There are many things I wish I had the magic wand to change about our game.
Illegal pitches that don’t get called, the new obstruction rule, the ever-tightening strike zone! And…
Wait for it.
How can anyone feel good about playing any game, let alone a very important game, on a field with a temporary outfield fence?
What’s the problem you ask? Everyone plays on slow pitch fields with temporary fences, right? Just because you are used to something doesn’t make it right. As a matter of fact, being used to some things is an indicator of serious problems.
How many times have you seen one of the following?
A ball hits the outfield fence and bounces over because the fence is too loose?
An outfielder falls over a temporary fence and the ensuing arguments about whether its an out or a home run?
A ball is scorched down the line that sends a runner who would have easily scored from first back to third because its a ground-rule double?
The ground crew, or umpires, or teams or coaches trying to repair a jacked up temporary fence that keeps falling down blowing over or just falls down?
I understand that not all games can be played on fastpitch-specific facilities. Tournaments are too big of a business, requiring too many fields, for all of them to have permanent fences set to fastpitch-specific distances. That would be a dream world, I know.
Tournaments that are making tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars can afford to invest in better temporary fencing!
Tournaments that are making big money can afford enough fencing to go all the way to the sideline fences, eliminating the gaps that lead to so many ground rule doubles!
These events can and should work with the parks that do have some fastpitch-specific fields rather than settling for the least expensive parks!
When you do have a fastpitch-specific field in a park, use it for the championship games.
The games are too important to the people playing them to allow them to feel cheated by the facility.
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.