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Discussion: player classification

Posted Discussion
July 28, 2014
3 posts
player classification
I recently ran into a player classification problem in my playing region. Wondered if this is common in all of Senior Softball USA.
I last played in 2009 on a major+ team in Washington State. I played less than one full season in the 55's Division (at age 57). I have not played in Senior Softball since that time. Two weeks ago I was contacted by a friend that I'd played with 6-8 years earlier in my playing career. He invited me to play in the 60's Las Vegas World tournament this fall. The team is classified as a 'AAA' team playing out of Bend, Oregon (I live in Vancouver, Washington). Everything was set, money sent in, and plans made for the qualifying tournament in Lacey, Washington. A week later the coach called to notify me that I was not eligible to play because I was classified as a Major+ player. It was a complete shock to me. I researched the classification issue the best I could. I discovered that I could "play down" only one division (major). Evidently there is an appeal process, which I attempted to follow (an e-mail to someone named ******, the name given to me as the one who made the classifiction decision. He did not respond).
I also discovered that in my eligible region there are no major+ teams and only one major team (in Boise, Idaho, 700 miles away) in the 60's division. The remaining 15 teams are AAA and AA teams. With this information it appears then that I am out of luck and will be excluded from playing because of a hazy classification system based on one person's incomplete information regarding my playing ability. The complete information that the "classifier" did not have is:

1. I have not played in five years
2. I am 63+ years old
3. There are no major+ teams available for me to play on in the region
4. There is only one major team available, 700 miles away
5. I've hit exactly zero homeruns in Senior Softball so cannot "dominate a game"
6. I've suffered (like most players) age related injures that have affected my play

So in the form of a question(s) and a complaint, should it be fair that a player is subject to such an exclusionary classification system?
What about next year? Hows long will I have to be excluded?

Is this the policy in all regions of the U.S.A.? Are there many, many players suffering the same classification nightmare? Finally, is there a better, more fair way to handle the classification issue?

July 29, 2014
Men's 65
204 posts
Seems ridiculous to me. Hopefully the staff will chime in...
July 29, 2014
Men's 60
205 posts
SSUSA...specifically George,

TwinMotors makes very valid case for reclassification based on a 5 year hiatus from Senior Softball participation. I understand the two year waiting period for reclassification is tied to continuous participation, but c'mon man!

A 5 year absence, 63 years of age, and age related injuries should be sufficient enough to warrant an SSUSA management decision in favor of TwinMotors.

Hopefully, he gets treated fairly.

Tony Baltazar
So Cal 55's - Major

July 29, 2014
Men's 55
256 posts
TwinMotors, this a classic example of SSUSA...specifically George...He never answer emails, he's rude, he doesn't attend tournaments, but is left to rate teams & players, base on an old outdated formula, I could on & a customer base business ,like SSUSA where you employ the likes of a Fannie & Dave & some of the other directors, whom most players and teams know and like very well and to leave a rating system up to one individual is beyond my believe! Players have been complaining about his tactics for all seems to fall on deaf ears, when mention to Terry......He will more then likely delete this thread and not respond to your request Twin Motor....I've been waiting on a reply from him for over 4 years now on the same topic. I have other words, that I would like to use in regards to him, But I might get a life time band if I do!!!! LOL
Good Luck on a response but don't hold your breath.
July 29, 2014
Men's 65
440 posts
There is actually another 60M team that borders WA and plays lots of tournament ball
July 30, 2014
30 posts
Twin Motors...from personal experience/frustrations as well as from reading/following conversations similar to yours, on the board, over the years; I will add this to the conversation.
There is a rigidity in the decision making process, regarding team and player classification, as well as the "neighboring states" clause.
I truly believe the "rigidity" comes from a well-intended determination to maintain control of teams and players who have an inherent desire to be at the top of a division rather than moved up and be at the bottom of an upper division. Winning at AAA is more fun than losing as a Major team. Winning as a Major team is much more enjoyable than losing as a Major + team.
It sometimes seems SSUSA is a hyper-vigilant security guard. If they err, it will be on the side of moving a team, a player up. I believe that in most situations, this mindset is important to the well being of their organization.
Where I see problems is when this rigidity, concrete thinking, gets in the way of extenuating circumstances such as Twin Motor's situation, or Rural States, with no teams to play with. If they do not know for sure, it seems their default decision is to error on the side of protecting against any form of sandbagging, and they move the player/team up. I understand that.
My situation is that I live in a rural state that has zero, not even one, SSUSA team, let alone a SSUSA team in my age group, or in my player classification (AAA). So I had zero in-state teams to play with, I am bordered by North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, and Canada. I was asked to play by a Colorado team. SSUSA said no, because of the bordering state rule. I pleaded my case with them, feeling I was being penalized for living in a rural state, with virtually zero SSUSA options. SSUSA did help me locate 2 teams in Idaho, that were viable options. One of the teams was full, and the other team did not travel to many tournaments; however they did have room for me and asked me to go to Phoenix with them.
This process took many months, several very fun tournaments came and went and I missed them because I was not yet on a team. The Colorado team played but I was not eligible to play with them.
I understand SSUSA's need to maintain control. I do think that in their mission to maintain control, they have compromised their ability to deal with the grey areas and situations that are not clear cut. I believe they would benefit from the ability to think outside the box a bit more.
I think SSUSA does a good job in most situations, I do however think they, the players, and the teams would benefit if SSUSA were more willing to individualize certain situations. An organization needs clear and strong boundaries, however a healthy organization also gives itself permission to flex and stretch without losing sight of their mission.
It is a tough job, and I think SSUSA is a healthy and well run organization. I also believe that loosening up a bit and individualizing situations, such as the one presented by Twin Motors, would not open Pandora's Box and cause them to lose control. I would encourage them to ease up on the reins a bit. I also thank them for the work they do.
Aug. 1, 2014
Men's 50
894 posts
There are a lot of players and teams that try to get away with basically cheating the system of player elgibility and SSUSA is always trying to combat those issues.

There are exceptions to every situation and it sounds like twin motors has a valid one. I would suggest you get in contact with the brass and tell them your situation again.
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