Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mr Ronda's Softball Neighborhood .. Today's Word ... Recidivism

Back in the day many of us grew up loving and learning on TV from the legendary Fred Rogers on TV

who hosted Mister Rogers' Neighborhood from 1968–2001. Rogers took action into his own hands as he didn't like the way television addressed children and made an effort to change this when developed his own show. Over the course of three decades on TV, Fred Rogers became an indelible American icon of children's entertainment and education. On his show, Rogers would teach music, ethics, morals, and vocabulary to kids

Over the years, comedians and advertisers have done spin-off skits and commercials based on his show to get their point across.

So I figured why can't I do my own version, let's call it Mister Ronda's Softball Neighborhood (video version coming soon, ugly 80s sweater and all), so I can get my point across.

Let's Begin with a little song ...
 "It's a beautiful day at the softball field, a beautiful day at the softball field, won't you be my teammate?"

Hello Softball enthusiast. 
Welcome to Mister Ronda's Softball Neighborhood. 

Today at work I learned a new fancy big complicated word - Recidivism 
Recidivism is the act of a person repeating an undesirable behavior after they have either experienced negative consequences of that behavior, or have been treated or trained to extinguish that behavior. Recidivism is the inability to learn from past mistakes.

In softball community the very epitome of Recidivism can be found in the Big Apple League.

First the league constantly makes the mistake of allowing members to vote for pitching rules. Vote? C'mon I love America, Democracy, and the right to Vote

but voting has no place in softball as people vote what's best for their team rather than what's best for the league. A league should take suggestions and recommendations, but final say should belong to the commissioner who is looking out for everyone's best competitive interest. 

This voting mistake was unfortunately compounded by their yearly mistake of trying to define modified pitching rules. While I at least give them credit for trying to address illegal pitching their voting options were all flawed and as follows: 

Option 1--Strict ASA 10-man modified - 7 votes - Winner. Translation teams that do not have slingers voted for this
Option 2--Our new 2012 pitching rules that allow certain 9-man features - 3 votes. Easy to guess which teams voted on this

Option 3--Go back to previous 2012 rules that included the step back + 1 foot on the rubber - 1 vote – such an easy shot for me to take on who voted on this that I won’t even bother

Option 4--Go to the 2012 rules that include choice 3 as well as allow veteran pitchers to continue to pitch they way they always have with their normal motions even if they deviate slightly from standard ASA modified. - 1 vote – This option is ridiculous. Pure softball recidivism

Per this "Vote", pitching rules are as follows:

Rule 2.  Pitching Rules:  (New Rule) -  The BASL is a modified fast-pitch league.  The BASL shall adopt and enforce ASA Rule 6, Section 3, as specified below, with respect to the legal pitching motion, or as updated.  Any pitcher who uses a modified fast-pitch motion is approved to pitch in the BASL.  The BASL specifically prohibits slingshot, sidearm, submarine and windmill pitching.   A pitcher who has used an illegal pitching motion or thrown illegal pitches that were not previously called by the game umpires is not permitted to continue doing so.

(a)  Pitching Motion:  The BASL shall adopted an enforce ASA Class A Modified Pitching Rule 6, Section 3.-  The pitcher MUST start with TWO feet in contact with the pitching rubber.  The pitcher MAY NOT take a step back with the lead foot prior to moving forward. The pitch shall be delivered on the throwing arm side of the body and not behind the back or between the legs.  In the act of delivering the ball, the pivot foot must drag + not lose contact with the ground. The stepping foot must be pointed toward home plate + must not touch the ground in front of, or cross over a straight line between the pivot foot + home plate. It is not a step if the pitcher slides the pivot foot across the pitching rubber, provided contact is maintained with the rubber. Raising the foot off the rubber, then returning it to the rubber creates a rocking motion that is illegal.

Not only was the voting classic softball recidivism, but it is also useless. Why? B/c it is based on footwork which is mostly irrelevant as it is a technicality. There was barely a mention of arm angle and no mention whatsoever of the wrist. None. No legal modified pitcher will show the ball outside the wrist. It’s obvious... As long as the power leg/foot is on the mound, it’s just not a factor.

So as a fun thing to do Boys and Girls in Mister Ronda's Softball neighborhood let's go over wrist movement in modified softball:

Ball inside the wrist = GOOD Boys and Girls
Ball outside the wrist = BAD Boys and Girls

Think about this: all legal modified pitchers can sling at any time, but slingers CANNOT throw modified, they simply don't know how to. It is very hard to learn to be a good modified pitcher. Sling is just easier to control and learn. 

I was shocked this past weekend when hardly a peep was made about the pitching in the league. It’s early. I predict these rules changes will not end the vicious cycle of repeated open pitching in this league boys and girls. Softball Recidivism will continue.

Mister Ronda’s neighborhood can’t all be critical though. The insider does applaud the league for breaking their maddening lifetime union deal with Mr. Johnson’s umpire crew and hiring new officials. The early grade on the new umpires is promising too bad the rules they were given flawed pitching rules to follow.

Anyway, brush your teeth, keep your stats, and until next time boys in girls in Mister Ronda’s Neighborhood. See ya


  1. Rick -

    I think you were too hasty in your desire to condemn people in your recent Mr. Rodgers column. BTW, his show was meant to be a positive encouragement not a negative critique....will Mr. Rhonda stay true to Mr. Rodger's intent, or will he engage in recidivism?

    The Choice Parts vote, cast by Kip, was for #1....strict ASA rules. Surprise you? Who were you referring to when you said it's not hard to figure out who voted for the pre-2012 rules? Unless you really know who voted for what, to make assumptions here is recidivism.

    Also, all the BASL managers did was to: 1) Re-state that the league is a modified fast pitch league, not slingshot, windmill, etc. This paragraph has been in the rules for many years. 2) Adopt the complete set of ASA pitcher rules for 10 man modified fast pitch, which is Section 6, Rule 3.

    You never read either rule. Recidivism.

    If you had, you would have realized that the language you quoted is simply a restatement of certain sections of Section 6, Rule 3. I believe that Jeff chose to insert this language, and I dont know why. It makes it confusing. But a good journalist does his homework. If you had, you would have seen that the things you complain about, like ball outside the wrist, are covered in Section 6, Rule 3.

    You really have nothing to complain about in terms of the rules that the managers adopted. What we are finding out now is that the new umps seem unwilling to call sling or anything else illegal. Like the old umps, they first blame the league and say our rules are the fault. And then they deny that the pitching they see is actually illegal. It looks as if it is a city-wide ump problem.

    You have a point about the decision being made at the Commissioner level. And that seems to work in your league. In the weekday Heckscher leagues many complained that the commissioner made arbitrary rulings to favor this team. And now you have the problem of the Commissioner as dictator like Bob Morales behaves (or at least used to) on 54th St.

    Everyone has an opinion and thinks they know the answer, but it aint so easy. Dont be so quick to criticize. Mr. Rodgers wasn't.


  2. Rosenmiller is an over grown child who takes himself too seriously and is always spinning other peoples words. I would leave my name, but I'm sure he would use it against me in the league.


  4. And round and round it goes....the rules don't matter without enforcement. Umps have no incentive to enforce all these technicalities in a league where they already get more shit than anywhere else. Especially when the practical interpretation of the rule is so see what you wanna see and everyone sees the pitcher's motion differently.

    The only way to address this is to have a common sense "banned" list like some other leagues have. It's the only way this problem will go away. If this doesn't get fixed this year, I predict the demise of at least 3 teams for next season. Not everyone want to stoop to the level of paying pitchers and most teams like the idea of being able to score some runs.

  5. I watched JR's superstar pitcher JB on Sunday. He started with one foot behind the rubber AND stepped back before going toward the plate. This is of course against the new/old rules. I won't even bother to talk about arm angle, ball outside the wrist, bent elbow, etc. You can't blame JR or JB. All pitchers who throw illegal have the physical ability to throw legal but why should they if the umps and the league continue to allow it? 90% of the pitchers at Heckscher on Sunday were starting WITHOUT both feet on the rubber. Even though the "starting with both feet on the rubber" rule is the easiest of all the pitching rules to see, I guess the umps and the league agree that it is also the stupidest. No other league enforces it either.

  6. Armando threw a 1 hitter, Bombers 2-0....nuff said.

  7. I'm the best pitcher in the world