Recently Mike Kirchner posted a message that ASA was considering a
change to the men's fastpitch rule. I posted a longish reply,
stating, in short, that I didn't feel the proposed rule change would
be a good one. Like any long argument that is not edited, there were
both strengths and weaknesses in my post. Both have been commented on
both here on the net and even more so in my email inbox from many
readers of Al Doran's Fastball list.
(Al's Fastball List is an informal list of fastball/fastpitch
fans/players/coahces/officials, etc. where the subscription is FREE.
At any rate, I also sent a copy of my response to Merle Butler,
National Director of Umpires for ASA (or whatever his official title
Almost immidiately Merle wrote me back, giving me the actual story
about what is going on with that rule change.
1) The rule was also going to include a change to a new sized
pitcher's plate, 10x24 inches (and possibly 12x24 inches). So the
rule change we have been discussing was not complete.
2) The manufacturer was to have sample pitching plates produced so
that the proposed change could be TRIED AT THE MENS MAJOR NATIONAL
TOURNAMENT. So this change would not have been made on the basis of
discussion alone; it was to have been tested first at the highest
level of ball, and only if it passed that test would the change have
3) The mfr did not have the plates ready, so the proposed rule could
not be tried. SO THE RULE IS NOT GOING TO BE PROPOSED.
Merle also discussed his perspective and concerns he has about the
leap in general and the raising of the pivot foot off of the ***
(which essentially creates a 2-step delivery).
What I took away from all this was what to my mind is a very high
degree of professionalism being demonstrated by the ASA.
1) I send an email message to the national director of umpires of ASA
-- and a long email message at that -- concerning a rumor that got
started on the internet. This ASA official not only obviously took
the time to read what I had to say carefully, but he got back to me
immediately with a detailed explanation of what is actually going on
and requested my further input.
2) I have to say that I really was not surprized to learn that ASA is
NOT just making the rule and then seeing its effect later. But I am
glad to know more about the process: namely, that ASA would experiment
with this proposed rule at the highest level of ball, and if it passed
that test, then and only then would they make the change officially.
That is responsible (and responsive) leadership.
So for those readers (and posters) out there who like to complain to
everybody about the ASA, I say bite your tongue because in my
experience the ASA really bends over backward to be responsive and to
promote the game of softball on all levels. And despite complaints
about fees, ASA does their work on what has to be a quite limited
budged for an organization of that size.
[PGP: finger -l] A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its
redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make
himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong. Edgar Allen Poe