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Thread: Is it time to change the field in FP?

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    MTR
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    Default Is it time to change the field in FP?



    The bases have been 60' in distance for what seems to be forever, at least 75 years that I can document.

    However, with the hi-tech, powerful bats and the hard and lively anything-but-soft balls combined with the always increasing athleticism and finely-honed skills of today's player, is it time to go to a 65' base distance?

    There really is no argument that the equipment has surpassed the fields as even the NCAA was almost embarassed into changing the minimum distance of outfield fence, but still didn't take it as far as they should because they like offense and home runs. The pitching distance for the older teen and adult players has been moved back. So, why not the bases?

    Having gone through this before in the SP game, I know there will be the traditionalists (which only think they have tradition on their side ) will tell you not to mess with the game and that it is too much to ask the players to do. However, when it comes down to it, what player today does not cover 5' in just over a stride, if it takes that much?

    The corners wouldn't have to get as close to the batter when crashing the plate, so there is a safety factor here and that extra stride brings a little more defense into the game and a 5-4-3 deuce may not be as rare or spectacular a play as it can be in some games now. If anything, it may give an infielder a better chance to get a runner out on a ball where a step to the side may be necessary to field it.

    Much of the todo about moving the pitcher's plate back was to bring more offense to the game by giving the batter a better chance to put the ball into play. Well, it seems that worked out fine. Is it now time for the quid pro quo to the defense? The batters are now putting more balls into play, maybe it is now time to give the defense a chance to catch up.

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    Softball Junkie crystlemc's Avatar
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    Interesting question you have raised here. I can't wait to see everyone's opinions.

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    Certified softball maniac Sparky Guy's Avatar
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    I think the fences in college should be 225'. Make a HR a HR. Not a 191' flyball. There are too many girls hitting dingers who should not be. The biggest reason is the hot bats out now. They also need to give the pitchers back the top and bottom of the strike zone.

    As far as the base length goes I believe they should stay at 60'. Softball is meant to be a quick bang, bang sport.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyDad View Post
    Increasing the outfield fence makes sense at the college level. Increasing the base distance, makes it more of a power hitters game than a speed game. I think it would end up like baseball where bunting and slapping isn't seen as much and the bigger kids (women) have even more of an advantage. You can probably forget stealing bases also... unless they allow leading, which they couldn't really. By 14U its very hard to steal off a decent catcher at 60'... it would be almost impossible at 65'.
    Interesting slant. However, I doubt the 5' would make that much of a difference. If anything, may separate those who should be stealing from those who probably should not and add a little more coaching strategy to the game. And remember, that extra 5' for the runner is an extra 7' for the catcher.

    I don't understand how a base distance changes the game to the power hitter. If you have a power hitter, she is going to be a power hitter even if the bases are 70'. If you are talking the priorities of a coach, then you may have a point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyDad View Post
    If you doubt 5' makes a difference why even suggest to change it?
    I was clearly referencing your concern over stealing. I've seen a player on a straight steal in a SP game (major level) on 80' bases. And I mean straight, no mishandling by the catcher and that runner was not allowed to leave the base until the ball reaches the plate. This guy was fast and it is not common, but the point is the speedy players will still be able to steal a base even with the extra 5'.

    Speed kills at 60'. At 65' those speedy girls without power beating out those infield grounders/bunts go away. The advantage goes more toward the power hitter because the base difference doesn't affect them as much.
    Well, it is an "infield grounder" that a defender can field. Of course, if the play is properly executed, they should be out. The bunt is part of a strategic move to advance runners and manufacture runs. It was not meant to be a tool to up one's batting average. For that matter, at one time they were illegal. Bunt the ball and be called out, all runners return to the base occupied at the TOP.

    The extra distance for the catcher is still an advantage. A ball travels faster than anyone can run. As the age goes up, catchers get better. Good fastpitch catchers can throw out even some of the speediest runners at 60'. I believe very few could ever straight steal successfully at 65'.
    I believe you have less faith and confidence in the player's ability than they deserve. I believe they can handle it. And there is something that hasn't been mentioned yet that benefits the offense. Moving the bases opens up the infield a bit. There is a more area for the infielders to cover and a greater distance to reach the base they need to cover on a play.

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    Certified softball maniac Lozza's Avatar
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    If safety is the issue let's look at the real issue which is the bats. 15 years ago it was rare to see someone get hit in the face. Now it seems to happen every other week.

    I don't want the bases getting longer. If I wanted to run further I'd play baseball. Softball is a short, sharp game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lozza View Post
    If safety is the issue let's look at the real issue which is the bats. 15 years ago it was rare to see someone get hit in the face. Now it seems to happen every other week.

    I don't want the bases getting longer. If I wanted to run further I'd play baseball. Softball is a short, sharp game.
    I think you hit the nail on the head. Smaller allowable drops, elimination of the high tech composite bats, or return to good old wood bats would solve a lot of the injury questions and concerns.

    But as has been pointed out, people love their offense so doubt we'll see much of change in that direction anytime soon.

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    Changing fields would be very hard - many places just don't have room for moving the fences back or the funds to change where the grass begins/ends. It would be very expensive thing for most and not one that would be looked at kindly I don't believe. And I don't see any real advantage to it when there is easier ways to do this while still maintaining the way I think most people believe softball should be played.

    It is much easier to change equipment - and specifically changing the ball as this is the one piece of equipment that is both cheap and also needs to be constantly changed. If it was done over a period of time any inventory currently in market could be rapidly reduced to nothing.

    We are now running into the same issues that face tennis (no serve volley any more, big servers dominating, huge ball speeds, etc, etc) & golf (longer & straighter hits, HUGE sweetspots, etc, etc). We want the major manufacturers spending money in the industry, spending money and time on R&D, sponsorship and other benefits. However the bats have got so good they are effecting game play. Combine that with bigger/stronger/faster and better trained athletes and this effect is amplified.

    I am not only interested in 'deadening' the ball but also discussion over possible size changes. Would a smaller ball be harder to hit or easier to pitch faster? Would larger seams lead to more movement? Softball is one of the few sports where the ball changes sizes at a certain age and effects how the game is played. Would moving to a 11" ball which is more 'dead' than the current ball be a good move?
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    Super Moderator Amy in AZ.'s Avatar
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    In senior division women's, we played with the bases further, sometimes. If you think girls can't throw now, wait until you see them with the bases further apart. I don't know if 12U girls would compare with 55YO+ women, but it is ugly.

    The balls we used in the 60s were like rocks, but I can't remember anyone taking a LD to the face. Also, even the aluminum bats at that time, where like fence posts. We knew nothing about length and weight. The game was still way fun. We weren't afraid to wear metal cleats, shorts and sliding pads. I know one dad in particular that loves to make fun of females that wear the long knee pads.

    I would support making the ball safer.

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball quincy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Screwball View Post
    There are few single purpose fastpitch fields anymore, except in schools, but still those are used by LL baseball, etc.
    Our city has quite a few fastpitch fields, population 70K. It would be a mess if they changed the dimension rules, except for maybe the bases or mounds. I think it would be a real mess if we needed movable fences.
    Last edited by quincy; 12-12-2011 at 01:55 PM.

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