In an effort to be pre-emptive, before our season start, I would not want for you to purchase a bat or bats only to find at season start that significant time and money goes to waste for you … and so, the facts:
For the 2011 season, SPO will follow the USSSA Bat Certification Program (only bats on the USSSA Licensed/Approved bat list are legal for use in 2011), however, individual leagues, as always, will have the ability to decide on their own bat policy for their league. Our family we call Border Town, is sticking with the ASA policy. I personally believe that this is a prudent and good decision, both for safety reasons, and for the fact that we play in ‘short’ fields. For those reasons and by overwhelming Captain votes in all seasons past, I see no reason to look at allowing more bats into play that have "extra juice".
The ASA bat standard has not changed from 2010. My understanding is that it is precisely the same. The markings on the bat continue to be the same ....... the ASA 2004 and ASA 2000 stamps. The ASA 2000 stamp is not particularly relevant, because many of those bats appear on the "banned list". The ASA 2004 stamp is more reliable, BUT ..... there are now a number of those bats that are no longer legal for a variety of reasons.
Players can check the ASA Bat Policy, and check for a listing of non-approved bats by going to the ASA website.
The last complete banned list that ASA produced was almost 3 years ago. The ASA no longer produce an updated complete banned list, but they do issue a listing of bats that have "ASA approved" markings on them, that are NO LONGER LEGAL. As stipulated by the ASA, the only way to ensure that bats that are legal under the ASA Standard is to check that they DO NOT appear on the current ASA non-approved list.
Players can check the ASA Bat Policy, and check for a listing of non-approved bats by going to the ASA website. Click on the following link: ASA CERTIFIED EQUIPMENT. Then in the drop-down menu, select "Bats" and press "GO". This will bring you to a page with the ASA bat policy explained. Under the section titled "2004 and Beyond Approved Bats", select "Display All" in the drop-down menu and press "GO" for a full list of all bats that are ASA approved that were manufactured from 2000 onward. Anyone can make sure their bat is legal by checking that their bat appears on this list.
I really wish it was an easier situation with the bat issue, but folks, this is what we're dealing with. Again by us choosing to stay with the ASA Standard, nothing has changed from last year. The only difference being that there may be some additional bats no longer approved because of subsequent testing, and those bats would appear on the lists that we have. At the end of the day, if the bat bears either the ASA approved 2000 certification mark or the ASA 2004 certification mark as shown above, and listed on the 2004 and Beyond Approved Bat list, then it is definitely legal.
Last season, a few Captains spoke of the MPB bat standard also. There has been a lot of speculation and buzz around the softball community concerning the 2010/2011 ASA bat mph standards. 2004 has the ASA standard at 98mph and bat companies stayed below this standard. In my research, I read and I quote ”The ASA will not comment on their plans for the 2011 season but they had to let bat companies know what is coming and there is a 93 mph limit for bat manufactures in regards to new bats in the future. The pre 93 mph bats will be phased out like the Miken Freak, Easton Synergy 2, and Mizuno Orange Crush were in 2004. These bats were put on a 2 year time limit and then they were illegal for ASA play. Bad news for bat selling companies for if this is true, then all the pre 93 mph bats are going to sit there like logs with no one wanting to buy them because of the ensuing changes. These bats will be the hottest thing on the planet and then when the ASA announces the ensuing banned list they will become useless because of the mph. Regarding a 93 mph limit being enforced in the future, that's up to ASA to decide, but for 2011, I know nothing about any change for this year. All my sources and research say the ASA Standard is based on a 98 mph ceiling.
I hope all this helps. Good luck in your preparations for the 2011 season.
Please note, the approved and non-approved lists will be printed for you in inserted into your CAPTAIN’S KITS (non-approved lists attached), but in the event you are going “bat shopping” for the 2011 season, you need to know this.
2006-2011 League Commissioner