2002 Season Preview

I would like to write a little about where Big Time Softball is headed for the upcoming 2002 season. There has been a lot of talk in the past on the message board how Big Time Softball has gone down, and that there’s not enough teams to keep the game going. Let’s take a look at softball’s past. The game has changed a lot over the years with all the new technology of the bats, the balls and the playing conditions. Also don’t forget how much the players have changed, with how much stronger they are and how much more work they put into the games. It’s a lot different than in the past. Let’s take a trip back through the game; there’s always been a dominating team throughout the years, teams like Warren Motors who had a magnificent 92-2 record one season. Here’s a list of dominating teams from the past; Snyder’s Softball Club, Howard’s Furniture, Nelson’s Painting, Campbell’s Carpets, Gerry’s Caterers, Elite Coating, Smythe Sox, Steele’s Sports, Superior Appollo, Ritch’s Kirks, Star Path ,Ritch’s Superior, Bell Corp, Convertor’s-Vernons, and in 1995 Hague became the first AA team to reach the top, and Spectrum also played very well in past seasons. Shen Valley/Superior/Taylor Bros, Lighthouse, Team TPS, R&D/Easton, Dan Smith, Long Haul/TPS had the best AA team ever in the 2000 season and of course 2001 Grand Slam winner Long Haul/Taylor Bros/Shen Corp/TPS the best ever in my opinion. I have just listed all those teams who won Championships over the years and in each of those years they were never more than 3 or 4 Super teams, and the rest of the teams could not and did not win. The 3 or 4 Super teams dominated the game and one was the dominate team. That’s exactly how it was in the 2001 season, no different than in the past. If you look at the AA teams throughout the years it was no different then than it is! now, always a dominate team and a couple who were very competitive, and we always had some good A teams who competed at the Super level, no different then and no different now. That my friends are the facts. I will not get into an argument on who the best team ever was, because that should be the best teams of an era. No team ever dominated like the 2001 Long Haul/TPS team. A season of a 70-6 record, 17-0 in Grand Slam play, 12-14 tournament wins including the Smoky and the Twitty, and 10 of the 14 tournaments were played on baseball stadiums, totally amazing.

The game has made a complete change. The game has now gone to baseball fields with longer bases, which has made the game become more of a defensive venue, has cut down on the high scores, cut down on the homeruns and cut down the on/base numbers. The changes have made team management start to look at better athletes, who can play both ways and will make for a more competitive game for all teams. I think you will see better players come into the game with infielders who can ‘”pick it” and outfielders that can “go get it” and players that can base hit who are able to run, but there still will be a place for the “big bangers” who can hit the homeruns with stadium power, but there will be less of those kind of players. So I will end by saying nothing has changed other than there are more competitive teams and players heading into the 2002 season. There will still be the same number of Super teams as there’s a! lays been 3 or 4, and there still will be a dominate Super team and 2 or 3 very good teams that are close to the 3 or 4 big boys. There will be a lot of very good A teams who will be able to sneak up and “bite” the big boys every once in a while, which will make for a Great Season for 2002. I can tell you with all the mergers I see happening with the A teams we will see some great A teams who will be very competitive on the baseball fields, which is just what the game needs. The conventions for all the associations are coming up and they better take a hard look at the game, it is time for them to look for the betterment of the game. Here’s a list in my opinion of what should be done for the betterment of the game: 1. No AA or ASA Major play, only Super and Class A teams. 2. No Major player list, let the A teams have all the best players they can get to compete in the NIT’s. 3. Play all tournaments on baseball! fields, move back the bases to 80 or 85′ in Class A and Super. 4. Get rid of all the homerun rules in Class A and Super, you don’t need them on baseball fields. 5. Cut down on NIT’s so teams can afford to play between 8 & !0 NIT’s and 4 World Series’ 6. All World Series’ should have no more than 8 teams entered and all games should be played Fri., Sat. and Sun. with prime time games. 7. Please remember there are no more Spectrum’s, Hague’s, Long Haul’s, Pov’s, Budweiser’s that made up the great AA teams. It now has become a great situation with all the merging of teams making for a great A Division and letting them teams compete on the baseball fields like this past season when teams like L&L, Maroadi’s, Quick Advanced, K&G, along with many others who were very competitive when they played NIT’s and the World’s on the bigger fields and with the right ball and longer bases.