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Discussion: 11 defensive players 65+

Posted Discussion
Dec. 3, 2021
k man
Men's 65
308 posts
11 defensive players 65+
If I am reading it correctly, a vote (#14) passed 12-0 yesterday allowing 11 defensive players in the 65+ division.
Since the rules became effective 12/01/21, will that rule apply to the Feb TOC or will the TOC be played under last years rules?
Dec. 3, 2021
SSUSA Staff
3185 posts
The upcoming T.O.C. is a 2021 Season event and, as such, is played under the 2021 Season rules ... The 65+ teams will play 10 defensively ...
Dec. 3, 2021
k man
Men's 65
308 posts
Thanks for the quick response! Just wanted to be sure.
Dec. 4, 2021
NYGNYY
175 posts
Was this ever on the annual meeting agenda in the past and voted upon? I’ve never heard this discussion at any of the tournaments I’ve attended. But it’s gospel now.
Dec. 4, 2021
SSUSA Staff
3185 posts
NYGNYY ... The issue of allowing an 11th defensive player for the men's 65+ age division is not new ... It has been discussed and considered on some basis by the SSUSA National Rules Committee during their annual sessions in five of the past seven years ...

2015 • Motion to allow 11-defensive-players for ALL ages/divisions of play FAILED 1-11
2016 • Was on the list of potential Official Agenda items and failed to achieve Agenda status for lack of a motion
2017 • Was on the list of potential Official Agenda items and failed to achieve Agenda status for lack of a motion
2018 • Not mentioned
2019 • Motion to allow 11-defensive-players for 65+ age division FAILED 2-5 (with 4 others abstaining)
2020 • Not mentioned (NOTE: Zoom meeting in 2020 due to pandemic travel impacts)
2021 • Motion to allow 11-defensive-players for 65+ age division PASSED 12-0

Dec. 4, 2021
FOFO
Men's 60
275 posts
This is a terrible idea IMO. Think it’s a knee jerk reaction to Timberworks beating up the 65M guys while getting the extra fielder? Better idea would have been for Timberworks to have to to play by 65M rules any time they play down. Once again, only my opinion.
Dec. 4, 2021
Rich99
Men's 65
1 posts
It looks like it has been discussed with very little support over the years, what happened that it passed 12-0? I think if you ask most 65+ players they would choose 10 defensive player. One of the major rules changes we had going from 4-3 count to 3-2 count we had a chance to vote on it. Wish you would do the same on this.
Dec. 4, 2021
Dbax
Men's 65
2010 posts
Fofo is correct. This is all about Timberworks.
Dec. 4, 2021
Carterjam
1 posts
This is a terrible rule change. My question is why? After not passing for all these years what makes this year different. I agree if you ask most 65 players they are not for this. When a major team plays a AAA or AA team which happens quite often, not only do they get 5 runs but they also have another fielder. What is the logic for 65 year olds who can still move to have an extra fielder? I agree with Rich99. This rule should have been put to a vote of all of its members. How can a 12 person committee who probably no longer or has never played make this decision. This rule needs to be appealed and put to a vote.
Dec. 4, 2021
SSUSA Staff
3185 posts
The change was simply all about consistency and conformance with the other notable Senior Softball sanctioning associations ... Nothing more ...

ISSA • "In the 65 men’s divisions and up and 50 to 70 women’s divisions eleven defensive players shall constitute a team"
SPA • "DEFENSE: SPA will allow:
Men’s 65+ AA, and 65+ AAA = A maximum of eleven (11) players on defense
Men 65 + Major and 65+ Major Plus = A maximum of ten (10) players on defense"
USSSA • "TEAM AGE/CLASSIFICATIONS = 65+ & 70+ divisions get 11 players on the playing field."

Dec. 5, 2021
NYGNYY
175 posts
With this logic of consistency why not test it for a season at the AA and AAA?
Dec. 5, 2021
MC8
3 posts
This 11 man rule just doesn’t make any sense. This is a big change. A big enough restructuring that should warrant a better reason than “we want to be like the other sanctions”.
Has the scoring been too high in the 65 division? Has scoring our maximum number of 5 runs become too easy? Do you know why the other sanctions have implemented this? Is there a problem that is trying to be corrected?
The only byproduct of this change will be less at bats/runs per inning. Please give our traditional way of playing softball back.

Repespectfully, Bob Mc
Dec. 5, 2021
k man
Men's 65
308 posts
Not sure where I had heard the following in the past, but the basic complaint for having 65's go to 11 fielders has to do with the fact that for many SSUSA tournaments, the 65's are scheduled to play on the same days as all age groups 70 and above. That in itself would not be reason to change from 10 to 11 but the complaint I heard about happens when there are 70's in the same bracket as 65's. Example:

Suppose a 70 Major+ team is playing a 65 Major team in the same bracket. (Would also apply if 70M plays 65AAA or 70AAA plays 65AA). The 70M+ team and 65M team are both rated equal. The complaint I heard was that the 70 team has the 11 defensive fielders as per rules for 70 and above while the 65 team only 10, so to some, that in and of itself is an inequity.
By bringing 65's to 11 defensive fielders, that inequity (if you believe there is one) is solved for those crossover situations.

Your thoughts???
Dec. 5, 2021
IDon'tKnow 3rdBase
Men's 65
20 posts
I believe the problem of inequality occurs when a 70 team plays a 65 team and both have the same rating, say AAA. The 70 team has 11 defensive players plus they get five runs. That has been the double whammy that is unfair. Leave 65's alone with 10 defensive players but don't allow the 70's team to get both.
Dec. 5, 2021
k man
Men's 65
308 posts
IDK, I think you are confusing teams with same rating and teams of same division.
70AAA and 65 AAA do not have same rating but both are AAA divisions.

There is a rating index table under rules and 70AAA is rated a 3 while 65AAA rated a 4.
The higher rated team gives the 70AAA the 5 run differential in addition to the fact that they have the 11th man by virtue of playing as a 70's team thus appearing to get what you call the double whammy.

In this instance, the double whammy is eliminated by giving 65 teams an 11th defender
Dec. 5, 2021
breeze53
Men's 65
56 posts
Using the same thought process that SSUSA used when Timberworks were allow to play with 11 defenders and ruin the 65 major tournaments. Now the 65s, when playing a 60 team with the same rating index will be allow 11 defenders to the 60s 10.
So,I'm guessing that in a year or 2 the 60s teams will be force to use 11 defenders. Then the 55s, 50s etc.
SSUSA did not care what the 65s Majors players thought about playing a same indexed rated team but having to give a extra defender. They did not care what the 65s thought then or do the care now.
Dec. 5, 2021
TimMcElroy
820 posts
Speaking for myself here-
I reached out to a number of 65s managers in the east to get their input on the proposed rule change and ALL OF THEM were in favor of the 11th defender at 65s.

Some of their reasons-
* allows you to play with the same basic lineup as competing associations.
* any opportunity to keep us old guys playing (vs riding the bench) is a good thing.
* helps the defense as we don't have the range that we once had.
* attrition is real as we age up. Anything we can do to keep guys in the game is good for the game.
* a middle infielder deters the middle hitters

In the past, there was reluctance from eastern managers to go along with this because many of the 65s were still working and couldn't afford to burn vacation days all summer long. Over time, things have changed.

All of that said, I will say this- the rule change had NOTHING (repeat NOTHING) to do with Timberworks. We try to make rules that benefit the Association, not a single team.
Dec. 6, 2021
neck10
709 posts
About time now you can play by same rules in all divisions.
Dec. 6, 2021
NYGNYY
175 posts
Tim. Thanks for your comments and homework you did prior to the session. Did all the voting directors do the same? I wonder especially in the West.
I am having a hard time understanding how this passed 12 to 0.
Dec. 6, 2021
neck10
709 posts
Thanks a lot Tim I thought all along (which I totally agree with) it was for us!!!!!!!!!!!! Since we have played by this rule in other associations I am still using extra hitter & playing 12 guy's instead of 11.Let's another guy play.We play with 11 on defence(in our league)
& we also use the screen, I've seen to many guy's almost lose there head> If there's no screen pitcher has advantage with me because I will not go up the middle.I hit a pitcher in our league years back we had to stand there & wait for fire truck's ambulance & it seemed like hour's for them to arrive,not worth it. If I take the pitch for strike three at least the guy goes home to his wife & family instead of hospital for three days.
Dec. 6, 2021
softball4b
Men's 70
1154 posts
Change of Direction - This change will further go to protect the pitcher. Not as likely to go up the middle if there is a fielder 45 feet behind the pitcher. Pretty good hitters will still get their hits, adapt or see 150 point decrease in your batting average. Nothing burger the way I see it.
Dec. 6, 2021
Dbax
Men's 65
2010 posts
Mike, played this weekend with the middle infielder. It had absolutely no effect on hitting the middle. Our pitcher was hit twice and fielded numerous ground balls hit at him. Once again, they will not say it, but it’s about teams complaining about Timberworks playing 65 Majors.
Dec. 6, 2021
softball4b
Men's 70
1154 posts
DC you make my point for me, Royse made the plays because he is good up the middle. It will take some time before people change their stroke. Not saying there are not contributing factors known and unknown.
Dec. 6, 2021
gpump
16 posts
IMO, rather you are for or against it, this particular rule change has absolutely nothing to do with Timberworks directly, however, when a team plays down division AND an age group, the rules should be applied just as everyone else does . . . For instance, regarding the "situation" with Timberworks playing in Phoenix . . . They are a 70 Major+ team who chose to play in the 65 Major division. If I understand things, the general rule is when two teams from different levels, the game is played according to the lower team's rules. So, when a Major+ team, such as Timberworks, chooses to play in a Major bracket, they should play by ALL of the Major rules in effect . . . Again, IMO opinion, Timberworks should have played by the 65 Major rules, which should have taken away their 11th defensive player.
Dec. 7, 2021
NEW TEAM
18 posts
GREAT RULE CHANGE will help when you play 70 major teams
Dec. 7, 2021
Jimmy.p
1 posts
I am amazed at a 12 to zip vote,you must have been chewing on the same chicken wing or perhaps a full moon..SSUSA is a business you just managed to pi?? off over 60% of your customers, there are alot of issues, heres one just for starters, how about a team that's short on traveling players before ,11 was a short team now its 12, yes it does make a difference, we just played with 11 players ,lost 1 to injuries ended with 10 , if we would have had to field 11, we wouldn't have traveled 1000 miles to play,simply don't have enough players.I play most major ssusa tournaments from Vegas to winter haven.at this point the only one that seems happy is my wife ,I'll be home alot more LOL... Remember those words of wisdom from years ago,IF its not broken don't screw it up.Its not to late to get some player imput.they pay the bills and should have a say.thankyou..Jimmy p.
Dec. 8, 2021
JB Bronson
1 posts
11 players on defense is a terrible rule change. There are so many valid points made by those opposing this change. IMO, of course it is all about Timberworks.

If this were not so, Major teams would have been asked for input.
Dec. 8, 2021
neck10
709 posts
I'm glad to see the middle infielder,if we only have 11 guy's going to a tournament that's my fault not SSUSA,NSA,ISA or ISSA'S fault & most definitely not TIMBERWOLF'S fault. We play a lot of ISSA softball you get to play the guy up the middle OUR guy's arn't as young as the used to be.Im in favor for anything that will extend a player's career.
Dec. 8, 2021
NYGNYY
175 posts
How does playing 11 extend a players career? Maybe I’m missing something.
Please explain.
Dec. 8, 2021
TimMcElroy
820 posts
As explained to me by a couple of managers, guys are more likely to continue coming out for, and traveling to tournaments when they are actually on the field, playing (offense & defense).
Dec. 8, 2021
bkb555
293 posts
I am not close to playing 65s yet but an extra fielder may actually cut down on scoring AND make the games faster and closer scores...they are pretty close right now but defense will really be important, more than before.....it might have been better to have a trial period/test period for a couple of tournaments though to see how it worked....it seems weird that for 5 yrs, the votes were either no way or 4 or 5 votes for it and then it goes to 12-0....anyway, let's see how it works and do a reboot if necessary next December
Dec. 8, 2021
TAT22
70 posts
I think a lot of players are misunderstanding the new rule. Your team is ALLOWED to have 11 players on defense it doesn't state you MUST have 11. You could continue to play 10 on defense if that's what you want, YOUR CHOICE.
Dec. 8, 2021
mck71
264 posts
So I have been playing for a LONG time as most of you have been, what I have seen the last 10 plus years is the better teams play a 5 man infield (of course with 3 OF) so now you get an extra OF but you are almost 65 so would like to think most 65 teams would not have players who could play OF in a 3 man rotation all weekend. When you take bp, my assumption is you work on hitting holes, at least that's what I do so what's the big deal?

I do agree with Breeze in that scenario where a 65M+ team doesn't have anyone to play with and MIGHT have to play 60M but have to believe that wouldn't happen that often, I honestly don't know but that to me is the only negative I see. And like TAT said, you do have a choice.

I have heard from quite a few guys that play multiple associations that they sometimes "forget" that SSUSA only allows 10 fielders at 65, now they won't have to think they are having a "senior moment"! LOL

Bottom line, we all LOVE to play this game, as long as the rules are written somewhere (and enforced unlike a few of the threads I have read) than let's PLAY BALL! :-)

Happy holidays to all and best of luck in 2022!
Dec. 8, 2021
AKA: Southpaw
156 posts
I personally like having a middle infielder if he is competent in that position. It does keep batters off pitchers for sure but the primary reason for me is the amount of defensive excitement added to the game.

I took a pickup team to a tourney in North Alabama a few years ago made up primarily of tourney players. It was a local thing. We turned 15 double plays in 5 games which included every infielder making at least 1 (catcher as well). The middle infielder was Mike Jackson, someone pretty well known here in the South.
Dec. 8, 2021
Shortstop 13
1 posts
I couldn’t be more against this new rule. It seems to me that if a team is competitive and the players are in shape it changes the game. Why are we in such a hurry to change the game we’ve all grown to love.
Health is the only reason you should change the game! Don’t play in upper divisions if you’re not able to compete.
Maybe I’d feel differently if I were 70. I believe the committee is overthinking on this one. Maybe take a poll of players before adopting this rule. I’m just saying!
Dec. 8, 2021
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1386 posts
In I believe 2017 (Dave could better tell you from the agenda) I requested the rule change be considered because our local 65+ teams asked for it because here they play SSUSA and SPA and felt like the rule differences caused them to keep two different rosters. There was no motion; so I reported that back. I tried because of their request. As a tournament director, I have been ripped many times when 65 and 70 divisions had to be combined in pool play that the 70 team was somehow cheating when playing a 65 team even though in SSUSA, 11 is normal defense for 70s. I know that no explanation or rule book will convince them otherwise. Never has; never will.

That being said I do find it a little offensive that there are some incorrectly stating that the rule change was made to give a team an advantage. That doesn't happen. So your crystal balls are broken.

These are my thoughts only. You don't have to agree. It is still fun to play with kids your own age.
Dec. 9, 2021
softball4b
Men's 70
1154 posts
I could talk about people who post anonymously, rumors and innuendos, change vs stagnation, adaptation, but instead....Have a safe and happy holiday...I am so blessed to still be able to play softball and appreciate those who give me an opportunity to do so...Play Ball

Mike Adair
Dec. 10, 2021
FOFO
Men's 60
275 posts
I agree with you 100% Mike. Why do people post anonymously.
Sincerely
Chico Escuela
Softball Been Berra Berra Good To Me.
Dec. 13, 2021
pizzaboy
77 posts
Personally I think we should use 11 men in all divisions of senior softball.Use 11 from 40's on up.My goodness we're using the best bats money can buy,plus lively softball.Why not make it more challenging to get basehits.Just a thought from a bench warmer who gets to see a lot of action from the dugout.
Dec. 17, 2021
Montanapnc
4 posts
My experience as a left handed relatively fast outfielder on a 65 Major team, is that this rule will change the game we love for the players in a bad way. I have read the arguments for the rule and find it hard to swallow that it failed miserably and was not published for comment, before passage. I do not understand why when a team plays in the tournament in a different division, below them, by choice, they then change the rules of play for teams that had no say in them being in the tournament. Our traveling teams from the North, will most certainly, be attending less tournaments because of this rule alone. It left a bitter taste in our mouth but mainly because of the "Wayne" factor. The middle infielder turns one out into two because its so much easier to double up aging runners where without it, you can't do so. That player is in position to take the short throw and get the runner out, in a traditional double play, in a weighting that much outweighs the need. It changes the game as double plays kill rallies and innings. Instead of the one player adding an out, it adds another "cheap" out, that til today, did not exist. Give the extra player in the outfield, he only adds the initial out if he catches it, not the one before him in an easy double play. The game historically paid going up the middle and now, the historic way we have played the game is changing. Sure you can simply tell your hitters to never go there and fight back, but this rule change is damaging to the game. Slow runners will give up the game and not hurt their teammates because they are always double plays. I equate this rule to when they dumbed the balls down and players began to no longer enjoy the game and left in droves. I hope that Las Vegas softball sees this as an opportunity to take back competitive softball as its much easier to get to Las Vegas than anywhere in the country, from anywhere. I know that leadership intends well, but this is a poor choice. It is most certainly a poor choice at the 65 Major level.
Dec. 17, 2021
maskedman
Men's 55
49 posts
love it! should have been done long ago. hope it comes to 60s soon. 11 should be used in ALL softball.
Dec. 17, 2021
neck10
709 posts
I wonder if it was a big a deal when we went to four man outfields??????????? I remember playing three man outfields in the 70's.That's right it was called the short fielder at first!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dec. 18, 2021
OZ40
549 posts
When you play the teams you see all the time and if you really know their hitters, if you have fast enough outfielders, in certain situations you could play a 3 man outfield and have an 8 man infield ..... :-)?
Dec. 19, 2021
jca
2 posts
Who cares. More get to play the field. Maybe just a little less a hitters game. I would like to see them go back to unlimited arc to protect the pitchers.
Dec. 19, 2021
NYGNYY
175 posts
JCA. I care -getting to sit an inning a game helps when you get to Thursday play. Now we need 11 in the field to remain competitive.
I think with this rule SSUSA should get rid of the boundaries and open it up countrywide for players to play for whatever team they want to play for. I also disagree with your comments about fielding vs. hitting. At our age fielding is regressing a lot faster than hitting. Which I believe will drive teams and players away from the game.
Dec. 20, 2021
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
1386 posts
Neck10, I don't remember that but am so much younger than you. I definitely like a short fielder better than a 5 man infield. You hardly ever see that in Indiana. Merry Christmas from all of your Indiana friends. Bring a bungee cord for that gate please.
Dec. 21, 2021
neck10
709 posts
Nancy that was way back when u couuld keep the gate closed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dec. 22, 2021
Uncle Mike
Men's 60
121 posts
If you are a good hitter and there are 3 guys on 1 side of 2nd base- hit it to the other side where there are only 2. If you can’t do that, get a tee and a net- then practice hitting to all fields until you can.
In life we are always adapting to change, time to adapt again. Hitters hit !!
Dec. 22, 2021
DieselDan
Men's 70
500 posts
Uncle Mike. Bingo! (But, some players refuse to change their stance in the batters box. Almost as bad as infielders, who can't move laterally quickly anymore, will not go back 15' on the grass to at least get more force outs.)
Dec. 24, 2021
NYGNYY
175 posts
Merry Christmas
So based on the feedback above the rule change is to get hitters to change and infielders to do the same who have been playing the game for over 35 + years. Happy New Year!
Dec. 24, 2021
stick8
1951 posts
Rickey I vaguely remember those days. You might know better than I would but weren’t the majority of those games played on short fences?
Dec. 24, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 70
3727 posts
NY² ... Change is inevitable ... This unanimous 12-0 vote was simply, and only, for defensive consistency across (almost) all other association age 65+ divisions of play ... The only remaining difference now is nominal, at best, with two of the four SPA 65+ rating levels ... The SPA web site ratings list has exactly ZERO 65-Major+ teams and just FOUR 65-Major teams (Gonzalez Insulation, High Street Bucs 65, Promotion and Via Citrus) who currently play with ten defensive players ...

SSUSA and SPA are currently in preliminary talks about rules conformance in several areas, this 65-M+/M issue being just one ... The goal is co-promoting joint SPA/SSUSA qualifiers beginning as early as this Season ... We'll keep you posted on this one, but the earliest possible SSUSA reconsideration is 11± months down the line ... Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all! ...

Dec. 24, 2021
NYGNYY
175 posts
D2. Finally I hear from you and I appreciate the update. Merry Christmas
Dec. 24, 2021
Fabe
Men's 60
444 posts
Such a blessing to witness healthy debate n different perspectives being shared! Stay healthy n safe…. Merry Christmas, God bless. Aloha, Fabe
Dec. 31, 2021
Corn
Men's 60
22 posts
My alignment favors the 11th fielder. Another component of the equation: should the younger age brackets also consider the 11th defensive player? It seems the major division players are the guys who are the most consistent finding the ‘holes.’ Based in that rationale, should the voting bodies make it tougher for them to get hits? Just wondering if your feedback puts me in the twilight zone on this one—lol.
Dec. 31, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 70
3727 posts
Corn ... You're not out there in the Twilight Zone at all! ... If you are of an age to remember the Howdy Doody Show, you may actually be in the Peanut Gallery ... In the days of vaudeville, that was a nickname for the cheapest and ostensibly rowdiest seats in the theater, the occupants of which were often known to heckle the performers.." ... You're in good company with those who have commented in this thread as observers for the 2022 Season to see how this plays out ... The next opportunity for reconsideration is about 11± months away at the 2022 National Rules Committee sessions ... Happy New Year to all!

Jan. 1, 2022
Corn
Men's 60
22 posts
Wow—I’m 64 and Howdy Doody was pretty much passé in my time as a youth glued to 4 channels. This site is a great venue for people like me to get into items way above my pay grade. I will recompose a comment on hand injuries in the next day or so since my composition got blown into the abyss yesterday. Thanks for all your efforts to keep us all informed Dave.
Happy New Year Everyone🎉
March 9, 2022
Montanapnc
4 posts
I have played in two 65 Major tourneys with this rule. It sucks. It changes the game due to the double plays that are constantly occurring. The extra infielder doesnt just get one out, it gets two because the legs at 65 can't match the advantage given by the rover being in position just to catch it and double the hitter up. Changes the entire game as we have played it for decades. Not a fan at all. It might be okay with lesser skilled levels but its not a one to one advantage. Its a two to one advantage. Penalizes the hitter before the guy way more than the game intended. Not fun.

March 9, 2022
MurrayW
Men's 65
190 posts
Montanapnc, I think it would penalize the lesser skilled levels more than the higher skill levels. Higher skilled players should be able to keep the ball out of the middle and not hit infield grounders with runners on first.
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