Newspaper article Roll Call

League Searches for Answer to Cancellations

Newspaper article Roll Call

League Searches for Answer to Cancellations

Article excerpt

It took years for Major League Baseball to accept the use of instant replay. And it's still arguing about it. The House Softball League dealt with a similarly sweeping policy change over the issue of cancellations and forfeits. And it's still arguing about it.

Entering this season, the high command of the HSL huddled to discuss, among other issues, the league's policy on the matter. The heart of the policy centered on this: At 2 p.m., teams must give a heads-up to the opposition about the possibility of being unable to field a team. By 4 p.m., the team must deliver a final answer on whether it can play. Any notification after that is a loss by way of forfeit.

This season, the forfeit policy features three new provisions aimed at cracking down on teams with a more laissez-faire attitude about canceling games and at preventing teams from using the policy to bolster their records, according to league President Anthony Reed.

First is the weather rule. If the rain pours and a team captain decides not to send his players onto a soggy field, the team can cancel, regardless of any previous discussions leading up to the scheduled start time. Second, if by 7 p.m., a half-hour past the scheduled start time, a team lacks a minimum of eight players, three being women, it must forfeit. Lastly, a team must actually play 10 games to meet tournament eligibility. Forfeited games no longer constitute a played game.

A dispute over the legitimacy of a cancellation can be solved by the teams themselves or through arbitration, courtesy of the league commissioners.

To strike the right note, Reed and the others tried to find a middle ground that would satisfy the hyper-competitive without undermining the fun nature of the league.

"We want it to be casual, but you don't want the shotgun approach where you make it too burdensome for everybody," Reed said.

Some teams have legitimate reasons to pull the plug on a game at the last minute. …

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