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Things that make me go hmmm #1

Ken Krause

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May 7, 2008
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Mundelein, IL
Thanks to Frank Morelli to sparking this one. He was commenting on my Softball Magazine article "10 Things I Hate About Softball," saying one of the things he hates is ASA's instance on the on-deck hitter remaining in front of her dugout. That got me to thinking, and going hmmm.

ASA (and other sanctioning bodies) are fanatical about enforcing the no-jewelry rule. I have actually had a player tossed out of a game for forgetting to remove her Lance Armstrong rubber band, and other players have been admonished because they put their hair tie on their wrist so they wouldn't lose it when they put their helmet on. I have been told it is a safety issue.

So if ASA is so concerned about safety, why will they insist that the on-deck hitter stand 10-15 feet away from and in front of the current hitter? I mean seriously. Which do YOU think will cause more injury -- catching a rubber band or a hair tie on whatever they think it will catch on, or being hit point-blank in the stomach or chest with a line drive off a bat with the technology to allow an average hitter to send a ball flying over a 200 foot fence?

I know what I think. There are rumors that the rules will be changed in the next couple of years to require pitchers and corner infielders to wear safety masks. Maybe even the entire infield. Yet often in the parks we play in, the hitter is standing as close or than most of them. I know that Don Porter Field in Oklahoma City is a spacious park with lots of room up the sidelines, but the average softball diamond for youth play is not. It seems silly to insist that on-deck hitters stand on their own side when the easy solution is to allow them to stand behind the hitter, no matter which dugout that puts them in front of.

While I'm on the subject, I'll bet more kids are injured sliding on cinder-based infields that would ever get hurt by wearing a rubber band or hair tie on their wrist. If you really want to help the players, require sand- or dirt-based skins.

It's things like that that make me go hmmmm.

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