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Paul Fiser Interview
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 20 questions with FT Mitchell's Sports Bar's Paul Fiser




RAY DEWORTH: Q: Paul, how long have you been involved in softball in NKY?

PAUL FISER: A: I am originally from Cleveland. I moved to the area in 1985. I started playing competitively in 1989 with the Buffalo Bar. Interesting story about that team. We started off 1990 with a 35-1 record going into the KY state tournament. Our only loss was to a team we double dipped in the finals of the tournament. We were pretty confident going into the state tournament and promptly lost our first game. (This was in the days of 120 draws) We then won our next 8-9 games in a row, many of them 1 or 2 run games. Finally in the semis of the losers bracket, we lost a 1 run when the tying run was tagged out at home in the bottom of the 7th. Several of our players disagreed with the call. In fact they disagreed to such an extent that the police were called to quell the riot which ensued.
The team feell apart after that incident.

RD: Q: You are currently a member of Fort Mitchell Sports Bar. They have been a major force in the "D" division for quite a while now. Now the rumor is they are stepping up to compete in "C". In your opinion, what kind of effect will this have on your team? Do you think it will be an easy adjustment?

PF: A: FMSBar will be playing "C" this year. They have done very well playing in the upper leagues at Eggelston and the "B" metro as well so I am not sure how much of an adjustment the team will have to make. The biggest hurdle will be getting familiar with all the "C" teams out there.

RD: Q: How long have you been a member of FMSbar?
PF: A: I joined them in the offseason


RD: Q: Who are some of the other teams (Mens and Mixed) that you have played for in the past.

PF: A: I have only played mixed with High Voltage. I have played mens intermittently with OPP over the last 3 years. One word about OPP. OPP (and its sponsors) used to be abused regularly on the softball websites, but we had great sponsors, they paid for everything. The players never made the commitment it takes to be consistent and successful. (I include myself in this criticism)

RD: Q: Paul, you are also a member of a team who is one of the best in the competitive CO-ED division. As a member of High Voltage , who has accomplished the amazing feat of capturing 4 consecutive state titles, do you find it difficult to stay totally committed to both teams?

PF: A: "Totally committed" is pretty strong. I do the best I can to balance my family, job, and softball. In the summer softball is my #1 recreation activity and I do play alot.

RD: Q: Paul, not trying to put you on a spot, but it is an intersting question. What happens if FMSBar is playing a N.I.T the same day High Voltage is? Whom will your priorities lie with?

PF: A: Fortunatly, the USSSA does not schedule Mens N.I.T's and Mixed N.I.T's for the same weekend so I have never had that problem.

RD: Q: In the mixed division there are a handfull of good teams. But there isnt as many as I am sure everyone would like. Does it get old playing the same teams everytime in tournaments? I understand this happens alot of times in other divisions also, but with the limited amount of teams in the competitive mixed division, does this get old and does it hurt you when your team travels?

PF: A: Its really not different from any of the other classifications. When you read the softball news, many of the same teams are always playing each other in tournaments. Thats because the cream rises to the top. The tri state is pretty unique right now because it has an abundance of good mixed teams. Last year 5 of the to 25 teams at the "C" world were from this area. Several other local teams also played at the "C" worlds including a former Worlds champion.(Hammonds) So I think its natural we play each other alot because we are all very good and end up playing each other in the latter stages of tournaments. When you consider that we play leagues against each other, I think ultimately it helps because you are always getting pushed by a good team.

RD: Q: In the last 2-3 years it seems the game of softball has became a competition of bat companies. First we have the DeMarini, then Worth supercells, and now we have the explosive Miken Ultra 2. This bat has been rumored to have been banned in U-Trip play. But as we all know there will be another bat thrown out there that will rival the Ultra. What is your opinion, does these types of bats which allows almost anyone the capability to hit the long ball, hurt the game. What is your opinion of the Ultra 2?

PF: A: I cant believe some of the posts that I have seen since the Ultra 2 controversey started. Alot of people have this " if ya cant stand the heat get out of the kitchen" attitude. These people are shortsighted and misinformed. Recent studies have shown the ball can reach the pitcher in .3 seconds with the new bats. To put this in perspective that is TWICE as fast as a Randy Johnson fastball. Nobody can react to these speeds. We need to find a balance beetween good equiptment and safety.

RD: Q: If there is one thing you could change about the game of softball, what would it be?

PF: A: I would like to see balance restored to the game. Softball (like Baseball) should be comprised of offense, defense and baserunning. However the game has been distorted to the point that defense and baserunning play little, if any, part of the game at its upper levels.

RD: Q: In your opinion what are some of the good things and some of the not so good things in todays game?

PF: A:GOOD= Players are better conditioned than they were 10 years ago. Bigger, stronger, and faster players make for a higher level of play and a more exciting game.
BAD= The continued drop of participation at all levels of softball. I agree with the proposition that the drop of participation coincided with the introduction of high tech bats and high compression balls. Chasing the recreation playerout of the game may not be a tournament player's problem now, but it will be. Declining registration will ultimately cause the closing of parks and less opportunities to play for all players.

RD: Q: This is a fill in the blank question. The biggest misconception about Paul Fiser is ________?

PF: A: This would be better asked of my detractors( of which there are many). However, generally speaking, I think all misconceptions arise from people not getting to know each other or talkout problems.

RD: A: This question may take some thought. Without using any players that are currently teammates of yours, fill in who you think is thebest at the following positions in softball.

PF: A: As the bulk of my experience comes form playing in NKY., this list will be top heavy of players of this region. This is not to mean as a slight to all the good players in Ohio. Further, sinceit is the offseason I am sure I will leave some deserving people off of this list just because my memory isnt what it used to be. This list is of players I have seen play of the last 3-4 years.

P= Tony Macdonald, he has 4-5 pitches, changes speed, changes location, usually has a gameplan for hitters he has seen before and feilds the middle. Offensively, he can hit to all feilds and has surprising power. I've hit against Jim Burbrink several times but it always seems to be an ASA tournament so I have not seen his best.

1B= Ron Peters..Just crushes the ball. He is agile for his size. As an infeilder I always liked throwing to a first baseman with a good wingspan.

2B=Jack Collins...Actually I had trouble with this one. Alot of good second baseman came to mind but icouldnt seperate them. Then I remembered the last time I seen Jack play he was at 2nd base. Well how can you go wrong picking Jack Collins for an all star team. Collins is a great blend of offense, defense, speed and power.

SS= John Slover...Great glove, strong accurate arm and good range. What more do you want fro a middle infeilder? How bout a great bat? Slover has that too.

3B=Brandon Johnson...BJ is actually a SS for (Angilo's/NKYSoftball.com)but I put him at 3rd base because I felt guilty leaving him off this list. In alot of aspects he is a mirror image of Slover. He is still young for softball and it will be interesting to see how high he climbs the ladder.

2 outfeilders=Kevin Hall...someone recently described him on a website as the total package. I agree with that assessment.
Kevin Larison=..Some people will be surprised by thischoise but Larison has excellent speed, greatglove, a good arm and hits for average and power.

C= Joe Barnes...I know alot of people just wrote me of as crazy for this choice but let me explain. I just couldnt think of a catcher that has stood out(I am sure I am forgetting someone). So I asked myself "what catcher has made a significant impact to softball in the tristate"? Barnes came to mind. Like him or Hate him Barnes has built a perennial powerhouse with the Nasty Boys. He deserves credit for building (and promoting) a team that is as well known as any team in the tristate. Its one thing to hgave a good team for one year, butits entirely different to maintain a team's success for several years. Barnes determination and shrewd personnel moves have kept the Nasty Boys on top in an era where player moves make it almost impossible to sustain success for a long period of time.

AH= Benny Fields....Actually I could of place Fields in a number of positions on this list. He is a good infeilder and outfeilder. He has surprising speed for his size. Alot of people in Ohio may not know alot about Benny and think he is just a HR hitter, but thats not the case. He can keep the ball in the park when he has too. Without question oneof thebest players in NKY and he is still relatively young. ( You can tell on this list I am a purist. I give respect to BALLPLAYERS, guys that can do it offensively, defensively, and on the basepaths.)

RD: Q: If you could name FMSbar's biggest rival who would it be?

PF: A: I dont know who there traditional rivals are but with the move up to "C" i imagine some new teams will be added to the list.

RD: Q: On the other hand who is your biggest rival in the mixed division with High Voltage?

PF: A: I dont know if we have any rivals in the traditional sense of the word. We used too. We used to get really jacked up to play teams like Sibcy Cline and Hartmen and Smith. We were the new kids on the block and loved beating the teams that everybody thought was the best. But somewhere along the line we became friendly with the teams that we play and its not quite as intense. Presently, the parity in the mixed division means the team that makes the least amount ofmistakes will win the game. Our present day rivals include: Uniforms Direct, Playin' Dirty. ACBC Lawncare, Hill and Griffith and Hammonds.

RD: Q: Of all the parks you have played in this area, which ones are the best and worst and why?

PF: A: BEST...Expressway-good feild conditions, good staff, good lights, and a clean facility.
WORST...since I have to play there I think I would be best off not naming this one. Just think of the complete opposite of Expressway.

RD: Q: If you had to describe High Voltage by using an adjective, what would it be?

PF: A: I will use 2 adjectives. Competitive and fun. And isnt that what its really about?

RD: Q: In your opinion, who is the most under rated player in the area?

PF: A: Kevin Larison. I played with Kevin when he first started playing. He was very good then and every year he seems to add a little more to his game. He is an excellent outfielder, complete hitter, and runs the bases great. Last year he made the best catch I have ever seen on a softball field. Still he gets criticized on some of the websites and I cant figure it out. Some players never get theyre just due.

RD: Q: When your final bat has been swung and your final inning has been played, how would you likepeople to remember Paul Fiser?

PF: A: That I was a competitive person on the field and a good person off of it.

RD: Q: And finally, not trying to put you on the spot. But if Fort Mitchell and High Voltage were of equal measure. Who would win if they played each other. Its kind of a fun question.

PF: A: I hope you understand I am married to the coach of High Voltage,(Yvette) so I have to be careful how I word this. Seriously, High Voltage has done things that no other mens, womens or mixed team has ever accomplished. I am pleased to be apart of that. My teamates of HV are some of my best friends. We still have 8 founding members on a team that started 7 years ago. That is almost unheard of in softball. Yvette deserves alot of credit for that.

Fort Mitchell has been around a longtime too and they have a good tradition. They are one of the best teams around and I look forward to playing with them. I have played against most of their guys in the past and have always admired how hard the compete. Thats the single thing that is most common about both teams:Neither accepts losing...I like that.