July 17 update

Survey Status

Most of us received survey forms last week. The goal is to involve as many people as possible in some of the decisions our commissioners make. If you play in just one division, you should have received a form marked “Juniors only” or “Seniors only.” If you play in both divisions, you should have received one marked “Both divisions.” Please turn those in to your manager this week. Mark Witkowski will collect them so we can compile the results.

Play-off Schedule – Juniors

In the junior division, the final day of the regular season is Thursday, July 27. On the next Tuesday, Aug. 1, the double-elimination tournament will begin.

On Aug. 1, in Game 1, the third and fourth seeds will play at 6:30, as will the second and fifth seeds in Game 2. The winner of Game 1 will meet the first seed at 7:30 in Game 3.

On Aug. 3, in Game 4, the winners of Games 2 and 3 will play at 6:30. Also at 6:30 matchup, in Game 5, the losers of Games 1 and 2 will play. At 7:30, in Game 6, the loser of Game 3 will play the winner of Game 5. By the end of this day, two teams will be eliminated.

On Aug. 8, in Game 7, the loser of Game 4 will play the winner of Game 6 at 7:30. That eliminates a third team.

August 10 will be our championship day. The winners bracket team, the winner of Game 4, will play the losers bracket representative, the winner of Game 7, at 6:30. If the losers bracket team wins, it will force a second final game at 7:30. The winner will be our champion.

Play-off Schedule – Seniors

In the senior division, the regular season ends on August 8. We have decided on a four-team double-elimination format. The fourth- and fifth-place teams will meet in a play-in game at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 to decide which team will be the fourth seed.

The tournament begins Aug. 15 with the first and fourth teams in Game 1 and the second and third seeds in Game 2 at 5 p.m. At 6:30, the winners of Games 1 and 2 meet in Game 3 while the losers of Games 1 and 2 meet in Game 4.

On Aug. 17, in Game 5, the winner of Game 4 will play the loser of Game 3 at 6:30 to determine the losers bracket representative.

August 22 is the championship day. In Game 6, the winners bracket team plays the losers bracket team at 6 p.m. If the losers bracket team, a Game 7 will follow.

Home Run Derby

Rain forced the postponement of our annual Home Run Derby. The new date is Wednesday, Aug. 9, at the IUSB field at South Bend’s Memorial Park.

               On-site registration will begin at 6 p.m. with the competition starting at 6:30. Our goal is to complete the contest in four rounds. The first elimination will be of players who fail to hit a home run in 10 tries. The second round will require two home runs in six swings. In the third round, we will select a final three with the most home runs in six swings.

               In the final round, batters will get one swing to hit a home run to keep themselves in the running. A champion will be declared when only one batter hits a home run and the other one or two do not.

The on-site entry fee is $10. Advance registration is $8, payable to Ken Bradford on Aug. 8 or before. Batters will receive a hot dog and an entry into a 50-50 drawing. Spectators can pay $5 for a hot dog and a drawing ticket. Additional tickets will be $2.

               We hope for good weather and a nice crowd.

Exhibition Game against MAL

Mike Fair has done the work – raising funds and choosing teams – for two exhibition games against an all-star team from the Mishawaka league on Wednesday, July 26, at Normain Park.

Mike’s teams include players who are among the best in our two divisions. Mike is managing the junior team with Gary Marcus managing the seniors and Al Nutting helping with coaching.

The rosters are Farron Lubbers, Joe Gambill, Adam Kroemer, Jose DeLeon, Bob White, Mike Fair, Tod Moorhead, Derek Dieter, Rodney Smith, Dan Murphey, Art Krop and Dale Coleman for the juniors, and Farron Lubbers, Bob White, Tod Moorhead, Derek Dieter, Bob Knight, Don Torok, Gary Duddleson, Dennis Hartsell, Johnny Albers, Jimmy Arnett, Billy Schell and Dale Coleman for the seniors.

Most likely, you have friends and teammates on those two squads. Quite likely, you’ll see familiar faces on the Mishawaka team as well. We hope it’s like a good family reunion.

This isn’t really a Michiana Senior Softball League event. These are Mike’s teams and they’re backed by money he’s raised. We’re grateful for his initiative. Without guys like Mike, events like this will not be possible.

Please consider attending these games and cheering for our guys. The seniors start at 6 with the juniors scheduled at 7:30. If this succeeds, we may be able to add it to our budget for future seasons and involve more people.

A final word… speaking as an ump…

Part of my nature as a player has been to argue with umpires when a call seems wrong. Since putting myself in his shoes I’ve stopped doing that. All umpires make mistakes, just as I’ve made outs as a batter, dropped balls in the field and missed strike zones as a pitcher. I try to forget my errors and move on, and we all need to let umpires do the same.

Rarely does one call affect a game’s final outcome and even more rarely does one game’s outcome affect the lives of those involved. In the end, almost no one will remember the result, but everyone will remember if I’ve lost my temper and treated others badly.

In one-ump leagues, some plays are almost impossible to call. For example, if runners are on first and third with a deep fly to left field, we watch the ball touch the left-fielder’s glove and the third-base runner’s foot leave the bag. If the runner on first base is tagging up and leaves early, most likely we aren’t going to see it. Anyone knowing this can cheat. If you have integrity and want the respect of others, you won’t.

Another tough call is on a sweeping tag of a runner in the baseline. Often, if the runner is behind the fielder when the tag is made, the umpire’s view is screened from the play. Unless there is a physical reaction – the runner is knocked off-stride or screams in pain – the ump may not know for certain that the tag was made. It’s a judgment based on available evidence.

 What we can do as players is to encourage umpires to work harder. On a close call, it’s fair to ask me if I was in a good position to see the play. It’s a reminder that I need to get out from behind home plate and to work a little harder for my $27.

But if I can say, as an umpire, this is where I was, this is what I saw and this is what I called, that should end the discussion.

Two teams come to these fields to play softball, not to watch two men argue.

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