While up in Steamboat I unfortunately became aware that still another way people are altering bats is becoming more problematic. The USSSA bylaws say the thumbprint on the taper must be permanent and placed there by the manufacturer. I've heard on several occasions that both internet and at least one brick and mortar retailer have been offering a stamp to a fix to the taper but hadn't actually seen it till this weekend.
Most of our umpires work enough that they are up to speed on what bats they should expect to see and what bats weren't intended for the new stamp, but not all are as up to date or diligent as they need to be. I'm clearly going to have start checking bats myself as well moving forward. We have them looking for the stamp and any obvious wear and I am backing that up with testing at some venues now, but we are going to add a step training wise and start looking at stamps harder moving forward.
For any number or reasons, but with liability and sportsmanship at the top of the list, we will be looking at bats harder moving forward. Bats will continue to be removed for wear, broken endcaps, spray on the barrel and if they fail testing. We're not looking to determine intent when a bat fails but rather simply remove it from play.
I've seen two types of stickers to date, a hologram with the thumb print and a die cut that matches our thumb print. Moving forward, 4-5 years into the new stamp we ALL know which bats are legal and that only the new thumb print can be used. So we are clear, the only legal bats are those with a USSSA thumb print on the taper and placed there permanently by the manufacturer at the time of manufacture. If you are discovered IN THE PARK by ANY USSSA official to be in possession of an altered thumb print bat; you will be ejected from the game or premises and will be suspended for a period of one year without a right of appeal. I didn't know, it's not my bat, the retailer told me it was legal, my buddy said it was cool.....not acceptable excuses. You walk in the park with an altered thumb print and we find it, that's it for you for USSSA the next 365 days. I'll be posting by the brackets, send it out in each tourney announcement and brief managers on it at check for all the upcoming tourneys. Up to each of you to police your teams and yourselves.
I hate that it's come to this because perfectly legal bats are plenty hot even with today's balls, but it is what it is. Put a rule into place and somebody is always gonna look for a way around it.
This from our General Counsel today regarding testing on the USSSA Flipper:
As there continues to be some confusion on the Demarini flipper model bat, USSSA/GSL legal counsel has provided the following additional guidance to that issued earlier this year by Kevin Naegele, Executive VP USSSA Softball:
It has become apparent that the current rule of not using the compression device on DeMarini Flipper model bats is not a comfortable approach for all USSSA and GSL directors. Therefore effective immediately, USSSA/GSL will allow the use of the at the field compression device on the DeMarini Flipper model bat with a 40 # additional preload to adjust for substantial gap between the outer wall and the rest of the interior of the barrel. So when using the Compression Device, the operator will place the Flipper bat in the device, turn the dial to the set preload and then continue to turn the dial for an additional 40 # of preload before pushing down on the Compression Device lever to see if the bat passes or not.
The DeMarini Flipper model bat remains legal and approved equipment in USSSA/GSL sanctioned tournament and league play. It may be compression tested with an additional 40# preload or allowed without compression testing in the discretion of the event director.
Please note that any failure to follow USSSA equipment rules in a USSSA/GSL event could result in the event not being a sanctioned event.
USSSA/GSL General Counsel
We've updated our 2015 schedule online. Please check that you are using the latest version dated February 2, 2015. I've added all World Tournaments that our teams have previously participated in and have finalized our plans for April 11-12 weekend. USSSA will be taking that weekend off as an association and we encourage teams to participate in NSA's Batting For Boobies being held that weekend at Kennedy.
Find the link to our 2015 schedule above. It is more or less complete at this point. I still need to find a home for us on April 11-12 and I may add, subtract or modify a division here or there. As you can see, we've scheduled most weekends for only one event rather than split you up and give you multiple options throughout the state. I expect this will lead to more of us playing in one place each weekend but may also lead to more two day events or our limiting entries on some weekends to make sure we finish on Saturday. We've raised event pricing this year for the first time since 2008 when we went from 250.00 to 275.00. Most qualifiers will be 300.00 while NIT's and events with longer time limits will generally be 325.00. There are a few exceptions in both directions and they are clearly marked on the schedule. The price to rent venues continues to rise as does the cost of insurance. Most importantly, we gave our umpires an across the board pay raise this year. I'm certain some of you will make noise on the increase but it was time and for those of you not sponsored and paying your own way....we're ultimately talking about 2.00- 3.00 per player per weekend. As always, I will date the schedule in the top lefthand corner and make announcements any time we make a change. As soon as I have World Tournament dates and decide on some of the possible adds or subtractions, I'll update the schedule again. In the meantime, this should get you started and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.
Our 2015 Conference Colorado planning and organizational meeting will be held Wednesday January 21st at CB Potts in Westminster at 6:30pm. Address is 1257 W 120th, 80234. We'll preview the upcoming season and vote on any relevant changes. All CC members who would like some input are welcome but try to limit it to three members per team maximum. Any votes will be one per team. If you have any questions leave them on our Facebook page or contact me directly.
Howdy and happy holidays to all of you and your families! I wanted to take a few moments and catch you up on the latest and greatest from the convention and give you some insight into our plans for the 2015 season.
On the convention front really only one major change. We're now allowing homeruns in D, two in fact, and it's a change that was too long coming. We're going to adjust our state rules across the board. I'll be meeting with the CC guys in January where they'll vote on their rule but we'll go to a minimum of four across the board for all CC games. If they want more it'll be up to them in a vote. In D we'll follow the national rule in all events. In E we'll use the national rule for all NIT and State events but modify for qualifiers. In qualifiers we'll drop the offensive ejection and go with an inning ending out only.
I think there were a few other changes-they modified the women's run rule again and they're gonna get tougher on military rosters. They put in a slide or give yourself up rule that I thought was kind of understood. Now it's codified. They have given me a little more wiggle room helping you get to Worlds roster wise after you're frozen. Once I have full details on all I'll pass them along.
USSSA has acquired the Global Sports League (GSL) and that means we now have still another sanction here in Colorado. I'm proud to say that in addition to my duties with USSSA, I've been appointed to head up the new sanction here in our state. They only offer play in men's and coed and claim to draw their rules from the best of the existing associations. A quick read the other day revealed that they look much like our rules but are more liberal on homeruns and substitutions. They have a very transparent and well thought out policy on rosters that I think you'll all enjoy. I don't know what we're gonna look like on the GSL front exactly yet but expect us to offer a few of their events in 2015.
Given what I just mentioned, my next topic is going to seem a little counter-intuitive. I have been of the opinion for several years now that we have reached a saturation point on the tournament front. With Ernie, Jay, Tony and now me with two sanctions, you've never had so many options on what and where to play. Competition is a good thing but it ultimately hurts everybody. As directors we don't see nearly the participation we should week to week and as teams, you play in smaller tournaments.
While it's clear we're the market leader here in Colorado, the numbers don't lie; we've contributed to this saturation issue more than any. In an effort to stay ahead of the curve, we've offered more and more events; first offering two and even three events a weekend and then taking the unprecedented step of offering events from November to February.
As Colorado's only true state wide organization, we're going to take the lead and at least on the USSSA front, offer you more by offering you less. We're going to focus more on running premium quality events and get off the quantity train we've been on the last few years. In 2014 we offered upwards of 70 events. In 2015 we'll be much closer to 40 overall offering only one quality event somewhere in the state most weekends. You'll still have plenty of options with other organizations of course but for those of you that choose to play USSSA, our hope is that by decreasing supply, we'll increase demand and see more of you in the same place each weekend. Watch for more details on prizes, etc in the coming weeks.
I have the schedule more or less done but am waiting for some final confirmations. Some highlights....we start play with a few CHC events in February weather permitting. The Hall of Fame Benefit is March 7th. An additional early season NIT is on the docket and on the turf at Skyview! The Denver Omelette makes it's return to the ASP and as an NIT! State Tournaments at new venues this year in Erie and Colorado Springs! Really excited for the 2015 season.
Keep your eyes peeled for the schedule! All our best to you here at USSSA and have a wonderful holiday season.