DW interview updated! Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas to all from the Weiser family to yours!
Every year I ask players, managers, and sponsors to fill out interviews for their page here on SoftballCenter.com.
So if I am going to ask them to fill out an interview I always post my interview as well and update it each year.
So here it is. I hope it isn't too boring. Many of you have probably read it in years past.
I did add the oldscout questions to the bottom of this page so that is all new.
This week I will be asking all of the new Major and Watch list players to fill out interviews.
Dale "DW" Weiser
Christmas 2001: Me, Philip, Santa, Geri
Carolyn, William, Evelyn
Christmas 2014: My son William, me, my step son Philip.
Twin daughters Carolyn and Evelyn and my wife Geri.
15 years goes by very fast…
Interview from 2012 – updated December 2015 and again in November of 2016 – Added oldscout questions in 2016
Why do you like the game of softball?
I like the competition and teamwork that softball allows and the fact that anyone can find a level to play that suits their abilities. When you are younger you want to play in as many leagues and tournaments as you can. As you get older you come to realize that softball becomes a hobby where you seek quality of games over quantity.
Who is the best softball player you have ever seen?
The best all around player I have seen play is Todd Joerling when he was playing shortstop for Steeles. This was probably 1990. Steeles was still barnstorming and Todd was one of the best hitters and fielders in the game. Speed, power, defense, he had it all. In my opinion the 1990 Steele's team was the second best team of all time.
Ron Parnell when he was with Ritch's is a close second to Joerling. Very similar in my opinion with the speed, power, and defensive ability. Ron anchored, in my opinion, the best team of all time, the 1992 Ritch's Superior team.
The other guy that was fun to watch at that time was Scott Virkus who was a former pro football player. To watch someone that big roam the outfield at the top level with such speed and fearlessness was awesome.
Guys like Mike Macenko, Bruce Meade, Brett Helmer, Rusty Bumgardner, Jeff Hall, Greg Connell, and many others are people that you stop what you are doing and watch when you can at the park to see what they will do at bat. I was at the ISA World tournament in Brook Park, Ohio when Macenko hit the 500 footer onto the school building in right field. Meade was late in his career when I came along but I remember him as a big Rusty Bumgardner type with the signature "Rollie Fingers" like mustache hitting bombs at the Steele's NIT at Softball World and also at the ASA Supers in Johnson City, Tennessee. Meade was playing with Starpath I believe at the time. Helmer putting up the .800 plus seasons even with a giant defensive shift on him and home run limits. Connell hitting linedrives over scoreboards on baseball fields with the 45 foot high batters eye in center field. LINE DRIVES!
More recently Jeff Hall after sitting out for 2 full seasons and having shoulder surgery, coming out in Nashville for Resmondo like he had never missed a beat. Howie Krause hitting bomb after bomb in Nashville on his way to MVP. I remember Howie in his first season at the 'A' level in 1993 with Twohig AC out of Cleveland. He hit a couple of bombs at State Road Park, and he was playing shortstop at the time, and I remember thinking this guy is not playing on a high enough team. Then he picked up with Hague the next year and the rest was history. Andy Purcells 15 homers and 5 homers in the championship game in 2013 at the Major was a great performance as well. Ryan Robbins 30+ straight on base performance with Long Haul. JC Phelps "get off the fence peter pan" quote on his homer. John Glidewell helping FBI slay giants at the 2010 World Series…I have many memories of this great game.
Some other players that stood out in my softball following days were guys like Doug Roberson and Larry Fredieu who were great outfielders and all around players.
I remember Doug Flynn who was a gold glove second baseman for the NY Mets came over to softball and played some great defense for Starpath at shortstop. I remember thinking "what does Doug think about these "concrete" infields at Softball World in Cleveland with these 280 pounders hitting shots at him, compared to the groomed fields of Major League Baseball"? I remember former Cleveland Indian outfielder Cory Snyder playing for Dan Smith.
I remember the great characters of the game like Ritch's pitcher Paul Drilling, Steele's pitcher Craig Elliott, and the big men of the game like Monty Tucker, Charles Wright, and Dirk Androff.
I also remember being at tournaments where even us fans would kind of avoid the path of a guy like Danny Williams or a Joe Albert while walking around a tournament, because those guys just had a natural confrontational "air" about them…lol (sorry Joe).
I think one of the best players of all time that maybe doesn't get as much press as the others is Rick Wheeler. Rick seemed to be able to do it all. Knock down a hard shot at 3rd and turn a double play, then hit the go ahead homer, then in the bottom of the 7th come in and relief pitch for the win.
I do remember Ray Cowart playing with, I think it was Century Glass at the ASA Supers. He was a beast. I remember Tim (TM50) Millette playing for Dan Smith at the AA's. Tim was a good player and was even on the Major list at one point.
I always thought another underrated player was Doug Berfeldt who played with Spectrum. There was the throw from the warning track in right field to 3rd on a line by Mark Cobb (greatest arm ever) to get the runner at the 'AA' in Kalamazzoo. There was the bat that Carl Rose and those guys passed around at the Major Worlds at Disney as they took turns hitting the ball over the scoreboard, there are memories of Paul Drilling and Dennis Rulli hitting homers at the Major on the stadium that always impressed me because of their lesser size.
The great glove work of Richie Allioti and Chucky Malorana, the "jump" pitch of Jim Burbrink, the crowds that packed State Road Park in Parma, Ohio for the ASA Majors. The throw by Matt King at the Maryland Major in 2008, the scoreboard shot that Scott Kirby hit in 06' or was it 07'? The offensive performance of 1994 'AA' MVP Joe Foley in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
One of my favorite teams of all time was the SoJern's team of 1993 or 1994. At the Smoky, this team came out of nowhere and strung together some nice wins. The team had a core of young up and coming players who absolutely mashed and were led by veteran Tom White. That team reminded me of Demarini/Dirty in 2012. Also the 1994 Hague 'AA' team was a great team to follow with a lot of great players, role players, and characters. Those were the years of home run hitters instead of home run limits, 6 in 'AA' I believe, and it allowed a team to go and get defensive and base hitting specialists.
My favorite players are Chuck Shimels, John Robinson, Julio Salazar, and Dave Garcia. I also think there are some great "underrated" managers out there like Kermit Strickland, Strojan Kennison, Jose Sanchez, Danny Kwilas, and Drew Dubberly. I'm sure I forgot a bunch…
Sorry, I rambled there a little bit…
What is your nickname in softball?
'DW' – the nickname was given to me by Mr. Kirby when I showed up to report for Softball Kingdom at the 2008 Maryland Conference event. 'DW' was my posting name on OldScout and Mr. Kirby started calling me that based on posts he had read.
In basketball I was known as the "Mailman" because I could pass but couldn't shoot…
What is your height and weight?
I am 46 years old.
Where do you call home?
I live with my wife of 18 years, and 4 children in a southwestern suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. I grew up just 5 blocks away from State Road Park, home of the ASA Major for many years back in the 1970's and 1980's. I actually have an athletic practice field in my backyard with 290-355-400-270-220 dimensions. Sadly it goes unused most of the time as today's youth enjoy their video games more and more…
What do you do for a living?
I was an automated test engineer and computer programmer for over 20 years. Automated meaning I write programs to test websites so companies don't have to pay as many manual testers.
I am now a full time small business owner of SoftballCenter LLC which was originally created as a hobby and I work as a contractor for USSSA. Back in 2007 I attended the USSSA Major World Series and 'B' World (which were the same weekend) and sort of got the itch back to travel to some of the big tournaments like I did a few times each year from 1989 to 2001. In 2001 my twin daughters were born, giving me 3 kids in diapers at one time, so 2001 to 2006 are kind of the years that I didn't follow the upper level anywhere near as much. Those also seem to be the years where upper level softball really went downhill until the Nationwide Conference USSSA revived it.
So having re-caught the upper level softball "bug" again at the end of 2007, I started to look at the 2008 schedule to see which tournaments I might be able to fit into my family schedule. And as fate would have it, my 10th year wedding anniversay was the weekend of the Hall of Fame Classic!!! So I talked the wife into going to Orlando for our 10th anniversary and that Saturday while she was having a "spa day" at the wonderful Gaylord Palms resort, I slipped off to watch the Hall of Fame Classic. I also remember walking by the new SoftballKingdom setup and was happy I would be able to follow the Conference online by watching their broadcasts. I was one of the first people to register on their website and pay the yearly fee to watch the broadcasts.
Well the Hall of Fame Classic came and went, and by the Tuesday after the tournament not a word had been said about it on TheOldScout or any other website. Gordie Heagle at the time was unfortunately having health issues and couldn't keep up with the reporting, so I wrote a post on TheOldScout message board that was about 3 paragraphs long about the tournament and some of the top teams, players, and plays. I may have even given some opinion on what I thought the rest of the season would bring (I can't remember). Anyways I'm sitting at work that Wednesday trying to figure out how I could get to the Maryland tournament the following weekend and I see a post from Mr. Kirby on Oldscout asking for "DW" to call him.
A phone call later and Mr. Kirby had me come to Maryland to report on the Conference event there. Then it was a whirlwind tour, Euless Texas, Columbus Indiana, Chicago Illinois, The Dudley, The Smoky, Cincinnati, Michigan, A Worlds, Conference Championships, B Worlds, and the 2008 Major World Series. Great times and great memories. The reporting had become a way for me to attend all of those tournaments I had always wanted to see but never had the chance to. Thanks Kirby's!
In 2009 when SoftballKingdom was replaced by USSSA's own broadcast crew, I was out of a reporting gig, but decided to try and do some reporting on my own with the support of many great individuals that were a part of the game or were a fan of my reports. By the end of 2009 I started to get some support from USSSA as well.
In September of 2009 at the Major World Series, there was the "Bat Gate" incident and with the offseason and future of upper level softball in question, Gordie Heagle who was unfortunately having deteriorating health decided to shut down TheOldScout.com. So with TheOldScout going away, a good friend and fellow softball "die hard" Dan Pfeffer built me my own website and he called it SoftballCenter.com for me to try and draw some sponsorship to keep the upper level softball reporting hobby I had alive. Then Gordie decided not to shut down TheOldScout, but accepted an offer of purchase from John Daniels. So both sites were in operation.
SoftballCenter.com grew slowly but steadily, and with the tremendous support of USSSA, and all of the great sponsors you see on the website, it is now the number one site for upper level softball news, broadcasts, reports, and interviews. I cannot thank USSSA, my sponsors, and all of the players, managers, and daily readers enough for their support of the site. We now have 60,000 to 115,000 unique visitors per month depending on the time of year. Please support our advertisers!
At the end of 2010 and in the offseason before 2011 I challenged myself to figure out a way to broadcast games using a laptop and video equipment that could be small enough to carry on an airplane. The broadcasts quality has steadily improved from those first days. The websites and travel were paid for by advertisers and association support.
On December 16, 2011 – I purchased TheOldScout.com website from John Daniels and my two websites make up the SoftballCenter LLC company which has one employee…me!
Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
I tried to play basketball but was cut…5'8 and can't jump is my excuse. I never wanted to sit the bench in football or baseball so I played rec leagues only.
How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
I never came close to making it to the upper level. I always wanted to have an 'A' team though as a manager. 'C' is the highest my teams ever played and a couple of 'open' tournaments.
In 1984, when I was 14, my Dad who ran the local church team got to the fields and realized they were going to forfeit, so he sent my older brother home to pick me up at the last second. Back then you could play church league at 14. I was all of about 5'5 and 135 pounds back then and I remember batting last and just barely lifting two semi-line drives over the old guy playing 3rd base with an old Steeles 38 ounce bat I could barely swing. I got the "softball bug" that day and my goal soon after was to play as many days of the week as I could.
From 1986 through 2000 I also was player/manager on many league and tournament teams in and around the Cleveland, Ohio area with my brothers and a core of die hard softball players. My first adult team was the Sunnydale Slammers in 1990. We had only 2 players that had ever played in an adult league and they were a 20 year old and a 21 year old. The rest of us were 19. We entered the lowest league in Parma and at midseason we were 13-0 in league. We had no idea at the time it was an 'E' classed league. Most of us were using the old Steeles 37 or 38 ounce bat (I think those things were solid all the way through?) and we played on the 290 foot fences at Nike Site Park. We did not have much power. But one day one of our players who was using a much lighter TPS blue aluminum bat hit one out. He mentioned something about it having a sweet spot the size of a quarter and if you hit it just right it would go. A "sweet spot", what is that? He said he paid over a hundred dollars for it. Wow, how did he do that we thought, we are all in college? lol. Up to that point, all of the veteran softball players had told us youngsters that the "heavier the bat, the harder the ball goes". This lighter bat with a sweet spot was a new concept to us. So the whole team started using that bat (thanks Ron Veverka) and the offensive confidence grew with every swing. We finished the league season at 26-0 and won the league and the league tournament. The next year we moved up to the 'D' division. At one point from 1993 to 1998 we won 6 straight league titles as we moved up each year and ultimately in 1998 we won the Brooklyn Premier league and league tournament. It was a 'C' caliber league at the time.
The park I grew up near was State Road Park in Parma, Ohio. At one time they actually had a sign on the side of the parkway that said "The Softball Capital of the World". They hosted at least a dozen ASA Major tournaments at that park in the 1970's and 1980's. In 1990 they hosted the ASA 'A' National so I knew all about the big tournaments for big travelling teams but I had played from 1984 to 1989 without ever even hearing of lower level tournaments. Little did I know that back then you could look in the local Plain Dealer newspaper and there would be listed 2 to 3 tournaments per weekend in Cleveland alone. So one day there is an advertisement in the paper for a "one-pitch" tournament at the old Softball World in Brookpark, Ohio. It was on July 4th and it was a 'C' tournament. Our league team enters it and we end up upsetting a couple of legit 'D' and 'C' teams and make it to the finals and lose to an all star team. It was a great day of ball and from then on we entered as many tournaments as we could get enough players for. That year I remember going to a USSSA qualifier in Warren, Ohio. The director asked me what level we played? I had no idea we were in an 'E' league and I just told him we were 13-0 in our league so what levels do you have? He said we have C, D, and E. So I said I guess we are 'C'. We lost our first game 15-1 in 5 innings in a game that lasted about 30 minutes. Then we gutted out a one run win over a C/D team in a down pouring rain. Then the tournament got rained out. So this was the end of July and I'd now heard about the State tournament and that you had to qualify for it. So I asked the director "who gets the berth in our bracket" and he said we could have it because the other teams were already qualified. So he asked again, what class do you want to play states at? I said "C of course"…oops. We went to the Northern 'C' State in Kent, Ohio. You know, the fields that were sloped uphill and have corn fields behind the outfield fence…lol. There were about 55 teams (and this was just the Northern States) and we went 0-2. Lost both games in 5 innings and barely scored a run. Pitchers were faking and throwing low fastballs we had never experienced before since we were an ASA team.
State Road Park back when they hosted the big softball championships looked like this every year!
I lived about 5 blocks behind those trees and could ride my bike to the park.
Turns out all of my teams were better at ASA and one pitch tournaments. At full strength we could compete at any 'C' or lower level league or tournament that was one pitch, ASA, or NSA. USSSA was not our game although it wasn't for lack of entering tournaments.
As a manager, my only strength I feel, was lineup creation. I think I've always had a knack for creating a lineup that produced more runs and I also thought outside of the norm at times. I was terrible at talking to the team and a complete zero at motivation. So I just didn't do those things much, and it seemed to work.
What advice can you give a young player trying to break into the upper level?
I would suggest if you want to play 'B' or higher that you fill out an interview here at SoftballCenter.com and at least get your name out there for teams to see who you are and where you are from. It won't work overnight, but free agent pages here at SoftballCenter.com have helped many players move up the ranks or improve their softball career.
Other than an interview I would say find out who the best players are in your area and offer to shag batting practice for them. Eventually they will let you take some swings.
The best way as I always say is to be MVP of 'C', 'B', or 'A' Worlds. 🙂
What batting grip do you use?
Standard, with one pinky off the bottom. If I ever get into a mode where I hit more than one fly ball in a row, I put the thumb on my right hand straight along the bat and I quickly get back to keeping the ball down. I don't know anyone else that does this? Of course I have never been a great or even a very good hitter. My goal was always just to get on base and "roll over" the lineup for the top of the order.
What is your favorite sports team?
Cleveland Cavs (World B Free, Mark Price, Lebron James)
Indians (had my picture with "Super Joe" Charboneau when I was 10, nuff said)
Browns (Brian Sipe, Greg Pruitt, Cardiac Kids)
Ohio State Buckeyes (2015 NCAA Football Champions!)
I was also a huge fan of Bobby Knight and his college basketball teams when he was at Indiana University.
What is your favorite sport other than softball?
Nascar. If or when upper level softball breathes its final breath, I will try to start a Nascar website.
I also enjoy college basketball. The game just lends itself to close competition. There is something about the human being playing basketball where the team that is trailing does whatever it has to do to get back in the game, while the team in the lead gets a comfortable feeling and doesn't put in the same effort they did to get the lead in the first place. You see some of this at the 'A' and 'B' Worlds in softball when the teams are more evenly matched.
What do you do in the offseason to prepare for the next softball season?
I have put on an average of 1 pound every year since high school. So my goal for the offseason is to not put on two pounds. Unfortunately as you get older it all seems to drift to the middle…
Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
I have to position the tray table holder on the airplane seat straight up and down. I have no other superstitions although I like to shower and wash my uniform between games of a tournament when possible. Back in the old days there were long delays between games because there were a lot more teams entered in most tournaments.
What is your most memorable softball moment?
The team I managed in 1998 won the local Premier league, it was a 'C' league at the time, and we were the new team in the league and the other teams didn't give us a lot of respect. Late in the season I experimented with a 3 man outfield at some key points and was the first team to do so in that league. It was one of the few and last leagues that did not allow anything but a single wall aluminum bat. In hindsight our team was built for the aluminum single wall bat era, and the double walls and composites led to our demise as a team. It was a good and fun run though.
1998 Brooklyn Premier Champs – Drobas's Auto Body
Mike Zadel, Mike Sefik, Tom Slater, Mark Hamski, John Martuch, Ron Veverka, Dan Wisniewski, Bob White, Rich Weiser
Ron Wilson, Jeff Van Arnhem, Brian Veverka, Dave Weiser, Dale Weiser
In 2002 I did start the season by reaching base 19 consecutive times in NSA tournament play. In one game during the streak which because of rain was changed to a one pitch game, the manager moved me from my last spot in the order to the two hole thinking I would draw some walks in the strong winds. I ended up going 5-5 with 5 hits and 4 doubles which for anyone that knows me is a career game…
Is slowpitch softball a sport or a game?
Slowpitch softball is a game. Anything that has limits on the number of homer's you hit in a game or has run rules is a game. The Smoky Mountain Classic and the USSSA Major World Series are the only tournaments that show softball as a sport, mainly because of the unlimited home runs. The stamina and conditioning it takes to play a tournament at the top level make it closely resemble a sport though.
What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
The best thing about upper level ball today is the Nationwide Conference USSSA. The points system makes it so that every game of every conference tournament every week means something and no team gives an inch no matter what the score is.
The second best thing about upper level ball is the conference umpires dedicated to giving the top games a consistent game management and strike zone.
What should be done is to return to a bat that cannot improve with usage or doctoring.
I feel the best thing upper level softball can do is cater to the sponsors. Ask the sponsors one on one what they want in the game and what improvements they want to see. On each team from Major down to E there is that one person that is driving that team to show up at the field and that person is the person that should be catered to.
If you are a player, remember to thank your sponsor for their support. Even if they don't ask you back or cut you midseason, they still deserve to be thanked. Take the high road and some day you may again be back with that sponsor. Burning bridges with teams and not being a good teammate is the quickest way to end your softball career.
I would also like to see some C/D/E and womens companion events or super draft type tournaments nearby the Hall of Fame Classic and the USSSA 'A' and 'B' Worlds to drive some fans to the games.
I am also a fan of moving the 'A' and 'B' Worlds around the country every other year and giving the Conference Championships to the Conference tournament that draws the most Conference teams to their event the previous year.
I feel the Conference points system should be tweaked to cap the max points at 220 and teams with a losing record at an event should not be able to score over 100 points.
I believe a team at any level should only be allowed 3 players that have played at the next higher level. I have no problem at all with a player "playing down", but I have a huge problem when more than 3 players "play down" on the same team. Each team should be allowed 3 "chips" and a player that is one level above counts as 1 chip. A player that is two levels above counts as 2 chips, and a player that is 3 levels above counts as 3 chips. And every player should only be able to be re-classified once in their career. The players class should be created based on the highest level the player finished a season at in the past 3 years and re-classed players should only be allowed with proof that they actually sat the bench and did not play much.
I do not believe in the floating rubber. I feel it makes the game look silly.
I do like the safety bag at first base and feel it should be mandatory at all events.
I do not believe the bases should be moved back any further. Every time the bases get moved back it shrinks the field and the bigger and slower hitters find themselves without a spot and quit playing.
The transformation of slowpitch softball by DW:
Slowpitch softball in the 1980's and early 1990's for the most part from the A division down to the E division was almost purely league teams playing tournaments. Winning your league was the most important thing and league teams would enter A, B, C, D, and to a lesser extent E tournaments. Everyone played slowpitch. The serious players playing in the better leagues but almost everyone with a hint of athletic ability would play at least for their work team, church team, or on a coed team. The peak of slowpitch softball team registrations was 1994 when the baby boomer generation was at its prime slowpitch age and there were mom and pop shop sponsors on every corner. Then in the late 1990's things began to change. The 100% tax write off for sponsoring teams was taken away by our government, baby boomers began to age, composite bats came into play chasing off some players that didn't like to field the hot shots play after play or pitch anymore, the bases were lengthened 5 feet making it harder for some of the bigger slower players to score runs, and the economy changed to where it took two parents working full time to maintain the quality of life that just the father was able to provide for a family just a decade earlier. Cable TV and video games also drove off potential players in my opinion.
When you take in all of these factors and add to it the slow change in the makeup of the tournament teams you suddenly see what happened to the decline of slowpitch softball. Tournament teams that used to be made up of league teams were now "specializing". What do I mean by this? In the "old days" the best center fielder in a city or area would play for the best 'A' team. The second best center fielder played for the 2nd best 'A' team. The third best center fielder played for the third best 'A' team. The same went for the power hitters and middle infielders and pitchers. So you had a natural balance of rosters because no way was the 2nd best center fielder going to go play left field for the best 'A' team, after all he was a CENTER FIELDER! But then the era of "specialization" started in the late 1990's where the 3 best centerfielders in the city would all go to the same team and middle infielders etc even if they weren't playing their favorite position. They did this to try and dominate locally and win nationally. Also if they needed to replace say their middle infielder and there weren't any of top caliber in their city they started to venture out to other cities and even bordering states to fill that need and they could no longer play league ball together because players were from all over the state. This philosophy then trickled down to B, then C, then D. Today it has even trickled down to some E teams. Also in the early 1990's you needed a bigger player in LF, RF, 3B, 2B, 1B, C, and EH to be able to hit the home runs. Then with composite bats the players became smaller and faster a trend we continue to see today. The bigger players weren't needed as much to hit the homers and couldn't run the longer bases very well so those players stopped playing as much and never had the chance to develop their game. The final straw was teams that felt they couldn't win a world tournament with the team they had would start dropping down 1 or 2 divisions to chase that elusive world title that only one team gets to win per year, thus messing up local and state classification of teams.
All of these factors have led to what we have today. Dwindling league team numbers and "specialized" tournament teams across all classes of play. The game is still fun and provides great competition but what I have written here is my opinion of what happened to slowpitch softball since its peak in 1994. As a player, manager, and sponsor since 1984 I believe I have had a pretty good understanding of the games history.
What is your favorite non-World tournament?
I like the Las Vegas Major because it is growing in quality teams and is the first tournament of the year.
I like the Seattle Major because I get to see all of the West Coast teams that we don't get to see much out here in the midwest.
I like the Smoky Mountain Classic because of the setting with the hills, fans, and the size of the field. I know it is a high school field they use as the "show field" but I think they could move home plate back 10 feet for the Classic and make it an even bigger field.
I also like anything 'B' or above in Florida or anywhere there are palm trees.
What is the best softball field you have played at and why?
The fields in Ohio are not very good, so any field I played on out of state was an upgrade and suddenly my infielders would play much better.
Where is the best place to eat on the road after a game?
I like the Great Steak and Potato company, Dibellas, Sakkios, and Japanese Steakhouses.
What is the funniest thing you have ever seen on a softball field?
This wasn't the funniest but it was the most impressive. Our shortstop at NSA Worlds in Florida took a bad hop off his face. It was pretty nasty. He has one of the wives drive him to a nearby hospital, gets stitched up, and comes back to our next game which was an elimination game, and even though he is high on medication he helps us win two more games to make it to Sunday.
It wasn't funny at the time but one of our players popped out to the pitcher in a game winning sac fly situation, so anytime for years afterwards that someone popped out it was called a "tuch" after the guys last name Martuch…
One time my brothers and I, who look alike, were playing basketball in a league and beating a team we maybe shouldn't have been beating and this guy on the other team said "how can we be losing to the 3 goofing looking twins". While we should have been mad, we couldn't stop laughing…
Also that big guy for Street Kids back in maybe 2008 at the Cincy Bash 4 Cash sliding head first into home in the thick mud and his pants came off was funny.
Games when D-Lo was younger, or Rick Sills was pitching were always entertaining.
Who are you playing with in 2016?
I don't play anymore. If I am not at an upper level tournament I am my kids travel games. I help coach my twin daughters travel league games during week nights and try to make as many of their travel tournament games as I can. They play 16u, one twin is 1st base and the 4 hitter and one is the catcher and lead off hitter. This past year from the end of March until the first weekend in October I covered 27 tournaments across 14 States and still managed to make all or parts of 6 of my twins 8 travel tournaments.
OldScout Questions and Answers:
Have you ever missed tournaments unannounced, team jumped, quit, etc?
I have never team jumped or quit in the 30 years I played.
I put teams in over 120 tournaments in the 1990's and early 2000's and we had a streak of 106 tournaments in a row where at least one player called off in the days leading up to the tournament. Mainly because we were a league team not a tournament team.
But I personally only missed one tournament unexpectedly that was when my son was born in 1999 on a Friday. I was all set to go to the tournament on Saturday but he was taken into the ICU with low oxygen levels. But after just a small scare he got back to normal quickly.
Name one mistake you've made in upper level softball and what did you do to correct/learn from it?
When I have something negative to report I don't use names. I just say the "defense let them down" rather than say a specific name.
The few times I used actual names it didn't work out well and I erased it from the report or generalized it.
Do you read and/or post on theoldscout, why/why not?
I have posted on oldscout since 2003. I don't understand anyone that reads it but won't give their opinion in writing themselves. Doesn't seem natural.
Are the anonymous bashers the reason why more upper level sponsors and players don't post on oldscout?
Yes. A great player could post on oldscout about what ball to use, and oldscout posters will immediately start talking about steroids or shaved bats etc, effectively chasing off great players from posting.
What's interesting is sometimes players get into it on Facebook with their full name posted but won't post on oldscout…
What do you do after the tournament is over?
Get to the airport or make the long drive home…
Has softball interfered with your Job?
Absolutely. Once at the ASA Super Nationals in 2013 I was in the press box watching Sonnys play Long Haul while doing my testing work for PNC Bank on my laptop. There were flies, it was 85 degrees, I couldn't see my laptop screen, and the stadium announcer was sitting two feet away from me and I'm on the phone with tech people at PNC trying to troubleshoot a release of their banking website…
One time the company I worked for gave a half day vacation every time you gave blood and you could give blood 4 times a year. So I knew I needed 2 more days of vacation to cover the Major that year so I gave blood 4 times.
Vacation days etc interfered with work for many years. "What do you mean you want to take 6 days off to go to A Worlds and Major, you just took 3 off last week?" "And now you want to go to Oklahoma City after that!"
If you are a hard worker most companies get over it.
Has softball interfered with your family?
Not as much as I would have thought. For years my kids played only on weeknights. Just recently they started playing travel tournaments more and I try to make as many as I can.
One thing people don't understand is kids as they get older still want their parents at games but not necessarily ALL of their games.
And now I am home almost every weekday all year and a lot in the offseason so I probably see my family more now then ever before. I think this offseason they might already be sick of me…when does the season start!
Have you knowingly used altered equipment?
From 2006 to 2013 when I last played I used the grey/green easton CNT my brother bought at Dicks. In 2013 I took it to Toledo Major and Rick Robertson tested it at 250 on all 4 sides. Thats after 8 years of usage by many teammates. I was shocked because it was the hottest bat I had ever used and thought for sure it was below 220. Just shows that I don't know what a good bat feels like.
Before 2006 I used the double wall demarini 1999-2005. Before the double wall demarini I used the Steele's XLT 1993-1998. Before that the TPS CU31 1990-1992. Before that the Steele's 37 and Steeles 38 ounce that was solid all the way through.
Do you think Worlds should be rotated around the United States each year? Which state(s) would you like to see them be in?
I would like to see one world each year be rotated out of Florida to a site like Columbus Ohio, Myrtle Beach SC, Phoenix AZ, Seattle WA, Houston TX, or NC.
I think the Conference championships should be held at whatever venue has the most conference teams at their event in the prior year.
But I do understand the economics of the worlds being primarily in Florida and it is the cheapest place and nicest place I travel to every year.
What is 1 thing you would change about the game and 1 thing you would not change?
I would add the safety bag at first base at all events.
I would never add the floating rubber. Just looks silly.
How many divisions do you believe softball should have? (Currently M, AA, A, B, C, D, E)
If adding the new 'B' division works (and it will take a couple years to see through) then I am good with the divisions the way they are.
If you finish one game or better over .500 at E Worlds or you win an E tournament with more than 10 teams you should be autobumped to D.
And any team with more than 3 higher level experienced players should always be the next higher level.
I believe with the influx of E teams to D that there should be a D West Worlds.
One of the biggest problems with lower level classification is that most every regional, state, and local director believes their teams are over classified and other regions will crush their teams at worlds. This is not true, all regions are under classified and their teams are just as good as teams they will face at worlds. There are very few exceptions to this.
Tell us your best travel war stories (Flights, Cars, Rooms, etc..)?
Back in the days when GPS first came out you could put in a street address in a city that had two streets with the same name and it would take you to the wrong one every time.
One time I went on vacation to Los Cabos and on the return flight we took to long to get through customs on the connection through Phoenix and my wife and I were running through the airport carrying my twins who were 1 and my son who was 2 and we actually boarded carrying our kids, our shoes, and our belts as they closed the door on the plane.
One time we were on a return trip from Germany and were directly over the middle of the Atlantic ocean and the captain came on the intercom and said "there is some smoke coming from the baggage compartment, so we are going to make an emergency landing in Nova Scotia in 1.5 hours". When we landed there were about 12 of the biggest fire trucks I have ever seen chasing the plane down the runway and the airport didn't even have facilities to deal with a plane that big and the plane actually snapped the little tow trucks arm that was trying to pull it.
Do you think worlds at all levels should go back to 32 – 48 teams only and teams should have to qualify?
Qualifying restrictions could be made but I don't think 32 or 48 is the best number.
I would say it is fine the way it is, just need to over classify teams rather then under classify teams. Teams should be classified where they have a chance to compete not dominate. And teams that combine should automatically be moved up a class. Lets face it if you are a favorite to win a C, D, or E Worlds with 100+ teams then you are classified too low.
What do you plan on doing when your softball days are over?
Stay involved with the game as a reporter. If softball ever went away like TM55 has been claiming for 15 years now, then I would go and do something with NASCAR.
Have you ever been cut by a team?
I was cut from my 9th grade basketball team in high school. Quite a devastating day but looking back it was a very big division 1 high school and a few years later I realized they made the right decision. Skinny 5'8 mediocre players don't stand out at tryouts…
Do you go on the old scout message and post without your name?
Yes I have used "DW" as my poster name for over 10 years.
What other message boards do you read?
PoliticalJack.com – makes oldscout look tame.
Softballfans.com once in awhile
I hit up some of the regional softball boards periodically.
Jayski.com for NASCAR – this is the site I patterned SoftballCenter.com after.
Do you consider yourself a "role model" when it comes to young softball players/kids that watch you play?
No. As player/manager I had to fight for the team on close calls etc so I don't think I always showed the best sportsmanship in those instances.
I would say I was an ok role model as I don't generally ever swear or name call. I usually just discussed things with the umpires fairly calmly and tried to stick to the facts.
There was the one time I kicked dirt on the umpires shoe when he didn't call a runner out of the base line after he passed 2nd and went to the outfield grass thinking he was out and then advanced to 3rd on a play at 2nd. Also a time I called out an illegal bat in a single wall tournament that actually turned out to be a single wall bat…oops. And the time I almost overturned a garbage can when the first base umpire told me he called a runner out at first because he "swung like a girl" trying to bounce the ball towards shortstop and beat it out. But 3 "incidents" in 20+ years of putting teams together isn't that bad…
Oh there was the year our 18 under team got in a bench clearing brawl and the awkward meeting I had with the city league director trying to explain it the next day…
Where do you see softball/yourself in 10 years?
I had not thought about this. My kids will all be out of college in 10 years. Hopefully I am still involved in upper level softball and my wife and I have always wanted to semi-retire each year to Cancun at one of those all inclusive resorts for 3 months a year to get out of the Cleveland winters.
When do you feel you will hang 'em up?
When I die
Has softball opened any doors for you?
Playing softball from 1984 to 2013 and reporting on softball from 2008 to 2016 is my favorite pastime. I started reporting as a hobby to get me from one tournament to the next and in the summer of 2014 it became my full time job after working as a computer programmer from 1993 to 2014 for some of the largest employers in the United States (JPMorgan Chase, Nationwide Insurance, PNC Bank, and the U.S. Defense Department).
I also met my wife (our sponsors daughter) in 1997. It was a Sunday morning league team that won the division. The sponsor came to the first double elimination playoff game and as the #1 seed we lost. So the sponsor said "if you win 7 straight and win the tournament I will take everyone out to eat the next weekend". We won 7 straight and the tournament. The next weekend of course I was playing in a different tournament but the tournament got rained out so I was able to go to the dinner where I met the sponsors daughter and we dated and were married a year and a half later. We have 4 children and have been married for 18 wonderful years.
Do you prefer to play tournaments in baseball or softball fields?
I prefer to play on softball fields but prefer to watch upper level ball on baseball fields.
What's your feeling on bat testing?
Bat testing should be done every day to every bat on at least 3 sides and the minimum compression number should be raised to 260.
What do you want to be remembered as when you walk away from the game?
As someone who gave back to the game at all levels as a manager, player, sponsor, reporter, announcer, blogger, website owner…I have great respect for the players that give back by becoming a manager, sponsor, or umpires after they quit playing.
Have you ever made a YouTube video of yourself?
I made a youtube video on how to livestream from a computer. This was before the smart phones could stream on their own.
Who is the one player who you enjoy competing against the most?
In the church league I started in when I was 14 there was a perenial power we called the Greeks. Our battles for over 30 years were legendary. Although they dominated the first 10 years.
Also in our regular league which was a 'D' level league, a guy named Butch Likar that played SS for one of our rivals. This guy played harder than anyone I know on defense and offense.
What are your goals for this year?
Continue to grow my websites. I own 6 of them. 3 are softball related.
I do my best to report on upper level softball and do my duties with USSSA to the best of my ability and with fairness and honesty as my core values.
Do you love to win or hate to lose?
I love to win. I played and put together teams from C down to church league and 18 under youth teams for many years. There were so many different skill levels and levels of competition that you couldn't base success simply on hating to lose. It was those times you win when you aren't supposed to that keep you coming back.
Those rare times where you are the favorite to win a tournament or league then you hate to lose.
What makes you nervous in a game?
Getting to the first game of a tournament and having everyone show up.
After I turn the lineup is in the nerves go away.
What is your favorite position in the field? Least favorite?
Favorite is Outfield
Least favorite is Infield
I actually like pitcher but sadly have no control or ability to throw consistent strikes…
If you were not playing slowpitch what would you be playing?
Basketball, online simulation racing with Iracing.com, or coaching girls fastpitch.
What is your number you wear on your uniform? is it special to you and why?
#30 because when I picked it in 1990 I felt I would play til I was 30 because that would be old. Then when I hit 30 I changed my number to 40 because I thought that would be old.
Now at 46 I don't know what old is but I hope it isn't me…
There was a legendary pitcher named Mike Tedesco in our area that added one to his number every year he played. He was the best 12 foot ASA pitcher I had ever seen and the last time I watched him play he was the relief pitcher for Wally Sports 'A' team out of Parma, Ohio. His number that year was 76…"
Bottom of the seventh, down 1, two outs, no HR's left, runner on 2nd. Who do you want batting in that situation?
I am thinking Dennis Rulli or Jason Kendrick. This is a tough question.
Lee Powers has had some big swings like the one at the Smoky in 2014.
But in 2015 it was Scott Kirby at the Major and Chad Durick at the 'A' World.
Who's the best sponsor you've ever played for?
Droba's Auto Body. The owner saw us beat his team in 1990 and then proceeded to pay our entry and game fees for the better part of the next 10 years. Those early years we were in college with no money so getting the league entry and umpire fees paid was HUGE.
What's your favorite bat of all time?
The Steele's XLT silver and black bat. It came out in about 1992 or 1993 and had a great loud "ping" sound when you hit the sweet spot which was about the size of a quarter. That bat with a 50 cor blue stitch steels ball or a .47 cor Dudley Red Heat ball made for a great game on 290 or 300 foot softball fields.
My daughters pushing the ball up the court
Reds Astros Red Moore, myself, and sponsor/Hall of Famer Herb Price at the World Series in 2012
1997 NSA Nationals – Drobas Auto Body
Dave Weiser, Jeff Van Arnhem, Tom Slater, Chris Kovach, Bob White, Ron Zawadzki, Ron Marko, Mike Sefik, Dale Weiser
Ron Veverka, John Martuch, Mark Hamski, Brian Veverka, Rich Weiser
Winning another One Pitch tournament. Prizes included the Dirk Androff shirts in picture
Winning a tournament in Strongsville, Ohio 1998
Runner up in North Ridgeville
1994 League team
Some of the better softball and basketball trophies my teams earned over the years.