Baseball vs. Softball Play-by-Play

Gather around for news and rumors about the industry
Post Reply
Message
Author
Jon Chelesnik
Posts: 13399
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 8:27 pm

Baseball vs. Softball Play-by-Play

#1 Post by Jon Chelesnik » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:35 pm

Besides the rules differences, what are some of the primary differences in the radio play-by-play for the two sports?

Brian Crozier
Posts: 60
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:04 pm
antispam: No
The middle number please (4738): 4738

Re: Baseball vs. Softball Play-by-Play

#2 Post by Brian Crozier » Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:35 pm

The key difference, at least for me, is that most of the plays in softball are quicker to happen and develop than they are in baseball. There also, usually, is less time between pitches in softball. Most pitchers like to just get the ball, get back on the rubber and throw another pitch. I broadcast a 13-inning game that took 2 hours and 45 minutes last season, so that is an indication of how quick many softball games can go. Additionally, the softball field is smaller and the distances between bases are shorter.

There is no mound, rather it is the "circle". There is no balk, rather it is an "illegal pitch".

Softball at the high school level, generally, does not have as much offense as baseball. Bunting and "slapping" are big parts of the offensive game for many teams. For those that don't know what slapping is, the following video goes over the basics...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjZMXgCRb2U

Jordan Slocum
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:52 am
antispam: No
The middle number please (4738): 4738

Re: Baseball vs. Softball Play-by-Play

#3 Post by Jordan Slocum » Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:58 pm

The quicker pace in softball definitely changes the broadcast approach. Because of how slow baseball can be comparatively, a good broadcast relies a lot more on having good background information/notes to share and using silence when needed. There's not much of that in softball and it can actually be difficult at times to work in a larger piece of information, whereas you may need to stretch it out to fill the time in baseball.

Softball reminds me more of basketball or hockey in that respect where you'll use a lot less of your stats/notes in referencing, simply because there's fewer opportunities to fit it in. With baseball, there's far more downtime where you need to fill and while TV folks have the luxury of going quiet and letting the video talk for them, you don't get that with radio. And especially with lower level games, you may have little or no crowd noise to help bridge those gaps.

In my opinion at least, softball is an easier sport to broadcast over baseball, especially at the high school level where stats and player information can be very scarce.

ssteve
Posts: 267
Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 12:55 pm
antispam: No
The middle number please (4738): 4738

Re: Baseball vs. Softball Play-by-Play

#4 Post by ssteve » Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:21 pm

I have grown to love softball just as much as baseball. I echo much of which has already been said here. The substitution rules are also different as any player (even the pitcher) can leave the game and come back in. For that reason, you get more pinch runners (called courtesy runners) and I've done games where the starting pitcher has been pulled, only to be put back in at the end of the game. It can be very different in that regard, but the call is mostly the same but with more pace.

RadioPat1982
Posts: 171
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:53 pm
antispam: No
The middle number please (4738): 4738

Re: Baseball vs. Softball Play-by-Play

#5 Post by RadioPat1982 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:33 am

Like the previous comments pace of play and rules or the biggest differences.

I wanted to touch on video real quick. A college I work for just started broadcasting a handful of softball games this season.

On the video side I tend to see a lot more constant team emotion. Baseball as we know has so many unwritten rules even in college. In softball however, you see bench players run on to the field a lot on any home run or big play.

You also see a lot of team meeting on the field between innings. With all the substitutions I feel that the bench players are always a bigger part of the game. There in, there out, there cheering and in to the game. A chance to capture a lot of that on a video broadcast.

You also have more two way players. Not uncommon to see a SS come in to pitch. Not quite as much matchups lefty vs righty. Always interesting to see a pitcher leave the circle then remain in the game.

One last note, with the run rule being a thing in softball you can see a big inning really change the outcome of the game instantly. For instance if your down four and give up a big 6 run the game could be over just like that. For that reason, I feel momentum is a real thing in softball.

RCAnderson
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:33 pm
antispam: No
The middle number please (4738): 4738
Location: Winter Park, FL

Re: Baseball vs. Softball Play-by-Play

#6 Post by RCAnderson » Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:26 pm

For most broadcasters, the biggest differences between baseball vs. softball play-by-play is the re-entry rule and the flex position. Essentially, with the re-entry rule you can pinch-hit, pinch-run, or make a defensive substitution for anyone in the lineup and that player who subs out can reenter the game one time for that person who replaced them.

Myself personally, I enjoy doing play-by-play for softball because you don't have to worry about the action dragging on due to pitchouts, pick-offs and etc.
Victor D. Anderson
Rollins College Volleyball and Softball PBP
Twitter/Instagram: @RedAndersonPBP

sketti98
Posts: 157
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:04 am

Re: Baseball vs. Softball Play-by-Play

#7 Post by sketti98 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:37 am

Good thoughts from all.

The biggest adjustment is how quickly plays develop and end because of the smaller field. There's no time for full description. And what may look like a routine fly ball in baseball is a 210-ft. home run.

I've found myself sacrificing detailed description to stay on top of the play and then going back to fill in the gaps.

You will see a lot more nifty defense. Spend a few minutes with the pitching coach too to learn what pitchers throw, because it's a big part of their game.

Jon Chelesnik
Posts: 13399
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 8:27 pm

Re: Baseball vs. Softball Play-by-Play

#8 Post by Jon Chelesnik » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:29 am

This is all fabulous advice -- stuff I would not have known because I've never called softball. If anyone has anything to add, please do so.

Thank you guys!

Jon

jaymurry
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:50 am
antispam: No
The middle number please (4738): 4738

Re: Baseball vs. Softball Play-by-Play

#9 Post by jaymurry » Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:13 pm

There is also little worry about pitch counts, because of the underhand delivery. Pitchers generally aren't going to fatigue to the point where they will fall apart. They do seem to have "dead" arms if they are used too much in a weekend or leaned on too much during a season. Movement and velocity are affected by fatigue like baseball pitchers suffer from overuse...but softball pitchers can hang in there and throw a lot longer than starting pitchers in baseball.

Jimbo
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:13 am
antispam: No
The middle number please (4738): 4738

Re: Baseball vs. Softball Play-by-Play

#10 Post by Jimbo » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:50 am

I have been doing softball in addition to baseball at the HS level for several years. It is a much faster paced game as others have said. You will also see a lot of different defensive alignments to offset the bunt/slap hitters. For example, 2B playing in even with the pitching circle with 1B playing back. You may even see an outfielder as an extra infielder. It is not unusual to see RF throw runners out at 1b. With the shorter bases, runners advance more than 1 base a lot more often. Also, there is the International Tiebreaker Rule for extra innings where the last out of the previous inning starts the frame at 2B.

Post Reply