Week 1
KKG 25
SLG  2
Week 2
SLG 4
DDY 18
Week 3
RRD 6
SLG 19
Week 4
DBP 4
SLG 20
Week 5
SLG 7
MMR 21
Week 6
SLG 6
OSG 13
Week 7
BPK 20
SLG 3
Week 8
SLG 15
RRD 16
Week 9
DDY 11
SLG 4
Week 10
SLG 6
KKG 12
Week 11
OSG 15
SLG 4
Week 12
SLG 3
BPK 17
Week 13
SLG 21
DBP 13
Week 14
MMR 17
SLG 16


21Jan2015

Rules, Regulations and Byelaws

Rules, Regulations and Byelaws

DUBLIN, LEINSTER LEAGUE -- The game of softball, itself a manipulation of the rules of baseball to make the game more playable to a wider range of sports enthusiasts, is in a state of constant change and evolution. Each year, league committees around the globe examine and evaluate potential changes to make the game better suited to the specific needs of the geography or culture in which it is played.

Over the past several seasons in Dublin, the Leinster league has undergone it's fair share of modification. Encroachment lines, bat & ball restrictions and team lineup gender ratios are just a few of the more memorable ones.

What can we expect to see put in place for 2015? Let's have a quick look.

A[nother] new ball. The one certain to be implemented in Leinster softball for 2015. Following the American Softball Association (ASA) and other groups (British Softball Federation, European Softball Federation, and so on), the .52 COR / 300lbs compression ball specification will come into force for 2015. A desire to reduce the chance of traumatic injury from a batted ball is the motiviation behind this change. The cynical view is that of a conspiracy between ball and bat manufacturers, to ensure leagues across the world purchase new balls and bats every other year, masked by calls for increased safety. However, independent research does suggest that the event of a traumatic batted-ball injury can be avoided, even if it is a rare event. Anecdotal evidence indicates no perceptible loss of game playability. The wet Irish weather requires new balls to be purchased annually in any case, and the ball is now readily available throughout Europe - so there really is little reason to argue against this change, and now there is the excuse to buy a new bat!

70' basepaths? Increasing the distance between bases is a move designed to help reduce the number of runs scored per game, and improve defensive play. The Ulster softball league accepted this standard for 2014, along with the aforementioned new ball; and like the new ball, playability was not adversely affected. If implemented in Leinster, it will be interesting to see how this changes game play across the various divisions. Would it lead to lower scores, and tighter, defensive games? Some shortstops would certainly find the extra step afforded to be a great opportunity to turn a double-play. But on the offensive side many players would be less happy in having to go that bit further to first base, or indeed on multi-base hits.

Player "exemptions"? With a possible reorganization of teams into more divisions, will there be any changes to the exemptions rules? With more divisions in which to play, this may be a good time for the league to consider modifying the current player exemptions rules, changing how players can move across teams in a multi-team club. As nearly all teams in the Leinster league belong to part of a multi-team club, this should be of interest to most players.

A new all-star game format? Even though hugely successful and popular, the Division 1 vs Premier all-star game has been quite one-sided since its inception. In the interest of keeping the game competitive, it would be worthwhile to consider either a mixed set of players (half of each team from Premier and Division 1), or strict divisional all-star games, to improve parity and the overall spectacle. The event's placement in Trinity College Dublin on a Friday night during the height of the summer is a masterstroke in marketing softball to a new audience. But without competitive games, the benefit may be reduced, and this certainly deserves a closer examination.

End-of-season "playoffs"? As the league considers restructuring teams into smaller divisions, and as apathy toward participation in a parallel competition increases, an alternative solution could be to take all division winners and runners-up and hold an annual tournament for an overall league "mega-champion". How this would coincide with the SINCC (Softball Ireland National Club Championship) competition would require consideration, though the events of the league and national governing body don't always need to be coupled and coordinated.

What is interesting to note is the "new" ball, longer basepaths, and different exemptions rules, are all already in place in the Ulster softball league. Because of this, there should be fewer questions or doubts about the effects of implementing these changes in Leinster, as a clear test has been performed by our softball-playing neighbors up north. 

The league restructuring proposal is quite a bigger issue, and certainly is something unique to Leinster softball. As with every new season, the Leinster softball committee has their work cut out for them in 2015.