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Pre Season Softball Report.... The Old Scout

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The new year is here and it's time to get started on the 2009 bigtime softball season. I will start ...

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Old 01-22-2009, 02:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pre Season Softball Report.... The Old Scout

The new year is here and it's time to get started on the 2009 bigtime softball season. I will start out by giving you a look at the state of the game in 2009. The numbers are still going down as the new and the old teams start putting their rosters together. Bigtime softball has once again lost 3-4 teams who played in Class A last year. You might ask the reason why and I can only tell you the costs of sponsoring a Class A team in 2009 has risen to it's highest level in history. The economy is in trouble as you all know and it's going to take at least two to three sponsors on each team to be able to travel and pay the bills for the NIT's and tournaments. Mergers are taking place more and more every year, and this year is no exception. Remember every time there's a merger you lose another team. It's just too much for one sponsor to handle today.

Years ago the better teams played 10-12 NIT's and 4 or 5 world tournaments. The last 5 or 6 years the better teams played 8-10 NIT's, a conference championship, a class A world or B world and the USSSA world. The numbers have certainly dwindled because of the rising costs. The three super teams who exist today have plenty of money behind each team, Resmondo, Dan Smith and Long Haul. Class A teams GTL and Jean Shoppe also have very good sponsors who can afford to sponsor a team. The rest of the Class A & B teams need at least two or three sponsors to play. I know this year's conference will be made up of 3 super teams, 6-8 legit class A teams. I also know that they will list about 10-12 A teams, but the real facts are only 6-8 will be legit and the rest will be lower A. There will be about 22 other teams in the conference made up of class B & C teams. I still insist that the USSSA needs to break up the 3 super teams, let two elite players from each team and any other players in the country to fill out their rosters. Then we would have 10-12 very competitive teams. The conference would be able to have NIT's with 10-12 very competitive teams and fill the tournaments out with C,D or local teams. That my friends is the only way bigtime softball will survive, just my opinion.

I also believe that the USSSA needs to put together a regional schedule to cut down on the costs for the teams that can't afford to fly 10-12 weekends a year. I believe putting NIT's in these states would allow a lot of teams to drive and save a lot of money, such as Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvannia-- Florida, Georgia, Alabama-- Ohio, Kentucky, Tennesee-- Minnesota, Wisconsin,Illinois--California, Nevada,Washington State-- Arkansas,Louisiana,Texas--Maryland,Virginia,North Carolina. Twenty one NIT's put in the best cities of these states I named and you will have a perfect situation for a lot of teams in this country to save money, just my opinion. A lot of the teams could drive to 3 or 4 NIT's and then maybe fly to a couple. This would make a lot of sense. I know it's time to cater to the sponsors, coaches and players. I also know Don is doing his best to make this work.

I now will write a little about some of the teams for the 2009 season.

#1. Dan Smith will be the team to beat again in 2009. This team will be about the same as last years. Bryson Baker has left, but Rick Baker has come back to Smith. I believe this will hurt Resmondo real bad, we will see. I believe Smith still has the people to get it done. I know this the man with the most USSSA World championships Rusty Bumgardner with nine rings and Jason Kendrick with seven rings know how to win and get it done. Baker will definitely shore up their outfield. I also believe this team will have the best offense and will be much better defensively. The Smith team will also have the most power again and with Nastally pitching they are solid. Helmer, Wegman,Bumgardner,McCraw,Brown,Kirby,Justus,Kendri ck,Beggs and Baker make for an awesome team. They can base hit it and surely hit for power. Good luck and see you all in Florida.

#2 Resmondo will be the runnerup team again in 2009. Resmondo lost last year because Wallace was not healthy and played hurt most of the season and it really showed in the worlds, as Wallace did not hit at all and only hit one homerun in the worlds. Rainwater was also hurt in the worlds and he did not hit. The biggest problem for Resmondo was the pitching of Andy Purcell who could not get people out like he had in the past, and way too many walks. Andy had his best offensive season of his career, that's for sure, but struggled on the mound. The big question for the 2009 Resmondo team is will Wallace come back? will Andy get people out? I believe the biggest problem is going to be their outfield. This is how it looks now, Hughes in left, Rainwater in center, BJ Fulk in right. Hughes is not a left fielder, Rainwater can play center, Fulk cannot play the outfield in bigtime softball period, but can hit with the best of them. Martin will need to come back healthy and how much has he got left? short stop Dedonatis is solid. Baker, great hitter & good defense, Connell, the best young hitter in the game, fair at second base. Krause, how much has he left. Wallace & Purcell will have to step it up or Resmondo will struggle to hold on to second place. I had said in 2006 & 2007 that I thought that the Resmondo team was getting too old and they shut me up by winning. In 2008 I did not call them old and they lost. I will say again in 2009 they are too old, we will see. I have called Resmondo's team old and also other teams and players the same over the past few years.

Let's take a look at some of the old, Wallace, age 40 (1st bad season beginning to get hurt). Bumgardner age 40 (three straight seasons not up to his standards, but got hurt 2006-2008).Martin age 40 ( not up to his standards,but got hurt 2005-2008) Kendrick age 40 (not up to his standards in 2008, but got hurt). Hall age 40 ( not up to his standards, but got hurt 2008) Garris over 40 (not up to his standards, but got hurt 2008), McCraw (not up to his standards 2008, but got hurt) Helmer 2008 (not up to his standards, first bad season) Krause (not up to his standards 2008, but got hurt) Brown (not up to his standards, still young, but got hurt) Rulli over 40 still going strong, Phelps over 40 still going strong, Nastally close to 40 still going strong,Joerlling over 40 great player, maybe 2008 may be his last season. That's a look at some of the best players in the game getting older

#3 Long Haul will be the #3 team to start the 2009 season. John Daniels has decided to put together another super team in 2009. John hired Gary Jost to run the ship, and Ted Larson will be his coach. The management has made wholesale changes for 2009. Gone are Garris, Crime, Dress, Messina, Fulk, Reckart, O"hara & Hatfield. Pickups are Hall, Phelps, Robo, Matt King, JD Genter, three pickups from Rope Club their shortop, pitcher and a utility guy. Return players, Buck, Hartwick, Robbins & Eisenhower. I look for this team to be very good after about four NIT's. I think it will take awhile to come together. The big question is can Robo, King, the three guys from Rope Club get it done at the super level, we will see. I like their top five hitters, but maybe short the rest of the lineup. I think their defense will be very good. Hall will have to show leadership. Phelps and Genter must keep up their hitting. I believe if the top five hit like they can, this team will give Smith and Resmondo fits all season long. Good luck see you down the road.

#4 GTL looks to me to be a real force to tke the #1 spot in class A in 2009. This team can hit, has good power and will play very good defense. They will have to replace the power and hitting of JC Phelps and that won't be easy, we will see.

#5 Jean Shoppe once again will be in the battle for the class A title this season. The problem with this team this year will be that they have to replace it''s whole outfield, and that won't be easy. I can tell you all though Larry and the management always seem to get the right people to make it work, we will see. It should be an interesting season for this bunch, but I believe they'll put it together and compete against the big three.

#6 Suncoast/Rebok will have another competitive team in 2009. I said last year Lee put together his best Suncoast team ever. I believe this year with the addition of Randall Boone and a couple of other very good players, this team will be better than last year. I'm looking forward to seeing how much better this team will be in 2009. Good luck guys and I'll see you down the road. I will give you more info about other teams when I start getting more rosters in.

I'm going to do the stats again in 2009. The USSSA will keep the stats for all the conference teams. Bill will keep up with the conference stats also. I'm asking Bill to do some more work for me in 2009, as I put a new stats program together for the top 6-8 super and class A teams only. As of right now Smith, Resmondo, Long Haul, GTL, Jean Shoppe, & Suncoast will be in the program. When I see all the rosters any other team I feel should be in the program I'll add them. The stas from this program will be from games played from the teams I named from conference NIT's, USSSA conference championships and USSSA worlds. I always thought this is the way the stas should be done. jerome agreed with me when he was alive, but it would take a lot of time and he didn;t want to do it. I know this, when the best teams play against each other I'll bet you we will see a lot of different numbers when these stats are totaled. It should be interesting.

I will give you a look at the best on base hitters over the last 20 years. These guys I name have had over 740 or higher OB numbers throughout most of their careers. Remember the homerun limit in NIT's came into play in 2002 and made players change their way of hitting. The players who played with the hr limit had to hit it backside and keep it in the park, a different game from 2002 to the upcoming season. The game had unlimited homeruns from the start to 2002. The last year 2001 Hank Garris hit 228 homeruns and broke the all time record in qualifying and world tournament play in one season. In 2002 the homerun leader in limited homeruns tournaments was Jeff Wallace who hit 150. The numbers have gone down considerably in the season homerun limited tournaments. 2003-128, 2004-103, 2005-98. You can see what the limited homerun tournaments did to the numbers. Looking at the list I made you will see that a lot of the players I named were bigtime homerun hitters and that helped them carry bigtime OB #'s. The OB numbers went down with the limited homerun game. I know the limited homerun rule was the right way to go on the 300' fields. The scores from 1990-2001 were averaging 80-120 runs per game. The games were 3 hours long. Then the limited game came into play and the games went to 50-60 runs per game to 1 1/2-2 hours long. When the game is played on the baseball fields with 80' bases the games are 11/2 to 2 hours long. This speeds up the game and I believe on the 300' fields 70' bases would also speed up the game and the players would make more play. I know this for sure there was no way the people to be should of let softball be played like they did in the late 80's and early 90's. The early 90's with 50 core balls, good bats on 300' fields, 100-120 runs per game, 3 to 4 hrs. with umpires on the field in 90 degree temps. for that long just made no sense. I'm here to tell you it's time to make changes, improve the game and you will save the game. The best games in the world are played in the world tournaments on baseball fields, with 80' bases period. There are lots of baseball fields to use, go get them.

Player OB list for the last 20 years

Jeff Hall, Brett Helmer, Jeff Wallace, JC Phelps, Rusty Bumgardner, Hank Garris, Dirk Androff, Dewayne Nebitt, Carl Rose, Wendall Rickard, Todd Martin, Todd Jerling, Dan Schuk, Britt Hightower, Dewayne Frizzel, Mike Macenko, Charles Wright, Jim Fuller, Ricky Huggins, Rich Weiterman, Craig Elliott, Jimmy Powers, Randall Boone, Johnny McCraw, Ron Parnell, Dale Beeler, Larry Fredieu, Jasonm kendrick, Crusher, Bruce Meade. I may have missed some, but these guys were awfully good.

Top 10 Homerun Leaders who led the country in homeruns from 1998-2008

Hank garris-1998, Hank Garris-199, Hank Garris-2000, Hank Garris-2001
Jeff Wallace-2002-,Jeff Wallace-2003, Jeff Wallace-2004
Jeff Hall-2005
Jeff Wallace-2006
BJ Fulk-2007
JC Phelps-2008

This is my opinion, the best tournaments and games played are as follows:

Class A USSSA Worlds at Disney (llive ball, small fields, 8 homerun limit, have to hit it down and use their homeruns smart)

The Conference Championship Kissimme, Fla. winter home of the Houston Astros. (great place to play, need to use lesser ball, 80' bases giving the A & B teams a chance)

The USSSA Worlds at Disney (the classiest place of all, need to use 80' bases will make for a better game for the Class A & B teams.

WSL North American Championships Panama City Beach, Fl. Frank Brown Park (the best conditions of any worl tournament in the world for class A teams, the fields 330' all the way around, 80' bases, they use the right ball, 8 homerun limit, the most competitive world tournament in the world, none better, the reason why are the conditions)

Good luck to all the teams and their sponsors in 2009. Remember these are all just my opinions.

Until next time The Old Scout

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Old 01-22-2009, 03:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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just got my tee shirt i won from the old scout...woo hoo
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