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18

Dec, 2017

Spring is Coming!

Hello Santa Monica PONY Baseball!

Another exciting season is just around the corners.

Our evaluations this year will take place on January 20, 21, and 27.  Yes, we’ve added a Sunday date.  For all the details, go to the Registration tab on our website www.santamonicaponybaseball.com .   Our Early Bird Registration discount of $20 per player will expire on 12/31/2017, so please sign up now to take advantage of this!

The PONY National organization is implementing some exciting changes this year to improve our program.

Age Change:  PONY has changed the date for determining league age from April 30 to August 31.  Your child will now be placed in the Division as determined by his/her age on August 31.  Little League, Inc., is following suit.  The ultimate effect of this change is to make each Division younger. 

Santa Monica PONY Baseball implemented this rule beginning with our upcoming fall baseball season. 

New Bat Standard:  PONY, along with some other youth baseball organizations, has adopted the new USA Baseball bat standard.  Effective January 1, 2018, all bats used in PONY play must satisfy this standard. 

Santa Monica PONY Baseball will implement this rule on January 1, 2018.  

Read what PONY has to say here.  The USA Baseball standard is discussed here.  A bat seller has these thoughts to offer

As you make your purchasing decisions, note that USA Baseball and PONY's motivation for this rule change arises from the "goal of establishing a wood-like standard," because, of course, "a wood-like performance standard will best provide for the long-term integrity of the game."

You may discover, as some of our League members already have, that it is most economical simply to purchase and use wood bats in order to reach the stated goal.

Thus far, we are finding that Dick’s Sporting Goods (both in the store and on line) and www.justbats.com provide helpful information regarding which specific bats that meet the new rules.

Pitch Smart:  PONY is adopting a program called Pitch Smart that is jointly presented by USA Baseball and Major League Baseball.  Rather than protect pitchers' arms based on the number of innings pitched, this program implements pitch count limits and rest periods based on pitch numbers. 

Santa Monica PONY Baseball will implement this rule on January 1, 2018.  

The danger, of course, is that players, parents, and coaches will treat these pitch count numbers as minimums rather than ceilings (and the rest periods as maximums, not minimums) and have a child with a non- or under-conditioned arm "use up" all his/her pitches based on a one-size-fits-all chart.  We all need to learn and apply an understanding of each player's personal limit and a recognition of other stressors on an arm besides the number of pitches thrown.  

Santa Monica PONY Baseball is well aware that many of our Players are not ready to pitch the number of pitches called for in these new rules.  In our view, the bullet-pointed comments for each age group are at least as important as, if not more important than, the numbers in the chart. 

Also, the Pitch Smart comments lump the age group 9-12 as one.  Santa Monica PONY Baseball does not recognize such a grouping.  For the 9-10 age group, we encourage our League to hew more closely to the comments for 8 & Under than to the comments for 9-12, particularly in light of the new age rule making each Division younger. 

And, of course, a heavier emphasis on defensive skills will be necessary to minimize the number of pitches needed to get three outs in each half-inning.  Santa Monica PONY Baseball began addressing this need with a heavy emphasis on baseball clinics this past fall, and we will continue throughout the coming season.

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