Article #1: A-WOL Inks deal with Verdasys Softball Team|
Includes transcript of post conference Q&A session
Posted: June 9, 2008
By Andy Wolan / WRCS
In a recent press conference, Andrew Wolan (aka “A-WOL”) announced that he has signed a one-year deal with the newly formed “Verdasys” co-ed softball team. Under the agreement, Andy will join the team as both team skipper and offensive pitcher. This will be Andy’s third career season as team manager.
“Verdasys Softball” (or “Verdasys” for short) is joining the growing Waltham Recreational Softball League. This is the organizations inaugural co-ed softball team.
In addition, Andy and his writing staff have agreed to setup shop in Waltham to cover the team this season.
Below is a transcript of the Q&A session following the announcement:
Q. What are your thoughts about joining team Verdasys?
A. Simply put: new team, new league. There will be a fresh set of faces for me get acquainted with, along with a new league with its own set of rules, regulations and quirks. It will be challenge, but anyone that knows my past will tell you this is something I have handled many times before.
Q. How do you feel about being the new team skipper?
A. I enjoyed playing the role of team manager in the past and I am both excited and honored to be given the roll once again.
Q. The league does not make use of umpires and actually calls on teams to pitch to themselves. What do you think about this alternative style of play and how will it affect game management?
A. Well, it means we can no longer blame the umpire for throwing a game! But seriously, I don‘t expect it to be a serious problem. Instead, I expect it to make the pace of the game faster and more action-packed.
Since teams pitch to themselves, there is no strike-zone. If a player does not make contact by the fourth pitch, he or she is out, period. Elimination of called balls and strikes will reduce bickering, make the game faster, and give the fielders more action compared to the traditional style of play.
The only potential problem spot are close plays, such as force outs at first base. I’m hoping that teams in the league will be open minded and openly discuss such plays to ensure the proper call is made. We’ll see how that goes during the course of the season and make adjustments as needed.
Q. The league is classified as “non-competitive”. What is your definition of “non-competitive” and how will it affect the style of play?
A. First of all, I don’t want people to confuse non-competitive with “no effort”. I’m not expecting a bunch of players that can play the game well... or even know how to play the game for that matter. Instead, I’m expecting a team that will give it their best and be willing to work on their game during the course of the season. If we do that, we’ll have a lot of fun and maybe even win a few games.
To me, non-competitive softball is all about a style of game play that focuses on the elements that make the game fun: hitting, fielding and base running. Competitive softball is about doing anything and everything to give your team an edge to win the game. In my experiences, this involves the “darker” elements of the game that makes it not enjoyable to all but the truly hardcore players. These include:
Batters that intentionally draw walks against struggling pitchers instead of hitting the ball
Cleatting the second baseman to avoid a double play.
Knocking over the catcher at home plate to score a run in close game.
Exploiting unconventional rules or obscure technicalities to gain an edge, even if the exploit is dirty, borderline illegal or just B.S. in nature.
Managers that dismiss “underperforming” players from a team, even if they were a positive influence.
Stretching an overthrow to first into an infield triple.
Ringers that far too talented for the league.
Simply put, these elements drag the game away from its core and encourage a “bush league” style of game play. Some elements even put people at risk of injury in the name of winning. Many find such tactics unattractive and discouraging to the casual player that just wants some fun.
If the league is as “player friendly” as I anticipate, it should lead to less stress and more enjoyment to all, including team management.