Frequently Asked Questions [Version 5 updated 1-23-2018]

General Questions

What does 'Senior Softball League' mean to EMASS members?

It means fun, camaraderie, and balanced competition. 

EMASS welcome players of all skill levels and offers a safe, well-organized opportunity to play competitive slow-pitch softball.

We are all over 50 years old, but we love competing with similarly skilled teammates and we welcome everyone (even Yankee fans). 

Is EMASS just for men, or are women allowed too?

We are a league for men and women who love to play competitive softball. We do not play Co-Ed rules. We expect everyone to have some minimal skills for safety reasons, but we welcome anyone who can compete. Our minimum skills are defined hereThere are a handful of women playing in EMASS today and we would love to add more.

I haven’t played softball in 20 years. Can I really do this?

Many of the players who come into our league haven’t played in a long time. Your instincts and skill don’t return immediately, but they will come back! The most important thing is to warm up properly, stay smart and don’t overdo it. The first time you sprint to 1st base, your quads are going to scream bloody murder. When was the last time you truly sprinted?

When is the EMASS season?

EMASS divisions play from April through October. We generally have a few weeks of practice games as soon as weather and field conditions permit in April. The regular season begins around May 1st and we work schedules around holidays through the summer. Playoffs are scheduled in September and October. Once the playoffs end, many league members continue to play pick-up games right up to Thanksgiving, if weather and field conditions permit.

What days of the week do you play?

We offer two Saturday divisions and 3 weekday divisions. The American division (4-6 teams) and National division (6-8 teams) play on Saturdays. The Pacific division (4 teams) plays on Mondays, the Atlantic division (8-10 teams) plays on Tuesdays or Thursdays, and the Metro division (6-8 teams) plays on Wednesdays or Fridays. All divisions play double-headers in the morning. You can find more information on EMASS divisions here.

What if I have a vacation scheduled?

We all have other commitments and most players miss a few games during the season. We target our teams at 12-15 to accommodate these absences. By joining EMASS you are making a commitment to your teammates. Each team depends on at least 80% participation, so we ask everyone to manage conflicts as best they can, and to let your manager know well in advance if you are unable to attend a game.

What are the different skill levels in each division?

We have 5 divisions to accommodate players of diverse skill levels. In each division, returning and new players are assigned to teams to balance the breadth and depth of skills as much as practical. 

Weekend Divisions:

American Division: Saturdays, 9 AM. The American Division is a 4 team division for players who reach age 50 or older during the year of play. The American Division is generally made up of the best players in EMASS, most of whom play multiple positions well.

National Division: Saturdays, 9 AM. The National Division is an 8-10 team division which is open to players who reach age 50 or older during the year of play and who have basic softball skills.

Weekday Divisions:

Pacific Division: Mondays, 10:00 am - The Pacific Division is a 4 team division for players who reach age 50 or older during the year of play. The Pacific Division is generally made up of the best players in EMASS, most of whom play multiple positions well.

Atlantic Division: Tuesdays/Thursdays, 10:00 am - The Atlantic Division is an 8-10 team league for softball players who reach age 55 or older during the year of play. The Atlantic is a mid-level division, encompassing a wide range of skills and abilities.

Metro Division: Wednesdays/Fridays, 9:45 am - The Metro Division is a 6-8 team league, generally for players 65 and older who have basic softball skills and want to play competitive softball.

In general, the league allows players to self-select which divisions they prefer to play in. Occasionally, EMASS division coordinators may ask players to switch divisions for safety reasons. All divisions play double-headers in the morning. You can find more information on EMASS divisions here.

 What about equipment and shirts?

Each new player is provided with 2 cotton shirts and a league cap. Home teams wear blue shirts and visiting teams wear red shirts in most divisions. EMASS provides bases, balls, screens, fields and mats for well-defined batter’s boxes. Members provide their own bats (ASA approved), gloves, masks and other optional equipment. Other league logo’ed clothing is available.

What bats are allowed in EMASS?

We use ASA certified bats. However, we do not allow non-linear bats even if they have an ASA certification. Our bat policy can be found here

Do the umpires stink?

Like most umpires, ours occasionally smell pretty rank, especially when your team is on the wrong side of a close call. Ha! We use paid umpires in all our divisions. Some divisions use USA Softball (ASA... or formerly know as ASA) certified umps and some use EMASS members who know how to call a game.

What are the rules?

Full EMASS softball rules are available here. We follow well-established senior softball rules with a few special adjustments to match our culture of fun, safety and balanced competition. Most notably are these EMASS-unique adjustments:

  1. We use mats for batter’s boxes to ensure good footing while hitting.
  2. We don’t allow intentional walks so everyone gets to hit.
  3. Pitching screens are optional in all but our most competitive division.
  4. ASA certified bats are allowed, senior bats are not.
  5. Courtesy runners are allowed in all divisions.

Can friends and family come and watch me play?

Absolutely - we'd love to have them there cheering you on!   

I'd like to do some part time work for the league? What jobs are available?

We welcome experienced umpires and managers. Please talk to any division coordinator or board member if you are interested.

Does EMASS sponsor tournament teams?

EMASS does not explicitly sponsor tournament teams, but many of our members organize teams that play in local tournaments (New England area) as EMASS teams and many participate in travel teams that play in Cuba, Florida, New York, Las Vegas and many other locations.

What other special events does EMASS sponsor?

EMASS sponsors an end-of-year Banquet usually on a Sunday in November where we provide food, a bone-dry emcee full of groan-inducing puns, an attractive speaker and a celebration of division winners, MVPs, and Heart/Hustle/Attitude award winners. We also sponsor an end-of-season BBQ for each division and a July 4th family game.

How is EMASS governed?

EMASS is a nonprofit 501 (c) (7) Corporation and is administered by a Board of Directors who serve without compensation. Our board is mostly invisible to the membership but takes responsibility for:

  1. Maintaining a firm financial foundation,
  2. Governing play with safe, fun and fair rules,
  3. Establishing an EMASS culture and a vibrant community of members,
  4. Governing and coordinating fields, equipment, membership, recruiting, communication, umpires, schedules, team forming, board members, division coordinators and team managers.
  5. Conflict resolution.

What is the EMASS Mailing address?

EMASS Senior Softball, PO Box 5069, Wayland, Massachusetts 01778-4837


Field Questions

Where are the EMASS fields?

            Framingham, Wayland and Ashland. You can find the specific locations here.

How good are the EMASS fields?

Our fields are well-groomed before each game, chalked and dragged, and well-maintained by the local communities. Most of our fields are open without reachable fences. One of our field's outfield will frequently remind you how George Patton described the speed at which he wanted to move through German lines.

Are there facilities nearby?

There are clean restrooms at all our fields. There are no snack-bars or convenience stores nearby, so most players bring their own snacks and drinks.


Player Questions

I'm ready to play. How can I join EMASS and get on a team?

All you need to do is register for a specific division. If you are unsure of which division, just contact the registrar or website administrator and they will help.

How are teams formed?

The primary role of a division coordinator is to ensure balanced teams across a division. In late March, as registration comes to a close, Division coordinators get together with managers and make roster assignments of known players so that each team has approximately the same talent and good coverage across all positions. New players are sometimes assigned randomly and sometimes through first-day drafts where new players come out and play a scrimmage game. Managers and division coordinators make an initial assessment of skills and they work together to balance all the draftees across teams based on skill levels and team needs.

Are mid-season trades common?

After initial team rosters have been assigned and a few games played, division coordinators and managers may execute a few targeted trades to re-balance teams that are considered too weak or too strong. Injuries, skills and balance are considered throughout the year and further adjustments are made as needed.

I have a team that would like to join EMASS. How can I register a team?

Please contact the divisional coordinator for the division that you would like to join. EMASS strives to create balanced competition in each division. Adding a pre-existing team of skills is likely to disrupt this balance so we would work with you to integrate a team of players in the most welcoming manner without disrupting a division’s balance. Our EMASS divisions shuffle rosters each year to grow our community and enable members to compete against each other as well as competing as teammates.

How are ages determined in EMASS?

For purposes of assessing age eligibility, your “EMASS age” is the age you attain during the calendar year that our season falls within. For example, anyone who reaches the age of 50 by December 31, 2018 is considered 50 for the 2018 season.

I'm not quite ready to play full-time but I'd like to play occasionally. Do you support that?

You can join as an “Associate Member” and fill in on occasion when teams need to add players. An even better option is that Associate Members can sign up to play in pickup games where you can get a taste of the competition, community and culture of our league. We do ask that full-time players commit to participate in 80% of their team’s games.

Can I play on more than one team? 

Yes, you can play in as many divisions as you can handle. We have a few softball addicts that play in 3 or 4 divisions, and we have over 100 players who play in both a Saturday division and a weekday division.

Are teams maintained from year to year?

Each year, EMASS strives to create balanced teams with skills evenly matched and positional strength evenly distributed. From year to year, most teams change personnel quite a bit. Our members love this as it allows players to play with, and play against, everyone in the community and vary the competition each year.

My buddy and I would like to be on the same team; is that okay?

If you play at approximately the same level, we will consider. Just register and let us know that you want to be on the same team; we will try and make that happen in the first year or to accommodate car-pooling for members traveling from longer distances. In follow-on years, we will balance team skills by shuffling up rosters each year.

How does EMASS deal with occasionally short-handed teams?

Pool players can be recruited from members not on a team as a temporary fill-in if a team is likely to be short-handed in some specific week during the season. Pool player policies are described here.

 

Money Questions

How much is it to become an EMASS member?

The registration fee for EMASS membership (required of all members) is $25. All members can play in EMASS pick-up games, be assigned to a team as coach or manager, or fill in as a pool player. Pool players can be recruited from members not on a team as a temporary fill-in if a team is likely to be short-handed in some specific week during the season. All registered members can also join EMASS tournament teams and attend the year-end banquet. 

How much does it cost to play?

Saturday divisions cost $165 and weekday divisions cost $135. You must be an EMASS member to play. The total costs for a season depend on how many divisions you play: 

  1. EMASS membership: $25 registration fee (pool player, no full-time division)
  2. One weekend division: $190 total ($25 registration fee + $165 divisional fee)
  3. One weekday division: $160 total ($25 registration fee + $135 divisional fee)
  4. One weekend and one weekday division: $325 total ($25 + $165 +$135)
  5. One weekend and two weekday divisions: $460 ($25 + $165 +$135 + $135)

What forms of payment do you accept?

Our secure online payment system (WePay) accepts all Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express cards. EMASS also accepts personal checks. 

Are there any discounts or 'payment plans' available?

We welcome anyone who wants to play competitive senior softball and we don’t want to exclude anyone because they can’t afford it. EMASS may waive or reduce fees for any member who is experiencing financial hardship. If you want to apply for a financial hardhip adjustment, please contact the registrar.

What about refunds?

Members who incur an injury that prohibits play for the remainder of a season may petition to receive a refund. And any player who decides to discontinue playing before the regular season starts may petition to receive a refund.