|April 30, 2019
|RESPONSE TO TIMBERWORKS DISCUSSION
ANOTHER THOUGHT : After seeing many of the expressed opinions in two of the recent MESSAGE BOARD topics---"Timberworks" ISSUE & "Winners of 65 Majors" , I thought I'd try ( as a recently retired Timberworks player) to address some of the presented issues from another perspective especially after reading TommyGun1's discussion which really simply said that WE are good at talking about the problem and not focusing on the solutions. He notes the need of SSUSA to become involved as they have skin in the game too----lots of skin actually. Maybe giving an overview of some of the issues may be good to bring the issue into more perspective since 1) there are 2 and in this case, 3 sides to the issue and 2) having Timberworks in the 65M bracket which caused such great concern as evidenced by some of the complainants.
HOW DID Timberworks get there?----for some years ( they qualified as a second place finisher in an event where they sorta lucked out since they're down 18-6 to a team with 2 innings to go with the winner playing in the Championship
games of a 60M grouping . MY POINT: they were really probably not a M+ team even after winning that game but losing to Ruth in the Championship about 7-8 years ago still put them into the next year's M+ bracket. BUT, they kept entering events and losing....often finishing last or next-to-last in most events. BUT, they plugged along anyway and eventually picked up a couple of new players and worked to do as well as possible. Then, about 3 years ago, the players essentially became 15 Hitmen coached by DD ( one of the complainants here). DD , in my opinion,is one if not arguably the best recruiters in the country. The players separated from DD after one year simply due to a different in management styles. After a few weeks, a number of players met with Doug Robbins who agreed to become sponsor/player/manager a short while later. He accepted this request and though it was sorta a full team, Doug added a couple more players soon thereafter. I sorta wonder what DD's thought might be if he had remained as MGR/sponsor of the team that evolved into what we see today as the team is about the same with a few yearly additions. Regardless, his thought that something needs to be done is a prevailing thought of others who participated in the Southwest event a week ago.
Still and for the past 2 years, Timberworks has done well. DD's notes on the team won-lost record is probably pretty darn close for this short period of time. IS this a dynasty ?......probably for a short period of time But senior softball historians know that others before have eventually dissipated. Seacrest Mavericks were a dynasty and shortly thereafter a team Fergies/then Turn Two and now known as Superior was without a doubt the BEST in the country . For how long ---only about 10-12 years and have an even greater record by far ---and over a considerable period of time. No one compared. Now a 70s team from Florida, Venom, has a record equal to or better than Timberworks and looks to be a great team for some coming years. BUT, the noise is coming from the west coast ; not the east coast where these 2 teams essentially play.
Teams age up, players have family issues and individual players have health issues. So dynasties do not last except for Superior. Timberworks is actually an older 65 team with most guys in the 68-70 age grouping. While the team lost 6 members this year, additions are usually pretty simple. The current ball players are fine ballplayers but what sets Timberworks apart is the team chemistry---as good as I have ever seen. They have even talked to other players for recruiting purposes in the past years which participated against them this past week. BUT, players often stay where they are comfortable ....they want to play with friends ; don't want to travel as much; have family/heath issues so that can have an impact on a "BEST-TEAM" / competitive situation. Is that Timberworks' or SSUSA's issue ? Not at all but some teams like to "have their cake and eat it too" and that makes for complaints and the desire not to play Timberworks or like teams. It can certainly be an issue for SSUSA since they do the classification and receive funds for teams participating in events. One complaint was that Timberworks has the ability to add 4 out-of-area players.........true but M team can have the "snow bird"rule if they want so that argument is a little over-used. Whether they do or not use that system, it is there .AND, I know snow bird(s) played in this event last week.
In addressing some of the issues of bbullett---how do you know that is "seems like Timberworks wanted to get together and dominate...and SSUSA accommodated them ?? Timberworks simply entered the event like any other team and enjoys playing. They play by whatever rules just to play---not complaining. Another comment indicated Tfmberworks should check with Florida or other east teams to see who is coming. If no other east teams were coming,should they not play ?? Actually, I personally did contact some of those teams on behalf of Timberworks and another 70 M+ team...not only for this event but for the season. Historically, when SPA decided some years ago to fail to allow Turn Two/Superior to play since they had too many "impact players" , the other then 60M + teams decided not to play since if the best was not there, they also did not need to go. These teams wanted the opportunity to beat Turn Two---not run away. There has been no same age M+ teams entered since then and SPA has even tried to change their dates 2 years ago to get those same teams involved again----no deal though.
The ISSSA event at the Smoky Mountains event in Tennessee was considered but initially there was an indication only 1 70 M+ team and no 65 M+ teams were gong. Then ,recently the Florida team said they had changed their mind and wanted to go after affirming their plans to avoid that event.....so there are 2 teams ...enough to warrant an across-the country event ........No, not really for the 70s. THE POINT: yes, that was done but is that a necessary responsibility ; No, just enter the events which work for your team. There is an ASA western national in Oregon in August but since Tiimberworks plans to enter, maybe 65M teams should not enter in case they also have to combine classifications. OR, go to beat the best and have fun.
One of the major issues for M+ and SSUSA is a policy/practice now in place----the "old"practice was to have winning teams move up into the next-best classification for 2 years. That has evolved into an apparent "3 tourney"practice currently. So, teams have routinely disbanded or played poorly vs.opponents at the next level....to become reclassified back to the division where they did well/won as soon as possible-----hardly a competitive response. Another policy decision was to allow M+ teams to add a 4th player from out-of state areas. Sorry , but while that may have allowed
a few teams to add someone(s), Timberworks and others ( by knowing many of those player possibilities) simply could add more depth to a team.
A Timberworks player, Doak, offered year ago ( on this Message Board) to participate in a conversation to suggest other alternatives WHEN there were classification difficulties as were apparently occurring this past week. Why not use resources to make good policy change---some of these players really do have some insights BUT they should also present those in writing---not on this the Message Board ---to SSUSA or consideration. A BAD PLAN is to play EXHIBITION .If you have ever participated in that situation, it is clear that those games are actually less than seeding games. Tommy gun 1 , Don 5 and Steinbrenner have suggested to either become the best you can or at least focus on solutions to the present issue and not just simply complain. BOTTOM LINE: Timberworks is a 65 team ( an older 65 team actually), why should they play 60s/55s when there are different sets of rules / different dates of play when a team is arranging for event participation? BUT ,there should be a set of identified practices when it is necessary to combine different classifications. BUT, take advantage of the situation when it presents-----GO BEAT THEM anyway like 19 Hitmen did last week ,and that's what Timberworks did almost 2+ years go after taking their lumps for the nearly 4 prior years.
This issue has been festering for years and the response has been in effect, let it work itself out. Not good when SSUSA has the biggest stake -----either lose $$ by virtue of the threats indicated in these opinions OR develop better policy. Don't take 6 years to make changes like in the ball issue recently rectified. Duke, DD and Don5 may offer good suggestions to consider if nothing else WHEN NECESSARY to combine classifications BUT teams do not play fully in order to get "back down " . THIS has to be a backwards approach and not a genuine response when most athletes compete to be the best. Timberworks is not the only team affected . Look at 55s/60s with the Summy's teams, Superior and Venom-----all very exclusively great teams with long records of achieving---some even better or longer lasting than ol' Timberworks.
Lastly, I'd like to mention Doug again......a pretty good ol' guy who loves softball. As a TD for SSUSA a few years ago, he took advantage of their defibrillator training----helped 2 guys survive by administering that system and now, those players were still playing....NOT BAD. He is no longer employed as a TD but is actively involved in the game. To clear another issue----Timberworks does not pay for rooms, flights or team meals ; it simply offers a great team atmosphere. There is little personal advantage to playing for them---just an opportunity to be around some really fine guys. They actually have the least skin-in-the-game than SSUSA or the teams in this recent southwest event--------they just want to play and have opponents want to play hard and try to beat them. So....do it. Sorry for the length but let's get on with softball.
Ellwin Jobe---retired Timberworks
|May 2, 2019
|Mr Jobe. First , congratulations to you and Timberworks for being able to maintain a very good program over the years. Just one comment. Back a couple threads. I mentioned that the m+ teams can grab 4 out of area players and the m teams cannot. I do believe that argument may be over used by teams out west, in the south west and in the south. But In my state and surrounding states where it tends to be in the negative degree range in December, January and February. Players are leaving not coming to, so the snowbird rule doesn't seem to apply. So ultimately, the m teams in my area are limited to who they can roster. My point before was, we just need to do something to close that gap. So that when this type of situation comes up again, the field may be a little more balanced. I realize this does not fix every thing, but maybe it helps ease some of the anger on this board
|May 2, 2019
|Timberworks is obviously the best team in the highest rated division for teams playing Tuesday-Thursday. In order for them to play on equal terms against their opponents - according to SSUSA, they need to play against teams that are scheduled to play Friday-Sunday in the 60 Major division. Or against the 60 Major + teams and take 5 runs so they could play the same rules they are used to. Its plain to see that regardless of what happens somebody is going to be angry- either most of the 65 Major teams, or Timberworks if they are made to play in the Friday-Sunday tournament. Major teams construct their team to play against other Major teams- how are they going to add some better (snowbird) players after the rosters are locked to compete against a team like Timberworks ?
They beat Sin City by 25, beat the Reds by 18, beat Az Ancient by 11..... clearly Timberworks needs to challenge themselves in a different way ! How is that competitive for either team ? How can these games be any better than an EXHIBITION game ? There is no way any of these 3 teams are going to do what 19 Hitmen did and beat Timberworks- it doesn't matter how many hours they practice ! I'm sure there were many other teams in the 65 Major tournament that they would trounce just as soundly. This a bad plan too !
|May 2, 2019
|I agree that someone will be angry one way or the other. And I also agree that Timberworks would more then likely beat up on the 65 major division. Not fun for anyone. I am not in Timberworks corner in all of this. If they need to move down an age group then so be it. I don't have a dog in this age group fight. Just trying to start some conversation on how to fix it, so it's not an issue anymore. I may be reading the snowbird rule wrong. The snowbird player has the choise to commit to either his home state team or his snowbird team. So if I live in Michigan and snowbird to California, and choose to stay with the California team. Is that not the same as me being from out of the area? Not being a smart ass, that's just how I read the rule. My point to that was. I, being from Michigan, being on a major roster, with no snowbirds, puts me at large disadvantage playing the major plus teams. My post was a general post trying to cover all teams in the major plus and major divisions. Thanks for listening.