Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Co-Ed Softball Rules Are Almost Too Efficient to be Fun

Recently I joined my church's co-ed softball league after not having played in over 15 years.  Not expecting the rules to have changed any over the years I thought I would be able to pick right up where I left off.  Boy was I wrong.  There were so many changes I spent half of the first game getting accustomed to most of them.

Back when I played the last time, which was in Wisconsin, the basic rules included:
  • You get 2 strikes and 3 balls;
  • There was no "mercy rule";
  • You played either 9 or 10 players, depending on whether or not you wanted a deep shortstop;
  • The strike zone consisted of solely the carpet behind the plate, everything else was a ball;
  • When running to first you are required to step on the orange bag (basically first base had two bags)

Other than that everything was pretty standard.

Some of the changes I discovered were:
  • The strikes and balls part is pretty much the same, they just have a different take on it, thus you began each at bat with 1 ball and 1 strike;
  • There is now some rather convoluted mercy rules that basically prevent the game from being a complete blowout;
  • You play 10 players;
  • The strike zone now includes the plate and the carpet behind it;
  • First base still has the double bag and you are required to run and step on the orange one;
  • There are now two additional things to worry about when rounding third for home:  First, there is a line perpendicular to the base line about two-thirds of the way toward home plate.  The purpose of this is if the person intending to make a play home does not have possession of the ball by the time the runner has crossed that line they must get out of the way.  Second, regardless of what is happening at home plate, the runner must run wide to the right and if they cross a line that is running straight off of the first base line to the backstop, prior to the catcher having possession of the ball they are safe.  If they step on home plate they are out.
  • The game, regardless of what is going on, has a time limit.  So if you have not completed the normal 7 innings in the time allotted the game is over anyway and the team with the most runs wins.
  • If a batter is walked without any strikes counted against him he can take two bases if the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter is aligned with Mars.  Just kidding, the rule actually states that if you are walked without any strikes against you you get to take two bases if there is no one on first or second, and if there is a woman in the line-up behind you.
Now I understand some of the rules were implemented for safety reasons.  After all if you have a sprightly woman at home plate waiting for the ball to be thrown to her, you don't want some 250lb behemoth bowling into her to ensure he gets the run.  And I get that we want to make sure that the game does not last forever, but do we really need all this rules allowing extra bases on walks, increasing the strike zone, and the two different rules for making sure you don't run into anyone at home?  These last two just seem redundant.  I mean if the runner is going to be required to run to the right of home plate and cross the provided line why bother having the other line farther up the third base line?

These could just be differences between league rules developed independently in California than what is being used in Wisconsin.  Of course Wisconsinites aren't afraid of a few minor injuries, and we don't mind taking a little extra time to play a sport if we are having fun and want to actually finish the game.

Ah well, I have embarked on this little journey and will see it through.  Hopefully our team will be able to build on our last win and become a contender for the tournament at the end of the season.

Wish us luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment