Is Slow-Pitch Softball Dying?

This article is a year old, but claims that slow-pitch softball has been on a steady decline. An ASA (Amateur Softball Assoc.) rep says it’s because baby boomers are retiring from the sport and the new generation is more concerned with getting their kids into sports than they are with playing for themselves.

Slow-pitch is clearly past its heyday of the 80’s. You had leagues and tournaments in every town in America back then. Now it’s hard to find competitive leagues. I know of several that have disbanded over the last decade. The league I played in 10 years ago is gone. The league I’m in now has dwindled from 14 to 6 teams over the last 5 years. Weekend tournaments are almost a thing of the past.

I suppose the ASA guy is on to something, but I also think people just have more stuff to keep themselves occupied now.

So, how’s the sport in your area? I know we’ve got at least a few other players here. Is slow-pitch still thriving or are you seeing the same kind of decline in popularity?

There seems to be less of it around here. I’ve played in some charity games in the past few years, but all I can do is hit anyway because my knees are in bad shape. I don’t see signs that younger people care about baseball in any form as much as they used to. The guys I know who were in leagues 10 years ago have aged out of it, or there’s no league left. I’ve heard it’s declining as a girl’s high school and college sport also, though that grew a lot over the past several decades.

Baseball in any form ain’t America’s pastime anymore.

Most ASA People will tell you that Fast Pitch sells the sport, but Slow Pitch pays the bills. There is still a ton of adult slow pitch out there. Many city parks play 2 or 3 games a night; six nights a week. TriPolar, you’re (accidentally?) giving misleading information about high school and college softball. Yes, it’s declining, if not non-existent in high school and college but that’s not because it’s going away… it’s being replaced by fast pitch softball. Fastpitch IMO is a much better sport for young athletes. Slow pitch is a sport where the focus is on being able to hit the ball and scores routinely get into double digits. A good fast pitch game score likely will stay in low single digits.

I didn’t know slow-pitch was ever even offered as a HS or college sport.

Two or three games a night honestly does not seem like that many. I mean, two games a night comprises a league of only four teams.

I’m mostly talking about competitive men’s slow-pitch, but I am curious about all forms of slow-pitch.

I’m still mourning the death of 16" :frowning:

I just reported what I had heard, so sorry about that. But I’m glad to hear it’s being replaced by fast pitch. That was more popular for both men and women in Pennsylvania when I lived there. Later I got to see Eddie Feigner and The King in His Court play against some locals (he was pretty old, so he only threw a few pitches).

Seems fairly popular in Chicago. I have a sense, just a sense, that baseball is declining and will continue to decline.

I play in a coed 16" league on Sundays, but it’s very noncompetitive. My thing when I’m keeping score is to mark errors on the scoresheet when someone makes a bad play. I make plenty of errors myself.

I’m glad to see it’s still surviving somewhere.
I can’t find anywhere to play around here.

I can only speak for the senior (55+) leagues. Here in SoCal, it’s immensely popular. Leagues abound. I play 4-5 time a week. Could play 7 days if I wanted. If there aren’t league games, there are tournaments. Here’s a link to just one of the many sponsoring organizations:

SDTim, I don’t know how it was in California, but here in Ohio slow-pitch softball was out of this world from about the mid 70s throughout the 80s. Have you seen no drop off at all since then? Of course, you’re talking about 55+, which is exactly the guys who were making it so popular in the 80s.

I probably *could *play 4 times a week now, but it would require driving about an hour from home at least twice. Even ten years ago I was playing twice during the week and tournaments nearly every weekend. I’ve been having trouble finding good leagues and tourneys lately.

While my article in the OP indicates that slow-pitch is declining somewhat in the US, it is apparently growing overseas.

I umpired a game for The King and his Court. It was good. Like you, Eddie was old, and only threw a few pitches.

Ottawa, Ontario, here. I play in 4-5 leagues a week. Lot of folks retiring, sure, but I see enough people trying it for the first time. In the leagues I organize through school and sports clubs, I’ve seen an influx of immigrants trying the sport for the first time. In particular, large groups of east Indians who can already swing a bat from Cricket, and just need to be taught how the whole base running thing.

I feel like soccer is a dirty parasite that’s leaching people away from softball, lol, but the sport is holding its own. As to the notion that people are moving their kids into sports rather than playing on their own teams, I’d say there’s at least four guys on my lob ball team that matriculated from little league, only to play softball on the same team as their dads. :slight_smile: