ASA Men's Fastpitch Rule Change

ASA Men's Fastpitch Rule Change

Post by Steven M. Wils » Tue, 09 Sep 1997 04:00:00


This thread just started on Rec.sport.officiating.  I realized that
many of the people who would be most affected by this proposed rule
change would not be officials but players, and thus many read only
this group rather than r.s.o.  Since I failed to cross-post my initial
reply, I have copied over part of Mike's message as well as my
response.  So please pardon me r.s.o readers who have already seen
this.

If other people have opinions concerning this issue, then please
cross-post your message both to rec.sport.softball and to
rec.sport.officiating, and email a copy to Mike Kirchner,

forward them to Tony Walsh of ASA National Staff.

Steve Wilson

-----


Quote:

> Just finished up the ASA Men's B FP National held over the Labor Day
> weekend in Kissimmee, FL.  The UIC was Tony Walsh, an Instructor at
> the Advanced National School as well as a National Staff member.  He
> also is on a committee that looks at new rules.  Something that has
> been considered on and off again is a change to the pitching rule
> for Men's FP.  What is being considered is a change to require the
> men to start with both feet in contact with the pitching plate, no
> backward step, and no leap - only a drag as allowed for women.  The
> intent is to get to a rule that is simply stated, easily understood,
> and straight-forward to enforce.

Where does one start with this?!

I would be surprised if Tony were any type of supporter of this rule
change, especially since in this case he has some power to help
prevent it!  I remember his response last year when ISC decided to
change their rule and asked his opinion on it.  ISC was merely
removing the pitcher's ability to slide his foot back on the ***
(which ASA allows, provided that contact is maintained) when taking
the step to the rear.  The forward movement and delivery was still the
same.  Tony said he thought that was a bad change; that the men
wouldn't like it because as he said "they just want to play ball."
ISC went through with it any way.  Apparently Tony was right and ISC
was wrong, because when the umpires enforced the more restrictive
pitching rule at the ISC World tournament, people were pissed!

To identify myself with respect to this rule change, I am a fastpitch
umpire.  Through 28 August I have umpired 138 men's fastpitch and 83
girls' fastpitch games in 1997.  I am also a fastpitch pitcher.  I
have worked hard to learn to throw legally by ASA standards.  So as an
umpire and a player, if implemented, this rule change would affect
both my vocational and avocational involvement in the sport.  

As to this proposed rule change, I say don't do it!  At least not as
you have suggested above.

To let you know where I will be going in this message, I will argue as
strongly as I can against requiring male players to start with both
feet in contact with the *** and eliminating the step to the rear;
I belive that is a needlessly unnatural restriction to the pitching
motion.  (I don't even support it for women, but that is beyond my
purview here.)  In principle, I could accept the elimination of the
leap in men's ball, but I will argue that there should be a
demonstrated need for any change -- a deomonstrated need beyond merely
being simple for umpires to understand and enforce. I will argue that
the the overall effect of this rule change, if implemented, would be
to dampen enjoyment of the game from many men's perspective, perhaps
even to the extent that ASA-sanctioned men's fastpitch would be
seriously jeopardized.

I will start with my perspective on how this rule change would affect
men's pitching.  

The step to the rear is an absolutely natural element to the pitch --
why do you think that baseball pitchers use the windup position rather
than the stretch position if no one is on base?  It is simply because
the backward and forward step give a more complete delivery than
merely pushing off of the *** as a baseball pitcher does in the
stretch -- or as softball pitchers do under the female pitching rule.
Starting with the feet side by side on the ***, while it can
certainly be learned, is physically ridiculous.  The sole purpose for
such a restriction that I can imagine is to limit the amount of
forward momentum that the pitcher can obtain with his body.  Since
runners can't lead off and steal until the pitch is released, there is
no "time" element like there is for the stretch position in baseball.

If people are concerned that men throw too hard in fastpitch and would
like to see physical constraints to slow the ball down, there is
already an outlet available for them: it's called Modified Pitch.  The
current fastpitch restriction that the pivot foot maintain contact
with the pitching plate is sufficient to control the amount of forward
momentum that can be gained, while still allowing for a natural pitch
delivery.  So if the reason for this proposed rule change is to slow
down the pitch, then the rule is unnecessary.  The modified pitch game
can accomplish that without changing fastpitch; we should leave the
natural delivery afforded in the male fastpitch rule intact.

If the reason for this proposed rule change is umpires griping that it
is too hard for them to learn two pitching deliveries within fastpitch
(which would be ridiculous because already umpires have to choose
between four different types of pitch, i.e., fast, modified, slow, and
16-inch) then they can restrict themselves to female ball, and avoid
the confusion.  Others of us who can handle the differences will take
care of the men's ball.  Don't change the rule just to make it "easily
understood and straight-forward to enforce."  That is a crock, and I
trust that most ASA umpires who do men's ball are considerably above
that, professionally.

Reigning in the leap is more reasonable, to my mind.  We are only
throwing from 46 feet away, so eliminating the leap is not inherently
unreasonable.  But please don't insult us by saying that the purpose
is to get a rule that is easily understood and straight-forward to
enforce.  How much pointless argumentation has their been about
whether a given girl is leaping because someone somewhere claims they
can see daylight under her shoes the instant she leaves the ***?
How many talented young ladies have become sophisticated enough to
drag forward, replant and throw (i.e., crow hop without ever becoming
airborn)?  Plenty in both counts.

It seems to me, if you want easy to enforce then you go with a rule
that requires pitchers of either sex to throw from the ***.  No
leaping; no pushing and dragging.  When that pivot foot disengages the
*** it means that the ball is on its way to the batter, just like
it is in baseball.  But, again, I suppose that is beyond my purview
here.

My point remains: I believe that both a step to the rear and a step
forward with the non pivot foot should be allowed.  That is the
natural motion for the pitch, and I don't belive it should needlessly
be changed.  I am not as committed to keeping the leap legal, but I do
not think we should even make this type of change unless a compelling
need in demonstrated.  We should not make a new rule just for the
rule's sake.

With respect to the implementation of new restrictions, I would like
to draw our considerations beyond any given style of pitching, to the
sport of men's fastpitch itself.  I trust that it takes no
argumentation to convince anyone reading this letter that men's
fastpitch is not exactly the fastest-growing sport in the nation right
now.  And to the extent that it is growing (in terms of tournaments
drawing more teams) let's take an honest look at where it is growing.

Looking at the three principal governing bodies for men's fastpitch,
ASA, ISC, and NAFA, who's invitational, regional, and national
tournaments have been increasing over that past few years?  While I
can't give you hard numbers, I can tell you that I am on a softball
diamond a heck of a lot, and from what I am hearing people are looking
for less restrictions on the way the play the sport, not more.  

It seems to me that people are always talking about how great the
other (i.e., non-ASA) tournaments are.  Many are quite ignorant and
say, for example, that ISC is the best because it allows pitchers to
throw any way they want.  When I have pointed out that ISC had the
strictest pitching rule (excluding penalties for infractions), they
thought I was crazy.  The bottom line as I see it is that their
perception was the the pitching rule was easier and therefore that the
tournaments were better.

However, I hardly think that ISC is the fastest growing venue for
men's fastpitch. From what I am hearing, that honor goes to NAFA.  I
have heard many players lauding the fun of NAFA tournaments because of
the laxer pitching standard, which they feel is fairly offset by the
rules concerning runners stealing.

My point is not to pit one governing body against another.  Indeed, I
am 100% committed to ASA, and not only will I continue to call and
play by the rules as the National Committee sets them down, but I will
also continue to actively support the development of ASA in any way
that I can.  

My point is merely that I see men looking for an outlet to enjoy the
game of fastpitch without excessive restrictions hampering that
endeavor.  Given that there is a competetive environment from a
governing body standpoint, teams have options of which tournaments
they will participate in. I feel that ASA adopting the proposed rule
change would hamper rather than enhance its ability to compete for
preeminance in men's fastpitch.

Getting back to the general decline in men's fastpitch, almost anyone
would recognize that the principle factor behind this decline is a
lack of young (male) pitchers coming up.  Those of us who love the
sport are hoping for a resurgence in talent (and not ...

read more »

 
 
 

ASA Men's Fastpitch Rule Change

Post by Bill » Tue, 09 Sep 1997 04:00:00

Real men play Baseball, women softball

 
 
 

ASA Men's Fastpitch Rule Change

Post by C Foot » Wed, 10 Sep 1997 04:00:00


Quote:
>Getting back to the general decline in men's fastpitch, almost anyone
>would recognize that the principle factor behind this decline is a
>lack of young (male) pitchers coming up.  Those of us who love the
>sport are hoping for a resurgence in talent (and not just through
>importing Kiwis, although having players as talented as the many New
>Zealanders I've seen certainly enhances the game).  With this in mind,
>I think the driving force behind any proposed rule changes ought to be
>for the purpose of making the game more enjoyable for the players.
>Merely having something that is easier for umpires to call should not
>be the primary consideration in my opinion.

Why are Kiwi pitchers so talented?
Because we only have one rule. they learn their craft with both feet in
contact, don't crow hop or leap. At the start of every season we have to
re-educate them, I've seen my local chief spend hours working with a
Canadian pitcher to get him legal.

 
 
 

ASA Men's Fastpitch Rule Change

Post by Al Dor » Wed, 10 Sep 1997 04:00:00


Quote:
>I would be surprised if Tony were any type of supporter of this rule
>change, especially since in this case he has some power to help
>prevent it!  I remember his response last year when ISC decided to
>change their rule and asked his opinion on it.  ISC was merely
>removing the pitcher's ability to slide his foot back on the ***
>(which ASA allows, provided that contact is maintained) when taking
>the step to the rear.  
>The forward movement and delivery was still the
>same.

Not true. I have posted the ISC interpretation of the rules several
times on Al's Fastball List where it has been discussed extensively.
The rule has had much more of an impact on the crow hop and the hitch
than it has with the pivot foot.

Quote:
>  Apparently Tony was right and ISC
>was wrong, because when the umpires enforced the more restrictive
>pitching rule at the ISC World tournament, people were pissed!

Careful, where you there?
First, the umpires were mostly ASA and were just learning how to call
the pitching rules.  Most of the complaints were related to
consistency, not the call itself.  One 10-day tournament was not
enough time for the umpires to learn how to call it.  Witness our ISC
travel league this year, it took much of the year, and lot of hard
work for the umpires to all come to the same page in the book.  Yes,
many fans complaned, but many swung over and said it was about time.
We have a couple of very exceptional case studies where die hard crow
hoppers said they would never change but they did and are now model
pitchers, and legal.

Even the most vocal of complainers when asked if we should go back to
letting pitchers pitch as they wish have said: "Oh no, we are making
such progress!"

I will follow this thread with great interest and cc Al's Fastball
List where this is an issue that has been discussed all year.

Yours in Fastball,

Al Doran

Al's Fastball List is an informal list of fastball/fastpitch
fans/players/coahces/officials, etc. where the subscription is FREE.

http://SportToday.org/

 
 
 

ASA Men's Fastpitch Rule Change

Post by Aaron Zi » Sun, 14 Sep 1997 04:00:00


Quote:



> > Just finished up the ASA Men's B FP National held over the Labor Day
> > weekend in Kissimmee, FL.  The UIC was Tony Walsh, an Instructor at
> > the Advanced National School as well as a National Staff member.  He
> > also is on a committee that looks at new rules.  Something that has
> > been considered on and off again is a change to the pitching rule
> > for Men's FP.  What is being considered is a change to require the
> > men to start with both feet in contact with the pitching plate, no
> > backward step, and no leap - only a drag as allowed for women.  The
> > intent is to get to a rule that is simply stated, easily understood,
> > and straight-forward to enforce.

> As to this proposed rule change, I say don't do it!  At least not as
> you have suggested above.

> It seems to me, if you want easy to enforce then you go with a rule
> that requires pitchers of either sex to throw from the ***.  No
> leaping; no pushing and dragging.  When that pivot foot disengages the
> *** it means that the ball is on its way to the batter, just like
> it is in baseball.  But, again, I suppose that is beyond my purview
> here.

You know, the ASA might be trying to go back to a more traditional set of
rules. I used to pitch fastpitch as an adolescent in the early '70's, and
back then, you had to start with both feet on the ***, you could take
only a forward step with your stride foot, and your pivot foot had to
remain in contact with the *** until your stride foot hit the ground
again (in other words, no backward step, no leaping, and no dragging). I
still have a 1980 rules book that spells it out that way. I don't know when
the backward step and the leaping and/or dragging were first allowed, but
perhaps they were mistakes that should be eliminated. Pitchers didn't seem
to have any problems following the clear-cut rules of the '70's, umpires
didn't seem to have any problems enforcing them, and the batters probably
had more fun facing pitchers whose motions were less forceful and more
predictable.

You mentioned how fastpitch is not exactly the fastest-growing sport.
Perhaps that's because it's too dominated by pitchers who currently can get
away with almost anything. A return to the traditional pitching style might
help reduce that ***, making it more fun for all the non-pitchers.
Also, you mentioned the decline of good young pitchers. Well, it seems to
me that the simpler and more restrictive the pitching motion, the easier it
should be for a new pitcher to reach a level of competitiveness with the
veterans.

If the pitching rules are ever restricted and/or simplified again, I would
feel sorry for the crafty, veteran pitchers who have spent years mastering
a complicated motion to great advantage (like you, I imagine), but I do
think it would be better for the long-term health of the sport.

Aaron Zick

 
 
 

ASA Men's Fastpitch Rule Change

Post by Nelli » Wed, 17 Sep 1997 04:00:00

Quote:





> > > Just finished up the ASA Men's B FP National held over the Labor Day
> > > weekend in Kissimmee, FL.  The UIC was Tony Walsh, an Instructor at
> > > the Advanced National School as well as a National Staff member.  He
> > > also is on a committee that looks at new rules.  Something that has
> > > been considered on and off again is a change to the pitching rule
> > > for Men's FP.  What is being considered is a change to require the
> > > men to start with both feet in contact with the pitching plate, no
> > > backward step, and no leap - only a drag as allowed for women.  The
> > > intent is to get to a rule that is simply stated, easily understood,
> > > and straight-forward to enforce.

> > As to this proposed rule change, I say don't do it!  At least not as
> > you have suggested above.

> > It seems to me, if you want easy to enforce then you go with a rule
> > that requires pitchers of either sex to throw from the ***.  No
> > leaping; no pushing and dragging.  When that pivot foot disengages the
> > *** it means that the ball is on its way to the batter, just like
> > it is in baseball.  But, again, I suppose that is beyond my purview
> > here.

> You know, the ASA might be trying to go back to a more traditional set of
> rules. I used to pitch fastpitch as an adolescent in the early '70's, and
> back then, you had to start with both feet on the ***, you could take
> only a forward step with your stride foot, and your pivot foot had to
> remain in contact with the *** until your stride foot hit the ground
> again (in other words, no backward step, no leaping, and no dragging). I
> still have a 1980 rules book that spells it out that way. I don't know when
> the backward step and the leaping and/or dragging were first allowed, but
> perhaps they were mistakes that should be eliminated. Pitchers didn't seem
> to have any problems following the clear-cut rules of the '70's, umpires
> didn't seem to have any problems enforcing them, and the batters probably
> had more fun facing pitchers whose motions were less forceful and more
> predictable.

> You mentioned how fastpitch is not exactly the fastest-growing sport.
> Perhaps that's because it's too dominated by pitchers who currently can get
> away with almost anything. A return to the traditional pitching style might
> help reduce that ***, making it more fun for all the non-pitchers.
> Also, you mentioned the decline of good young pitchers. Well, it seems to
> me that the simpler and more restrictive the pitching motion, the easier it
> should be for a new pitcher to reach a level of competitiveness with the
> veterans.

> If the pitching rules are ever restricted and/or simplified again, I would
> feel sorry for the crafty, veteran pitchers who have spent years mastering
> a complicated motion to great advantage (like you, I imagine), but I do
> think it would be better for the long-term health of the sport.

> Aaron Zick

I've played in national tournaments for mens fast pitch in 1993 in
Minot ND and in 1994 in Garland Texas.  The only thing I can say about
pitching rules is the more rules you have, the more interpretations you
have.  We would have two umpires telling us we could do two completely
different things.  Our pitchers were very frustrated and unhappy with
the ASA pitching rules.  Reason is because there are always small
differences to how umpires interpret rules and how they see a pitcher
throwing.  I say pitchers have to adjust just like hitters have to
adjust to a strike zone.

However, I don't think that going back to the old rules is the answer.
If people don't want to play fast pitch because it is "too hard", don't
make the game easier, that just takes some of the fun away from people
who play it now.  Those players who don't want to play fast pitch can
play slow pitch.  I don't want to see fast pitch die but I also don't
want to see rule changes that will make it a hitters game.  They do have
different classes for different levels of play.  And if new people
don't want to start because they don't want to lose, too bad.  Every
one has to take their lumps.

We have also played against Denmark Dukes and Circle Tap and
there pitchers were very illegal.  They JUMP forward.  We never
complained because you could probably find something illegal about
every pitcher.  When you start doing that then players just start crying
about every thing that is close to illegal.  I say leave the rule the
way it is, no 70's or 80's rule.

Just an opinion.

nellie

 
 
 

ASA Men's Fastpitch Rule Change

Post by DebLauba » Thu, 18 Sep 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

>Real men play Baseball, women softball

But are the women "REAL" women?  :)
 
 
 

ASA Men's Fastpitch Rule Change

Post by Hiller » Thu, 18 Sep 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

>But are the women "REAL" women?  :)

Only if they want to be d:D

Why are men's FP and women's FP pitching rules different?

Vince

 
 
 

ASA Men's Fastpitch Rule Change

Post by ol blu » Sat, 20 Sep 1997 04:00:00

Quote:



> >But are the women "REAL" women?  :)

> Only if they want to be d:D

> Why are men's FP and women's FP pitching rules different?

> Vince

To try to keep us blues from falling asleep.  uuuhhhh   :^)

ol blue