I will start the new year off by giving you a look at what 2008 will bring to bigtime softball. I will also give you a look at this year’s Top 10 pre-season rankings. I would like to take you back to the record breaking 2007 season first. The Resmondo softball team went 60-3, and in my opinion became the best softball team in history. This team had to do it like no other team in history. The Resmondo team had to play homerun restricted tournaments and only two all you could hit tournaments. Resmondo players had to adjust on 300′ fields and kill it on the big ones, and they did just that. The one thing that the Resmondo team did better than others was catch everything hit at them, and that is why they are the best team ever in my opinion. I’ve said it before when you have four shortstops, three centerfielders, a very good first baseman, the best pitcher in the game and arguably the best overall hitter in the game, along with the best defense all adds up to 60-3, bottom line.
The 2008 season will bring a big change in the game. The big question is who will be the #1 team in 2008? The change in the game will be in the ASA/WSL tournaments. A new system has been put in place for the Class A teams who want to play in ASA/WSL events. The big change is the A teams can now have two elite players on their roster from the ASA elite list. The rest of the roster can be made up of any other players in the world. That my friends is exactly how bigtime softball should be. There are 32 players on the ASA elite list. I personally wanted three elite players and any other players put on the roster, but it went to two and that is fine. There’s no reason for a major player list. The only list should be an elite list. I’ll give you a fine example why; let’s take a look at Team Combat in 2007 who had four elite players on their team and about four major players. Team Combat struggled against the better A teams, and even some B teams with those four elite players on their roster. The fact of the matter is, when a team has 11 or 12 elite players on their roster, the best A teams have no chance to win When a team has 3 or 4 on their roster a good A team or a very good B team has a chance to win. That’s the bottom line, like it or not. I know this, in 2008 every A team and some good B teams who choose to play in the ASA/WSL events will definitely have a chance to win some tournaments, and that’s how bigtime softball should be. They definitely have no chance to win when the two giants have 12 elite players on their rosters I know this, that if I was a sponsor of a Class A or B team I would want to play with this system giving us a chance to win.
The USSSA has proven in it’s Class A Worlds with a good ball, on the 300′ fields and the best A teams playing with an 8 homerun limit is the best game by far. I hope that the ASA/WSL will use a fair ball that let’s the real homerun hitters hit them and the ones who should not don’t. I totally believe that the ASA/WSL have made the right changes to keep bigtime softball going. I know that with the 32 elite player list, that would help about 16 Class A or B teams. I’m not sure that all the elite players will be used, but hopefully that can happen. I believe more sponsors will come into the game using the two elite players and any other players in the country to make up a solid Class A team. I think it will be interesting to see a very good bunch of A & B teams with two elite players on their roster. It sure is hell could make for a very, very good tournament. We will find out what it looks like in a few more months. I know this, it’s been a lot of years when two or three of the best super teams in the world are entered that any A team or below have ever had a chance to win an NIT when those teams are entered, bottom line. In 2008 the A & B teams will have a chance to win. I believe there will be about 10-12 good A & B teams who will have a chance to win with this new system in ASA/WSL play. Good luck to all.
I’ve been reading on my board about John Daniels Long Haul Trucking/Miken softball team. I can tell you all that I for one am glad to see John Daniels back in the game. I wish a bunch of the other old sponsors like Jeff Hague and a few of the others would return to the game. It’s just what the game needs. JD put a team together to play in the conference USSSA. JD’s team will be classified Major. JD has three elite players on his roster, Hank Garris, Denny Crime and BJ Fulk. JD has about five major players, and the rest have not played above C. I personally think that all super teams should get the best players they can get to compete. That’s just what JD has done to play in the conference. JD also plans to play in ASA/WSL events. He will go by the rules, which will allow him to use two elite players and any other players in the country, and that is going by the rules. That my friends is how it should be going by the rules I guarantee you there will be at least 5 or 6 more A teams who will compete at the ASA/WSL events using two elite players and 9 major players off the USSSA major list, and what’s wrong with that? Not a damn thing! That’s in my opinion how all associations should be, two elite players and any other players on the roster, that’s how it should be period. I don’t want to see anymore on the board about JD and his team. Believe me there will be 5 or 6 other teams playing just as good as JD’s playing in those ASA/WSL events. I would say it’s pretty simple guys; the two elite players is definitely in the right direction, the other 9 or 10 players on the roster can be any other players in the country; what the problem is that if you pick up two good elite players, you better go out and get 8 or 9 of the best players you can get to compete, don’t make the mistake that teams have been making for years carrying 4 or 5 catcher/AH’s, because I guarantee you can’t win. You better get players who can catch it, hit it and are total athletes, because that is how the game is today. You certainly don’t need 4 or 5 270′ homerun hitters with an 8 homerun limit. It’s that simple boys, do the math. I personally feel that the ASA elite list should of had 8 more players on it. Obviously they felt different and made the list at 32. What happens there is the rich can get richer without the right people on the list, and that is their mistake. If anybody thinks that the top 7 or 8 Class A teams don’t have all major players on their roster, they’ve got rocks in their head. The problem is the major player list that’s out there now is totally out of control, and the real facts are there should be no major player list, only an elite list in bigtime softball, bottom line. The reason for no major player list is you got people that should be on who are taken off or kept off for whatever reason, and you got players on the list who should not be on it. You might ask why?, and the reason is that you have state directors who never see these guys play, most of them having no clue as to who can play and who can’t. The best solution is the way the ASA did it, only the elite list, and that is all that’s needed in bigtime softball. All I ever hear is how players and teams sandbag and want to play down. Well with the homerun rules made in Class B ,C & D, does it really matter who plays down?, I don’t think so other than the elite players in the world. It’s just my opinion.
The Old Scout’s Pre-season Top 10
1. Resmondo/Worth – The 2008 Resmondo softball team will look a whole lot different, that’s for sure. Resmondo has lost Bumgardner, Beggs, Baker and Kendrick to Dan Smith. Resmondo will get Jeff Hall, Bobby Hughes, Rick Baker and Greg Cornell from the 2007 Bell Corp team. I believe that these changes will bring the top two teams much closer than they have been in four years. I think if you try to analyze this it would look like this. Hall-Bumgardner even. Hughes-Kendrick even. Beggs-Cornell even. Rick Baker-Bryson Baker edge Bryson. I give the edge to Dan Smith in the player movement. The returning players for Resmondo still will be a force.
2. Dan Smith – I look for this team to be very good with the addition of the Resmondo players. It will definitely close the gap between these two great softball teams. The return players from the 2007 Bell team will be very good, Helmer, Wegman I believe it will take a little time for the players to come together from both teams. Dan Smith will have the better offense, Resmondo will have the better defense. Base hit-even, power-Dan Smith, defense-Resmondo, pitching-Resmondo. I believe that Resmondo still has the talent to win it all again. I believe that Dan Smith will not catch it good enough to win. Dan Smith still has too many catcher/ah’s. I do believe that there will be some great games played in 2008 between these two giants, we will see.
3. Long Haul/Phone Masters/Miken – JD has put together a very good team. I believe it will take awhile to get this team to come together. Teddy Larson is the manager and has been there before and knows how to get it done. Garris will be a good leader for this bunch. BJ Fulk will have to hit it like last year. Crine will have a great year. This team will be very good on defense, might lack a little on the offense early.
4. Jean Shoppe – will be a force in Class A. I look for this bunch to repeat in USSSA. The Shoppe boys made a lot of changes for 2008, but still look to be very good, we will see.
5. Laservision – I look for this team to be a real contender for Class A Worlds in 2008. They have some veteran players returning who know how to win. They will have good hitting and good D.
6. GTL – Is another good looking Class A team, who if they play like they played late in 2007, they can be a contender. This is a very good team who has some very good players.
7. ABS – Is just another year older, but have players who know how to win. I believe they will be a tough team to beat in Class A play. They have a bunch of veteran players who have been doing it for a longtime.
8. FBI – This bunch will be a very good Class A team. They have made some player changes that look to me will make this team much better than last season, we will see.
9. Suncoast/Reebok – has looked like it’s put together a pretty good A team for 2008. Lee Trotter is back again as the player/manager. He has been putting softball teams together for a very longtime, and hopefully this will be one of his best, we will see.
10. C-Town – Was a top team at the USSSA Class B Worlds is now heading to Class A and will compete in conference play in 2008. Keep an eye on this team, as they have some very good young players who can flat-out play the game.
More to come in a few weeks and don’t forget to send your rosters and schedules for 2008 or you won’t be in the the Old Scout’s rankings (Major A&B teams only please).