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2016 softball season opens June 7

Small balls go farther

by Than Acuff

As snow and rain continue to inundate us, it’s hard to imagine that the softball season is close to starting with the captains’ meeting on Thursday, May 26 and opening day slated for Tuesday, June 7.

And, believe it or not, there are some changes afoot for the upcoming season.

After years of trying to keep the comp league alive, it’s finally been decided to scrap it and just make one league this year. It’s unfortunate but it’s about time.

The crazy thing (aside from the fact that Donald Trump may end up our president) is that back in the day there were fewer people here but there was more softball. This place had it all: men’s league, women’s league, coed league, rec league and comp league.

Now we are down to one league. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. As of Tuesday, May 17 Crested Butte recreation coordinator Kyle Thomas is looking at 14 teams for the upcoming season.

“We were going to be down to three comp teams so instead of trying to piece that together, those three comp teams can play more variety of teams,” explains Thomas.

Concerns about the comp teams running roughshod through the rec league are circulating but Thomas looks to alleviate those concerns during the captains’ meeting. One option they will discuss will be splitting the playoffs into two tiers based on regular season records, with an upper division playoff and a lower division playoff.

Thomas does realize that puts the kibosh on any chances of a Cinderella run in the post-season. Ultimately, he will leave that decision up to a vote during the captain’s meeting.

“I’m going to put it to the captains,” says Thomas. “It’s their league so I want to keep it their decision.”

Furthermore, women’s balls may be smaller.

That’s right, I said it, women’s balls.

During comp league games the last couple of years, women hit an 11-inch in circumference ball while the men hit a 12-inch ball. The idea being, smaller balls go farther. Thomas will ask the captains to vote on whether or not to keep that rule in place for the new combined league.

“If the women really like to hit an 11-inch ball I don’t want to take that away,” says Thomas.

What woman wouldn’t want to hit an 11-inch ball?

Sorry, was that chauvinistic, misogynistic and/or immature? Well, that’s what we can expect with Donald Trump in office.

A couple of things we do know about softball this season. Games will be Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at any one of the amazing fields in town, with heavy play on Tuesdays and Thursdays and only two games on Wednesdays at Gothic Field.

And men 60 years old and older may be considered coed, if teams so choose. The rule, brought into practice a handful of years ago, ruffled some feathers, but in the end made for a far more competitive Gray Hares team. Add in the 11-inch ball and we may witness the first sexagenarian to go yard in Crested Butte.

Actually, that’s already been done, hello Jerry Heal.

As I mentioned before, Thomas expects to have 14 teams this year and word on the street is Kochevar’s will be putting a team together. I wonder if they will bring back the old name: Trouser Snakes.

Last year’s rec league champions, the Eldo, and last year’s comp league champions, the Talk of the Town, are signed up as well, which could make for an interesting showdown this year.

“They always say they want to do an informal battle of the league champions but they never do it,” says Thomas. “Now they’ll get to do it in season.”

Ultimately, things are shaping up for another fantastic summer of softball, provided summer ever comes. Now, where did I put that lawn chair?

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