Falcons Forum

Falcons Forum

chat_bubble Chicken Little Looks at YOUR BALLS
The WMSPL quietly passed a rule this off-season that may have meaningful impact on the game we love. By a narrow 7-6 vote, a combination of the league executive and team representatives voted to change the official softball of the WMSPL from the Worth Grey Dot to the Worth Hot Dot.

Visually, the balls are nearly identical. Only the logos are changed. As any mom will tell you, it's what's inside that counts. The Worth Grey Dot used by the WMSPL was what those who talk like this called a "40/375". The 40 represents the .40 COR (Coefficient of restitution) of that ball. Simply put, when this ball is fired from an air cannon at an immovable object (a concrete wall, for example), it returns at 40% of the speed at which it was launched. The 375 means that if put into a press, it would required 375 lbs. of pressure to compress the ball by 1/4". The Worth Hot Dot that our league will be using this season is a "52/275". This means that it rebounds from the proverbial concrete wall at 52% of it's impact speed, and requires only 275 lbs. of pressure to compress it by 1/4".

It doesn't take a high school graduate to tell you that .52 is 30% higher than .40. This means that, all other factors being equal, ie. pitch speed (won't change), the bats we use (will only become more advanced), and swing speed (may be reduced slightly due to the players being a year older, but not noticeably), the ball will be coming off the bat 30% faster than last year. To put it another way, players (the closest to the batter being the pitcher), will have 30% less time to react to a ball being hit.

Several reasons were given at the February league meeting for changing to this new ball. One of the reasons given was that this ball was used on an experimental basis in the President's Tournament last June, and the home-runs-that-counted per game rate was virtually unchanged from that of the Grey Dot used in the regular season. This was backed up by statistical evidence (the President kept track). Home runs over the +2 rule were counted during the tournament, but not by the league during the regular season. To be clear, total number of balls hit over the fence are not comparable, due to lack of statistics.

Another reason given was that this is a so-called "flight-restricted ball". I honestly don't know how the science on this works. Maybe it has something to do with the compression, or maybe this ball is lighter so it doesn't carry as far? Raised stitching on the seams? Anyway, the consensus around the table was that the league's power hitters will be able to still hit home runs, but they won't go as far. Those that lucked their way into a round-tripper or two last season will be SOL this year, if this tidbit proves to be true.

It was also mentioned that the Hot Dot is more consistent in changing weather conditions. The Grey Dot performs better in colder weather, then doesn't travel as far or as fast when it gets hot out. As you can see from the chart below (obtained from Worth's catalogue), the Hot Dot actually performs better as the weather gets warmer. So liners in July and August will be in your grill even faster than they were in May.

What wasn't mentioned in the meeting is a fact-backed reason to change the ball in the first place. Obviously, it's to limit home runs (or at least how far they go). Todd had the most noble of all reasons to change, and that was to protect the kids playing in the playground beyond the left field fence on K1. To date, no child has been struck by a home run hit in our league. If the rumours regarding flight-restriction indeed prove true, that record will continue. At least two incidences have occurred in the last couple years resulting in injury to a WMSPL player from a line drive. Our own Dinner was struck mere inches from his tender bits by a line drive while standing on third base. His quick reactions may have prevented further catastrophe. In the other, a player for Xtreme was struck in the back of the head by a line drive while standing on first base. In this case, an ambulance and EMS had to attend the playing field.

This season, the balls will be coming off the bat 30% faster.

Once a team goes up +2 in home runs this season, all hitters will have to decide whether to swing for a line drive, or to swing with loft and risk being called out if the ball goes over the fence. When this subject was broached in discussion of rules changes here, everyone's favourite commenter, Anonymous, made his feelings known:

"As for the safety part, there are a number of protective devices available to baseball players. Mouth guards, jocks/cups, shin pads, knee pads, face cages and even batting helmets for example. Each of these items are in use by some players in this league. It is up to the individual to decide what he needs to wear to feel "safe" in any situation."

Have a safe season, everyone.
Tags: safety, balls, chicken little, dinner, xtreme, cor, compression, hot dot, grey dot
Posted on: Tuesday March 22nd, 2016 at 10:04AM
Comment #1

I find it troublesome that the Falcons (whom I play for) would publish such an article and not indicate who the author is.

Obviously, the subtext of your article is to poke fun at someone posting comments under the name "anonymous". Yes, yes, I concur that posting under an alias is pathetic (especially an alias as utterly unoriginal as Anonymous)...and yet, the Falcons website doesn't reveal the author of "Chicken Little Looks At YOUR BALLS"

Obviously the Falcons author won't come right out and say it, but he feels that WMSPL Executives and League Reps, might be headed down the path of discovering the true meaning of the term "The Law of Unintended Consequences."

I for one, side with "anonymous" and his/her sunny disposition. Players will wear what they need to in order to feel safe in any situation.

And finally, let's be completely dead-ass honest. Everyone hates a few guys in this league (myself included), and are pondering the following questions:

(a) is anyone going to actually get KO'd by a ball;
(b) will someone you hate get KO'd by a ball;
(c) how will you internalize and/or express your feelings IF/WHEN someone you hate gets KO'd by a ball;
(d) how many guys are going to take the advice of "anonymous" and play P, 3b, SS, 2b wearing whatever they need in order to feel safe;
(e) how will other players respond to the players that come to games looking like they might have a part-time gig working at medieval times

Posted on: Thursday March 31st, 2016 at 6:43PM
Posted by: Doug Short aka 00, aka Dougothy
Comment #2

I think that based solely on the length of the post that you could deduce that I wrote it. If there's anything that's constantly associated with me, it's long things.

The point of the whole post was to lay bare the facts of the what this new ball is, since I felt that they weren't entirely thought out prior to the vote to change the ball. I think the post would have received more attention if it had been posted the week prior to opening day, rather than 6 weeks before, when no one visits this website.

I was hoping the comments section would provide the discussion I felt this change deserved.

As the only player in the league who wears a batting helmet, I would encourage anyone to protect themselves how they feel is necessary.

Posted on: Friday April 1st, 2016 at 7:45AM
Posted by: SLF
Post your comments about this topic:
You must be logged in to post a comment!