http://seniorsoftball.com/?page=12

 
SIGN IN:   Password     »Sign up

Message board   »Message Board home    »Sign-in or register to get started

Online now: 4 members: KC Jim, Packy, Rustito, softball4b; 112 anonymous
Change topic:

Discussion: A True Equalizer

Posted Discussion
Feb. 15, 2017
Cognac Lite
Men's 50
35 posts
A True Equalizer
It's been awhile since I've responded to or got involved with any of the conversations. And this my brothers, if I recall correctly, is the first time that I have initiated a conversation. Here goes!

Like most of us, I started playing senior softball when I became eligible. I have been very blessed to have played with some great players at the highest level on 50 and 60 teams. We, Hollis Appraisals, won the triple crown last year. As you are probably aware, we won the 2017 TOC. There aren't many teams in the 60 Major Plus class in the country, which brings me to my discussion - A TRUE EQUALIZER.

During the 1980's and 90's, Pittsburg, KS, had its annual JOCK NITCH USSSA tournament. It was called an equalizer. It was a great tournament. The higher class team had to give runs to the lower class team as done in senior ball today. However, there were other rules that were enforced. The lower class team would always be the visiting team, the lower class team would be required to use their homerun limit while the higher class team had theirs, and the higher class team could not be run ruled. To me, that's equalizer!

Im not whining; I'm just pointing out something. Senior softball seems to put the higher class team in a somewhat inferior position. Equality isn't really there. The higher team is faced with a double whammy--not only are they giving up runs or playing against an extra fielder but also giving up homeruns that they could potentially hit.

I wonder what the outcome would be in the preliminary games if these rules or concessions were allowed. JUST SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT.
Feb. 15, 2017
Jawood
Men's 50
866 posts
You are correct, Cognac. The so called equalizer is weighted too much toward the lower teams. In most of our non sanctioned tournaments we play the rules you described, if the lower team wants to take their gifted runs, then they have to play up to the higher HR rule. People tend to forget that 5 run innings are an equalizer in itself, keeping most games close.
Feb. 16, 2017
Webbie25
Men's 60
2208 posts
We played yesterday at the M+ level in a tournament in Phoenix. We did have to play 2 AA teams. We gave them 7 runs a game. We played 1 home run. We only got 5 runs an inning instead of our usual 7. They got an 11th fielder. They also got 1/2 run, being visitors, to insure that there were no ties. That is 5 equalizers. We did get home team, though. the wind was blowing straight in about 20 and the first game the sun was low and right over the pitcher's head where it was almost impossible to see a pitch. That was the one game we played a Major team and only gave a 5 run equalizer. After 6 innings the actual score was 7-2. We lost 8-7, including the 5 run spot. It was not the best of days for us. We went 0-3. But.........
We got to play 3 games of softball on a nice warm day in February and had fun! I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Also, for important tournaments, I do think the one concession that the equalizer committee should give back is the home runs to the higher ranked team. It can be dangerous for M+ hitters to have to keep the ball in the park against a lower division pitcher, as the middle is the best place to go when keeping it in, even with the 11th player. And they still have to hit 'em to get 'em.

Just my 2 cents worth....

Mark Weber
Feb. 16, 2017
Jawood
Men's 50
866 posts
And that AA team really thought they beat you?
Feb. 16, 2017
JamesLG
334 posts


This is a topic I have always thought was way out of wack and needs to be fixed. The upper team gives the lower team a perfect inning of scoring without any effort or using any of their Home Runs. I have always heard it does not matter much because in the big tourneys all teams will be playing in their own division but it does matter for many reasons including pride. I have played in many golf tournaments where it is nearly impossible to win because of the handicap system and that is about the way it is when a good Major or Major+ senior softball team plays a good AAA or Major team. Then you get the guys who brag about winning a game where they get every possible advantage and think they really did something.

Thanks:

James
Feb. 16, 2017
SSUSA Staff
2312 posts
The topic of equalizers seems to come up about every year in some form ... We consider potential rules changes only once per year, at the National Rules Committee sessions during the Annual Convention in late-November/early-December ... Send identifiable written suggestions by regular mail or by email to info@seniorsoftball.com with "Rules Committee" in the subject line ... Due to the generally unregulated, anonymous nature of this forum, Message Board commentary is totally disregarded for Rules Committee agenda consideration ... Thanks!

Feb. 16, 2017
Cognac Lite
Men's 50
35 posts
SSUSA Staff,

Thank you for getting involved in the discussion. As I stated, my discussion was not of a whining purpose; I was just pointing out something that I had been pondering. Now that I know that this has been discussed and apparently corrective suggestions have not been presented properly, I will do so in accordance with the directives you've stated. Again, thank you for informing us (ME).

Horace Jefferson
Feb. 17, 2017
doubleplay2
Men's 55
22 posts
Mark,
Did you have your full team. I agree its all about playing and having a good time but you hate to give up all those equalizers. There is a point when it goes to far.
John Giesler
Feb. 17, 2017
Davy
18 posts
Just wondering how many times the lower rated team getting equalizers actually win.
My experience is that the higher rated team almost always prevails.
If that is really true the term equalizer just does not fit.
Seems to me the data should determine the amount of equalizer or handicap.
Maybe shoot for a system that has the lower rated team winning about 20 % of the time.
Davy
Feb. 17, 2017
doubleplay2
Men's 55
22 posts
Davy,
I have played in quite a few tournaments that are not thought of as the important tournaments and what usually happens is that the higher rated team may not always have a full team and they lose lots of games, that happens when teams are playing tournaments that are close to their area. That is usually a team decision so that they always have their best team at the big 4 or 5 tournaments during the year. I think that should be taken into the thought process when coming up with an equalizer. Just a thought, I don't know how tough that would be to watch by the people in charge.
Feb. 17, 2017
Omar Khayyam
1208 posts
Davy, an excellent point. I am in the same age group as the mighty San Francisco Seals, multiple World Champions. This means that my teams have played the M+ team many times over the years, especially in northern California which has about 40 tournaments a year. We ALWAYS receive an equalizer when playing the Seals. Over the two decades, we have triumphed about 3 times which is about 5% of the time.

Yes, we have played them when they had injured players, when they didn't try their best (due to players skipping a lesser tournament), when they even forfeited a tournament win by not playing the championship game because they wanted to get home, etc. This doesn't include a few out of state tournaments when we also played them, sometimes in an exhibition or seeding game. We still count it a significant victory when we are able to defeat them with the equalizer.

This is just a personal anecdote, and maybe my memory fails and we have beat them 10% of the time with an equalizer, but Davy's point is that it isn't an "equalizer" when lower rated teams consistently lose to higher rated teams. An equalizer should mean the lower ranked team should win 40-50% of the time.
Feb. 17, 2017
Benji4
149 posts
I am in favor of no Equalizer. I agree we give the lower teams too many advantages with runs and players and home run limits.

And an Equalizer where the lower team wins 40-50% of the time is asinine. If the lower team truly cared about getting better all they would care about is being competitive with the higher ranked teams.

And it's true when a team takes the runs and an 11th player and use lower HR limits and then they win, they jump around like they just won the world series. Is it really winning when you take runs and an extra player?
Feb. 17, 2017
Davy
18 posts
Benji4 I believe the so called equalizer exists so that tournament directors can fill brackets even with mismatched teams. Its the main reason lower rated teams accept the challenge but they also need some level of hope. If they happen to have an occasional great game plus a fair equalizer, they deserve the right to celebrate.
In many tournaments no equalizers would mean no teams for the higher rated teams to play.
Davy
Feb. 17, 2017
DCPete
329 posts
Benji please put the roids down & go to your room . . .
Feb. 18, 2017
Webbie25
Men's 60
2208 posts
John, we had 7 m+ level players and the team was put together with a lower ranked team to make a team for the tournament. It really was friends getting together to play a fun tourney, and I was happy to be playing. Period. The fact we were able to play WAS, for me, the important thing. We played 5 different teams and it was great. This will be one of those tourneys you remember over a beer and laugh about later. They happen!
But it does become a concern in important tourneys, like qualifiers. And it is a tough issue, because especially Major Plus quite often doesn't have enough teams in their bracket. The real issue is what is fair to both teams. Should an equalizer really be designed to give each team a 50/50 chance to win, or should the higher ranked team retain an advantage? And maybe a bigger question is should teams that are put in a position of playing a higher ranked team in a tournament actually be penalized in their division of the tournament if they lose to the higher ranked team.
My personal feeling is SSUSA has it pretty close. But I think each team should play to their level on home runs. That won't be popular, especially with lower ranked teams, but that is the level each team plays all year. IN A QUALIFIER, why should that change? Why should a major plus team have to play less home runs when their team is designed for more. They are already limited to 5 runs an inning. What is the difference if they hit 9 home runs or 3, if they play a AAA team? They still can't score more than 5. But conversely, a AAA team should not be able to hit 9 home runs if they play a major plus team, either. They should have to score their runs the way they always do-with the 3 HR limit. And I have seen AAA teams that can hit 6 or 9 a game.
But, the debate will go on....and there will never be a perfect answer.
Feb. 18, 2017
Benji4
149 posts
Yeah DCPete my bad. Guess I was raised to try to get better and that nothing in life is free. You put the work in, do your best to be competitive and learn how to win. Guys like you are the reason there are only a few major plus teams. Now go to your den and dust off all your participation trophies.
Feb. 18, 2017
PoollShark
Men's 50
75 posts
Benji, even though I'm only a lowly AAA player I tend to agree with you. I don't want no stinking handicap that way after we get done kicking your ass you can't use the excuse that we had a handicap.

Seriously, I'd play either way but if you're going to have a handicap system then it has to be one that gives the lower rated team a fair chance to win. That's what a handicap is. That being said I'd be all for no handicaps but you would have to separate classes after pool play otherwise why have skill levels at all?
Feb. 18, 2017
doubleplay2
Men's 55
22 posts
Mark,
It's always about the fun. If you talk to Dennis have him e-mail me.
The equalizer will probably never go away but when I was playing majors and we played a major plus team I always got more satisfaction beating them straight up.
Feb. 18, 2017
Omar Khayyam
1208 posts
Here's the challenge with doing away with the equalizer:
In northern California in 2016 there were an even 100 teams registered for the association. Of those 100 teams (from 50 through 80) there were 10 Major Plus (counting two Major in the 80 bracket). So, 10% of the teams are elite in terms of skill, athleticism, perhaps balance, and experience at high quality competition. That means 90% of all teams are not at that level.

Northern California has about 40 tournaments a year. As a result, most teams never play out of state (if you take away Reno, then a big majority of teams only play locally). If there were no equalizers, how would those teams realistically hope to ever succeed against the elite? They wouldn't, and eventually either half of them would not play at all, or they would form an association that excluded elite teams.

Most of these teams are formed on the basis of friendship. They might be motivated to practice a bit more; maybe take batting practice before tournament games; get in better shape; but realistically, they will not dump friends to add superior players and thus will never be elite teams because there are too many holes both in fielding and lineup. Realize that a great majority, maybe almost all, of AAA teams over 60 have no one on the roster who is capable of hitting a home run under normal conditions.

There are teams who aim to turn the roster over every year to improve, and that means dropping great athletes who are not committed to staying in shape as well as updating the quality of athlete. But where are these new players to come from? I suppose if you were to take one or two great players from the Major teams, you might be able to form a couple more Major Plus, but that still means there are going to be one or two teams maximum in every age bracket who will dominate when there are no equalizers.

The result will be the demise of tournament softball and will contribute to the already diminishing senior softball sport. In California, with its better than average health statistics, and its influx into the 50s of thousands of men each year who were once (and some are) softball players, the growth of teams has plateaued. In other words, the sport is shrinking compared to the potential players. Saying farewell to all AA and AAA players who have no hope of competing and winning, will hasten the decline.

I enjoy beating a better team straight up (usually in seeding rounds) as much as anybody. I don't do a victory dance when we defeat a better team because of a multi-run handicap. But I do want to keep playing and eliminating any kind of equalizer would probably be the end of our team who are drawn from enough distances that we don't socialize much, if at all, outside of tournaments. We are held together by the chance of winning against our equals.
Feb. 18, 2017
DaveDowell
Men's 65
1564 posts
Omar ... No worries! ... I can't even imagine the National Rules Committee being able to count to "two" for a motion and a second to consider eliminating equalizers ... The odds would then be astronomical against being able to count to "seven" to pass such a motion ... Probably about the same odds as playing the World Masters Championships without reading a complaint here about Shadow Rock, to give you the realm of magnitude we're talking about! ...
Feb. 19, 2017
Benji4
149 posts
I understand the need for ratings based on skill level. I don't believe anyone is less of a player because they play at a lower rating. Omar you make good points about playing with your friends BUT if the friendship part is most important why not play straight up and strive to be competitive rather than worry about winning?

If a lower rated team beats us straight up then I will tip my hat and you can dance and open up champagne for all I care because you beat us the right way.

Feb. 19, 2017
titanhd
Men's 50
462 posts
doubleplay and benji. Conceding there is a rating difference ,Please Define what you mean by "straight up".
Feb. 19, 2017
BCA80
11 posts
It's an equalizer, not a pacifier. Meant to make two unequal teams even. With a perfect equalizer, how often should the lower rated team win?

I played college golf. I don't play in handicap tournaments. I'm not about to have some 18 handicap golfer shoot a 90 and "beat" my 73. So I get what you are saying. Just don't play. Fewer tournaments. Your choice.
Feb. 19, 2017
doubleplay2
Men's 55
22 posts
Titanhd
I know where you're going with the straight up comment. We would never take runs but they did have to play by our runs and HR guidelines. That is about as straight up as you are allowed. What major plus team wouldn't call that as fair as it could get. I realize that a major plus team playing a AA team would offer more challenges.
Feb. 19, 2017
Davy
18 posts
Another equalizer idea to level the field could be use of courtesy runners
Major Plus No Courtesy runners
Major 3 courtesy runners per game
AAA 1 courtesy runner per inning
AA unlimited courtesy runners

Teams with speed would be helped, also a bit more strategy involved

5 tool players shouldn't complain.

Davy
Feb. 20, 2017
titanhd
Men's 50
462 posts
My thought on equalizer. Major+ vs Major. Play by Major rules give no runs-no extra fielder.

Equalizer game involving any AAA and below teams play AAA rules- give no runs-no extra fielder.Mercy (10 or 15) after 5 full innings. No open inning.
Sign-in to reply or add to a discussion or post your own message and start a new discussion. If you don't have a message board account, please register for a free nickname. It will only take a moment.
Senior Softball-USA
Email: info@SeniorSoftball.com
Phone: (916) 326-5303
Fax: (916) 326-5304
9823 Old Winery Place, Suite 12
Sacramento, CA 95827
Senior Softball-USA is dedicated to informing and uniting the Senior Softball Players of America and the World. Senior Softball-USA sanctions tournaments and championships, registers players, writes the rulebook, publishes Senior Softball-USA News, hosts international softball tours and promotes Senior Softball throughout the world. More than 1.5 million men and women over 40 play Senior Softball in the United States today. »SSUSA History  »Privacy policy

Follow us on Facebook

Partners