Major League Baseball and USA Baseball recognized on Friday the amateur and youth organizations who have fully adopted the Pitch Smart Compliance Program's guidelines and principles for the 2016 season. The updated compliance program includes the addition of 17 organizations to the Full Compliance level, bringing the total to 19 fully compliant organizations, an increase of 850%.
Pitch Smart is a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball that provides safe pitching practices to help reduce the risk of arm injuries in amateur players. The program includes a growing number of resources on its home site at PitchSmart.org. It is further supported by a free online educational course available at USA Baseball's Online Education Center at USABaseball.Education that is hosted by Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz.
"We are pleased to see substantial growth in the number of organizations that are fully Pitch Smart compliant," said Chris Marinak, Senior Vice President of League Economics & Strategy, Major League Baseball. "The health of young arms is critical to the future prosperity of our sport and those who play it. We will continue to work alongside USA Baseball as we look to ensure that these guidelines become the standard for youth and amateur pitchers."
Full Pitch Smart compliance represents the highest level of commitment to the program and is defined by the incorporation of Pitch Smart guidelines pertaining to pitch counts and rest periods across all competitions, as well as supporting Pitch Smart educational efforts across all platforms.
Dixie Baseball Boys & Majors and Little League Baseball return as fully compliant organizations from 2015, while new fully compliant Pitch Smart organizations for 2016 include: Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, Baseball Factory, Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, California Collegiate League, Cape Cod Baseball League, East Coast Pro Showcase, Florida Collegiate Summer League, Great Lakes Summer Collegiate Baseball League, Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, National Youth Baseball Championships, New England Collegiate Baseball League, New York Collegiate Baseball League, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, Southern Collegiate Baseball League, Sunbelt Baseball League, USA Baseball, and Valley Baseball League.
In addition to the full compliance organizations, Major League Baseball and USA Baseball also recognize organizations that are select compliant and educational supporters. Select compliance of the Pitch Smart program is defined by the implementation of Pitch Smart guidelines pertaining to pitch counts and rest periods across select competitions, supporting Pitch Smart educational efforts across all platforms, and a plan to progress towards the adoption of all standards of full compliance in coming years
Educational Supporter organizations agree with the philosophies of the Pitch Smart program, support Pitch Smart educational efforts across all platforms, and will work towards select and full program compliance upon organizational review.
The select compliant Pitch Smart organizations for 2016 include: American Amateur Baseball Congress, American Legion Baseball, Babe Ruth League, Game Day USA, NCTB Baseball, Perfect Game, Prep Baseball Report, Ripken Baseball, and the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA).
The educational supporter organizations of Pitch Smart for 2016 include: Amateur Athletic Union Baseball, Cooperstown Dreams Park, Dixie Youth Baseball, National Amateur Baseball Federation, Nations Baseball, and PONY Baseball.
"USA Baseball is thrilled with the number of organizations who have taken a proactive step in adjusting pitching rules in order to safeguard their athletes' future," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball's Executive Director and CEO. "The protection of young athletes from preventable injury is of the utmost importance and we look forward to continuing to spread the word and set the standard for this significant initiative."
Currently Select Compliant organizations Perfect Game and USSSA are expected to be elevated to a Full Compliant organizational status later in the year. USA Baseball will continue to collaborate with all organizations on their Pitch Smart progress throughout the 2016 season.
For a complete list of all full compliant organizations, select compliant organizations and educational supporters, as well as more information about Pitch Smart and an application for inclusion in the compliance program, visit PitchSmart.org.
About USA Baseball
USA Baseball is the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee and the World Baseball Softball Confederation. The organization selects and trains the World Baseball Classic, Premier12 and Pan Am teams (and all other USA Baseball Professional Teams); the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team; the USA Baseball 18U, 15U and 12U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women's National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year. The organization is responsible for the continued proliferation and health of the sport, and leads a number of amateur initiatives including PLAYBALL and Pitch Smart. USA Baseball also presents the Golden Spikes Award annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country. For more information, please visit the organization's official websites: USABaseball.com, PLAYBALL.org, PitchSmart.org, GoldenSpikesAward.com and USABaseballShop.com.