Manager's, praise the Lord. We finally played some real games this past weekend, and dodged some bad weather as well. We were told last fall that the weather this winter would be cold and rainy, and the National Weather Service was right. I am afraid that we will have to deal with this even more in the coming months. My message to you is, "be patient, and tell your Players that as well."
Those of you who read my "Notes," and the emails that are sent to you know that we had a few contacts that were downright nasty and disrespectful after cancelling the January tournaments. That is not acceptable, and will not be tolerated. Explain to your Players that participating in FHC Softball is a privilege and not a right. Also, you are not protected by the 1st Amendment when you blast our organization. Many of you have heard me explain that "We are happy to have you, but we do not have to have you" in our FHC League. I contacted one of our Managers that he might want to curtail one of his Players about a disrespectful message to me and the FHC Board of Directors. The Manager said his Player "was a man and was responsible for his own actions." I told the Manager I was doing him a favor, but it did not register, so I explained that if it happened again the Player would be suspended and not available. In other words, if the Manager cannot control his Players, I can.
We will be using the Baden softball going forward, and no other softball will be used during that time. The "composite ball" will be available in March, but you still will only use the regular Baden ball in the meantime. You can purchase extra balls at the Tournament Sites.
We will not be checking bats on a wide scale. We will be checking bats on a "random" situation. Be prepared, do not be surprised if a Director comes into your dugout, tells you that he is checking bats, and you can only use the bats that are checked on that weekend. The bats will be marked, and the umpires alerted to the bat check. Any Player or Manager that balks at the bat check in a disrespectful manner will be ejected.
We are looking at the possibility at weighing the bats instead. Example: Your bat is a 27 ounce bat. It weighs in at 26 ounces. That is an altered bat. The Player and the Manager would be "ejected," and could be suspended for up to 5 years. I hope that gets your attention, Managers.
We are starting a brand new "Points System" this year. Each Team was rated based on last year or a new Team basis. If a Team wins a bracket they will receive 2 points, and 1 point for each game won, for a maximum of 6 points for one tournament. That was determined by our Ranking and Points Committee, which is made up by our Commissioners and Site Directors. The philosophy of this policy is actually to protect Teams, and not push them up too fast. In the old policy, a bracket winning Team could move up 2 brackets and that would be a penalty for winning.
We will no longer give points to a Team that does not play in a given tournament. The ranking and placement of any Team will be determined by the same Committee as above, but also our Area Directors. Some feel that some Teams would miss a tournament or more just to move down, and be more successful winning a bracket. The Committee will make a continuous effort to place a Team where it belongs competitively. So, if a very good Team misses 2 tournaments in a row, the Committee will still place that Team where they belong.
I received a note asking the Board to move the 60+ State Tournament to the next weekend in December because Thanksgiving is late this year and would be a tremendous burden if we played on November 30/December 1. We are already trying to change that date and are working with our Polk County partners, so stay tuned.
Managers, I want to make one more attempt to make you understand the importance of controlling your Players on and off the field. The website has a place where people can ask for help. It is not a place to condemn or degrade. If you need me to do so, I would be happy to explain that policy to your Team or any individual that you cannot control. I heard a really good policy a number of years ago when the computers were brought into the school system. The administration looked at every one of us teachers and said "Learn when and when not to push SEND."
See you soon,
Coach Mike Knowles