RHWS 2021 … 70s scheduling options limited

My July comments about playing 7-inning games in the Timeless Division definitely got the attention of a number of Hobbs participants.

Several managers emailed or called to say they thought it was a good idea but three added: “Don’t quote me!”

Roy Hobbs Geezer

Two managers adamantly disagreed, and one made some cogent arguments and offered potential suggestions, about which I have been thinking.

And several players made their feelings known as well.

The majority of the responses, however, have been positive.

To review, the issue is too many teams and not enough available fields for any number of reasons.  The situation is improving, but it is much akin to trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.

I was not clear previously on what options we have.  This is not an attempt to start a debate but rather a realization of the challenge and our making a decision on which path to take.  Our friends with Lee County Parks and Rec have told us we can play 4 games a day at Terry Park that week.  Those fields are lighted which mitigates the fact that during 60s-70s week we lose daylight around 5:30 p.m., and we know 70s don’t want to play under the lights although the third game will run up against darkness.

Our options are:

  1.  Invite another 4-6 70s teams to drop out.
  2. Cut the game guarantee from 6 games to 5 games.
  3. Institute significant game time limits.
  4. Play 7-inning games.
  5. We thought we had the Cape Coral complex but that’s not an option now; however, we do have the option to use several community parks, only if we have to, as staffing and accustomed amenities become problematic.

Obviously, no one wants to see options 1 or 2.  

Option 3 could well be the good solution, but it is fraught with issues that will lead to controversy.

The easy option is #4 – 7-inning games.

On Option 3, If we set a firm game-ending time (2:40 is our goal), is the final score set at the time limit? Or do we follow the rules of baseball and revert to the score at the end of the last inning completed?  Either way, in a tight game, we will have ‘claims’ of one team or the other stalling, leading to the team behind believing they were cheated.  This is not something we want to debate with anyone!

If we go with a strict time limit, we can schedule the games for 9 innings and put the onus of getting 9 innings played on the teams to NOT waste time.  (In such a case, we would guarantee 7 innings as a complete game and adjust mercy rules.)

It is quite possible to play a 9-inning game in 2:45 as long as speed up rules are in place.  How?

One obvious guideline would be mandatory runners for catchers and pitchers, but if those runners are NOT ready, it defeats the purpose.  And if the catchers and pitchers are not ready to take the field at 3 outs, it also defeats the purpose.

So, how about mandatory 2 minutes at each change of sides.  At 2 minutes, plate umpire signals “play ball.”  If battery not ready, call a ball; if hitter not ready, call a strike!  Repeat every 30 seconds.  Of course, our umpires would have to agree to enforce the 2-minute guideline.

I can hear the fussing now.

In a normal Hobbs game, change of sides is generally about 3 minutes.  Multiply that by 17 changes in a 9-inning game and you get 51 minutes.  If we cut 17 minutes out, the chances of a complete game increase proportionately.

So, even time limits lead to concerns about being cheated on innings.

Regardless of what we do on this, we will reset the mercy rule to 15 runs at 5.  We will suggest strongly that at that point, the team behind get 6 outs (3 outs, clear bases, 3 outs) so they can get their at-bats.  The team ahead would get one last at-bat if they cannot hold a 15-run lead; however, have to say my sympathy for that team would be really limited.

Please understand we have been working on this for 3 months and have examined every alternative, including high schools; with school in session, that simply does not work.

Which brings us back to square one:  Like I said … 7 innings is the easier solution to the puzzle.

Finally …

Sunshine Classic … dates will be announced by the end of September, but invitations to teams in good standing will not go out until after Thanksgiving.

Published by Tom Giffen

Self-proclaimed Boomer-Geezer, graduate of the academy of life, former journalist, current owner of Roy Hobbs Baseball and associated organizations ... passions for truth, family, baseball, wine, the written word, cigars, cooking, friends and trying to do things the right way! Split time between Fort Myers, Fla., and Cedar Park, Texas, where I try real hard to spoil my grandchildren! Yikes, zerotohero!

19 thoughts on “RHWS 2021 … 70s scheduling options limited

  1. I’m not in the 70s or 75s
    But here is a ldea. Adding these rules
    will make a game go faster and make it more competitive.
    1. Cut off off 4 Runs per inning except last inning.
    2. No stealing , you can go on a Wild pitch or pass ball only. Reason many more Field choice plays ..easier throw for old guys.
    I play in a 65 and over League with these rules. Everyone love these rules.
    Not many mercy rule games.
    All teams feel they always are in the game.
    Just an Idea 💡


      1. Yes , but the games are usually are 2 hours or under. With out these rules they were 2.5 hours and we had a lot of time limit games..just tossed that out there. Food for thought.
        Some guys I know will say its not real baseball.


  2. Tom, Mike Courts Manager of the Maine Woods 65 and 70 teams here. My vote after canvassing my players is for 7 inning games. It is an elegant solution that will make the best of a contentious situation.


  3. Dan Gooris, manager TSP Fire. Since pitching is also a challenge in the Timeless Division, 7 inning games would work. Of course there is always the challenge of getting players playing time because you are playing two less innings per game, but I think you will have better games. You can see the energy level in 70+ players decline considerably in those last two innings.


  4. Just a suggestion. Wagner Woodbat plays some 8 inning games. Possibly play 8 inning with a mandatory of 4 runs or less per inning, with unlimited runs in the last inning. This could also be utilized for a 7 inning game. Runner for Pitcher and Catcher mandated at 2 outs. Mandated 5 warm up pitches max, from inning 3 thru the end of the game except Relief Pitcher. Lastly, 1-1 count on batter starting 7th inning. Yes, many suggestions here, and probably tough on teams and Umpires to know all the caveats Any of these suggestions could also be stand alone ideas


  5. 1. If you want courtesy runners for pitchers and catchers put some teeth in it. Suggestion: team has 1 batter after pitcher or catcher gets on base… if a courtesy runner does not IMMEDIATELY come on the field… the team loses that runner. If a second occurrence takes place, the runner is removed and an out is called the rest of the game. That should get things moving.

    2. Courtesy runners may NOT steal !

    3. Limit warm up pitches to 4 pitches or 2 minutes, whichever comes first. If the pitcher uses all 4 of his warmups, no throws to bases allowed (catcher included)

    4. Ball is immediately returned to pitcher after an out is made.

    I’m for anything that speeds a game up and doesn’t require umpires calling strike zones the size of Alaska. Yes, you all know that happens.


  6. 70’s only – I would prefer to see a time limit rather than an innings limit. The 2:45 seems fair, or even 2:30. If you can get 9 innings in during that time, great! Why stop a well-played 7 inning game that is done in 2 hours? The field will just sit empty for that extra time until the next game begins anyway. I fully agree with the strict time limit between innings and am also OK with a 4 or 5 run limit. With the time restrictions, hopefully all managers will encourage their players to “get moving”!


  7. Too late now but my first choice would be, to limit the number of teams, which would be by your count, would be four to six less teams. Time limits would be out because of the obvious reasons you listed. Speed up rules would be appropriate. Limiting a team to a certain number of runs per inning is one. If behind, they could possibly score enough runs to take the lead by the number of runs they are allowed to score per inning. Seven inning games are a good possibility, which would make all of the previously mentioned speed up changes unnecessary. Limiting warmups and pushing speedy field changing from offense to defense would go a long way to making things work out. I would only go to seven innings only if the majority went along with the concept. If the majority wants nine innings, that is what they sinned up for, so you may be on a slippery slope. A Solomonesque problem. Good luck.


  8. I do believe that a lot of the guys who suggestion of cutting back the amount of Warm-Up pitches are NOT pitchers! . I feel that 5 is not enough (for my old bones) let alone the 4 pitches I was limited to in a game 2 years ago. Six or Seven warm-up pitches can easily be thrown in Less than 90 seconds. Way back while playing in the 55 & 60 brackets, and now in 65, in the later innings, I would have to start throwing behind the bench when our offense got 2 outs. The older you get the more you need. When I get a few more than 4or5 warm-up pitches, I am less apt to Walk the lead-off batter which Extends the time of the game. Everyone knows when the lead-off batter walks, the odds are high that he will score = longer game.
    (And NO my pitches don’t THAT LONG to reach the plate. haha)


  9. Another speedup solution is as follows and is used in some leagues for that purpose. Team A bats in inning one, and gets three outs. They stay up and get the second innings three outs. Then team B bats with the same sequence. Then team A hits for innings 3 and 4. Then B and so on. The amount of time saved in changing sides, assuming it takes five minutes, would be at least 40 minutes, which would allow you to get in your nine innings. (It probably takes more than five mins. to change sides so time saved would even be more.) Warmup pitches, which go quickly, can still be in the range of 6. Also limiting the number of runs you can score per inning can be set at 5. The best solution for the future is to only accept the number of teams you can accommodate. When we commit to playing in Hobbs we expect six nine inning games with enough time to play them. Bill Pollak



  10. Gentlemen! Don’t deteriorate the quality of the game due to an overwhelming desire of our great nation wanting to play baseball. Just under 300 teams this year, and I’d be willing to “Pete Rose” bet that even more teams will surface next year. Just like everything else in life, we must prepare for the unexpected. So Instead of conceding to finding additional parks to play in, lets get creative in finding ways to make surrounding alternatives work for us. You’ve built the American dream of playing baseball for us non-pros. Guess what… we showed up from all parts of the country/globe. Now it’s time for you to find the hard solutions that preserve the integrity and rules of the game that ensures the feeling of being both amateur & pro-baseball players!
    Let’s gooooo!
    Roberto (Lakeland, FL)


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