Has the ASA 18-under Gold Division served its purpose?
We've given this thing a try for three years now, and I keep wondering
whether or not creating this division was necessary. Why was it created?
Has it fulfilled the ASA's ideas of a new division?
I think ASA had a couple ideas about this. To "showcase" future Olympians.
To collect the "elite" of softball for college scouts. If I'm not mistaken,
however, I do believe both of these criteria were met when there was no
The REAL reason for Gold: To eliminate California, which has
dominated...no, a better word for it is DEVASTATE the rest of the nation to
such a degree that the rest of the nation has chickened out. California has
been the neighborhood bully for so many years, ASA voters in regions
outside the Pacific Coast Region effectively expelled CA with the Gold
Take a look at the scores from the 18-A Division Nationals in Minnesota.
Where are the CA teams? They were in CA...the West Coast clubs in MN are
largely 16-under clubs or BARELY 17. And the Midwest likes to think it is
"catching up" to California. Their 18-under teams are "catching up," all
right ... catching up to CA's 16's. Look at the winning pitcher in the Gold
championship ~ Amanda Freed, who is in all respects, a little girl. A
high-school junior. A kid who would smoke each and every team playing in
Eden Prairie. And the "trickle-down" effect has turned the 16-under
division into 14-under, and so on, as far as California is concerned.
People like Tim Adams, who are oblivious to the travel-ball circuit anyway
and have no room to comment, think California brought the Gold Division
upon itself with some kind of snotty attitude. The reality is that, instead
of "showcasing" the best teams in the nation, the 14 regions outside of the
Pacific Coast (CA, NV and HI) blessed the Gold because it gave them a
better chance to compete in the A Division. Rather than "catching up," they
create the illusion of "catching up" by making the best teams legislatively
disappear from their view. Ostriches do this well.
On top of that, the Gold Division is frought with problems I attribute to
ASA greed. ASA knew full well it would not be able to fill the 42-team
field spelled out in its rule book. It instituted a bogus "points system"
based on a team's finish in National Qualifiers to keep teams competing
each week. So, the weekly qualifiers continued; normally only a couple
qualifiers would be held in the CA region, but so many were turned back to
the ASA office due to lack of interest from other regions, CA wound up with
seven consecutive qualifiers in a season that lasts only nine weeks before
A perfect example of ASA greed is the tournament in Big Bear July 19-21.
Don't have the wrong idea about that wonderful place. Big Bear, situated
along a seven-mile lake and surrounded by a pine forest at 6,750 feet
elevation, is on top of the world and a perfect place to play softball
(unless you're an outfielder). I wish we could play there more often. Big
Bear is a madhouse for the skiing freaks in the winter. In the summer it is
a peaceful place and a gorgeous place less than an hour's drive from
Smogsville USA (San Bernardino), where you can cut the atmosphere with a
But, that same knife twisted in the backs of teams that were forced to
travel the windy road up the hill. What were the circumstances surrounding
this qualifier in Big Bear? This tournament was a qualifier returned to the
National office from another region. On the Tuesday preceeding the
tournament, ASA made the decision to accept ALL Gold teams into the
Nationals, regardless of how many points they had or had not collected.
Many coaches were informed of this fact on Thursday ~ the coaches that
already had qualified. Yet, teams participating in the Big Bear Tournament,
those that believed they NEEDED those points, were not told of the decision
until Saturday night, with more than half of the tournament completed.
Why? MONEY. ASA collected tournament entry fees from 14 teams ~ $3,500 in
all. Where did this money go? As a participant in ASA tournaments, don't I
have the right to know exactly where every dollar of the entry fee went?
And how about the minimal hotel rooms available? Who made out in this deal?
Not the teams participating, that's for sure. They could've used that money
traveling to Stockton for Nationals. They could've saved the money they
spent traveling to Lodi. Stockton (for regionals). Cypress. Las Vegas.
Corona. Yorba Linda.
Are you aware of how many parents of kids from California are flat-ass
broke? A bunch. I would say most of them. California teams and California
families are not rich. They're scraping by hoping that their kids, who have
special, if not unique, talents, can use those talents to make a better
life in an increasingly competitive world.
But, the teams from regions outside California are teaching the opposite
values; if you can't compete, then don't try. Don't try to better yourself
by taking on those who might be better than you, try to change the
legislation so that your inferiority is acceptable.
Roy Barnes, coach of Hot Stuff, ***ed at me that I complain in this forum
but don't attend any legislative meetings to make real changes. Roy seems
to be intent on keeping the Gold Division and as far as I'm concerned, he
can have it. Making rules, changing rules, eliminating rules, none of that
will solve the problems the Gold Division has. Gold is a Lemon; it cannot
be fixed. Roy's solution is to keep wiggling wires on a car with burned-out
headlights. Gold is like having bad brakes; instead of replacing the
brakes, Roy would reduce the speed limit so you wouldn't need the brakes in
the first place.
No, let's just send the faulty vehicle (Gold) to the scrapyard and go back
to what worked in the first place. ASA attempted to fix something that was
I am extremely disappointed in the attendance of college scouts in
Stockton. It was way down from '95. Way, way down. Many of the players in
Stockton had either signed, or will sign, with top schools. Or, college
scouts at smaller schools with limited budgets were unable to travel to a
small town in Northern CA. So all the scholarships available elsewhere are
unavailable to those who were in Stockton, because they have been misled
into thinking that playing Gold would be more or less of an automatic free
ride into college.
Was there something wrong with the 18-under division before Gold? If there
was, what was the problem? The problem was this: the same teams from the
same state keep winning. Take a good, hard look at Gold. In Year One,
Gordon's Panthers beat Hot Stuff in the championship. In Year Two, Orange
County Batbusters, coming off the A Division title the previous year, beat
Gordon's Panthers in the final. In Year Three, Gordon's beats Panthers Gold
(the third-place team from the previous year) for the title. Notice a
trend? No wonder the Midwest and East support Gold so mightily. Because it
is the same old shit, year after year. So let's kick California into
another area where it does nothing but fracture like a 7-point on the
Richter scale. The Midwest can hardly wait for CA to drop into the ocean so
it can say it is No.1.
In the A Division, I do believe the Top 5 finishers will be completely
different than the Top 5 finishers of 1995. And almost every state in the
Union is represented. In Gold, 24 of 36 teams were from CA. The other 12
were spread among six states. BORING. The lack of interest from other
regions has indeed affected California as well. NOBODY CARES, including CA.
Don't misunderstand my feelings about the Panthers. Larry Mays, who seems
to be a little kooky and obsessive but he still wins, this year did more
with less than he's done in a long time. The Panthers put together a great
season and they deserve the title of No.1. Not whoever wins in Minnesota.
They do not deserve a No.1 title in any respect at all. I don't care who
wins. Come on down and let's see how you hang with the teams that were
legislated away from you.
The failure of the Gold Division is the fault of the Amateur Softball
Association, one, and the fault of the Midwest and East pansies, who like
the crybaby on the street, own the ball and the bat, but if they can't win,
they won't play.