play. Find a 52/300 that holds up for consistent performance and let teams adjust to a game where only true sluggers can put the ball out.
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