The Softball Thread 2009

Anyone else playing softball or slo-pitch this year? Maybe even baseball?

Tuesday was our first game but it had to be called because the city didn’t turn the lights on. Sigh. So we played our first game tonight and won 24-11. Yours truly came away 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI and very sore legs.

Come on, who else is playing ball this year?

I feel like breaking into the Theme From Cats.

Sixty years ago my grandfather and his buddies played softball together. Thirty years ago my father and his buddies - most of whom were children of grampa and his buddies - played softball together. Today my brother and his buddies - most of whom are grandchildren of grampa and his buddies - play softball together.

24-11 is an unusual score in leagues around here. What are your traditional rules? Awkward question - I’m looking at things like the 10 run rule, number of home runs before they become called strikes, number of innings, balls/strikes per inning…I know things like that are regional.

Standard SPA rules; 8-run mercy rule except in the last inning, no home run limit (rarely a concern in our league, as the parks have deep fences) 7 innings in timed games but 9 if not (which would only ever apply to a 6:30 start with no game afterwards) and otherwise normal slo-pitch rules. Pitch arc is 8 to 15 feet.

24-11 IS a high score; we had three straight innings in which we just absolutely mashed the ball, each inning punctuated by a home run. Three home runs is a lot in a park with a 280-foot fence but there was a stiff wind blowing out to left. Average score per team per game is more like 8-10 runs.

You went 3 for 4 in a 7-inning, 24 run game and only came away with one driven in? I can’t believe that’s even possible. You’ve got some basecloggers in there.

I moved to a new city late last year, and i’ve found that it’s quite hard to get onto a softball team if you don’t know someone on the team, and get invited. There are occasionally openings advertised on Craigslist and similar websites, but they generally get snapped up pretty quickly. I played on a co-ed league team in Baltimore for five years before leaving, and i got that spot because i was invited to play by a friend. I haven’t yet found a team here in San Diego, although i think that might change very soon, as a friend just asked me if i was interested in joining his team for the season starting later this month.

Anyway, lack of an official team doesn’t mean i don’t get to play. When i first arrived, i found a group of people on Craigslist who have pick-up games every week. During daylight savings time, we play Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings, and Saturday afternoons; in the winter, we are restricted to Saturday afternoons, because the sun goes down too early for evening games, and there are no fields with lights available. One awesome thing about southern California is that you can play all year round; we played right through the winter.

The quality of players is, for the most part, as good as the league i played in when i was in Baltimore. There are a few really good players, and a few complete newbies, but the vast majority of us fall into the decent-but-not-awesome category. The quality of the games is always good, and i like it because it’s a casual atmosphere. No-one is a control freak, no-one rags on the inexperienced players when they make mistakes, and the whole thing is a lot of fun.

Some days we get up to 40 people turning up, meaning that we pick four teams and play games on two fields. Most days, though, we get about 16-24, which is fine for a game. If we have only 8 or 9 players per team, then the batting team pitches and/or catches for itself; if we have 11 or 12 players per team, we either have 5 outfielders and/or sit a couple of fielders each inning. It all works out fine.

I do hope that a place on my friend’s team comes through, though, because while i love playing in the pick-up games (and do it at least 2-3 times a week), i really like the added pressure and tension of a league, and the camaraderie of playing on the same team each week. That’s one thing i really miss from my Baltimore league.