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Discussion: Spot the Major + player

Posted Discussion
Jan. 31, 2018
OZ40
537 posts
Spot the Major + player
Whom below is the Major Plus player. Your choice, qualifications, thoughts, a Player3?

Player 1) hits around 650 each tourney, reliable homerun/pull hitter, catches most balls hit at or near him, decent accurate arm, uses a runner in close games.

Player 2) consistently hits at least 700 each tourney, once in a blue moon homerun hitter, catches most of the ball within a wide swath of his area, runs for others, great glove, very good accurate arm.
Jan. 31, 2018
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2977 posts
DieselDan ... I thought you'd fallen asleep with your forehead on the "enter" button ... Try your post again!
Jan. 31, 2018
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2977 posts
OZ40 ... I'll take player #2 in a close call if I'm limited to one choice ... With the (usual) cast of big bombers who can do little else on many M+ teams, there's a place for both of these guys on any team that wants to be successful, regardless of rating ...
Jan. 31, 2018
OZ40
537 posts
I purposely made the players close in level to make the choice tough. There are trade-offs on each side and I guess a lot more comes into the equation, things like how the other players stack up, if you're looking to build a power team or more of a finesse team. Of the two players above, who more closely represents the make-up of a typical Major Plus team?
Jan. 31, 2018
crusher
Men's 75
524 posts
OZ40, the first player. There are a lot of player 2ís around. Very few Reliable Power Hitters, And he is a decent defense player.
C
Jan. 31, 2018
DieselDan
Men's 70
426 posts
Since I had a cranial gaseous moment and Dave D. wanted to save me some embarrassment, I'll try again.

To me #2 is a more valuable teammate and has more strengths than #1. Better average, much better speed on offense and defense, and a better accurate arm. With his speed, a double for #1 is at least a triple for #2. They will easily take extra bases. They will get to balls quicker to keep the batter at first, catch more balls, and throw out more runners. Forget his occasional HR, he's going to score more runs and prevent more runs from scoring than #1. A major+ team usually has several HR guys. Let them hit em.

Jan. 31, 2018
OZ40
537 posts
I would ask the question: Are there more #2 type players below the Major Plus level or above it and is that answer due to the simple number of Major teams as opposed to Major Plus teams? I can see the benefits of both Player 1 and Player 2.
Jan. 31, 2018
DieselDan
Men's 70
426 posts
Might depend on the various age groups.
Jan. 31, 2018
OZ40
537 posts
Good point Dan, what is the percentage of players that can hit homers consistently at 65-70-75-80- compared to fast runners with good arms and gloves in those groups? I would think the homerun hitter would be the pick there especially if at a given age you can play an additional fielder.
Jan. 31, 2018
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2977 posts
OZ40, I'm gonna slip into my flame-thrower-fire resistant-asbestos suit for this one ...

There really isn't much of a difference between your hypothetical guys #1 and #2 above ... You'll find both types on almost all Major+ and Major teams, at least at the 40-Masters through 60+ ages, and maybe older ... Roster composition is a lot about the individual team needs for specific tool sets by each player and how they fit in with other roster players ... The ability to hit the ball 400' in the air instead of only 370' is largely irrelevant with 300-325' fences ...

In my view, developed over the past 15Ī years, here's the only real difference: It's the mind set of the team and the players who too often lack the confidence and/or desire to accept the challenge to play Major+, against the best, to strive to be the best ... That's why many teams that win a world championship at the Major level mysteriously have to disband the next season rather than stepping up ... The guys continue to play of course, but in sub-groups of three at a time scattered to Major team rosters, going to extraordinary lengths to try to crouch down in the tall grass of the lower rating ... We get an amazing number of requests for "medical based downgrades" and a lot of other creative appeals about why a player "..just can't be competitive at Major+.." ... It's not all of them by any analysis, but the percentage is too high ...

If SSUSA would, for example, take the top 15% or so Major teams and move them to Major+, and the top 15% or so AAA and move them to Major, the competition would be more balanced and better across the board almost immediately ... I've advocated this, and for the elimination of "out of rating" players, unsuccessfully for many years (as recently as 2007, teams played at the rating level of the SINGLE HIGHEST rating level experienced player) ... So far, I've been unable to gather the votes required at the Rules Committee, but I'll keep trying! ... The issue isn't about whether or not it's the right thing to do, but simply how to do it! ...

OK guys, fire up those flame-throwers!

Jan. 31, 2018
Benji4
230 posts
Dave very good. You just gave the politically correct view.

Here is the real unedited truth why guys or teams don't move up to Major +.

(P) ussification of America................

It will soon over take America and we will be like Europe..................

But fear not it's not just in Senior softball it's starting in everything. The everyone deserves a trophy philosophy has created mediocrity being acceptable.
Jan. 31, 2018
SS11
41 posts
In the 40's, I would say player 2 is more valuable. There are a lot more guys that can hit .650 with hitting homeruns, then can hit .700 without hitting homeruns. With the bats and balls we use, there aren't many 40 yr olds that can not hit homeruns. I've seen better swings on front porches than some of these guys have, yet they can still hit homeruns. Speed is also one of the best assets a player can bring, as that usually goes before the power.

Jan. 31, 2018
SS11
41 posts
Benji, you got to realize that most of the guys moving up to 40s come from the era with E through Major in the major associations. Sandbagging starts there, and the mindset just continues.
Feb. 1, 2018
OZ40
537 posts
One of the player/coaches of a league team I was on last year basically said what Dave alluded to. My friend just got back from one of the world tournaments, they are major plus and had no teams in their age class. They automatically won rings and were put into the major bracket and had to spot 5 runs a game. They were missing just two key starters and ended up getting beat rather convincingly. He is of the mind that in senior ball there should be only 2 divisions within an age bracket: Upper and lower.
Feb. 1, 2018
SJV
Men's 60
21 posts
If you pay they will come. Major plus in most cases, NOT ALL are fully sponsor shipped teams. Most major teams are not fully sponsored. If you can pay for a majority of type 1 players POWER to mix with your player 2 all around consistency then you have a good chance of having a major plus team. Qtherwise
just play ball with your buddies have fun. Like a wise old veteran once said , Its underhand slo-pitch softball, senior softball . Just my 2 cents.
Feb. 1, 2018
r4pitch
78 posts
OZ when you are a major + team and have to give 5 and hit less homers... you can only score 5 instead of 7 it is not easy to win....A Good Major team has the advantage over M+..M+ teams are not built to play major ....
Feb. 1, 2018
OZ40
537 posts
SJV-- One of my friends who plays Major Plus was on a team a couple of years ago and the sponsor ran out of money and asked them to pick-up their own flights to Vegas, the team didn't go because some, not all, didn't want to pay for their own flights....

r4-- That makes sense to me, good points.
Feb. 1, 2018
Mikelmart
52 posts
Give me player 2 all day long. If home runs are limited eventually player 1 will lose more value and player one is more likely to get hurt thus taxing the effectiveness of player 2 by having to run more often risking their injury possibilities.
Feb. 1, 2018
mck71
217 posts
r4pitch - My "assumption" based on your comments is that the M+ guys are more likely to hit a HR "on demand" than a M player (at least 1 - 10 in the line-up), is that fair? So if that is true, one would think you would be able to get more production from your HR's than the M team, no? Of course I need to take into acct your reference of "good" M team. We play M and very rarely if ever hit our 6 so maybe we are the exception (or maybe we are just not "good")? lol

Any way, we have M+ teams playing with us this year at the TOC so guess we will see how this works out next week.

OZ40, we will take 2 player #1's and 2 player #2's please! :-)
Feb. 1, 2018
SS11
41 posts
I know a fairly successful 40 Major+ team that would love some spinsorship. For the last 4-5 years they have been at or near the top of the bigger tourneys, with everyone footing their own bill. Guys at this age (pre-retirement age as I know some retirees are on fixed incomes), that can't afford the game of softball, really should evaluate if they can afford their hobby. If not, find another one. I understand playing on a sponsored team is a huge honor (played for 2 great sponsors over numerous years). Always made sure they knew I appreciated all they did.

You have some of these major+ teams that are not only spinsored, but offer cash performance incentives, and maybe even "sponsor" more than just the softball. It is great for them, but with the right mix of great guys and players, a non-sponsored team can compete.

The biggest difference is people that pay their way, probably won't stick around as the 13th or 14th guy that gets limited playing time. Just my $.02
Feb. 2, 2018
r4pitch
78 posts
mck71 we go from being able to hit 10hr to 6...the M gets 5 a free complete inning ..so we cant have a 0-2 run inning ...losing those 4 homers changes some guys swings.if we play a M team with good defense and hitting we must be on our game to win ..i would rather play a M+ team over M any day....Reid Miller #4 team usa
Feb. 2, 2018
OZ40
537 posts
Based on your observations what player A or B makes up the bulk of Major Plus players?...or is there a Player 'C' that's missing from the equation?
Feb. 2, 2018
r4pitch
78 posts
OZ40 to win on the M+ level need more 2 than 1...You need a couple mashers that can hit it out any time wind blowing in 330..you play in vegas you have to sit your big homer guys ...we were out of homers after 3 innings every game last year..
Feb. 2, 2018
garyheifner
604 posts
This does not answer your M or M+ question.

I go for #2. Especially considering my Chicago Gray Sox will be one of the oldest 70AAA teams in the nation.

Defense and the ability to run for themselves and for others wins out all the time. This will be our priority as we put our team together in 2019 for our move to 75 and over.
Feb. 3, 2018
OZ40
537 posts
Looks like Player 2 narrowly wins out, BUT, if that's the preference why do Player 1's get snapped up so quickly?
Feb. 3, 2018
DieselDan
Men's 70
426 posts
I feel they get snapped up so quickly because offense is the main mind set of most players/teams. Guys have BP more times each week and before games than defense. How many players actually warm up properly before any SB game? How can you actually work on D during BP when the outfield is too crowded and many times we are talking to someone. Too many teams play for the double play, but don't have quick enough IF to move to a ground ball ten feet. A quicker player with a good arm might get to those balls and at least get a put out if not a double play. An infield that does not play on the grass when the situation comes up may give up more hits/runs in MHO.

If you have at least two good #2's for the OF, you'll see teams under 70 play a fourth OF as a rover.

Suggestion. If you have a non player keeping the score book set up a seperate sheet of paper and track how many extra bases a good runner takes for themselves or as a CR. Track how many ground balls a quick IF gets to in order to get an out or keep the batter at first. Do the same for a fast OF who gets to the gappers for an out or again keeping the batter at first and base runners from not advancing too far. If a power hitter only gets a CR late in the game how many times does this player only go base to base, can't score from second on single, can't tag up to move up a base in the early innings?

Feb. 3, 2018
swing for the fences
Men's 50
1223 posts
Agree with Benji4 and Dave, Major plus is not for lack of confidence types.. Although it's been a division (at least in the 50s Major plus level) that most major teams would try to avoid over the last 5 years for a few reasons.. Lack of teams at tourneys, playing with the Big boys, and getting out of one of the (IMO) the best divisions with great competition and lots of teams!(Major 50s)

I will say this, for me personally, winning Major tourney just makes me feel like we won the B division.. I felt more validated playing against the best teams in the country at Major plus division... We even squeaked out a win against the best team in the country last year... So all the silly little rings that you can win throughout a year mean very little to me and the only thing that I would consider truly a World Championship is a Win at world in the MAJOR PLUS DIVISION!
Feb. 3, 2018
Jawood
Men's 50
926 posts
Swing, all good points IMO but what really makes it difficult for good Major teams to compete with Major+ teams is the 2 players outside the borders that are allowed in the Major+ division. To be able to bring these type of players in takes money and usually the Major+ teams have more of it ... not always but on average. If this was eliminated, I think more Major teams would be willing to play up.
Feb. 3, 2018
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2977 posts
Jawood ... I understand, and ew have discussed, your objection, since your team has not historically rostered "out of region" guys ... But for those who may not know the background, every player suspension we ever imposed for fraudulent "snowbird" card shenanigans occurred at the Major+ level of play ... Apparently, nobody was wiling to take that risk for a AA or AAA player! ... When we merged with LVSSA seven years ago, we conformed our rule to their (excellent) rule prohibiting "snowbirds" while allowing a maximum of two out-of-rating guys from the team's east/west side of the Mississippi River for Major+ 50+ (now 40+) through 70+ ... It's maybe not perfect, but DOES eliminate up to a potential of half a dozen or so iffy "snowbirds" showing up on a roster ...

Feb. 4, 2018
Omar Khayyam
1336 posts
OZ40, great discussion starter. The definition changes a bit as teams age. Teams over 70 seldom have more than a couple of guys who can hit home runs over the fence, and usually none who can "hit 'em on command". As a result, my experience playing on major teams in this age group, is that we can occasionally win over Major+ teams, especially in mixed tournaments where we get runs.

There are lots of recorded home runs in our tournaments, but it is usually the combination of a gap shot and slower outfielders with weak arms. In my last tournament, with 4 major and 1 major+ teams, there were no over the fence home runs that I saw, but one "singles hitter" on our team, for example, had two home runs in one game by hitting hard shots that gapped the outfielders on the 300 foot fields.

Another difference between teams is that there is no top for Major+, so they can completely dominate major teams by consistently hitting power shots at the appropriate time. As a result, older teams can be major+ and still have a ton of guys like #2. I would love to have a teamful and win without "fence power" sluggers.
Feb. 5, 2018
OZ40
537 posts
The one game no one ever wins is the game against Father Time. That said, do the skills of Player #1 or the skills of Player #2 diminish first? Or do they recede at the same pace?
Feb. 5, 2018
DieselDan
Men's 70
426 posts
Tough to get an accurate answer. One might think you actually have players in mind with this topic. If both players were really close in skills at one time and you're now making a comparison and both players change nothing in their lives/activities, they might drop in sports skills about the same. Any old sports/work injuries may start surfacing and really affect a players play. Family medical history could show up.
Feb. 5, 2018
OZ40
537 posts
I really don't have any players in mind. I will say this; I play drop in with a group of guys and we have an 83 year old who plays outfield, and still runs like a deer. His hitting has fallen off the last year ever since he had cataract work done. We have another fella who will turn 91 come next month who places the ball where ever he wants to, he can still run but he usually has someone run for him. Neither play tournament ball but love the game. My guess would be, and I have no data to back this up, but probably the power exits before the speed and glove. The throwing arm is conjecture as life hasn't treated any of us the same.
Feb. 5, 2018
Lecak
Men's 60
1026 posts
OZ40 I do some personal training with Seniors of all skill levels. I have an easier time training people for strength than I do balance, flexibility and speed.
I have a program I use for the latter 3 and Iím noticing that older folks find the work necessary tedious with results taking time to notice. Strength training even among older adults you can see noticeable changes much quicker. My observations for what their worth.
Feb. 6, 2018
Webbie25
Men's 65
2273 posts
I lived in Albuquerque for 39 years until May 2017 when my business took me to Tucson.. During that time, the best teams we had were far short of the top levels with the exception of the Diablos back in the late 70's and early 80's. I did play open out of Lubbock in 82 and 83, but after that only in New Mexico, and never higher than A or B. I could not afford to travel much. We never came close to winning at A. In 2005 I had a major shoulder surgery and thought I was done playing at 53. But in 2006 a AA team that I had played league with for years-friends-decided to try Worlds. We actually came in 3rd. The next year we move to AAA and I played there until 2012. I learned to save the HR's until late in the game. But never really considered trying Major Plus until GSF asked me to try in 2012. I have played this level since.
Major Plus players come in all sizes-from the Kenny Vaught mold (leadoff hitter-can hit it anywhere at any time-hits .800-fast-plays great outfield-but rarely hits it out), to the big power hitters we all know. In their 50's, most players are still strong with a lot of the big guys still able to run and play defense to go with their power hitting. As players move into their 60's the big guys begin to call it quits at a faster rate because their 6'5" 270 bodies just cannot take the pounding any more as well as the smaller guys. Home runs become rarer, although the young 60's teams will get their 9 sometimes, it's not a given any more. The older 60's teams, as we were the last couple years don't come close very often. At 65 the teams are really getting smaller. There are a few big guys left, but a lot of them are hobbled, do not play defense anymore, and home runs are fewer. The premium is shifting to the guys that can play defense and still run. I expect that trend to continue as I get toward 70.
OZ, making it at the Major Plus division for a lot of guys is a state of mind. Lots of guys have the talent,the power, and the physical tools but either will not play M+ or just don't perform the same when they try to play at that level. There are lots of guys playing M+ that could blend in at AAA but are great M+ players. There are a lot of AAA players that could play M+ but they don't believe they can.
At 65 now I think I would pick the #2 player above. A good defense can save you so many runs when you get 7 runs an inning.
Feb. 6, 2018
OZ40
537 posts
Quite a softball life you've lived Webbie. I wonder what age the oldest player was that hit an over the fence HR in a tournament....what era, what ball & bat....
Feb. 6, 2018
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2977 posts
Within the last few years, I've seen the 75-Major+ San Francisco Seals hit several over-the-fence HR's at the Rock 'n Reno event (where I was the field director) ... Standard senior bats and the Anaconda Trump/Stote .44/375 SSUSA ball ... Very impressive, but didn't seem to surprise them as much as it did me! ...
Feb. 6, 2018
crusher
Men's 75
524 posts
The biggest thing I believe that stops a HR hitter from hitting balls out after passing 70 is confidence. When you intentionally strike the ball correctly it will go.
A lack of confidence will impead hitting balls correctly with power.

Note: I am not addressing health, ok.

C
Feb. 8, 2018
Mango
Men's 50
154 posts
Webbie,
Nice post and I agree with what you said without saying it specifically. That is the Major Plus player is different depending on age group.

OZ What I have seen in the last 14 years in the 40/50 Major Plus division and last year in the 55ís -The 40ís, 50ís and even 55ís typical major plus player is neither player A nor B. Letís call them player C. They are a player that hits 750-825 with called on power. And they can play defense. They are bigger, faster stronger and play better defense than the typical AAA players. There are usually at MINIMUM 6 to 8 players that fit this bill on a typical Major Plus team in the aforementioned age group. And on the better or elite teams you will be in the 8-10 player Cís .


There are no 650 hitters with power that cant play defense in 40-55 Major plus unless theyíre a sponsor. Lets face it with these bats and balls everyone can hit homers in this age group. Itís a joke There may be a few 700 hitters but they better be able to really go get the ball, be an exceptional pitcher or a great short stop.

Webbie I donít know about the older age groups but since everyone can hit with these balls and bats (75 year olds hitting homers) Iím going to guess, as you said, defense would be a premium and those types of players would be recruited more heavily in M+ at that age group. I watched a couple 60 tournament games last year and the biggest drop-off I noticed was on defense and running.

Mango
Feb. 9, 2018
JDub
Men's 60
203 posts
DILLY DILLY . . . S T O O O P I D B A T S ! ! !

Have Fun, Be Safe,
Jeff White
Elite/Dudley 55M+
Feb. 9, 2018
Webbie25
Men's 65
2273 posts
Mango-you are spot on about the running and 'D' over 60. As outfielders, me included, get older we can't seem to keep the ball from 'bouncing in the air'-meaning we miss more when running hard to them. Our bodies are not performing on command any more-they have a mind of their own. For crying out loud, we are on Medicare! and playing softball. We are blessed to be playing. And I still-as I said in my thread a while ago-that defense is easily as important as offense, if not more.

JDub-you forgot an 'O'--STOOOPOIDBATS!!!!LOL
Feb. 9, 2018
Webbie25
Men's 65
2273 posts
Crusher, I disagree a bit on power. As we get older-we are getting weaker. It is the cycle of life. Even when working out, I see myself not being able to work out like I used to. A 100+ mile week on the bicycle used to be average and I felt great. I recently went 115 in a week and it was just too much. I am now shooting for 50-75 and after averaging 16-18 mph when younger, I now average 14-15. Now I notice those 'ooops, I didn't quite get that one, but it went out anyway' is now a fly out. Exit speed is going down slowly and those line drives that used to carry, don't any more. Fewer HR's-but they do still go.

Still giving it 100%.......

Webbie
Timberworks 65M++
Feb. 9, 2018
stick8
1784 posts
Mango, I have to slightly disagree with your take. Those Mavericks teams I played against in 50 major plus had 15 guys that could hit.750-.800 and 15 guys that could flash the leather. That's why you guys dominated!!
Hope all is well with you and yours
Stick
Feb. 9, 2018
Mango
Men's 50
154 posts
Hey Stick,
You make a good point! Our Mavericks and Sommerville 50 Major plus teams did go about 15 deep with Major plus players (type C). And thatís probably why we did experience some success. And contrary to the stereotype of Major plus players being prima donnas our guys were ďteam firstĒ players or they didnít last with us. Hope to see you out there some time this year.
Best,
Mango
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