Is softball becoming too soft? Or is it just life?

At the risk of sounding like an old person yearning for the nostalgic past, sometime’s I feel like an old person yearning for the nostalgic past.

Is softball too frightening now that we must completely bend the rules in order to keep the kids safe from “boo-boos”?

First, it started with the orange first base. (Here’s one in case you’ve never seen it:)

It was introduced in our league (and many others) as a way of avoiding collisions at first base. The batter, when running to first, has to touch the orange base and the first baseman has to touch the white base. For some reason, in all of my years playing baseball starting at age ten, we never had an orange base for the runners to hit. That’s an awful lot of games through many, many years. Did the runner sometimes have to avoid an errant throw? Sure. Might have the first baseman occasionally hit the runner? Sure! But, amazingly, I survived it all, and so did every other teammate I’ve ever had.

OK, I know what you are thinking. It’s not a bad idea to have an orange base which separates the fielder from the batter. It doesn’t change the game in any real tangible way while providing a level of protection. I agree. I can live with it. But, what would you say if a league instituted a rule where the runner no longer is ALLOWED to touch home plate to score a run. That’s right. I used the word ‘allowed’. If a runner running home touches home plate, the runner is automatically out. I’m sorry, but what kind of weird sports universe are we living in these days.

I was introduced to this rule change in our particular league just this past weekend. A runner coming home has to “run past the yellow line” and not touch home plate. The catcher is NOT allowed to tag the runner. That’s right, there is not allowed to be any tag-outs at home plate.

This rule not only prevents collisions, it stops the spreading of germs as well.

I’m sorry, but softball where you can no longer run home is barely even softball. The home plate is one of those iconic images of all of sports-a place of safety-the image of accomplishment. It’s what a player strives for. No one ever strives for a yellow-line.

Unfortunately, this is just another ridiculous manifestation of a society which has to pamper and protect instead of encouraging accomplishment, trial and error, and risk.

Soon there may be orange bases at second and third. Perhaps we should give the kids extra padding so as to not come into contact with any fielders anywhere. Also, maybe live pitches need to be banned because they do sometimes hit the batter, causing bruising. Perhaps all types of softball and baseball should become tee-ball to make it more safe. However, the fielders, perhaps, should have to position themselves outside the foul line in order not to catch a line-drive in the throat. Oh, but what about foul balls? OK, maybe all players can remain in the dugout until the ball is hit, then they will race out onto the field and if the fielder gets the ball and touches home plate before the runner crosses the yellow line, then there is an out. But this would be encouraging kids to fun fast and they might fall down and scrap their knees.

You know what, just forget sports and give them their ipads. That’s what they want anyways. It also might save my head from exploding.

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