Survey Says….PSL Softball Edition

Ky Plocinik Access to Health + Wellness, Active + Engaged Residents, PSL, Recreation, Social

About a month ago I sent out a survey to all PSL Softball participants. In this survey I asked about the length of the bases and the length of the pitcher’s mound, and I also asked for feedback in regards to how I can make your softball experience with us a great one. As always, you all came through for me and I saw over 300 responses! Below are some responses to your feedback and suggestions. If you have any additional questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions that I haven’t addressed, please feel free to reach out to me directly!

Can you make your leagues less expensive or add more games per season?

After looking at softball leagues across the nation I found that PSL is on par or less expensive than most other softball leagues. There are leagues who offer more games per season at the same or a slightly higher rate, however after some research a lot of those leagues cut their games at 45 or 50 minutes and there is no courtesy extension time. That means your game is ended at the 45 or 50 minute mark no matter the inning, time, or where you are in the game.

PSL has taken a three season approach since its inception, which has worked well until now, however we aren’t against looking into other options. Adding more games per season would be challenging; in the fall season of 2016 and 2017 we finished up several leagues the night before Thanksgiving. Unfortunately there is no way for us to add games to a season without the league fees going up.

Can you provide more and/or better field options for us to choose from?

Some of you may know that PSL has always rented fields from the City of Pittsburgh. This year the city has changed how their permitting system operated and this change caused PSL to lose several fields across multiple nights. We can only offer you what the city offers us. Right now the youth leagues have priority for all field permits, and adult leagues are given a chance to rent the fields that are left. We were prepared to add new fields this year, however we found out instead of adults being able to secure permits first come first served, adult permits would be handed out on a first right of refusal basis. Basically, so long as a youth organization didn’t want/need a field, the adult league who held the permit for a field on a particular night/season last year had the option to go ahead and book that night/season at the same field. This is something we have no control over as the city has given youth leagues priority access to all of the fields they have available. We also have different fields available to us in different seasons, for instance, Bloomfield is only available to PSL in the fall season.

We have looked into fields outside of the city, but at least for the spring season, most of them are completely taken up by youth baseball and softball, or they don’t have the available time slots we need. There are also fields outside the city who have a much higher rental rate, or fields who only rent to their residents. If you have a field suggestion for us, please email me directly so I can look into that suggestion. Additionally, please note that if a field is a significant distance from our normal field checking routes, we may not have the capacity to get to that field if all of our other fields need to be checked that day. These are all things we take into consideration when booking fields.

Can you send out earlier cancellation notifications?

We definitely understand this need and we will be working to notify everyone as early as possible about rainouts this year. Typically when we know there are fields that will need checked PSL staff leaves the office by 3pm to ensure we can have all fields check by 5. PSL staff will be working to leave the office slightly earlier this year and will be updating the Rainout Line as we check each individual field.

Could you start allowing more bat options? Specifically multi-walled and/or composite bats?

This was echoed enough times in the survey to warrant a response, however there were also a handful of you who expressed not wanting to allow high-tech bats. PSL is focused on keeping its players as safe as we can, and we simply will not be allowing multi walled or composite bats in our softball leagues. I have seen men using bats on the PSL approved bat list hit a ball out at Spring Hill, where left field measures 276ft. Can you imagine someone hitting a ball even harder as a line drive or a grounder at one of your fielders? I would love to be able to provide each umpire with 3-5 bats, but unfortunately that isn’t an option for us right now.

Please make sure your umpires know the rules!

I’m surprised that this was such an issue last year as typically I don’t hear anything during the season, and had very few responses when I asked about umpire feedback last year. I’d like to encourage everyone to reach out to me directly when you have an issue with an umpire. Calls can always be disputed and I expect PSL umpires to call games as they see them, but not knowing rules such as infield fly, or the ground rules at a field is inexcusable and needs to be addressed immediately. I want to help, but I’m not able to help if I don’t know about these issues when they happen.

Did you know some of the fields need a lot of work?

This is something we’d like to see more of too! I would encourage everyone to download the app called ‘MyBurgh’ when they see something that needs addressed on a field. This app allows you to submit a service request and take pictures of the area/item that needs improvement, then you can submit the request and the city gets a notice about it. The more people who use this app and submit regular requests, the more the city will have to attend to the fields. PSL staff uses this app regularly, even if it’s just for a field that just needs a good drag, or weeds that need trimmed.

Can you provide Porta-Johns at all of the fields?

I reached out to the city’s operations manager and he has assured me all fields will have Porta-Johns in place by the end of the day on 3/29. If you arrive at a field and there is no Porta John, please let me know immediately so I can have the issue addressed. Update: As of 4/19/18 we have seen Porta-Johns at almost all fields we use. If you do not see a Porta-John at the field you are using, please email me so I can reach out to the appropriate people!

Can you provide us with two umpires per game?

Two umpires a game was mentioned several times, however this would increase team fees significantly, and we are doing our best to keep team fees at a reasonable price. This also may not be feasible in terms of management on my part. In the spring of 2017 we offered seven softball leagues on Thursday nights alone, and almost every Thursday of the season one of the umpires needed a sub. Managing seven umpires for softball on top of three kickball umpires, three volleyball officials, two soccer officials, and six basketball officials on a Thursday night is a pretty large task we manage well right now, and adding in seven more softball umpires would turn Thursdays into an unmanageable task.

In the spring of 2017 we had 13 regular umpires for the 21 softball leagues we were able to offer. Doubling that number to 26 umpires is not a realistic task. PSL is also a recreational coed softball league, and our goal is to offer a fun environment where you and your friends can play a sport you all enjoy. Having multiple umpires would encourage a more competitive atmosphere, deterring those who come to PSL seeking a recreational and more social outlet.