The 2008 season will be the first time in a long, long time that there are bigtime players who have been paid big money over the years who have no where to play and get paid what they’re used to being paid. The 2008 season also will have a whole bunch of players who haven’t got paid much to play that will be looking just to play for scrap. The big reason this is happening is at least three or four teams have folded, and a couple of teams merged. The game will need to get more sponsors for all these players, that’s for sure. I know many of the critics will say the game is dead. That may be true, but I for one don’t believe it. The reason the game is in trouble is because nobody did anything to make the right changes in the game.
I know that one year back in the early 90’s some softball people made an effort to drop the number of. major players from 11 to 9 and the following year 9 to 7. Two of the biggest sponsors in the game decided they didn’t want that and went to the association and told them they wouldn’t play if that rule was put into effect. That was mistake one, it should of been put into effect. I have said for years it doesn’t make sense to have one or two great teams and the rest of the teams can’t win. I don’t want to hear how it used to be back years ago. In the early years of the game there were always one dominating team. In the 80’s it was the same way, one dominating team. I know this for sure, that from 1990 through 2007 there has always been one dominating team. I also know in the early 90’s there were 4-5 very good super teams and one dominating. There were four to five good AA teams, and they were very competitive. I also know in the early 90’s there were about five solid A teams that were very competitive. I can’t believe that the people who ran the associations did not do something to even the playing field. I know that in the late 90’s the associations instituted the homerun rules to try to get the A teams more competitive against the supers. I am here to tell you the rules never did anything to level out the game. Take a look at how the game was from 1990 until they put the 12 homerun rule in, and also before 1990, but not quite as much. The game was the dumbest most ridiculous it ever was in those years. I can’t believe anybody would of let this go on the way the game was played from 1990 until the homerun rule was in effect.
The talk of the game today is how good the equipment is, and there is no doubt the equipment is very good. I know this, don’t you ever believe that the equipment in 1990 until the homerun rule came in effect was good, very good. The bats, single wall and double wall; the balls .47 core and .50 core were used; the fields 300′ unlimited homeruns; the players on most of the best teams 6′ to 6 ‘5″ 200 to 280 lb. players; infielders a lot of them 200 to 250 lbs.; one step right, one step left was their range. Outfielders; most of the good teams had two good ones; the third outfielder was 260 and even heavier on some teams. These big men hit softballs out of the park consistently. Scores of the games were totally outrageous, 150-180 runs scored in a game. Umpires on the field for 3 hours or more. I would like to know what skills it took these big men hitting .47, .50 core balls out on 300’ fields.
The game should of been changed then, but nobody did anything about it. I was asked once to call a tournament into the Boston Globe newspaper for Rich’s Superior. I called and the sportswriter answered. I told him I would like to report a softball tournament. I told him it was the # 1 team in the world Rich’s Superior. He told me he was not the regular guy who wrote about softball, that he was a beat writer for the Boston Red Sox. He said he would take the info. I told him Rich’s won the championship with the final score Rich’s 86, Shen Valley 78. The man said excuse me sir are you reporting a summer basketball tournament? I quickly replied sir forget what I said thank you for your time and hung up. I got back in my car and started to drive home. I then realized what the hell am I crazy? How could anybody report a score like that from a softball game to a bigtime baseball reporter. I vowed then I would never put a score like that in any report again, and I have not. The restricted homerun rule was put into play to try and stop these high scores, and it has worked. The scores now with the homerun rule have become respectful, and yes it’s a better game. I know since the rule was instituted the good class A teams have beat the best super teams on occasion each season since it’s been put in. The rule has made for more competitive games between the good class A teams and the best super teams. I also can tell you no A team has ever won a NIT when two or more super teams have played in a restricted homerun tournament.
I believe the only way bigtime softball can become competitive and have a level playing field is to not have super teams as they are today. I have looked at all angles as to how to get the game on a level playing field. I have been saying the game should put together a right elite list and have two or three elite players on a team. I certainly believe this is the way the game should go. The problem is right now there are only about five or six sponsors who would and could afford to do this. I don’t believe this program will work without more sponsors or the players will have to play for a lot less money than they do today. The year of 2008 is the year that players that have been playing for some big money will have no choice but to play for a lot less or get out of the game. I can tell you all, this is the way it will be in 2008. The only other way to level the playing field is to not let any of the elite players play. I damn sure don’t want that to happen. I totally believe that the best players in the world will get paid just like they have been, and that two to a team is the correct way to go. They may play for less, but that’s how it’s got to go. It’s pretty simple, the man who spends the most money and gets the right players wins most of the time.
Nascar was like that for years, not anymore. They realized that they better make the right changes or Nascar might be finished. Bigtime softball is in the same boat, level the playing field or it will be over very soon. I say to the class A sponsors, it’s time for you guys to make the right moves and be able to come to NIT’s and world tournaments with a chance to win. I believe it’s time for you A sponsors to not be the teams to get beat up by teams you cannot be competitive against. I know there’s a simple way to get the playing field even, get rid of the super teams, allow two elite players on a team, use the right damn ball for the size of the field and bigtime softball will not die. I’ll tell you all, if no change soon it will die. I believe the conference is good, but not with the two super teams. The other teams have no chance to win.
I want to give you a look of what I think will happen if they go to a two elite player program. Here is a fine example; Team Combat in 2007 had four elite players on their team, Garris, McCraw, Brown and Genter. Team Combat with those players struggled most of the season, not only against Resmondo and Bell Corp, but Shoppe, Aubrey’s, KME, the Scene, Woodlaw, Fencebrokers and even some B teams. The reason for this happening is just plain simple. You cannot have four or five catcher AH players in your lineup; you will not win. I say if you had two elite players and they were your catcher AH’s then you go out and find four shortstops, 3 centerfielders, a great pitcher and a decent first baseman and you’ll be competitive, anything other than that save your money. Do the math, the system will work when the two super teams are gone.
I knew that Bell Corp was not coming back in 2008. I thought if Dan Smith stays out of the game I believe that Travis would get out of it also, then we would have the game right where it belongs. We would of had 10-12 very good teams. Travis and Dan could of put A teams together, and these teams could compete against each other and anyone of the 10-12 teams would have a chance to win on any given weekend. That is how bigtime softball should be, not one or two dominating teams that nobody else can beat. I think the A teams need to take a very hard look at what could be for them. I know that one association is not the answer. I believe that there is a chance that one of the other associations will have a division which will allow two elite players on a team, playing about four NIT’s and one world tournament. This will be the best play for the very good A & B teams in the country. I believe they will use the six homerun hitters for the A teams and four homerun hitters for the B division; when A plays B four homerun hitters, when A plays A six homerun hitters. This was how AA was played back a few years ago and that was the best game ever. There will be more info on this new program for A & B teams coming out after the conventions. Remember these are only my opinions.
Here is a list of players that I know are with some teams, and a lot that are not with any teams. Some of these players may have already signed with teams. From Bell Corp-Tim Cocco, BJ Fulk, Todd Joerling, Dennis Rulli, Greg Cornell (with Resmondo maybe), Rick Baker (with Resmondo), Bobby Hughes (with Resmondo), Joel Ramos, Jeff Hall (with Resmondo), Scott Kirby (with Dan Smith), Brian Wegman (with Dan Smith), Scott Nastally (with Dan Smith), Brett Helmer (with Dan Smith).
From Resmondo – Jeff Wallace (with Resmondo), Bryson Baker (with Resmondo), Vince Bisbee (with Resmondo), Don Dedonatis, Jr. (with Resmondo), Kevin Gillott (with Resmondo), Howie Krause (with Resmondo), Todd Martin (with Resmondo), Andy Purcell (with Resmondo), Brian Rainwater (with Resmondo), Rusty Bumgardner (with Dan Smith), Dal Beggs (with Dan Smith), Jason Kendrick (with Dan Smith).
Team Combat (now Dan Smith-No Combat) Mark Weber, Brian May, Brian Higginbotham, Shane Hatfield, Greg Hartwick, Hank Garris, Jeff McGavin (with Dan Smith), Brian Justice (with Dan Smith), JD Genter (with Dan Smith), John McCraw (with Dan Smith) Scott Brown (with Dan Smith).
Aubrey’s has folded Kyle Decker, Greg Collett, Scott King, Roy Jarman, Clint Hiller, John Thomas, Shun Watson, Dennis Turner, Wayne Habemehl, Kyle Cowart (with Jean Shoppe), San Chez (with Jean Shoppe).
Fence Brokers, I have heard they have folded. I also heard that Troy Nance and Rick Gosser are putting a team together, we will see.
I have heard that GTL is looking to merge with some other team, we will see.
Laser Vision and the Scene are trying to merge. If this happens there will be 12 players from the two teams available.
KME has folded. Denny Crine, Bill Messina, Brian Martin, Tim Baker, Jimmy Carter, John Gallegos, Bryan King, Jason Chamizo, Aaron Fuqua, John Balley, Donovan Pokraka, Scott Janack, Victor Cordova.
Mooch, JC Phelps.
I am sure there are a lot of other team who might have folded and many players looking for a place to play in 2008. I would suggest that you run your name on the message board and leave a number to contact and you might get on a team.
I hope this helps out a lot of teams that are looking for players.