2005 Special Report

I don’t know what is going to happen to the USSSA program for the upper levels. I know rumors have been flying around since the USSSA Class A Worlds. I can tell you there was a proposal put to the 19 teams who were at the manager’s meeting. The proposal was to put a softball conference together. Some of the proposal was to reach an agreement of the number of elite players to be allowed on a team. I believe this is the right direction to go if the upper level is to survive. I believe that if this program is instituted the game would survive and parity would come into the game. I believe this is the only way to go today. I will tell you for this to work the right elite list must be made. When this list is completed no player can come off until the next season. I can tell you if the list is not made right and some players are left off, the big money sponsors will grab them up and we will be right back where we are now. I know this, that if the right list is made then the big money sponsors would pick their five elite players and then they would have to go out and find seven players that are not on the list to fill their roster. I believe that this would make these teams have to get players from the A and B teams or any other players that can play at this level. By doing this, it would cut the costs down for all teams who joined the conference considerably. I believe by doing this we could have about 8-10 teams who could afford to play about 6 NIT’s in the USSSA, the Smoky Mountain Classic, and three other unlimited homerun tournaments on baseball fields. The six USSSA tournaments could be on the 300′ fields with a limited homerun rule. I would have two worlds, USSSA and the other association along with the ASA Major. I hope the USSSA proposal will become reality, but I doubt that it will ever get off the ground. You might ask why, and my answer is I don’t think there are enough teams interested in this program, we will see.

I know that the ASA is going to propose to have a Major program for 2006, no A or B, just Major, C & D. I totally agree that they are right in going this way. I believe if the USSSA doesn’t make the changes, that upper level softball could be totally dead in three years. Look at the NIT’s this year. Most of them had about 12 teams in them. I can tell you if the B & C or local teams did not enter these NIT’s we would have had 5 or 6 team tournaments. The Smoky had 30 teams in their tournament, 12 A’s, 2 Supers and the rest were B or lower. The Dudley had 32 teams, 12 A’s, 3 Supers and the rest B & C’s. The number of teams who traveled to NIT’s and World Tournaments this season were as follows; 12 USSSA NIT’s, 8 ASA NIT’s, 4 NSA NIT’s, 4 WSL NIT’s at the upper level, making 28 NIT’s in all. This year there will be 11 World Tournaments played. I want someone to tell me how in hell 14 upper level teams can play in 28 NIT’s and 11 Worlds. This is one of the big problems in upper level softball. Too many NIT’s, too many Worlds, not enough teams period. Take a look at the World Tournaments this year. ISA A-9 teams, NSA Class A-8 teams, ASA East A-10 teams, ASA West A-11 teams, USSSA A Worlds-19 teams, NSA AA-6 teams, ASA Major-3 teams, NSA Major-5 teams, USSSA Super-16 teams. Most of these Worlds are filled out with B, some C teams along with some locals, and that’s just to get the numbers that we got this year. I can tell you, if those B & C teams did not play in these Worlds, the biggest World Tournament this year would have been 12 upper level teams. I will say it again one more time, and I give up on this if nothing is going to be done. We need to cut down the NIT’s in upper level softball . This is just my opinion remember, but to save this upper level game the USSSA should hold no more than 8 NIT’s and one World. The new association should hold 3 NIT’s and the Smoky Mtn. Classic, and that should be all the tournaments for the upper level teams in 2006, just my opinion. Obviously, the teams cannot afford to play anymore than that. I say most of the A teams play about 8 NIT’s, the 2 Super teams play about 8 or 9, the A teams usually play about 3 Worlds Class A, the USSSA Super and some play the NSA AA and NSA Major. This year there were only 3 in the ASA Major. I say the upper level should be one division, call it Major, Super or A, but this is it, one division period. I believe that if this is done, the number of teams in the NIT’s would then go up with the 12 tournaments that I suggested. Most of the A teams and the two Super teams would play in at least NIT’s out of the 12 and you could get them all to play in the two Worlds, and the A teams in the ASA Major. If we did that in the NIT’s we could get at least 8 of the A’s, 2 of the Supers, 4 B teams and a couple of local teams and you would end up with a 16 team NIT, and that my friends is enough. Remember this, it’s only my opinion. I am sure there are others who also have theirs. Feel free to voice your positive opinions on the board. I’m going to give you my elite list that I think would be the right list, if by any chance the USSSA would go to the 5 elite players on a team. By using this list then any other players in the country who are not on this list could play for any of the teams in the conference if it goes.
Resmondo/Dan Smith/Menosse: Wallace, Bumgardner, Hall, Krause, Striebel, Rainwater, Turner, Glidewell, Bryson Baker, Dedonatis, Purcell, Kendrick, Garris

Bell Corp/Taylor Bros/Backman: Cocco, Helmer, Joerling, Beggs, Brown, Devine, Martin, King, Rick Baker, Hughes, Nastally, Davis, Robin Higginbotham

AM Las Vegas/Benfield/Reece/Belcher/Shade/Easton: Crine, Rulli, Lavarico, Wegman, O’Hara, Fulk, Habermehl, Justice

Team Stucco: JC Phelps, Mattox, JD Genter, Dykes, Golash
Quick Roofing/Alabama Brick/Doc’s/Easton: Bisbee, Chilton, Goulet

Aubrey’s/TPS: Boone, Arnold

Berardi’s/TPS: Ballard, Mouchinelli

Team Combat: McCraw, Howerton

Northwest Pipe: Hille

Barnes Logging/Worth: Stafford

Jean Shoppe/Worth: Heath Burns

These are players who did not play on an upper level team in 2005.
Rob Hughes
Ray Cowart
Ronnie James

These are the players that I feel belong on the Elite list, and this is just my opinion. Anyone who feels like putting their own list on the board, feel free to do so. If the program goes then any of the teams in the conference could choose any five players from this list, and then fill their rosters with players that are not on this list. By doing this I believe parity will come to upper level softball and there will be more teams to participate in the NIT’s. I am sure if this program is not put in place by the USSSA they will find something else to keep Bigtime Softball going, either way we need to make changes to survive. Once again it’s just my opinion.