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Downers Grove, IL

Men's 55

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July 23, 2011
Topic: Bats
Discussion: What Do You Think

It would be interesting to see a comprehensive poll of all 50+ players on which bats they prefer and how many (if any) would quit playing in SSUSA tournaments if the hot bats weren't allowed. This poll would have to include players (if any) who already quit BECAUSE of the hot bats.

It's hard to believe that a lot of players would quit on account of not using bat technology that wasn't even available during most of their playing career, but I understand resistance to change and all of a sudden being reduced to warning track power.

I'll play either way, and I simply want what's best for the sport and its players. I don't claim to KNOW what's best, and I think we need input from more players to make that determination.

My guess is we'll leep the hot bats and the sport will be just fine.

One more thing:
I think the term "dumbing down" is bogus. Precision hitting and more defense could come into play, which is hardly "dumb."

July 23, 2011
Topic: Bats
Discussion: What Do You Think

I'm not looking to get into any personal arguments but since the issues raised in this thread have a major impact on how the sport we love is played, I think it's appropriate for everyone to contribute their honest thoughts here.

No. I'm a pitcher, and would sorely miss the opportunity to make defensive plays. Screens are for batting practice.

I would not change the number of defensive players on the field because this would change the game too much. However, I would consider allowing an extra re-entry or two so defensive players can be rotated and rested throughout a game without having everyone on the bench in the line-up. The number of games we play in a 2 or 3 day tournament (especially in hot weather) really takes a toll, even on the best-conditioned seniors.

The mat had larger than standard dimesnions at the SPA Buckeye Classic, and didn't have a noticable impact. What I would like to see is starting with a 1-1 count. Standing around while as many as 6 pitches are thrown to a batter is not the most fun part of the game, but consumes a good chunk of our game time.

Already optional. I wear one in Senior ball, but not in ASA leagues. I'm hesitant to make them mandatory (can't take the mound without a mask) because some pitchers would be in open revolt against such a rule, but to tell you the truth I would breathe a sigh of relief if they were mandatory. The other two pitchers on my team don't wear a mask, and I fear for their safety every time they take the mound. I always tell them "All it takes is once" (for a life-altering or ending event).

Using the entire hitting field is part of the game. Unfortunately, so has intentionally going after the pitcher. I have contempt for anyone who would try to hurt another player, and I don't want my players taking retribition against the opposing pitcher if I've had some missiles come my way. It is (if intentional) the antithesis of good sportsmanship, and borders on criminal assault. The governing bodies have had a difficult time devising rules to protect the pitcher without detracting from the game. The current rule (up to the umpire to determine if it's intentional) leaves wide discretion for judgement. Before a player is ejected for hitting up the middle there should be a clear verbal warning to both benches, after which any ball hit through the pitchers box is an out with an ejection iof the pitcher is hit. As a hitter if you don't like having the middle taken away, then it's up to you and your teammates to be good sports and not let a situation escalate to the point where a verbal warning is issued.

It's pretty apparent that all the issues raised here are related to Senior bats that result in substantially increased velocity and distance. There are a lot of very strong hitters in my division (50AAA) but none of us are as fast or quick as we used to be. Does anyone disagree that this increases the likelihood of injury?

I like hitting with the Senior bats, but I also like hitting with my ASA bats. What I don't like -- and what I think detracts from the game -- is a player having to apologize for using up one of our 3 home runs with no one on base, or having it be an out for a player who rarely hits one. I understand the need for home run limits, because scoring most runs with over-the-fence blasts detracts from the game even more than trying to NOT hit home runs except when strategically advantageous.

But think about that ... does being put in the position of trying to NOT hit the ball as hard as you can add or detract from our sport? Yes, I know; you can hit the ball as hard as you can and still keep it in the park with good bat control. Nevertheless, we wouldn't be having this discussion if a lot of players did not see issues related to the increased velocity/distance with Senior bats.

Whether or not a player wants these bats allowed in Senior play, he is at a disadvantage if doesn't use one while the opposition does. And he spends more on bats because these things break much more frequently. For some players all the expenses of Senior ball (travel & hotel) are already hard to afford. But sales are good for the bat manufacturers.

Anyway, that's my two cents (more like a piggy bank full of change). I like playing no matter what bats or balls we use -- but I might have to reconsider Senior ball if screens or extra fielders changed the game too much.
April 29, 2011
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Timing of Tournament of Champions

If changing the timing of TOC is impractical because of the timing of other major tournaments in the late fall, how about changing the location?

The biggest complaint I have is the weather. Being from Chicagoland I'm used to cold temps in our local park district fall leagues, but given the travel expense and the prestige of a Tournament Of Champions, I think a little warmth with less chance of rain is called for.

As taits pointed out, a lot of invited teams don't show. Also, the Friday night banquet the last two years was c-c-cold ... people just arriving were turning around and leaving when they saw the "inside" banquet was merely an open hangar.

The banquet is relatively unimportant, but (for my players at least) TOC is something special and it sure would be nice to have nice weather and not break our best bats competing against the best teams.

The outfield grass at Loyce Harpe Park was an uneven patchwork of vegetation that led directly to my #3 hitter severely straining a knee tendon. He was done on Saturday morning, and is still recovering.

Fields can be improved, but mother nature is a roll of the dice with not very good odds for February in Polk County.
April 29, 2011
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: Timing of Tournament of Champions

Even a dead horse needs to be resurrected once in awhile if the corpse still stinks -- and the Polk County weather usually stinks in February. 2011 had cool temps, but 2010 was miserable and wet -- we were rained out on Friday and game temps at 8am Saturday hadn't crossed the 40 degree threshold.

I'd much prefer early November, a couple weeks before the beginning of the next season at Fort Myers. Contracts aren't chiseled in stone, and in a player-driven sport like Senior Softball I think player input should be considered.

Don't let a few busts in the chops deter you donny boy -- I'll grab a bat and beat that dead horse with you!
April 16, 2011
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: 50's teams for Milwaukee May 21-22

C Sinc, glad to hear it -- C U there!
April 9, 2011
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: 50's teams for Milwaukee May 21-22

titanhd, that's 3 50AAA including my team. The 50 Majors are Milwaukee Merchants & Can-Do Metals.

We also played in Lansing last May, and want to make to make Milwaukee a better option. It's already looking like a decent tourney for 50's this year, and will be even better if we can attract another team or two.
April 8, 2011
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: 50's teams for Milwaukee May 21-22

C Sinc, we decided to go to Milwaukee. So far (according to the tournament director) there are 3 50AAA teams & 2 50 Major teams. Come join us!
March 29, 2011
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: 50's teams for Milwaukee May 21-22

Giving this a kick.
March 25, 2011
Topic: Tournaments
Discussion: 50's teams for Milwaukee May 21-22

Any 50's teams interested in the Milwaukee Classic May 21-22? We're a Chicago-area 50AAA team and Milwaukee is close by, but we've stayed away from this tournament for a lack of 50AAA teams (wouldn't mind a mixed division with some Majors thrown in).

Maybe there's some other teams interested in this tournament but have stayed away for the same reason ... how 'bout it Midwest 50's, wanna compete in Milwaukee??
Dec. 20, 2010
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Most Unusual, outlandish, Funny, etc. Softball story

Webbie, I can just see your coach doing the whole Marcel Marceau mime routine grabbing & rattling that invisible fence ... LOL
Dec. 19, 2010
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Most Unusual, outlandish, Funny, etc. Softball story

My Senior teammate Mike has often recalled a game more than 20 years ago when he was playing left in a field of grass sorely in need of mowing. In the bottom of the 7th with 2 outs and the winning run on 2nd he charged a hard single and came running towards the infield with his hand in the glove and by his body language ready to throw the runner out at home.

The third base coach held the runner, and after calling for time Mike said "OK, now I'll go back and get the ball" (which he failed to scoop in the tall grass). His team won the game in the 8th.
Dec. 18, 2010
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: How did you get your start in softball?

lazer larry, I'm with Chicago Prime 50AAA. At SIU I spent 1 semester at Schneider tower but mostly lived off-campus. Most of my classes after soph year were in the Design Dept blue barracks east of the tracks not far from the towers. Had good times at a lot of the bars, including PK's. Really liked Shawnee National Forest and state parks like Giant City & Ferne Clyffe. Still go down there every few years to hike & camp. Used to go down for the huge halloween party on Illinois Ave, but those days are long gone.
Dec. 18, 2010
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: How did you get your start in softball?

Grew up on the outskirts of Chicago, and from 4th grade on spent most summer days playing pick-up games of 16" softball at the local park. Got good enough so that I was usually the youngest kid playing with the older guys. First organized competition was 1972 when I was a 14-year-old playing in a 15-19 year-old league.

First taste of 12" was intramurals at SIU in Carbondale, spring of '76. Played Chicago Park District 16" 1980-92. Started playing 12" regularly in '85 and have been ever since.
Dec. 18, 2010
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: Our Game vs. Their Game

One good way to increase participation is to continue playing in leagues with players in their 40's, and tell them about the Senior game and get them recruited when they become eligible. This is how I got into Senior Softball. I wouldn't have known about it if not for a couple older players on my local park district team who recruited me. Even if I had known about SS, on my own I probably wouldn't have looked for a Senior team to join.
Dec. 4, 2010
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: February Tournament of Champions Polk County

Chicago Prime 50AAA will be there.
Nov. 21, 2010
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: interesting reading

I enjoy playing Senior Softball
regardless of how hot the bats are.
I think most players would would still love to play this game
even if we used U-trip/NSA bats
or balls that took some distance off senior bats.
IMO less hot equipment would not hurt this game
and possibly improve it, for 3 reasons:

1) Fewer home run outs, and trying not to hit a home run.
Players like hot bats because they can hit the ball harder & farther,
but then the home run limit becomes a factor
that IMO does not enhance the essence of the game.
We once won a game on a walk-off homer
by the other team because it was an out.

2) Injuries. Face it, we're not as fast
and our reflexes aren't as quick as 20 years ago
but a lot of guys are just as strong.
I see more injuries from batted balls
at Senior tourneys than I do in all-ages league play
that my Senior teammates still play in.
If someone gets killed (a real possibility)
then we might see a pitcher screen
or some other rule change
that we like even less than lesser bats.

3) Defense & shortened games.
With slower players & hotter bats
Defense becomes less of a factor
and games are more likely to go less than 7 innings.

Anyway, that's my two cents.
I don't want to get into an argument
about psychology and egos.
I just want what's best for our sport
and those who love to play it.
Oct. 26, 2010
Topic: Players looking to join a team
Discussion: 50 year old want to play in florida or las vegas. Nov 10

A few questions:
What state do you live in?
What position(s) do you play?
Are you referring to the Florida tourney in Fort Meyers Nov 12-14?
Aug. 22, 2010
Topic: Rules of the game

With a 1-1 count I see more batters swinging at the 1st pitch because they don't want to fall behind 1-2. With no count batters know they can sit back and wait for that one big fat pitch, so they take more pitches.

It's already such a hitter's game, and when you add Senior bats into the mix you get higher scores that take more time. A lot of guys still have the muscle but not the quickness defensively and certainly not the speed, so a lot more balls are finding gaps ... and skin & bone. Hotter bats and slower reflexes are a recipe for injury, and we've seen attempts to protect the pitcher that are changing the game.

At 50AAA most players on good teams can hit HR's with U2 bats, so conscious efforts are made to NOT hit HR's except with runners on base in key situations. Talk about changing the game -- trying NOT to hit the ball as hard as you can! With HR limits and older players with slower reflexes I'd like to get rid of the Senior bats and make it so that when you hit a ball over a 300' fence you've actually done something.

In the Midwest good tournaments are few between and/or far away, then they try to cram as many games into the day as possible and the schedule quickly falls behind, expecially if there has been rain (frequent the last couple years). I'd like to see more tourneys with fewer teams. We had 10 teams in a 2-day tournament at Lansing in May, and played 5 games on Saturday. Everybody was banged up on Sunday.

My wish list:
More tourneys with fewer teams
75 minutes, not 65
1-1 count
USSSA/NSA bats, not Senior

I don't like the idea of staying in the field for 2 innings because it would change the rhythm of the game and swings of momentum -- but I think the flip rule makes sense when the home team is down a lot of runs going into the 7th.
July 24, 2010
Topic: Rules of the game
Discussion: Time Limits

"A 1 and 1 count will speed up games up to 10 minutes."

Amen to that. Outside of Senior Softball, it's been close to 30 years since I've played with 0-0 count. It's such a hitter's game already, and with 3 strikes to play with we can usually wait for a big fat pitch to come our way. With a 1-1 count you've got to be aggressive with that first pitch if it's a strike (or close to a strike). In my experience batters will take a lot more pitches with a 0-0 count. The 1-1 count gives the pitcher a little bit of an edge and with that fewer runs are scored which also shortens game times. The number of walks issued has a lot more to do with the competency of the pitcher than with the count.
May 27, 2010
Topic: General and miscellaneous
Discussion: lansing tourney

SSUSA Staff,

Why wasn't the schedule posted before the tourney or the results afterward in web site here? Who won the 50AAA bracket that included the 55M+ team?
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