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Discussion: Speed up rules

Posted Discussion
Oct. 16, 2016
idahoreb
Men's 60
59 posts
Speed up rules
SSUSA needs to address ways to make sure that games go 7 innings. Here are some options
1. 1 and 1 count
2. Courtesy runner only for batter who reaches base before next pitch
3. Umpires speeding up game (we have had some who don't care how many innings and some who take pride in getting 7)

Any other suggestions?
Oct. 16, 2016
coop3636
383 posts
quit lowering the time limits
Every year, it seems to get less and less

Oct. 16, 2016
DieselDan
Men's 70
318 posts
There's only so much an umpire can do to speed up a game. Getting players to hustle a little going back and forth after the third out would be a big assist, but don't count on it, especially a team that needs 4 or 5 CR's during a game.
Oct. 16, 2016
OZ40
418 posts
I agree with Diesel. The 1-1 starting count is a red herring because very few players, myself included, ever take the count all the way so it cannot possibly speed up the game on a consistent basis. Hustle on and off the field is the best way because it can be done consistently, but will it is the question.
Oct. 16, 2016
SSUSA Staff
2721 posts
idahoreb ... Your items #1 and #2 are on the National Rules Committee agenda and have failed to pass for at least the last 10 years of consideration. We agree with your item #3, but that's a variable we emphasize for efficiency of play, but ultimately can't fully influence.

coop3636 ... SSUSA has NOT reduced playing time limits for as long as we can remember. The last two changes have been to increase time limits, from 65/70 to 67/72 minutes for pool/bracket games. Championship games have always been 7-innings full. We also implemented mandatory flip-flop rules in pool play to speed things up. Our change several years ago to maximum HR rules instead of the "one-up" system is also presumed to speed up play.

DieselDan and OZ40 ... We couldn't agree more.

Oct. 16, 2016
bond_171513
Men's 55
61 posts
Staff - I think we would all agree that the umpire can only do so much to speed up the game...however there are a couple of little things that can be done.

1.I have been in many games where a FD or TD will come talk to the umpire for several minutes between multiple innings - unless there is a rules question or a protest of some sort, this can be stopped. If there is another valid reason for a conversation, which I am sure there is, then OUR time should be stopped.

2.Stop allowing practice pitches after the first inning, any practice pitch by ANY player should be ball 1 to the first batter. Additional infractions could be the first batter is automatically awarded first base. I believe this may be a rule already, but not enforced.

3. Allow 2 on deck batters, I have yet to see anyone injured when this is allowed. If either on-deck batter interferes with a play being made, then the umpire can rule accordingly.

These are small things I know, but they could possibly add up to getting to an extra inning.
Oct. 16, 2016
SS13
34 posts
I think 1 and 1 count all the way, you only see this count in senior ball. It speeds the game up alot more than one would think. From my understanding when it has gone to the managers for their opinions the older the teams the more they want 0-0 count, younger teams want 1-1.
Oct. 16, 2016
DieselDan
Men's 70
318 posts
OK, everyone. Please grab your favorite libation and take a seat. Sitting? Good. Now take a few deep relaxing breaths. If you really want to water down the game, change sides after two innings until the 5th. That cuts down the stroll too and from the dugouts by 50%. Well, someone had to put it out there for discussion.
Oct. 16, 2016
Omar Khayyam
1289 posts
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.
Oct. 16, 2016
Jawood
Men's 50
908 posts
We played 7 games in Las Vegas and not one game went 7 innings. The 1 and 1 count would give us about 10 more minutes(1 inning)of playing time instead of standing around time. This will eventually pass when the majority of the players have experienced it in USSSA when they were younger but may take a few more years.

2 on deck batters helps a bit as bond stated. Some umpires allowed it in Vegas while others did not.
Oct. 16, 2016
cronin51
Men's 55
20 posts
We all have experienced the Human Rain Delay getting into the box, the guy that waits for the ball to get back to the pitcher before he begins his walk up and set up routine, get in the box, grip it and rip it. 1-1 always a good idea.
Oct. 17, 2016
OZ40
418 posts
Play-in games are good to get warmed up and get everyone swings. When I was playing U-Trip tourneys the 1-1 starting count didn't speed up the games much if at all because many outside variables effect every game. Again the best way to speed up games is to hustle a bit. Whether your an umpire, manager, or player your individual hustle is something YOU have control over. Bracket games are by rule a full 7 innings so what's the rush? A little patience goes a long way. With what travel, lodging, food, car rentals and entry fees are nowadays I don't want to be rushed in the batters box. I may swing at the first pitch I may not but I want to perform for my team after investing in a tournament.

If speed is the issue, we always need fresh skaters for our hockey games. Part of the reason we play is supposed to be for exercise so burn a few extra calories by hustling.
Oct. 17, 2016
curty
Men's 60
173 posts
i do agree about hustling-- but, after 3/4 games ( especially when hot) it becomes important to preserve energy, for performance. The 2 at a time innings & 1&1 counts both would be helpful, especially in bracket play.
Oct. 17, 2016
NYGNYY
98 posts
The only players who want a 1 & 1 count are pitchers. Why would any hitter want a 1 & 1 count. We use it in our Saturday league and it does NOT speed up the game at all. We personally pay a lot of money to travel to these events and play. As for Vegas---it's a big event, many teams so you are going to have overlap and time issues.
As long as you know ahead of time which inning is open, I'm good.
Oct. 17, 2016
southernson
280 posts
NYGNYY,
1 & 1 doesn't help the pitchers, 0-0 actually give the pitchers more to work with, and time for the batter to get more antsy about hitting a pitch.

IMO, 1-1 does speed up the game based on possible pitches thrown.
Oct. 17, 2016
LP
317 posts
Teams pay a lot of money for tournaments,almost 800.00 dollars for the world championships, around 400.00 dollars for most qualifiers, so to me I don't want a 1-1 count, so lets just play the game the way it should be, it we don't get in 7 innings so be it.
Oct. 17, 2016
Garocket
Men's 55
256 posts
Think what you want but the 1-1 count will give you at least 1 extra inning 90% of the time. You have to relize 1-2 minutes of time equates to an extra inning a lot of times

Example time runs out with 2 outs in bottom of 5th you play the open inning as the 6th. If you get that out before the two minutes is up you play the 6th inning and the 7th would be the open inning
Oct. 17, 2016
idahoreb
Men's 60
59 posts
Many good comments about speed up ideas.

another issue that needs to be addressed deals with not having to be 1-2 hours late with game times. Our 6:30 game at Worlds started st 8:25. Playing under the lights for the first time all year had an impact on several of our players performance. One reason was the 15-20 minutes to get games started.
Oct. 17, 2016
stick8
1702 posts
Oz is right, a 3-2 count does not speed up the game much, if at all for the reasons he specified. In USSSA we have what we call the hurry up rule. Between innings pitcher gets one warm up pitch and it's right back to the pitcher--no"coming down". Then it's batter up. Also on any out there is no throwing it around the infield, it's right back to the pitcher.
This works in men's ball but in senior ball I cant be sure. Far too many senior players walk slowly in and out between innings.
Interesting about batting two innings at a time, I presume that to be 6 outs or 10 runs, correct?
Oct. 17, 2016
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2560 posts
stick8 ... The times I've seen the "consecutive inning" approach employed, it's been administered like the flip-flop rule ... At the first occurrence of 5-runs OR 3 outs, the bases get cleared and the next half-inning at bat commences ...
Oct. 17, 2016
stick8
1702 posts
Yes when there are three outs or 5 runs scored the bases would clear and the next half inning starts. Thanks for specifying
Oct. 17, 2016
Uncle Mike
Men's 60
114 posts
The biggest waste of time is giving each pitcher 1 minute of warm up time to deliver no more than 3 pitches every half inning. That's usually 14 minutes of wasted time. Rule 6.12
I know in Vegas, 55AAA -we were throwing over 6-7 warm up pitches each half inning while waiting for a batter to even approach the batters' box. Then we would throw it around. Even when we were spectators, we witnessed it too.
In our local league, 1-1 count, it's 1 warm up pitch. And if you choose to throw it around its ball 2.
The other major waste of time is CRs. Our line up uses 4-5 CRs every time through the line up. That's 10-16 runners every game. We try to have them ready, but we lag sometimes. The other teams usually use a couple less, but that's another 5-8 minutes of wasted time. Combined, in our games we waste at least 20 minutes for these events.

I have umpired for over 25 years, and we are taught to keep the game flowing by expediting through these lag times. An example of this is: after the 3rd out, we would go update the scorecard and scoreboard too- announce the inning, the score, and call for the batter. This usually takes 15-20 seconds, and if the batter is making his way up to the plate- we allow him/ her to position themselves in the batters box before we say play ball. If they aren't making their way to the batters box, we make a 2nd announcement. If they are making their way, allow them to position themselves, etc... If they still aren't making their way up to the batters box, and the pitcher is on the mound ready to pitch- we say "play ball".
Of course, this has to be explained in the pre-game conference. And you specify that you are trying to get 7 innings in, but you need both teams to hustle in and hustle out. If you do that, and when you tell the coach batter up- he should supply a batter. But you have to be consistent and firm.
Just my opinion
Oct. 17, 2016
STL0
Men's 55
162 posts
I think there are way too many courtesy runners. Limiting it to one CR per inning would help the game move faster. It also might encourage some folks to get in a little better shape. There's no need to worry about whether or not you are fit to run if you know every time you get on base, you get a CR.
Oct. 17, 2016
Joncon
328 posts
"""I don't want a 1-1 count, so lets just play the game the way it SHOULD BE, it we don't get in 7 innings so be it"""

lol

But, the game SHOULD BE seven innings, right? :)



In my mind, the 1-1 count obviously speeds the game up.

How much? Someone would have to collect data from maybe 20 games to get an accurate idea. I'm guessing that will never happen but, it would be simple to categorize and time the different events.

I would imagine that the majority of the time would be the pitching/hitting process. The CR seems to be an issue also, along with arguing/complaining.

Even if the 1-1 only saved an average of one (15 second) pitch per batter (60 at bats), that is 15 minutes per game.

The player's are responsible for the slow pace but, hey.....old guys like to mosey.....and talk.

Oct. 17, 2016
tg69
372 posts
what if the courtesy runner had to be in the first base coaching box and was ready to run.
Oct. 17, 2016
curveball
Men's 65
643 posts
Uncle Mike, talk to your pitcher. No excuse for not being ready to pitch when batter is ready to hit and outfielders are in place. (if he wears catcher style protection and he was on base or at bat, it will take him a touch longer) Most innings I could take 7-8 pitches if I desired before the batter and the outfielders were ready. I'd never think of holding up a game to throw warm-ups.

I agree with STLO, but with a different twist. One runner per inning and that individual runner can run only once per game. ASA had (or has) that rule. It would cut down on a ton of wasted time. That allows for having a runner available for a real injured player, not just a constant changing to put a speedster in for an average guy.
Oct. 17, 2016
baseballbill
103 posts
The big positive with the 1 and 1 count is there is less standing around on defense and keeps the game moving.
Just my opinion
Oct. 17, 2016
DieselDan
Men's 70
318 posts
Curveball. "One runner per inning and that individual runner can run only once per game. "

The bench sure will become crowded with the extra players who might only pinch run once. Might force the coach to find better runners who might be a little weaker as hitters/defensive players than a current player with bad wheels.
Oct. 18, 2016
OZ40
418 posts
Usually a couple of times a year a "speed up the game" thread is started. The very first post that started this thread was regarding SSUSA to "address ways to make sure that games go 7 innings." SSUSA replied that bracket games are ALREADY mandated to go 7 innings. So, IMO,job done. Play in or prelim games have time limits. If these games go less than 7 innings so be it. I feel that lessens the chance of injury and lessens fatigue and keeps you fresher for what I consider the actual start of the tournament.
I know we have all waited to play at a diamond where a game was going on. I go into a tournament knowing and expecting that there's a good chance that sometime after the first or second game the rest of the days games will start running behind for any number of reasons. I ask you, out of all the softball tournaments you've played over your "careers" haven't the vast majority of them run behind? This happens in the younger ranks too(even with a 1-1count). What makes anyone think us old timers will do better? We've been beating this dead horse for years, tried various ways to fix it and no matter what you do, the human factor of twenty players, two managers and umpire(s) cannot be accurately figured in or defeated to ensure that thousands of games across the country all go 7 innings within a mandated timeframe. Softball games are not one size fits all.
Oct. 18, 2016
mck71
148 posts
OZ40, please reread SSUSA response. Only Championship games are a full 7 innings, ALL other games are time limits.
Oct. 18, 2016
OZ40
418 posts
Read and understood. I'm okay with the status quo, I'd rather play each game with it's particular and unique ebb & flow instead of having that rhythm be altered any more than it already is.
Oct. 20, 2016
NYTX
Men's 60
36 posts
There is such a simple solution to this - and its stated earlier - Bat 2 innings at a time. In other words the visiting team gets to bat the top of the 1st and the top of the 2nd before the home team bats at all. There is so much time wasted between innings that this will absolutely quicken the pace. You can stop at the buffet innings. I've been suggesting this for 10 years - some guys take forever to get out of their own dugout and on to the field. Often times its the darn pitcher, who has the shortest walk!
I think they should test this theory in a tournament or 2 and see what the results are. Or maybe just do it in the pool games?
Oct. 20, 2016
creins
28 posts
I am a volleyball official and you can speed up games. Encourage players to hustle in and out at the plate before the game starts. Do the flip 15 minutes before hand (or as soon as other game is over) (don;t start the clock yet). This will get both teams moving and fielders on the field. Warm ups in volleyball are 16 minutes. Over the years I have figured out it takes around 22 minutes for a 16 minute warm up. they have to gather 3 times to shake hands,warm up, etc.

Remind the players over and over (if you want to get in 7 innings, we need to hustle in and out)

If any argument comes up between the books, don't get involved unless they can not settle it (unless it effects the next batter).
Oct. 20, 2016
DieselDan
Men's 70
318 posts
Yes NYTX, some pitchers take awhile to get to the mound. Might be that they just came off the bases, had their protective gear to put on, etc.
Oct. 20, 2016
Omar Khayyam
1289 posts
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 100, 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. 20, 2016
garyheifner
570 posts
Regarding the 1-1 count, we are beating a dead horse. I was told by a staff member that most of the nation votes for the
1-1 and the California teams edge out the vote for 0-0. If 1-1 does not speed up the game, then why do all the qualifiers we play in use the 1-1???????????????

Play is slowed by teams that can't decide which player is going to courtesy run. If a team can't have a guy moving toward 1st within 30 seconds after the ball is returned to the pitcher, the ump should deny the sub runner.

Even in Vegas this year, some umps let teams have infield throws after the 1st inning. 1st inning only.

Give the pitcher 1 warm-up only, after the 1st.

We did have several games in Vegas where the opponents were ahead late in the game and the ump had to ask them multiple times to get a batter in the box. Obviously stalling to burn clock time. Don't know what kind of penalty could be given, but something to talk about.

Oct. 20, 2016
Omar Khayyam
1289 posts
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. 21, 2016
swing for the fences
Men's 50
1216 posts
speeding up the game should start with a one runner limit per inning up to the 65 division..
Oct. 21, 2016
stick8
1702 posts
Taking my player cap off and putting my umpire cap on, I can speed up the game by calling mostly strikes and outs!! :)
Oct. 21, 2016
OZ40
418 posts
Life's not treated everyone the same. So 1 runner may be ok in the 50' 55's and 60, at the major level. So if you've got just enough to play and someone is already using a runner, what happens if a team mate pulls a hammy or twists an ankle, then what, have him limp around the bases? Add yet more rules for different ages and level classifications?

No, I still say hustle starts with the individual. You can add all the rules, time limits, restrictions, and shorter counts you want.

Inevitably all it takes is one bad hop, one collision, one leg or back injury or a player going down for some other reason, a questioned call, play, or rule needing a visit from the director and the game (and the following games) will be delayed no matter what. In senior softball we've all seen it and it occurs often. At our age it's part of the game quite a bit as SHOULD be hustle.
Oct. 21, 2016
SSUSA Staff
2721 posts
garyheifner ... Not sure which "staff member" you may have spoken with, but your quote from that person that "..most of the nation votes for 1-1.." is factually inaccurate, either by them or by you in relaying what you believe they said ... We have done two member preference surveys on this topic, one about 10 years ago and more recently about four years ago ... In the first instance, the "0-0" start count was favored nationally by a 55% to 45% preference ratio ... In the second survey, the "0-0" count lost a little ground, being favored by 54.9% to 45.1% ... Although support for the "1-1" is technically trending up, it gained only 0.1% over six years ... To save you the math exercise, that means for every 1,000 preference votes cast, the "1-1" gained exactly ONE more support vote ... Support for either option is highly regional in nature ... You happen to be in an area of the country that favors "1-1", but that doesn't translate into a national majority preference ... The national preference remains with the "0-0" count ...

As for the "...why do all the qualifiers we play in use the 1-1???????????????..." statement, we question that one as well ... All SSUSA qualifiers are supposed to apply the same set of rules governing play ... In SSUSA sanctioned play, that is the "0-0" starting pitch count ... Let us know which, if any, SSUSA events are using the "1-1" and we'll have a bit of a training session for those independent tournament directors ... Thanks! ...

Oct. 27, 2016
maskedman
Men's 55
41 posts
want to speed up the game? Its pretty simple.make umpires call the strike zone properly and stop forcing the pitcher to " put it on a tee. " let 11 play defense.the 1-1 count is a joke.all that has done is force more middle hitting.
Oct. 27, 2016
chico senior
Men's 60
106 posts
I didn't understand what you mean by calling the strike zone properly? If it called properly how does that speed up the game? Also, how does the 1-1 count slow down the game? I do agree that playing 11 on defense should mean fewer hits thus speeding up the game, however, I am against 11 on defense.
Oct. 27, 2016
16wood
Men's 65
76 posts
Those of you who want a faster game... have you ever considered indoor soccer?
The game was what it was years ago and we liked it so much that we play it into our senior years.
Now everyone offers these 'simple solutions' to change the game... read = more rule changes. Sort of reminds me of the guys on the architectural committees of the local HOA.
It aint broke!
WTF!
Bob Woodroof
Oct. 27, 2016
papa t
Men's 50
19 posts
I agree with Bob...I'm not sure it's broke. In my opinion...most of the games are done pretty well and don't have issues with slow play or wasting time. Every team can police themselves and if you have issues with the other team...bring it up to the blue. I would be curious if anyone has stats on playing 2 innings at once. It would definitely save time...but we have all played in games when you either go cold or hot between innings. If the team you are playing gets hot and you let them do 2 innings...you can go down quickly. On the other side...you can get hot and do the same. I guess I would be curious to see how those play out.
Oct. 27, 2016
garyheifner
570 posts
U asked:

Dave Dowell told me the southern California teams carry the vote for 0-0 and is popular out west when most of the rest of the country wants 1-1. I believe the conversation took place in Lansing several years ago. Might have been in Vegas. I don't remember the final #s but I seem to remember a difference of several hundred votes at the time.

We have played 1-1 counts in Elgin-Milwaukee-Quad Cities-Oshkosh Qualifiers. I know they vary because our mangers make sure to ask what is the starting count at the beginning of every qualifier and it has varied.
Oct. 28, 2016
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2560 posts
garyheifner ... The conversation we had was in Indianapolis and I sure hope you didn't understand what I hope I said, but anything's possible! ... The preference survey was done and tabulated pursuant to the SSUSA Club and Leagues regions that appear on the color coded map from this web site Home Page ... The results did NOT include any separate data for Southern California, which is just a part of the larger Far West Region ... Here's what I should have more clearly communicated regarding the "regional bias" favoring either the "0-0" or "1-1" count ...

Of the 12 SSUSA Club & League geographic regions:

Favoring the "0-0" starting pitch count (9) Far West, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and Texas
Favoring the "1-1" starting pitch count (3) Central, Great Lakes and North

Related: We will be addressing the issue of consistent rules application across all qualifiers with the independent tournament directors at a later date ... We believe that a national qualifier system requires uniformity in how they are administered ...
Oct. 28, 2016
bkb555
230 posts
our summer leagues use a full count and games could take 2 hours....our fall leagues used a 1-1 count and games lasted 1.5 hours at most......our example showed that 1-1 does speed up league games but tourney games are different......a little more at stake and decisions may take a bit more......anyway, our experiment with 1-1 shortened games.....it takes a little more to get adjusted to doing but once you set your mind to aggressively go after the first good ball you see, you get back to your normal full count approach
Oct. 28, 2016
Webbie25
Men's 65
2260 posts
One of the biggest culprits I see are the coaches that intentionally slow down the game to shorten it. This happens a lot-a team gets a lead and decided to lengthen innings by going to the mound to talk to a pitcher, by taking extra time to get a courtesy runner ready to go, etc. etc. so they get to the open inning earlier.It would be hard to make a rule to regulate this. Also, teams are still not ready to start a game on time. That's why they added the 2 minutes a few years ago. The clock starts at the flip, and if your teams are ready to play, you can actually gain that 2 minutes. But they just don't get ready, thus losing minutes.
I am one of those outfielders that walks in and out. At 64 years old, 8 or 9 games of going in and out is taxing by itself, let alone game action. I do try to be ready to take the field when an inning ends so I am in position by the time the pitcher and batter are ready or to get off the field, but there are times-like catching a fly ball after a run for the third out when you are leading off the next inning-or running bases and having to get in and then out for defense-that it just takes a bit to get ready to play.
Oct. 30, 2016
steve134
5 posts
If 1-1 doesn't save time, why do tournaments go to 1 pitch after rain delays. How can anyone possibly argue that less pitches don't speed up the game?
Oct. 30, 2016
SSUSA Staff
2721 posts
Because "1-pitch" DOES save time ... Lots of it! ... But it's an entirely different game as the result under 1-pitch ... The SSUSA tournament recovery procedures in the event of adverse weather are covered in SSUSA Official Rulebook 10 on page 54 ...
Oct. 30, 2016
OZ40
418 posts
Personally, my opinion is that players and managers should be ready to play, hustle in and hustle out as much as possible and just play that particular game within its own unique tempo that each and every game has. I retired so I wouldn't have to rush and speed up and what we have now with senior ball is fine with me.

My answer to Steve134's question would be this: theoretically you could have a game where everyone took the count full to 2-1 at a minimum of a total of 42 batters at the end of 7 complete innings you're looking at 126 pitches.

That same game if even half the players swung at a pitch with less than that lower full count and everything else being even, the game would finish earlier. That's why a lower count doesn't necessarily speed up the game.

Bottom line: Not every player takes the count full anyway so one cannot accurately make the claim that a smaller ball/strike count will speed up the games even a majority of the time. I would go out on a limb and say (non-scientifically, of course) that by the time the third pitch is over with, most players would have swung, but it's nice to have the cushion there if you haven't.
Oct. 30, 2016
SSUSA Staff
2721 posts
SSUSA believes it has done its part on structuring the game for the goal of maximum innings played ... We have increased time limits from 60/65/7-innings to 65/70/7-innings to 67/72/7-innings ... We have made the flip-flop rule mandatory in pool play ... We have required teams giving an equalizer to be the Home team ... We allocate 1:30 hours per game rather than the unrealistic 1:15 game scheduling ...

Here's a short (but not all inclusive) list of things teams can do for their contribution toward achieving the maximum innings goal ... Be present 30 minutes before scheduled game time READY TO PLAY ... Complete your game card while prior game finishes ... Limit (and eliminate after 1st inning) infield warm ups between innings ... Limit (and eliminate after 1st inning) excessive warm ups pitches and "throwing it down" to 2nd between innings ... Hustle on/off between innings ... Eliminate throwing it "around the horn" after an infield out ... Manage courtesy runners more efficiently in terms of selecting them and having them staged and ready to go ... We're sure some of you can think of other time-savers ...

Implementing another needless rule-change (the "1-1" count) before the above items are effectively employed is highly unlikely at this time ...

Oct. 30, 2016
Duke
Men's 65
878 posts
SSUSA Staff,

I concur with your short list of time saving suggestions. If all teams would try to adhere to some or all of them, it should add 10-15 minutes to our games. All of the above suggestions by all can give us more time too, but we have enough senior rules, that are quite different from our younger days.

JMHO,

Andy Smith,
65 Major
Oct. 30, 2016
Jawood
Men's 50
908 posts
One thing that can be eliminated totally is the practice of some "coaches" slowly walking out to the mound trying to be Billy Martin to talk with the pitcher along with the whole infield. Come up with some hand signals if you need to be that controlling.
Oct. 30, 2016
BruceinGa
Men's 70
3182 posts
Dave, am I correct in thinking that in Vegas they started the clock immediately after the coin toss?
I can't remember any team team warming up the infield after the first inning. As for throwing the ball around after an infield out, we don't see that much anymore. What I do see is the next batter not ready.
I think the plate umpire should start calling strikes if the next batter isn't ready.
Oct. 30, 2016
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2560 posts
Yes, Bruce, the umpires are supposed to start the clock for 67/72 at the conclusion of the pregame plate conference ... Teams can maybe squeeze out an extra minute by hustling out and getting underway, or they can burn their own time by not ... From a director's viewpoint, I would personally prefer they not start calling "phantom" strikes ... When it has happened, it generally sets a bad tone for umpire/manager relations and unwinding the mess ends up taking more time than was saved .. But that's not to say I don't favor it in theory! ...

Oct. 30, 2016
BruceinGa
Men's 70
3182 posts
We had a situation last year in our senior league where a player decided to go to another field and talk to a friend. No one could find him quickly and after a few minutes he returned and play continued, probably at the expense of at least 5 minutes.
We wanted to change our rules to allow an umpire to call strikes if this happened again.
The team couldn't substitute another player as we must bat all team members in attendance.
Oct. 31, 2016
MurrayW
Men's 65
144 posts
I have to disagree with not allowing infielders to throw the ball to first to warm up after the first inning as reducing the amount of time to complete a game. As an infielder, I may not get a ground ball for several innings, so by the time I get one it can be more than 1/2 hour since I have thrown a ball. This greatly increases my odds of making a bad throw from 3rd to 1st on a ground ball giving the team at bat an extra out leading to more batters hitting in that inning thus extending the time that inning takes. Most of the time I am at my infield position for a couple of minutes before the first pitch is thrown which would be plenty of time to take a few warm up throws without impacting the time before the first pitch is thrown.
Nov. 1, 2016
JBTexas
Men's 65
380 posts
If the pitchers come out throwing strikes the hitter will swing, it's the 3-0 counts that take time. Pitchers control the pace of the game and keep fielders their alert by throwing strikes.
Nov. 2, 2016
OZ40
418 posts
A compromise may work here, how about 1 infield warm up toss per inning per team? That can usually be done before the teams are set to begin.
Nov. 2, 2016
BruceinGa
Men's 70
3182 posts
How about the ones that feel they need to throw do so outside the fences while their team bats.
Nov. 2, 2016
mck71
148 posts
A lot of good suggestions. As a pitcher (among other positions) I prefer the 1-1 count because as a batter, I usually take the first pitch. It's my batting thought that usually makes my pitching thought focus on throwing the first strike. Problem is once I get the first strike, I tend to start to nibble which causes more pitches and hence leads to slower game. Just being honest (but occasionally I will swing at a first pitch strike just to keep the opposing pitcher honest! :-)

As for warm ups either pitching or in the infield and/or throwing down, we don't do any of that after first inning and haven't seen much of it either when we play but as long as it doesn't hold up the game (batter is in box waiting to hit), I honestly don't care who does what.

I think basic rules to speed up the game are pretty simple:
-once all fielders are in place (yes, OF tend to walk to position), then play starts, batter should be in the box ready to hit (even if OF is first up, their walk in is no less in than OF walking out, you should know when you bat next).
-be ready with CR including whatever your "strategy" is (i.e. running right away, wait until they get to second, etc.) You should know who you are going to run for.
-and finally, be ready to take field after last out is made which includes bringing out glove for teammates on base.

Would be nice to ask everyone to "hustle in and out" but we're older guys and after a few games that just isn't reality. Hell, when I play OF, the only time I usually "hustle" is after last out and I have to get in line to shake hands and even then it's more like a power walk than a jog! LOL

Again, a lot of good suggestions but mostly I am just grateful to be playing again so 5, 6 or 7 innings, as long as it's the same for everyone, I am not going to complain.
Nov. 2, 2016
OZ40
418 posts
Why would you like the 1-1 count if you take the first pitch?
Nov. 2, 2016
mck71
148 posts
Thread started for ways to speed up the game. I simply mentioned under the current rules I usually take the first strike, if it was a 1-1 count I probably wouldn't be doing that or at the very least have that mentality. Most of the guys I pitch against take the first strike at least the first time through the line-up, it does add up!
Nov. 3, 2016
marcster13
90 posts
How about the width of the strike zone? I play 40's and was shocked it was the width of the plate. Seems there would be a lot less walks and pitch taking if the plate was a strike as well as the mat behind hit being a wider width. Many leagues have the wider may. I don't know the dimensions but seems to be a few inches on each side of the plate. Or doing away with the plate being a strike and having a large wide mat behind it.
Nov. 3, 2016
DieselDan
Men's 70
318 posts
The baseball plate is 17" wide. The senior softball "mat" is 19"W by 34.5"L.
Nov. 4, 2016
DCPete
369 posts
You wouldn't want to "do away with the plate being a strike" because the umps would have a really tough time calling balls or strikes on pitches that landed right where the mat touches the plate.
Nov. 4, 2016
NYGNYY
98 posts
Not sure when this thread is going to end. Hopefully soon. A couple of things ---when you are over 60 staying loose in the infield throwing the ball around after an out helps! As for rushing in and out to our positions...I am all for.
Maybe we should use USSSA bats instead of Senior bats and a normal ball instead of the Rock in Vegas. I bet that will move the game along. Just kidding right!
Nov. 4, 2016
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2560 posts
Good idea, NYGNYY ... THREAD CLOSED
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