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Discussion: My conclusions from 2 prior discussions, what are yours?

Posted Discussion
May 12, 2012
Men's 70
477 posts
My conclusions from 2 prior discussions, what are yours?
I conclude that safety rule changes for senior players should be evaluated by weighing the negative effects on the "game" with the potential benefits of less injuries, taking into consideration the age of the players in question. I give my conclusions to try to encourage more thoughts and ideas.
1. Double first base- minimal effect on game. Protects first basemen who try to catch errant throws from less skillful older
players and protects runner from tripping over badly placed back foot. Good rule for all seniors.
2. 2nd Home Plate with a commit line making all plays at home a force out. Eliminates all collisions at home, but does affect game since eliminates sliding into home and forcing the fielder to tag the runner. Good rule for 60 and over, arguable under 60. Remember, in a recreational league the catcher is usually the least skilled player.
3. Permitting overrunning 2nd and third. Especially early in the season when it is colder I see many pulled muscles by older
runners who won't slide but are forced to stop fast once they hit the base. Minimal effect on game, I say yes for plus 60 and
arguable under 60.
4. No contact by runner at all. Possible abuse by cagey defender who interferes intentionally. Effect on game, significant. Problem with umpire not enforcing or seeing interference. Can have serious injuries by older player inadvertently putting themselves in bad position. I think Ok for 70+, arguable for 60 to 70 and probably not Ok under 60.
I am trying to learn more about softball so please say whatever you are thinking about any of this. Thank You.
May 12, 2012
527 posts
1. Agree totally. Just before dlb bags became quite standard, 1st baseman sagged into me and we hit. I had brusied ribs and missed two weeks. He dislocated his shoulder and missed the season.

2. Totally agree. Slid into home in a league game. I was out and as I headed for the dugout, I heard the catcher moan. His foot was pointing the wrong way. Totally dislocated ankle/foot. It also eliminates the catchers who block the plate without the ball. It elimininates the Pete Rose kill the catcher collisions.

3. Not sure. Sometimes it is hard for the ump to decide if he was simply over running or trying to take the next base and tried to act as if he was simply over running when he knew it was hopeless to advance and would be out. I do agree that most of my pulls and strains in recent years have been trying to slow down. Mostly when I hit a gapper and am thinking 3 bases and have to put on the brakes rounding 2nd when I know I can't make 3rd.

4. This is hard to rule on with only one ump and especially if there are mutiple runners and a lot of action going on. I know someone will say you gotta be a team player, but I have chosen to slide to break up a dlb play but I try and avoid contact with the fielder (just try and make him worry about me). It just isn't worth it for me to send an opponent home with a knee or leg injury.

May 12, 2012
Men's 65
608 posts
1.agree 2. leave rule as it is, it works. 3. leave rule as it is, NO OVERRUNNING 2nd and 3rd. 4. leave it like it is.
May 13, 2012
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
833 posts
1. The only place that I do not see these are in church leagues. I agree they are much safer. The only thing that I do not like is that every association has their own rules dealing with the double base. I like the live ball appeal on the runner hitting the white; it causes much less controversy. Seniors are more likely to use the bags correctly, but again runner and defense rules sometimes cause issues. Last weekend I had a dead ball out because the runner was completely on the edge of the orange bag when the ball was pitched (thanks, coach, for taking it out on the player instead of the ump).

2. We only have scoring lines here. I agree either with the force out is safer. The only problems that I have are for umpires. We are used to going where the runner is for home. I have seen a couple of clips or collisions with a ruuner and ump. Also umps that do not know the senior rules are an issue such as one that we had in a tournament that the throw was wide; the catcher tags runner; ump calls them out. When I tried to explain the rule to the ump; they insisted that the catcher ran back to the plate for the force still before the runner crossed the line. I explained that was still wrong, and even if it wasn't introduced obstruction. Those of you that were there know what happened next. This is a really good parking lot discussion.

3. I disagree especially for those who also play tournaments because we forget and would do it there too when it is an out. This is also too diificult to judge correctly as an ump.

4. I disagree; this is why we have obstruction rules and are taught to make sure the ump sees it. There are avoid contact rules, but these are for flagrant acts by a runner. Many players think runners have to slide to avoid a catcher (not seniors), but the runner is supposed to avoid contact. The runner always has the right to the base path unless the fielder has or is fielding the ball.

The one senior league rule that I am opposed to is not on your list, screens for the pitcher. While I appreciate the intent, they are not used correctly here. The pitcher does not stand behind them after pitching the ball; they may cause a false sense of security for those that also play tournaments; the ump can't always see second base; it gets in the way of throws home sometimes. They are now putting it halfway between the pitcher and home because of those issues. If you need a screen, use the kind they do at the baseball home run hitting contest. I think pitcher protection is the only way to go. I know SSUSA tried several things before this conclusion, and it was the least disruptive to the game. This way the pitcher can decide to wear it or waive it.
May 13, 2012
Men's 50
2609 posts
Let me add one more rule to the discussion as well. Get rid of the run limit per inning. Baseball and softball are meant to be games where you earn your ups, always have been. To end a half-inning after 5 runs is absurd.

If is is meant to speed up the game, then eliminate the bats and get guys to show a little hustle on and off the field. If it is meant to artifically keep games close, that is up to the teams to work hard enough to keep games close. This is a competition, not everything is meant to be close.
May 13, 2012
Omar Khayyam
1243 posts
Gary19, I know run limits per inning is an issue with you, but what does it have to do with safety (the subject of this thread)?

HJ, I agree with you on #1. It is such an obvious solution to the collision problem at first base, that leagues of all ages have adopted it in our area. In our senior play, unless making the turn for second, a runner MUST step only on the orange bag to avoid a collision with the 1B's foot/ankle. To step on the white is an out!

I also agree with #2. I have seen more guys injured on plays at home than any other play over the years. This is odd when you think about it, since almost every inning has at least one play at first, and many in a game involve second base, but third and home seldom have a play. In senior ball, injuries at home only occur where the catcher is drifting back to field an errant throw (or to protect the runner steaming home from a wild throw).

On #3, our league permits running through second and third. It is so good for the knees, not to have to decelerate from full-speed (sprinting to second, for example) to a stop on base to avoid overrunning and being tagged out. The number of collisions seem about equal to me, where most tournaments do not allow it and our three-times-a-week does allow it. Umps get used to it, although I admit there are arguments sometimes about whether a runner intended to take the turn for the next base, or was just overrunning (where, unlike at first, the runner must return and touch the bag before continuing).

For #4, that's a tough one. I am occasionally asked to play first, sometimes second, and I am terrible at knowing where to play because 95% of the time I am a pitcher (or an outfielder. But because of injuries, I am not alone in having to play an unfamiliar position. Add to that the sometimes gimpy or overweight first baseman who can't get out of the way, and contact can often inadvertently occur. I would hate to be called out as a runner because some beefy newbie at first drifted into my running lane and I bumped him trying to get past him for a double. I would rather leave intent or severity of contact up to the ump, but admittedly, especially with only one ump, the call is missed—often not even seen.
May 13, 2012
Men's 50
2609 posts
Omar, fair enough. I was thinking it was about rules in general, but now saw where there is a safety theme to this. My bad.

Never, never, never should a baserunner always be held responsible and punished for contact with a fielder. NEVER! Just silly and ridiculous. Where is this game headed? =(
May 14, 2012
Men's 70
477 posts
I would like recreational players to become members here and tell your experience with the no
contact rule. Gary 19 is an absolutist on this which is fine, but he is also a Men's 50 player. I would like comments from recreational players on the no contact rules and over running the bases rules. Does it work or does it really just screw up the game as Gary 19 suggests? Are there less injuries? I agree with Gary 19 in the sense that if it doesn't prevent injuries then don't mess with the game. Please indicate your league age rules since as I suggest at some age more of this may make sense.
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