I think? we are kinda on the same page on some of your points.
1) Yes...in crowd favors is not correct..me openly taking on Donny jr going against the written bi-laws to hand out major list player favors (names removed before being published) was the end of me and usssa..why...because Donny didn’t like being shown going against bi-laws of the game..showing such things was not allowed.
2) on “not worth it anymore” in regards to traveling like the Conference now requires for most of the elite players across the country...the truth is...it has never been worth it for almost anyone in softball...THAT IS WHY THE SPONSORS HAVE TO PAY THE PLAYERS SO MUCH MONEY TO GET THEM TO DO IT.
In the era of my prime...many top level players enjoyed upper level softball while traveling very little... as an example...in 1991 the AA World Champion left their own time
zone ONCE all regular season and were playing in their home state when they won the AA World.
Maybe look at the state you live in and ask past AA or A player how much they had to travel to play at those levels from the late 80s to around 1995. that was the zenith of softball and all players but the few major teams enjoyed whole season playing close to home...
This allowed top level players with family or career commitments to still play the game full time without hurting home life. The way the CONference is currently set up..in most of the country that is not possible.
3) I do not understand your point in regards to AA and Chip totals... AA HAS ALWAYS HAD ROSTER LIMITS.
4) I agree family and friends (along with career) are more important then softball...that is why I feel blessed to have played in an era where top softball players vary rarely had to pick one over the other. Why? Because the game, and more or less rosters, was regionalized instead of nationalized.
The list of top players from my era that would have stepped away from game if it looked like today’s Conference because they had their life’s priorities in proper order is almost endless.
I for one...never would have attempted it...and I loved softball.
Today’s Conference is run just like the Major level
was run in regards to travel during most of my playing days..and trust me...very few of my teammates or friends that I played against in A or AA from 1985-2000 would have done it. why..because wrecking havoc on your life because of the travel required was not worth it.