By: Marty Maciaszek
NSGA Director of Communications and Team Dealer Division
Updated Dec. 8, 2022 with USA Softball information
DOWNERS GROVE, ILLINOIS (November 10, 2022) – The National Sporting Goods Association makes an annual check with national sports governing bodies for rule changes regarding equipment and uniforms that could impact team dealers and retailers. Here’s a look at what’s ahead for 2023 and beyond, starting with the potential trickle-down effect of Major League Baseball going to bigger bases next season.
NSGA will provide updates as more information becomes available.
Baseball: Bigger Bases a Big Question
Major League Baseball announced this summer it is increasing the size of its bases from 15 inches to 18 inches for the 2023 season. Minor League Baseball made the switch to bigger bases in 2022. Team dealers and retailers have asked NSGA if other organizations would move to bigger bases. Here’s a look at that issue and other baseball-related rule changes.
NCAA: The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee discussed a change to require larger bases at its annual meeting in July, according to the NCAA’s Ben Brownlee, who oversees baseball. The committee did not move to require that change but did move a change to permit larger bases in non-institutionally owned facilities. This eliminated the need for a waiver for colleges to play a game in a Minor League or MLB stadium. The next opportunity to review/recommend the base-size change will be in 2024.
NFHS: No changes are currently anticipated at the high school level regarding the size of the bases from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NHFS).
PONY Baseball: Rule 7H has been changed to bases shall not be smaller than a 15-inch square. This gives leagues the option of continuing to use present-sized bases or switching to the larger MLB-sized bases.
American Legion: Executive director Steve Cloud said they did not adopt the bigger MLB bases or the pitch clock because of the cost with the implementation. “The majority of our teams play on high school fields so we can’t mandate they upgrade the facility,” Cloud said.
Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken: There are no changes for 2023 on base sizes but it will be discussed by the rules committee at its annual meeting, according to president & CEO Steve Tellefsen.
American Amateur Baseball Congress: There is no move to go to larger bases currently, according to AABC president Richard Neely.
CABA: No rule changes for 2023.
Dixie Youth Baseball: The earliest the size of the bases will be discussed is at its national meetings in August 2023, according to DYB commissioner William Wade.
A bat which does not meet specifications will be deemed an illegal bat and the batter using the illegal bat will be called out. If a second batter is called out for using an illegal bat in the same game by the same team the team manager will be ejected.
The use of pine tar or other similar adhesive substances on a bat is prohibited and will result in the bat being declared illegal.
Dixie Boys/Majors Baseball: Rule changes are made in odd-numbered years so some are anticipated for the 2024 season.
Little League Baseball: No changes for uniforms and equipment for 2023.
USSSA: No changes for uniforms and equipment for 2023.
USA Softball: A couple of rules regarding bats and helmets were revised and take effect January 1, 2023.
Any bats bearing the USA Softball, USSSA, or WBSC Certification mark and passes the USA Softball Fast Pitch Compression test thresholds will be allowed in the USA Softball Men’s Major and Men’s Open Fast Pitch Championships. This would allow players to use WBSC-approved bats they currently use in their Federation.
Any defensive or offensive player may wear a helmet at any time. In fast pitch, helmets shall have a non-glare (not mirror-like) surface. This allows helmets with a reflective or mirror-like finish to be used in slow-pitch softball.
PONY Girls Softball: At the Shetland Level, bats marked T-ball are not allowed when using a regulation 11-inch softball.
USA Wrestling: The use of protective headgear of the type required for scholastic wrestling is authorized and recommended in the Junior level and below. Headgear is allowed in U20, Masters, Senior and U23 competition. It is no longer required that headgear be removed in the United World Wrestling age divisions at the request of the opponent. In any division, a face mask is allowed only to protect an existing injury, or an injury occurring during the bout, and must be prescribed by a medical doctor or the event’s chief medical officer.
TopicsAmerican Legion PONY Baseball USA Wrestling PONY Girls Softball USSSA Little League Baseball Dixie Youth Baseball Dixie Boys/Majors Baseball CABA AABC Babe Ruth Cal Ripken Wrestling NFHS Softball NCAA Baseball NSGA Rules