Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Circle of Sofball Life "Strategy 11 vs 10 Man Lineup"

It's hard to believe that I've had enough time on my hands to write over 300 softball-life related blogs over the last 3 years (recession alert!!) and one theme that keeps coming up is the "Circle of Life". The "circle of life" in the real world means you are born, you live, (have relationships, friends, family), become grandparents, and then you die. It's in between all this we learn from others and pass the torch on to the next generation and the "circle of life" starts all over again. Life can be hard sometimes, but the path can be made smoother if we are smart enough to learn and grow from our experiences and relationships.

Over 3 years ago I wrote the following blog about a softball lineup and now the circle of softball life has brought me back to it. Specifically Top Ten Item #10 which read as follows :

"10. Rule 10 involves the number 11 - Use 11 hitters only if your not facing a stud pitcher. 11 man lineups generally suck - they are too long but against so so pitching it's OK. Against stud pitching use 10."

I've had many discussions regarding the use of "11 vs. 10 man lineups" and here are the advantages and disadvantages to consider:
  1. Lineup Turnover Factor - advantage 10 man lineup - self evident
  2. Participation Factor - advantage 11 man lineup - more people play
  3. Facing a top pitcher Factor - advantage 10 man lineup - you are getting the top of your lineup up quicker in a game. Closely related to point #1 above
  4. Stud Hitter Factor - If you have an impact hitter who couldn't catch a cold while running naked in a blizzard then you might as well bat 11
  5. "That's the Way it is Factor" - you team style is to always bat 11 b/c that's the way it. While myopic and ignorant to points 1,3,4 above it is actually fine b/c your team is run that way. Your not the manager and this is not fantasy softball, maybe your manager cares more about being loyal to his guys who make personal sacrifices to come to the ballpark and is willing to take the risk of batting 11. - advantage 11 man lineup

Funny how the years go by that this remains a circle of softball life topic. My softball instincts/feelings/experiences tell me that in the playoffs you should generally usually go with a 10 man lineup. In any case, managing is not easy or fun, but if you want to sit in the captains chair you have to make the tough decisions and deal with the consequences.


  1. You forgot one argument in support of an 11 man lneup -- if a player is injured, that player can come out for an inning or more and return to the game. If you bat 10, once that player is removed, his game is done. Not sure how often it comes up, but when it does, you're happy to 11 if your stud fielder recovers quickly.

  2. Much depends on who the 11th guy is...if there is not much difference in his hitting ability, you might do it as a way to give him playing time and keep him feeling involved in the team. If you sit the same people too often, they wont be there mentally when you need them.

    Hey, anyone notice what a fuckin' great job Raf did last week against CP? Hit better than anyone on both teams and made some plays at short that looked like the old Raf...that said, dont want to pump his ego up too much.

  3. I agree with anonymous 100%. We already ran into that problem this year when our valuable 2nd baseman and lead off hitter Jeff Salinger was injured. I was able to sit him out for an inning or two without losing his glove and bat for the game. I would hate to lose a big hitter just because I take them out for an inning or two.

    Jim Bitros

  4. Raf was absolutely tremendous. Best player on the field by far.


  5. Raf is the best SS in the history of Central Park, my friend. You're just jealous because you and your team has probably been beaten like a drum by him and his teams for the past 20 seasons, and he's still doing it in his late 40's. Not to mention that he played in Nationals with CBS/Texas Liquids/Patsy's, making All-American. Put John Brown on Lucky's and they'd be the champs, not Choice Parts and everyone knows it.