Obit for the O Team
Jeff Holden was exaggerating a little: a few folks under forty play slow-pitch. The U-M, Haduch says, had eighty intramural softball teams this year. But that's just a fraction of the 330 teams playing flag football--and probably another few thousand who like the popular new "extreme" sport of walking or bicycling while texting.
Dishman is proud Ann Arbor still has slow-pitch, even though Rec & Ed is down to 140 or so teams, about a third of its 1985 peak. (Ypsilanti Township, he notes, no longer has any softball at all.) He thinks that's because Ann Arbor has remained true to the original slow-pitch spirit. When in recent years the American Softball Association instituted rules to make the game more athletic--adding five feet to the distance between bases, going to three balls for walks and two strikes for strikeouts, using a livelier ball, and even allowing base stealing (!)--Rec & Ed players voted them down. You can see pro softball on TV now, but we Boomers want to keep it a game for anyone who can still--wince! grunt!--swing a bat and hobble around the bases.