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Senior Softball

June 22, 2012

As a sort-of sports blogger, I take it upon myself to stay on the cutting edge of sports writing, which is why I’m currently reading the Best American Sports Writing from 2009. In it, there’s a piece called “The Free Agent Adjusts His Truss”, about senior softball leagues. While it’s mostly a profile of a single player, the author Bryan Curtis does take a few detours to explain some nuances of the senior leagues, including a few rules changes.

There have been other reforms: the introduction of restricted-flight softballs to prevent injury; liberal rules about “courtesy runners,” as pinch runners are known in senior softball parlance, to aid the movement-impaired; and the “scoring plate,” which sits a few feet up the third-base line from the real home plate to avoid Ray Fosse-style collisions.

This isn’t quite the same as helmet regulations for NFL players, but it’s a clear example of a custom rule set to match particular concerns about the safety of the player base.

The full text of the article, originally published in the New York Times, is available online here.

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