Before I blog on the topic at hand, I just want to acknowledge my bewilderment at the comments I get on this blog. Whenever a comment is posted, it is actually emailed to me. I read them all and let them stand on the site for EVERYONE to read. But, more and more I’m getting spam on there. SPAM! It’s not bad enough they fill our inbox with emails? Someone actually takes the time to comment on this stupid blog with a spam ad? Moreover, I’m getting an increasing number of “Clinic Requests” which are nothing more than Viagra ads. It’s incredible that someone is actually doing this.
It’s Thursday Aug 10. That means tomorrow starts the crown jewel of men’s fastpitch softball, The ISC World Tournament. ISC stands for International Softball Congress. And for men’s fastpitch, this is more important than anything else.
The ISC tournament is a club tournament for club teams. 30 teams from across North America and 2 from outside North America compete. The US based club teams are full of international players, virutal all star teams from National team players worldwide. The #1 ranked team in the world is from Wisconsin, and I believe they have 3 Americans on their entire roster. That’s not a misprint.. 3. The rest are from New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Argentina. The core group are New Zealanders and this team is arguabley the best ever assembled in men’s softball history. US club teams like this require sponsorship of anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 a million dollars per year. And, there are about 5 teams in this category… then there’s everyone else. Similar to how the #1 complaint of baseball is.. big market teams are the only ones playing in October.. it’s the same on the final day of the ISC. It virtually always comes down to the same 5 teams in all the major invitationals and world championship.
This promotes 2 types of teams: those that want the challenge of playing the best, and those that are disgusted by the structure of it and refuse to participate. No matter what, there is always going to be a dominant team. I would never say that my team stands NO chance against this team because you never know. I just pitched (and lost) a 2-1 heartbreaker to the world’s #2 ranked team last week. Anything can happen, especially at tournament time. But, it’s very rare that the cream doesn’t rise to the top in the end. These teams are like machines and are built for winning. While I can hold my team in a game against anyone, the reality is we don’t have the firepower to score runs against these top guns.
This year is the 60th anniversary of the ISC World tournament, and it’s being held in Kitchener Ontario. As I said, for men’s fastpitch fans, players and teams… this is the equal to the Women’s World Cup, ISF World tournament and Olympics rolled into one. In fact, some players actually turn down opportunities to play for their National teams because certain events conflict with the ISC world tournament. That’s not a misprint.. sometimes Canada and USA go to the Pan Am games WITHOUT their top men’s players because the ISC takes priority.
I can only hope to keep my team in games and have a good showing. We are shooting for a top 10 finish but, based on our draw, that’s not going to be an easy feat. If the gods smile on us, and we win our first 2 games… we’ll run right into the #1 team in the world. And if the good Lord owes you any favors and you’d be willing to share, we’ll need his help.