September 30, 2022


Board Members Participating:  S. Baranick(SB); R. Barnhart(RB); J. Hansell(JH); E. Rushing(ER); G. Stevenson(GS)

In the 8/1/22 Board meeting, the Board agreed to try Dudley Thunder Zn 47/525 softballs on a two-week trial period.  Use of this ball continued through Monday, 9/26/22.  

The Board has been presented with an opportunity to purchase new/used Rock 44/375 softballs from Red Simmons at $5/ball.  Contact with SSUSA was required to verify that these balls, which have some different “markings” from “original” Rock balls are the same from a manufacture/performance standpoint as the “original” Rocks.  On 9/30/22, JH spoke to Stephanie Hopkins (SH) who verified that the two balls in question are, in fact, identical.  

JH spoke to SB on 9/30 regarding his discussions with SH and both agreed that a recommendation be given to the full Board, for approval, that the balls should be purchased and between the balls to be purchased and an existing supply of Rock balls in possession by SB, that the Monday league stop using the Dudley balls and begin using the Rock balls ASAP.

On that basis, JH prepared an email summarizing his discussion with SH and asking the Boards review and approval of the above recommendation.  On 9/30, SB sent said email (included below in italics) to the full Board, and, via text, asked the Board to review the email and respond yes/no to the recommendation.
The Board unanimously, via text, agreed to the recommendation.



League Board,
The below email from Joe summarizes the discussion he and I had this morning regarding the purchase of new/used Rock balls from Red Simmons, via Bill Ward.  It is possible that we can play with Rock balls this Monday 10/3, so please read Joe’s email and provide me with your thoughts ASAP.

Before we consider purchasing the balls, we needed clarification from SSUSA since the “markings” on the balls that Bill has are different from the Rock balls that we know are the ones we’ve used for a number of years.
Let’s call the two balls as follows:  Original Rocks; Simmons Rocks.
The following are the similarities 
(S) and differences (D).

Original Rock:
X-Rock-ISA – Y D
Composite Cover S
Poly Cor S
44/375 S
A stamp (picture) of a guy, with a cape, sliding. D
A stamp (picture) of 3 conjoined hexagons with MCT (micro cell technology) imprinted within one hexagon.  S/D

Simmons Rock:
X-Rock – SS D
Composite Cover S
Poly Core S
44/375 S
A stamp (picture) of the SSUSA “logo” D
A stamp (picture) of 3 conjoined hexagons with MCT (micro cell technology) imprinted within one hexagon, but about 1/10th the size (and easy to miss) of the comparable stamp on the Original Rock.   S/D

I spoke to Stephanie Hopkins, from SSUSA this morning.  She is responsible for ordering balls, and dealing with ball vendors.  She seemed very knowledgeable about the balls.  I described the two balls I had in my possession and all the details, per above, for each ball.  She indicated the following to me:

1) The balls are identical in terms of manufacture/performance.
2) The original Rock has the ISA designation, and the picture of a guy sliding, with a cape.  The guy sliding is the ISA logo.
3) The SS on the newer Rock stands for Senior Softball
4) She said the newer SSUSA Rock ball does not have the guy sliding, nor the ISA designation, but has SS and the SSUSA logo.
5) Because the 3 conjoined hexagons with the MCT imprinted within one hexagon are so small on the new Rock balls, I did not originally see it.  She pointed it out to me.

In the 8/1/22 Board meeting, the Board agreed to use the Dudley Thunder ZN 47/525 on a trial basis and make an  assessment whether to continue using the ball, or switch to the Rock balls (a few new and mostly used.)  We’ve used these balls longer than 2 weeks and I think it’s time we make a final decision on the balls to be used going forward

I recommend that we, immediately, cease using the Dudley balls, purchase the new/used balls that Bill Ward has offered (at $5/ball), and between this purchase, and the existing supply of used Rock balls you have from various  sources that we immediately go back to using Rock 44/375’s in the Monday league.  You indicated to me that you concur with this recommendation.

Also, I suggest that you get the approval of the rest of the Board on this matter, and if we can do so, post haste, we should be able to use Rock balls for our games on Monday, 10/3/22.

As an aside, I asked Stephanie when they might expect new Rocks will be available for purchase.  She told me that she had a conversation with the ball vendor last week, and was told that the balls have been manufactured (China), were en route to the USA, and could be in port (she thought Long Beach) as early as next week.  She was quick to point out the availability “promises” of March/June/July/August, so who knows.