Monthly Archive
for: ‘July, 2011’

Week 6 Makeup Update : Into the Break

Our 2011 Season now finds itself 2/3’s of the way in the books as we’ve reached the always anticipated, sometimes loathed Lollapalooza break… No matter how you look at it and no matter how long I bicker with the Park District over why a month down is required for a 3-day rock festival… for many this becomes a great time to take the family vacation or to heal up those nagging injuries… and for the most dedicated, a great opportunity to schedule a practice or two… but no matter how you look at it, it’s upon us now with no further Design League action until the stretch run resumes on the 18th of August.

Playing games yesterday was a gift actually as it marked the first time ever that the Design League has played on the same day as the Judicata event… As it turned out, the Park District House League, which would usually still be playing on Lower Hutchinson yesterday, finished early due to Lollapalooza restrictions that were new this year. That provided the opportunity for us to make up our Week 6 rainout and for that I’m thankful… as of right now we’re on track to play all 14 scheduled game days, so let’s hope all the rain that’s going to happen this Summer happens over the next month… but playing down on Lower felt alien to me as it always does… funny how you can be just across the street from your normal location and have things feel so different… oppressive heat down in that pit, little flies that bite your ankles, temporary backstops and diamonds that are even closer together than they are on Upper… but it all got done and the results have posted.

Last week I identified three possible games of the week… two of those ended up lopsided as Cannon dumped theBuzz 11-2 (“ignominiously” as theBuzz Captain put it) and Goettsch took down Perkins&Will 10-6… but I also mentioned Power as the next team to get a chance at knocking off the last of the undefeated… and so close they came too… but Dobbins escaped with the 8-7 victory on a walk-off in the bottom of the 7th… on a relevant side note, when making the schedule back in early April I was only able to schedule 14 game days as opposed to the usual 15… this meant that there would be one team in every teams schedule that they wouldn’t play this year… the way I made the decision on which game day to dump was an attempt to save one of the rookie teams (in this case Dobbins Group) from playing defending champs Ruder Group… suffice to say, that didn’t work out like I expected ;-)

In other action we had some really close games yesterday… Old Stylin’ got past Gettys Group 11-10 as they’re off on a 2-game winning streak, the Dogz got past Clune 6-4 to hold onto the 2-seed and the Ruder Group outlasted always competitive JC Anderson 10-9 to come within 1-run allowed of theBuzz and the 5-seed… and in the Battle at the Bottom, Kelso-Burnett put up 5 bottom of the 7th runs to walk off against SCB 8-7.

In an armchair examination of the Leaderboard the first thing I notice is the 2-game spreads… 2 games between the 1 and 2 seeds, 2 games between the 4 and 5 seeds and 2 games between the 7 and 8 seeds… with 4 games to go those 2 game spreads are difficult, but not impossible to close. One thing that makes this years Leaderboard more volatile than in years past heading into the final four games of the season would be the record number of ties that we’ve had… for instance, Power trails Perkins&Will by 2 games in the win column but by only 1 game in the loss column… theoretically that makes the gap easier to close than it would be without the tie… but only time will tell I suppose… anything can happen and often does… Dobbins Group would appear to be a lock for the #1 seed, but the Dogz, Goettsch and Cannon at 2/3/4 are in a virtual heat and we still have Dogz @ Goettsch in Week 12 and Goettsch @ Cannon in Week 13… And as mentioned above, Ruder Group trails theBuzz by a mere 1-run allowed and those two teams will matchup straight outta the break on August 18th…

So we have an exciting last third of the season to look forward to… and then of course…Tournament Day, Christmas in September… hopefully all of you are starting to cement your roster for that epic day. Saturday, September 10th… let your people know now, it’s right around the corner.

Have a great break everyone… see you on the 18th.

Mid-2011 Design League Rule Changes.

Over the course of the first half of this season, as in seasons past, I’ve received some feedback here and there regarding different league rules. This feedback is always listened to attentively… I make notes for when I find the time to sit down and do the actual work of changing things as I’ve done here over the last few days. Before we get started with the rule changes though, please consider the following three points;

1 > The league rules are the business of every team, captain and player in the league. The more people there are that know the rules, the fewer the amount of dust-ups that will occur on the diamonds. Captains, please forward the link to this Forum post on to your players, EVERYONE should be aware that these changes are taking place. Also let them know that they are able to subscribe to this Forum by inputing their email address at the bottom of the right-hand column… that way they will receive the same automatic notification of new posts as all of the Captains do.

2 > Its never been said to my face, but through the grapevine I’ve heard that it has been said… “Nic makes up the rules as he goes along to best favor his own team…” If these words have ever rolled off your tongue, come and find me sometime soon and let’s have a discussion… nothing could be further from the truth. More times than not what I actually find to be the case  when having a discussion/argument regarding rules on the diamonds… is that I KNOW the rules and whoever I’m talking to doesn’t… not the case with everyone, but a good 75%. Do you yourself know the rules? Answer the question honestly.

Since the Design League formalized in Grant Park 11 years ago… I’ve been the compiler and the editor of the rules… those of you who have been around for a good portion of that time know that I always solicit opinions and suggestions and that I’m always open for a discussion. Many of the rules currently in place were voted in democratically as was the initial draft of the rules done back in 2001. It’s a document perpetually in flux where the main objective in our umpireless scenario is to leave as little to interpretation as is possible… so that’s what we always strive for… but please don’t argue the rules if you don’t know them, that’s simply not fair… I’m not suggesting you read them 300 times as I have, but a few times a year wouldn’t hurt, maybe twice that if you’re a new Captain… and please have a print out with you on the diamonds… I’ve taken the time to make it available, the least you can do is print it out and throw it in the bat bag…

3 > The rules discussed below have already been changed on the site as well as in the printable version… but that doesn’t mean they still can’t be edited if anyone were to illuminate an aspect that has been overlooked. If you have anything to add to this discussion, PLEASE DON’T send me an email… instead, enter it in the “comment” box you’ll find at the bottom of this post. If you don’t see a comment box, then click the word “comment” directly under the Title for this post (up near the top)… As I said above, the goal is always to find language for a rule that leaves as little room for interpretation as possible while maintaining a conducive environment for great softball to be played… with that in mind, consider the following;

Rules A7 & A8

These are a pair of rules that were re-written just last June… but after a year in practice it’s become apparent that the ‘spirit’ of these rules hasn’t been properly communicated. In our defensive league, the intention is to give the defense every opportunity to make a legitimate defensive play, while at the same time preventing an overthrow at 1st that rolls out onto Columbus from allowing that batter to circle the bases while the ball is being retrieved. The main problem with the old wording was defining a distance (currently 15′) beyond which a ‘legitimate’ defensive play could no longer be made… It has also proven problematic to determine if that distance had been breached during actual game play… that said;

The old wording…

A7 • All overthrows on the bases warrant (1) extra base. The ball is ruled dead and no play will follow. Overthrows are defined as a throw that’s “airmailed” to a base heading off into foul territory at least 15 feet beyond fair territory. Thus, overthrows that merely reach the grass beyond 1st and 3rd base do not automatically award the baserunner an extra base.

Has become this new wording as we look to try something new…

A7 • When a ball is out-of-play; No thrown balls are automatically out-of-play. The onus falls to the defensive team to call a ball out-of-play. This is accomplished when a defensive player raises his/her hands over their head and clearly yells “out-of-play”. A line extending from the ends of the backstops parallel to the base lines defines the boundary a thrown ball needs to pass before making it eligible to be deemed out-of-play. When a defensive team calls a ball out-of-play, that moment defines baserunner position(s) and ALL baserunners are awarded the base they are approaching plus (1) extra base. If a defensive team DOES NOT call a ball out-of-play, baserunners may continue to advance at their own risk. Bags, bikes, beer and other team paraphernalia along the sidelines remains in-play unless called otherwise by the defense.

And as A8 then no longer made sense in the new context… it has changed from this old wording…

A8 • Balls that are kicked or otherwise knocked away during a play at a base are NOT considered overthrows, the ball remains live and runners may advance at their own risk.

To this new wording…

A8 • When a baserunner intentionally kicks, strips, smacks or otherwise knocks away a ball thrown by a defensive player in an attempt to make a play, that baserunner is automatically called OUT and all other base runners must return to the base they occupied before the play in which the interference occurred.

Rule B8

The problem with this one was brought to my attention by a Captain asking a question regarding the making of his lineup… How this one escaped my notice for so long is hard to say but the current wording doesn’t reflect how things are done on the diamonds so the wording has been changed… Here’s the old…

B8 • When playing a traditional 10-slot lineup, substitutions in the batting order must be reflected on defense and vice versa.

And here’s the new…

B8 • When playing a traditional 10-slot lineup, any individual player can only occupy a single slot in that lineup throughout the course of a game. i.e. if Player X starts the game batting 2nd, he/she can only bat 2nd during that game. If Player Y is inserted into the lineup in the 6-hole once the game has begun, he/she can only bat 6th for the duration of that game. Any player that steps to the plate ‘out-of-order’ will generate an automatic OUT and shall return to the sideline until his/her actual spot in the lineup comes up.

Defensive substitutions are handled exclusive of the offensive batting order, although a player must take at least half of the at-bats in any given slot in the offensive batting order to be eligible to play defense. (Keep in mind this only applies to a traditional 10-slot lineup, if you’re playing a ‘deep-lineup’, please refer to Rule B5 as the rules for that are different).

Rule C1

Has just had a couple of lines added to it… here’s the new wording…

C1 • Team Captains are responsible for keeping the score of their game. Captains should also verify runs scored with their opposing scorekeeper every half inning. It’s also suggested that teams review their opponants batting order before the start of every game.

Rule C8

Another one that is worded incorrectly and has now been fixed… the old wording…

C8 • The ‘infield fly-rule’ is in effect; With less than (2) outs and runners on 1st and 2nd or on 1st, 2nd and 3rd, a pop-fly on the infield is an automatic out on the batter. Runners advance at their own risk but must ‘tag-up’ to advance if the ball is caught.

Has become the following…

C8 • The ‘infield fly-rule’ is in effect whenever there’s a ‘force’ situation on the infield and less than (2) outs. In this situation, the batter is automatically called out upon hitting a pop-fly on the infield, runners advance at their own risk but must ‘tag-up’ to advance if the ball is caught. An infield-fly is defined as any pop fly hit on the infield in fair territory.

Still a gray area here is the short-center fielder… defined as an outfielder, this position still functions as a 5th infielder a lot of the time… open to suggestions on how that can be further defined…

All for now… again, if there’s anything anyone would like to comment on, please do so by entering your comment in the comment box below… if you don’t see that comment box… click the word ‘comment’ under the title of this post up near the top and that will take you to a page where the ‘comment’ box will appear.

Week 10 Update.

With one week to go before the break we had a beautiful day out on the diamonds again last night and a lot of small movements up and down the Leaderboard. I was 1-2 in my picks for games of the week. With Perkins&Will at Power it ended up being Powers day as they dropped P&W 11-2 in a lopsided fashion… but theBuzz at Goettsch played to a 7-inning 7-7 tie in the early game on Diamond 3 further adding to the compression at the top of the Leaderboard… while the battle between the 2 and 4 seed saw a great back and forth game with the Dogz barely surviving to take a 5-4 victory over Cannon which caused these two teams to trade places in the standings.

In other action SCB scored 4 late… but Dobbins held on for the 6-4 win… and JC Anderson, very competitive this year, played in yet another 1-run game but this time came out on the short end in a 6-5 loss to Old Stylin’VOA came off their companies daytime drinking cruise with a huge turnout and an 11-5 win over Kelso-Burnett… while Gettys Group dropped SOM 5-2 and Ruder Group ran away from Clune 13-2.

Next week is our makeup of the rain out in Week 6 and all games will be played on LOWER Hutchinson… probably a good idea to allow a little more time for getting your team out to the diamonds as the Judicata Race will be happening on Upper Hutchinson and there will most likely be some congestion in the Grant Park area. Too many marquee match ups to pick just one… theBuzz plays Cannon, two great teams… Perkins&Will plays Goettsch, two more great teams… and Power becomes the next team in line to get a shot at knocking Dobbins Group from the ranks of the undefeated… can’t wait to see how it all works out…

We’ve had a few dust ups between teams over the past couple weeks that I’d like to address briefly… this sometimes becomes the case in our umpire-less league… the best thing you can do as a team is to both know the rules… as well as have a copy of the rules with you that can be referred to quickly. There’s going to be a few rules that I address in a Forum post over the course of the break that I feel are being misinterpreted a little too often… but in the end, we have to police our own games, let’s do our best to handle things in a civil manner.

Please remember that Captains are responsible for confirming final scores on the diamonds after each game so that scores reported the following morning all match up… and we won’t be scheduling any pictures for next week… my camera is now in the shop so I can get it back for the stretch run.

Everyone have a great weekend.

Week 9 Update.

Calling the marquee matchup is a new skill I’m developing… last week I predicted Ruder Group at Perkins&Will and what do you know… that game was won on a Perkins&Will walk off 3-2 in the bottom of the 8th. Ruder Group (4-3-1) now finds themselves separated from the upper half of the Leaderboard by 2 games with 6 to go… while Perkins&Will stays hot on the trail of the Dogz and the rest of the pack at 6-2-0.

Other action saw SCB dropping Gettys Group 8-5 to finally get off the schnide here in Week 9… theBuzz fell to the Dogz 10-6 precipitating the weeks largest Leaderboard plunge dropping 4 positions to the 6 seed… Dobbins Group and Goettsch both won as well and Cannon was victorious via forfeit to maintain position up at the top of the standings. VOA also ended a losing streak with a 4-2 win over JC Anderson.

My prediction for the game of the week next week would be Perkins&Will at Power Construction in the early game on Diamond 4… Perkins&Will is coming off two big victories in a row after an almost upset of Dobbins Group… while Power is the home team and capable of beating anyone on any given Thursday… theBuzz @ Goettsch is also attractive as theBuzz started the season undefeated and will now be looking to end their current 2-game losing streak, while Goettsch will be doing everything they can to maintain their higher seed.

Pictures Next Week > Goettsch before their 6pm game on Diamond 3.

Week 1 Makeup Update : And Then There Was 1

Sorry for the late update this week. Those of us who lingered on the diamonds a little too long were caught in a biblical rain/wind storm that had us holding onto trees to keep from blowing away… My phone, like me, got soaked to the bone in the process which caused me to spend most of Friday afternoon getting it replaced and back online.

So a wild and crazy one out on the diamonds for our Taste of Chicago edition. We entered the game day with 4 undefeated teams and 2 winless teams… we left the day… with just one of each.

The Dobbins Group becomes the last undefeated standing as they took down the Dogz 13-8 in the late game on Diamond 2. They now occupy the top spot on the Leaderboard as Perkins&Will, who so nearly knocked them off last week, was able to get past theBuzz 7-5… and in perhaps the most unlikely occurrence of the week, formerly winless Old Stylin’ dropped Cannon 11-4 in the late game on Diamond 4… In short, there’s more than one team that wishes that rain would have come a little earlier… also of note in a game that was described in last weeks update as pivotal to both teams seasons, Power Construction was able to hold off VOA in walk-off style with a 9-inning 3-2 victory… and quietly, Goettsch notched another victory to move to 6-1 and take over sole possession of the 4-seed.

Looking ahead to next week the marquee matchup will most likely be Ruder Group at Perkins&Will… Last years champions Ruder Group, after a slow start to the season, find themselves on a 4-game winning streak… while Perkins&Will are having a resurgent season at 5-2 causing problems for every team that crosses their path.

Pictures Next Week > will be theBuzz before their 6pm game on Diamond 1.