Game Postponement Protocol

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Game Postponement Protocol

Post by sixofdiamonds »

Softball America has been in existence for 28 years. I have been at the helm for 25 of those 28 years. I would like to address league protocol as it relates to the weather, ball field playability, and game postponements. Impending or forecasted weather plays only a small part in the decision to postpone or not to postpone games. Mother Nature has made me look like a fool more times than I care to remember, especially in the early years of SBA. I would cancel games on a forecast calling for rain with lots of weather map green heading our way only to have the system stall, dissipate over the Allegheny Mountain Range, or for whatever other reason there could possibly be, just not develop over our area. There is no worse feeling than to take away from league members the opportunity to play ball when the field is playable. I made a vow to myself to do everything I can to not let that happen again.

Contrary to what some believe, getting the games in has absolutely nothing to do with money. The ball fields are paid for the entire year whether we use them or not. Groundskeepers are paid for the season whether they get the fields ready or they don't. There isn't a groundskeeper alive that wants to work his butt off getting a field ready only to have the game postponed, but they do it just the same in hopes league members can play the game they love to play. Game postponements don't affect everyone the same way. Some league members play 5 or 6 leagues per week along with tournament ball on the weekends. Those ball players aren't as impacted by a postponement as would the league members that play only once a week and look very much forward to their one day on the field. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say 90-95% of league members want to play even if the ball field isn't perfect.

Another very important postponement factor that comes into play is scheduling. League members base their lives off of league schedules. Some have vacations planned around the post season. Others have to get back to school. Postponements play havoc with the schedule and therefore play havoc with league member's lives. My job is to keep the schedule as close as humanly possible to the original and I work my butt off trying to accomplish that. And let's not forget about the Saturday make-up games. I try and avoid Saturday games like the plague, but the more postponements a league experiences, the greater the likelihood Saturday games will rear their ugly heads. There is just no way around it. Without Saturday make-ups, some schedules might run well into December. There is so much to consider when you sit where I sit.

As I mentioned, the league has been around a long time and for most of that time, the league has followed the same exact postponement protocol-- do the best you can to get the ball field playable. Sometimes it will be a game-time decision or an umpire call. Sometimes we will get the game started only to have it postponed. Yes, that sucks. People have to travel out to the ball field only to travel back home without playing. I don't have a crystal ball. Neither do weathermen. Neither do you. The ball field will dictate whether games are a go or a no-go. Some people love playing in sloppy conditions. Others consider the field unplayable and don't want to play if a dog so much as lifts his leg nearby. For all intents and purposes, if the ball field is playable, the games are on until the ball field dictates otherwise.

This is the way it is. This is the way it has always been. This is the league postponement protocol. Those that make the decision to pay a league fee, need to know this before they spend their hard earned money to play softball in SBA. If I went to a golf course that booked tee times every 6 minutes which causes excruciatingly slow play, I would not return. If I knew that in advance, I would not play there to begin with. These are my choices to make, nobody else’s.

I don't mean to come across as cavalier, but it is imperative the league operates as designed. All too often, league members are under a misconception as to why things are done a certain way. More times than not, when I explain the reasoning, they completely understand. If ever you would like an explanation as to why the league operates as it does on any topic, track me down at the ball field or reach out to me via email or phone (215-822-8777) and I'll be more than happy to explain the reasoning behind what we do and why we do it the way we do it. Armed with that knowledge, maybe we can stay clear of the shoot first, ask questions later mentality.
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