I’m writing the final Softball Report, as I’m retiring and shutting down the Old Scout website. I can tell you all that my general health has not been good for approximately a year. I have decided to step aside and let somebody else start up a new major bigtime softball site. I started up the Old Scout website just after my good friend Jerome passed away. I tried to promote the bigtime game for the associations, the manufacturers, the softball teams and their sponsors, players, coaches and managers who were the game. I gave it my all to this great game that I love. I personally played the game for 45 years. I never stopped playing from 1963-2008. I cannot play the game anymore due to my health nor can I travel like I used to. I really enjoyed traveling around the country and seeing the best teams and the best players who played the game. I know before I got sick I watched more bigtime softball games than anybody in the country. When I went to a tournament I watched the first game to the last game of every tournament. I have seen bigtime softball played from 1965-2009. I have seen every bigtime player play the game from those years.
I managed and played a game against the Steele’s Silver Bullets in 1989 in Syracuse, NY. I have seen every world USSSA championship from 1988-2008. I missed the 2009 Worlds because of my health. I also attended a few other USSSA worlds over the years. I attended about five ASA National championships along with a few NSA & ISA worlds also.
I know this for sure, if I had got involved into the bigtime game like I have since 1990-2009 I would have tried to change the game in the late 80’s through the late 90’s. The game has always been the same, a dominating team year after year. I also know nobody really tried to level the playing field until the late 90’s. Howards, Elite and some other older teams dominated in the early times. Steeles, Rich’s, Team TPS, Long Haul, Dan Smith and Resmondo dominated from the 90’s to today. The teams I named were powerhouses throughout the seasons that they won championships. The most dominating team in all the years has been Resmondo with five USSSA World Championships.
I have tried to make changes in bigtime softball since 1998 to try to level the playing field. I also know that Hank Bassett, Jeff Hague and John Daniels tried to get changes made throughout the years they were involved. I believe the biggest change for major softball was the homerun rule of 12 hrs. per game when the super teams played the class A,B or any other teams. Give the credit to Hank, Jeff and John for that one. I do not believe it helped out those teams that much. I wanted the 6 hr. hitters rule put in. The reason is that I believe the class A teams would have 5 or 6 good homerun hitters, but the super teams have 10 or 11, and that’s the difference believe me. I was the one who insisted the bases needed to be moved to 80′. NSA, ASA and ISA tried it and it worked. USSSA has put them to 75′ at their conference and USSSA Worlds. It does not work. The 75′ bases lets hitters get automatic doubles, and the defense cannot turn many double plays and that allows for big innings. The USSSA needs to put the bases at 80′ period. I know if that is done it will give the class A & B teams an even better shot of upsetting the big two. It just makes sense to say the bigtime game is a mess right now. The conference does make sense, but only if you eliminate the two big teams and let two elite players on a team. Resmondo & Dan Smith will dominate in 2010. The rest of the teams don’t have a chance to win if changes aren’t made. The only time the class A teams can win is when the two big boys are not entered, period. I cannot believe that any sponsor would invest it’s hard earned money and know from the get go it cannot win unless there are no super teams entered. It just does not make any sense. I have said many times before it is time to make the change. John Daniels has decided not to play USSSA anymore, and that my friends is another story. Resmondo & Dan Smith will be back in 2010. These two teams will get even more stronger with the pickup of some of the better Long Haul players and the rest of the Long Haul players will go elsewhere. Who knows it doesn’t matter.
I say now is the time for the USSSA to make the change to two elite players on a team. I know you might ask why two? It’s pretty simple money!!! The only three sponsors in the game who could afford more than two elite players on their roster are Travis, Dan & John Daniels. Gregg Blackburn from Jean Shoppe I believe could afford to have more than two. Nobody else in the game can afford over two. Troy Nance, the Taylor Made sponsor, GTL and maybe two or three more can get enough money to have two elite players. That’s it my friends bottom line. That is why I say only two players. I also will say by doing this the game will level out and there will be about 8-10 very competitive teams to play in the conference along with any of the other teams, and that is how bigtime softball should go starting in 2010.
I also will tell you the elite players list must be done right with no favors to anybody. Everybody gets their two players choice and then pick any other players in the country to make up your teams. I believe that could keep Travis & Dan having teams, but after their two picks they can only pick players that are not on the list to fill out their rosters, go to it. I’m here to tell you if all that’s done the game will get better, the competition will get better, the playing field will level out. It’s pretty simple get it done.
The best part about this plan is that most of the elite players still get paid what they’ve been getting. The other best part of this plan is there are about 8-10 elite players who are on the end of their career soon, with that making it even better because that will leave about 25 players on the list to choose from.
I will write a little about the 2009 USSSA Worlds. I have found it very hard to say much about this mess that happened at this year’s USSSA Worlds. I will write about why I believe this mess happened later, don’t miss it. Resmondo won this one, but I’m sure the world will forever say it was tainted. I for one believe it was, but that is history. I also believe that if it went the way it’s supposed to have Resmondo would of still won. I don’t believe they needed any help and that is another story. I do know they were the best team in 2009, no doubt about that. I will congratulate Travis and his great team on a great 2009 season and for winning the USSSA Worlds. Travis has now one five USSSA World championships.
T&R Stucco/Bass/Worth got the runner-up spot in this one, and deserved it by beating one of the super teams, Dan Smith to get 2nd. place. Tiny, Jackie & Troy deserve everything they received for the job they did for the 2009 season. I ranked this team #4 after the first NIT of the season in Florida this year. I can tell you my friends that is where they ended up #4 the best class A team in 2009. Congratulations to Troy, Tiny, Jackie and all the players for one hell of a year and good luck to all in 2010.
Third place went to Dan Smith who just did not get it together in 2009. I believe they had the talent to win. I also believe that they used legit bats and that might of hurt them this year, just my opinion. Congratulations on your worlds. Congratulations to all the teams that participated in the 2009 worlds.
I will continue my story and write a little about the USSSA Executive Director & CEO Don Dedonatis, Sr. and other people involved with the USSSA. I personally met Don in 1993 when I took my team to Detroit to play in the Last Chance NIT. I had been warned by some pretty good people in softball to keep a good eye on Don, and that he was a pretty foxy guy. I found Don to be a pretty friendly guy and tried to find out what he was really like. I come from NY and got to know some pretty bigtime people through my baseball and hockey career. I also worked for some pretty heavy weight people in downstate NY. I know for sure with my connections to some of these people it helped me out throughout my life including my nightclub business in NY and other venus. I had heard some things about certain people in softball, so I decided to find out whether they were real or rumors. I can tell you all they were rumors and that put that to bed. I then knew how to work the softball world. I had a son-in-law Jeff Wallace who I knew was a very talented player. I had to get him moving in the right direction. I got Louisville Slugger as my bat sponsor and got Jeff out to the NIT’s so that he could get seen. I did that and the rest is history. The years went by and I was into bigtime softball all the way. Jeff was making his career go and I had retired at a young age and met Jerome and started traveling the softball circuit, enjoying every minute of it. I learned a lot from Jerome about people in the game. Don Dedonatis was one of them. Jerome told me to watch out for that guy. I told Jerome my background and he told me I like that. I could go on and tell you a lot more about Don, but I will not tell you all the story,
I will begin to tell you what I think hurt Don’s integrity and honesty was when Junior came into the game of bigtime softball. I want to tell you all that Junior needed no help in the game from his dad or anybody else. Don Sr. thought he needed to help Junior on any team he played on, and that is when Don Sr. got into trouble. Don’s troubles started early on when he was elected Executive Director and CEO. Don began to tear down the USSSA as it was known by getting rid of good people and putting in his people. Don wanted to control the USSSA his way. The people he put in were along for the ride, and it has worked. Don has taken the USSSA to the top of the sports entertainment business known to man. I believe he has done a terrific job running this USSSA sports venues. Softball is a very small part of their whole program, especially the major part of softball. He took over for Al Ramsy and began to run softball his way or the highway.
I’m going to give you what I think has been wrong with softball for a long long time. Softball is like anything else, it’s about money. I will tell you there’s a whole lot of money in softball. The money has been a big problem for years. The equipment used in the game is one of the big problems. The bat manufacturers have been great for the game, but have caused a lot of problems. The game has always had teams who were sponsored by bat manufacturers who gave their teams bats, gloves and sometimes money. Problem #1 when the manufacturer sponsors a team with equipment and money what do you think they are looking for, a favor for their team. The manufacturer also sponsors the NIT’s and the world tournaments, and what do the manufacturers want, a favor from the associations for their teams. The associations want the manufacturer’s money to help support them, and what do the associations want, a favor. The problem with bigtime softball is that its all bias. The game has never been run by a non bias person or people. The game has been run by the associations, the bat manufacturers looking for a favor, it doesn’t work. The game of softball needs an independent non-bias person who has no interest in money & favors. All he needs is what’s best for the game, teams, sponsors, players, coaches and managers, that’s all.
Now back to Don Sr. Junior starts playing bigtime softball with Mountain Top out of Michigan and the fun begins. Don Sr. wants Junior to win at all costs. Osceola County Sports Complex Class A Worlds-Mountain Top vs. Northwest Pipe two outs ground ball, runner out by five steps, the umpire calls the runner safe. Mountain Top comes in scores and wins the Class A Worlds, Junior wins. Larry Q is from Michigan, doesn’t want any problems from Don, says nothing, Larry’s back the next season. I can tell you there’s nobody in the park who doesn’t believe that Don Sr. didn’t get help from the Michigan umpire, what do you think? The Top team knew they were beat, how do they except that championship, no way believe me I saw it. That is #1- #2 Junior is now playing for Dan Smith with Jerry Angel as the coach for the Smith team from Michigan, good friend of Don Sr. USSSA Worlds- bat problems have been going on all year long, Don Sr. decides to test bats and put red stickers on the bats that were tested. I think it’s not a bad idea. The bats are all tested and the red stickers are on the bats. Don Sr. decides Dan Smith and Junior need more red stickers and low and behold who appears upstairs, Jerry Angel and he gets some red stickers to put on his team’s bats that didn’t get tested. Smith wins, Junior wins. The tournament is over and I’m walking out of the stadium and a high ranking USSSA official is walking out at the same time. The guy says to me, I am sick about what happened upstairs today. I said I know I seen what happened. The guy says I don’t know what to do, I say quit. I don’t know how you can be a part of cheating, the end he’s back next year. #3 Junior starts playing for Resmondo, Don Sr. is no dummy. He sees this is going to be the best team in the game for 4 or 5 years. Don Sr. decides to make another move and gets in bed with Travis and the game is on. I have to tell you there’s no sponsor that has put more money into the game than Travis Resmondo. Travis has done it himself for many years. I do know some people who said he wouldn’t last two years and now has five USSSA World Championships, not bad. The question now is did Don Sr. help out the Resmondo team? By paying for hotel rooms or maybe car rentals or how about some flights once in awhile, I don’t know the answers to that. There are some people and rumors going around who say he did. I was told by the man this did happen. I can also tell you he has never lied to me since I’ve known him, I trust him.
I now must tell you what I think is the worst decision that Don Dedonatis Sr. ever made in the game of softball. I also believe he embarrassed the whole USSSA organization. This was the worst of all of his trying to help Junior & Junior’s team win. The sad problem with all that said is that Resmondo or Junior needed any help from Don Sr. to win, I guarantee you. The bat testing is a flat-out useless tool to use. It does not work. The only thing it’s good for is to scare the players. The real problem is, if it did work why in hell would you use the USSSA lawyer and Don Sr. or anybody else who belongs to the USSSA organization to test the bats. It doesn’t make any sense, especially when some of the USSSA staff know that Don Sr. is involved with the Resmondo team. I would of thought that Don Sr. would of been much more smarter, but obviously not.
Dan Smith who won one world by using stickers on bats that weren’t legal, and in the 2008 season some of his players used painted bats that were illegal and won with them. Dan decides to protest the Long Haul bats to try and win, it didn’t work this time. The Long Haul players get their bats tested and some are over the limit. McCollum gets upset and hollers at the USSSA attorney, who by the way should not have been in there anyways. Don Sr. thinks about it, knows it’s not a give me game against Long Haul and makes his decision to suspend McCollum for the rest of the tournament. The big question is, did Don and Travis get mad at Brett for not wanting to sign with them in 2010, and did that help Don’s decision, who knows. I believe what really should of happened was that Don Sr. should of waited until after the tournament was over and then made his decision. He did not, Junior wins. John Daniels has a team vote and they vote to pull out of the tournament. The worse thing about this whole mess is that John will not return to the USSSA ever again, and the game and his players suffer for it and the USSSA is in a mess again. I believe if Dan Smith would of pulled out also, Don Sr. would of been in real trouble with Travis’s team and his players. I honestly believe it would of been the end of what bigtime softball has been all about, bigtime teams. Don would of had to step back, that’s for sure. I know it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that every team in the country knew that Resmondo’s bats were not going to be tested like the other teams when the USSSA officials were doing the testing. Don you’re a lot smarter than that.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I will close by saying it’s been a wonderful ride being the Old Scout all these years. I’ve met some great people over the years, and I’ll never forget any of you. I’ve had a lot of critics over the years. I’ve had some people who didn’t agree with me, but I can tell you all I had much more that did. I can also say I did it my way, and that is why my website was very good with millions of hits over the years. I told the whole story whether you liked it or not. I want to wish all my readers good luck in your life and enjoy the great game of softball. To all my critics when I pass I hope they bury me upside down so the critics can kiss my ass, ha ha Bobby Knight. I do plan on writing a column once in awhile on the new major board. And as always I’ll sign off by saying this time there will be no more next time, goodbye the Old Scout.
P.S I want to thank some very special people who helped me through the years: Richard Howard, John Daniels, Travis Resmondo, Dan Smith, Ed Menosse, Pat Dalsanders, Jerry Backman, Jeff Hague, Greg Blackburn, Woody Bell, Dave Neall, Bill Taylor, Mike Glascock, Hank Bassett, Jackie Hayes, Mike Cunningham, Carlie LaRoche, Cheeze, Pat Kehoe and Gene from Pace, but most of all my website readers, all the bigtime players who I got to watch play and know, thanks for all the memories. Also to all the sponsors I got to know, the bat manufacturer reps., a special thank you to Steve Dimitry, you’re the best, and also a very very special thank you to my good friend Bubba Tatum, you are a class act. I may have left out some, but I won’t forget you all.
The Old Scout…