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Discussion: Why have 11 on defense for 70+ teams?

Posted Discussion
Nov. 23, 2008
155 posts
Why have 11 on defense for 70+ teams?
Why do we have to play with 11 on defense? I suspect the original reason was to protect the pitcher -- but we now have the protect-the-pitcher rule. Or it could have been the lack of speed to cover the outfield and the need to have 5 outfielders -- but almost every team positions the 11th player as an infielder.

Batters donít like it -- the infield has far fewer holes, smaller 5-6 and 3-4 holes and no middle.

Defensive players donít like it -- it becomes very confusing at second base, often leaving one player in limbo.

Managers donít like it -- they have to recruit another player and deal with the second base confusion and issues.

Who likes it?

Should we go back to 10 on defense for 70s and maybe beyond?
Nov. 23, 2008
Men's 60
81 posts
I know this answer is sounding like I'm trying to be a smart guy but believe me I'm not just trying to understand myself.You say that you think the 11 on defense is to protect the pitcher? Does he play between the batter and the pitcher? if not I don't see where he's protecting anything except a base hit up the middle? Am I thinking correct on this or just talking?And I would also like to say I really enjoy seeing you older guys play when I go to a tourney I'm only 52 and sure hope I can still play like you guys.If the lord willing I guess I will!!
Nov. 24, 2008
59 posts
Mike, as you have never played in the 70 division how do you know what the majority of 70 teams and players really want. I think you'll find the majority "PREFER" the 11 defensive player option. Also, there is no setfast rule. If ,now that you are intending to move up to the 70's in 2009, you feel that this is not a good option, you can certainly play with only 10 defensive players if you wish. The option affords the team a chance to get more players into the game and it also speeds the game up. It was not ever intended to prevent hitting up the middle or protecting the pticher. It was instituted as we 70's are too slow to cover second like the younger teams. We have been using it for years and never have heard any complaints, except for a new team that suddenly finds they are going to be faced with a defensive player up the middle. You will soon learn to appreciate this additional player position, once you learn not to hit up the middle. Jim
Nov. 24, 2008
Fred Scerra
Men's 80
542 posts
I don't believe it is to protect the pitcher that we have an 11th fielder in the 70 and up divisions.
Leave things the way the are. The 11th player up the middle or as a roamer makes for a better game. We can't cover the ground that 50-55 yr olds do.
All the leagues I play in 55+, use an 11th fielder and I don't hear any complaints. In fact the players on the tournament teams wish that they would use the 11th fielder in the tournaments in the younger divisions. I play in one league 50+ that uses 10 fielders and even at may age I have a field day hitting the middle of the field which is wide open.

I get a kick out all these players whose criticize the 11 men on the field who have never played it. I play both and the big difference between the to is by batting ave is 100 pts higher without the 11th fielder.
I have yet to hear an honest legitimate reason for not having the 11th fielder outside of the weak excuse it changes the game which has been changing for years with new equipment etc.
Nov. 24, 2008
155 posts
Appreciate all of your opinions. FYI: I have played 11 on defense for the last 5 years in 3 different leagues and St George. I should have said the players and mangers that I have talked to have the opinions I quoted.

I'm glad to find out there are other opinions.
Nov. 25, 2008
Fred Scerra
Men's 80
542 posts
I can appreciate the opinions from someone that has at least played with 11 fielders. I do agree it is a different game with the 11th fielder. Hitters have to be aware of where he is and the defensive team gets to vary their defense according to the batter and situation. For me it makes a more interesting game.

Your point 1 I think is the biggest objection to the 11th fielder.

You point 2 - is always an area of disagreement. Some like the middle fielder right behind 2nd and some like myself use him as a rover. IMO putting him behind the bag at 2nd waste him as a fielder. Also as you stated playing him at the 2nd base bag leads to confusion at times as to who is covering the bag which is another reason I like him to play out on the grass. It gets him out of the way.
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