The Philadelphia Zoo softball team plays in the Center City Softball League (CCSL) : a ten-team, co-ed, slow-pitch league where every team must have at least two female fielders. Teams can field up to 10 players (4 in the outfield) total while 12 can bat. Our games have seven innings, no walks, no stolen bases (or leading off) and no umpires; umps are now regularly used in the playoffs (captains from teams not in the post-season). The batting team fields 1st and 3rd base coaches who call foul lines and outs. We use pitching mats that facilitate called strikes (if the ball lands on the mat placed behind the plate); you can also (naturally) strike out swinging but there are no walks - and new this year is that each at-bat starts with one strike. We play an 18-game season in which every team plays each other twice. The top 6 teams advance to a playoff with the top 2 teams receiving a 1st round bye, awaiting the winner of the 3/6 and 4/5 single elimination games. The winners of those single-elimination 2nd round games meet in a best-of-three 'world series'. We play in lovely Fairmount Park in northwest Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Zoo - this is our team.
The Franklin Institute - take away all the hyper-ego super athletes and you're left with a not-so-great team, but really nice folks! And at least they actually work there.
Catahoula - these "refugees" (what?) are former members of Franklin who are now their own team, and apparently most/all of them never did work at Franklin Institute. Won the league in their first official year last season though they're the real reason Franklin won 5 straight titles.
Team Green Tambourine - formerly Please Touch Museum - who were new-ish to the league in 2009, made the playoffs in their first year and then went winless in 2011 and struggled to a small handful of wins in '12. They beat us in our only meeting last year by 3 (with some fishy courtesy runner help) and we aim to destroy them this year. This new team is a combo/merger with the Barnes Foundation. I hope they suck.
Philadelphia Art Museum - a slow burner team that joined in 2005, took a while to get good and then made the playoffs 4 straight years while threatening for the best record in the regular season. Last season they lost elite status with some key injuries and shitty play. Sometimes we play them tight and sometimes very much not. Some seriously over-macho dudes. Cute chicks, though.
Pen & Pencil Club - the former Daily News (P&P is a press club/bar). We split games with them most of the time, except for lately as they've improved a lot, and have finished directly behind them for the last playoff spot two times as well. Mostly really nice people.
South Philly Tap Room - in the playoffs every year, league champs for three years straight from 2002-2004, runners-up 3 of the following 5 years and finally champs again in 2011. They don't always kill us, but they're the only team we've never beaten.
Bishop's Collar - the former PBJ is consistently a good team. We've only beaten them once, by one, in extra innings in 2006 (after 12 straight losses to them in 6 years). We've almost beaten them a dozen other times and seem to play them tight even when we're having a bad year. Probably the nicest folks in the league.
Fleisher Art Memorial - the FAM is somewhat of an offshoot of the Art Museum and back for their own 3rd stint in the league. They got lucky and handed us a loss last year and I'll be damned if I let that happen again. Just saying. Some shady safe/fair calls from their base coaches.
National Constitution Center - last year they were called Old City and we were told they were some kind of conglomeration of National Constitution Center people with Alfreth's Alley and some other old city touristy/historical places... I guess they're just NCC again, now. new last year, they played a lot of inexperienced people and only managed one win, though I think they improved a lot by the end of the season. We beat them pretty handily and they complained that *we* actually beat them, so I hope we do it again, twice.
We made significant strides offensively last year with some key additions to the lineup, played well in a couple important games and combined that with some new team additions to the league that were somewhat green... and we made the playoffs, baby! We need to be more consistent defensively and with everyone coming back, plus the added experience, we should improve yet again. If we can avoid some injuries and minimize games missed by our better players, we might be pretty good. Of course, everyone else is getting better, too. We're back to one division this year, though still the top 6 teams make the post-season. We've got a really good shot to repeat last year's top 6 finish but we've got a couple teams gunning for us.