The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

ASA/USA Softball announces organization rename and rebrand to USA Softball and unveils new logo !

USASoftball_Logo   OKLAHOMA CITY, OK. — The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America/USA Softball, the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the U.S., announced today their organizational rename and rebrand to USA Softball and new logo, which will be effective January 1, 2017.  As the sport of softball continually evolves, focusing on the USA Softball brand better reflects the legacy that ASA/USA Softball has established over its 80 years as the leader in the sport of softball.

“This is an exciting time for ASA/USA Softball as the rebrand to USA Softball reflects our vision for the growth of the sport,” said ASA/USA Softball President Warren Jones.  “For over 80 years, ASA/USA Softball has been the driving force behind the sport of softball, and this new logo truly embodies that character and legacy.  I encourage all of our members to embrace the change of rebranding our organization to USA Softball that the ASA/USA Softball Board of Directors approved during its September, 2015 Board Meeting.  As the National Governing Body of Softball, USA Softball will continue to serve as the leader in the sport of softball while helping foster the passion and love for the game to all.”

When ASA/USA Softball entered the softball picture in 1933, the sport was in a state of confusion with no unified set of playing rules and no NGB to provide guidance and stability. ASA/USA Softball changed all that by adopting softball’s first universally accepted rules of play and by organizing consistent and fair competition across the nation.  Since its founding, ASA/USA Softball serves the softball community as the leader in certified equipment standards, coaching education and umpiring while providing the best-of-the best in softball at all levels.  Whether as a coach, athlete, umpire, administrator or fan, ASA/USA Softball provides the most exciting, level and competitive fields of play.

ASA/USA Softball has left an everlasting imprint on the sport, athletes and officials, creating many historic “firsts” for the game, including the first set of unified rules, the first standardized uniforms for officials, a Hall of Fame to honor those individuals who have left an impact upon our sport and fielding the first U.S. Olympic Softball team in 1996.  From this beginning, ASA/USA Softball has become one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 70 local associations. In its long history, ASA/USA Softball has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 160,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.2 million.  That legacy will continue to live on through the USA Softball brand, providing a clearer identity of what USA Softball stands for, represents and embodies.

“The evolution of our brand to USA Softball showcases our organization to its fullest potential,” said ASA/USA Softball Executive Director Craig Cress.  “Rebranding shows our members, teams, umpires, players and fans that we are continually evolving and furthering the softball community while connecting and unifying them under the USA Softball brand.  I’m excited for our fans, members and administrators to connect and identify with our new look and the USA Softball brand.”

In addition to rebranding, ASA/USA Softball has also unveiled a new redesigned logo, approved by the ASA/USA Softball Board of Directors at its April 2016 board meeting, which will replace the ASA/USA Softball split logo throughout the transition to USA Softball.  The redesign contains several key elements of previous ASA/USA Softball logos, while clearly identifying the USA Softball brand as the organization evolves towards the future.  The home plate shape embodies the sport, while bold, block USA Softball lettering symbolizes USA Softball’s authority as the NGB.  Along with the redesigned prominent features of the logo, the stars and stripes pay homage to the U.S. flag and classic American iconography, connecting fans and members with the Team USA brand.  Several subtleties also lie within the new logo, as the three red stripes reference 1933, the year ASA/USA Softball was founded, and the stars represent the four territories of ASA/USA Softball.

   For more information on ASA/USA Softball, please visit www.ASAUSASoftball.com.       

About ASA/USA Softball
Founded in 1933, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball is the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, ASA/USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 70 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.2 million.  ASA/USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles as well as claimed eight World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about ASA/USA Softball, please visit http://www.asausasoftball.com/.

ASA_USA Softball
Codi Warren – Managing Director of Communications
Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball
2801 NE 50th Street
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73111
405-425-3431 (O)
Visit Us Online: ASAUSASoftball.com

softball

** (ASA/USA Softball is a Professional

       and Founding Member Of SODA) **

New aqua park hopes to tap lake culture !

Water_Park

Manitowoc’s Lake Michigan and Fond du Lac’s Lake Winnebago contribute to each community’s recreational habits. Residents are interested in water fun, but are often hesitant to step foot in their local lakes.

Blue green algae in Lake Winnebago and issues with E. coli in Lake Michigan keep many people out of the water, Larson said.

And yet lakeside culture beckons.

He counts on that, among other things, for success at Fondy Aqua Park.

People are “excited to come out and try it,” Schneider said.

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Hearing on Chesterfield’s planned water sports park pushed back again !

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WATERFORD PARK
The planned facility would include a man-made lake for water activities, a boardwalk with restaurants and retail, apartments, up to 300 town homes and an amphitheater.

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   Richmond, VA. – The Chesterfield County Planning Commission on Tuesday for a second time deferred a public hearing on a proposed water sports park in the western part of the county.

  “The applicant is preparing additional information that is needed to continue to work on the issue,” board member Gloria L. Freye of the Clover Hill District, where the park would be, said before the meeting.

   The Planning Commission unanimously approved a 60-day deferral, but the developers do not expect it to delay the facility’s opening planned for spring of 2018.

   The commission was to hear comments from county residents on the zoning permits for the $35 million Waterford Park, a 105-acre outdoor water sports facility off Genito Road near the Powhite Parkway and state Route 288.

   The hearing will be moved to the Planning Commission meeting on Aug. 16. A hearing on the same issue, set for Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, will be deferred as well.

   The project is being pushed by Richmond developer Brett Burkhart and business partner Derek Cha, founder of the Sweet Frog frozen yogurt chain. They say the park — which would include a man-made lake for water activities, a boardwalk with restaurants and retail, apartments, up to 300 town homes and an amphitheater — would create jobs and spur the local economy.

   Charlie Davis, president of the Brandermill Community Association Board of Directors, said that two weeks ago, his group had asked for Tuesday’s hearing to be rescheduled to allow for the proposed water park rezoning to be better vetted.

   “Brandermill has not opposed the project, because we know that that parcel of land will be developed by somebody. We just want to get it in the best shape for the community,” Davis said.

   At several community meetings, area residents, especially from Brandermill, had expressed concerns about congestion and noise. But Burkhart and Cha have vowed to keep the sound levels below 65 decibels and improve three intersections — and much of the road system in the area — to minimize the impact of increasing traffic.
 

  At the most recent community meeting Monday night, the developers were able to further address and ease many of the residents’ concerns, Davis said.
“They did a good job last night,” he said. “After we had asked for the deferral, they began to nibble on that.”
Burkhart said the meeting’s attendees “seemed satisfied” after hearing the developers’ updates.

   “We offered to do a noise study, kind of like a heat map. We have zero concerns that this is going to remain an issue,” Burkhart said.
Cha, who purchased the 105-acre property off Genito Road in 2013, teamed up with Burkhart last year to develop a water sports park modeled after the U.S. National Whitewater Center that opened 10 years ago in Charlotte, N.C.

   The Chesterfield site was part of a lot initially selected by the developer of SportsQuest for a $250 million athletic complex — until three years ago increasing debts and doubts about the facility’s future forced SportsQuest’s owner to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.
  

   What’s left of the SportsQuest project are lighted athletic fields and concession and bathroom facilities that had been built east of Route 288 on what is now known as River City SportsPlex, owned by a creditor of SportsQuest.
Burkhart said Tuesday that he and his partner were not discouraged by the deferral of their zoning hearing.

   “It was a little bit of a setback, but everything is going to be better off. The last 30 days have brought a lot of awareness to the project, and we feel more confident now than before about its viability and feasibility,” Burkhart said.       

“We will continue to go ahead and do our site plan work as planned. Hopefully, we can stay on schedule for our opening goal.”

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Beacon’s EXCLUSIVE Weekly Ballfields Tips !

June 20, 2016        |        BeaconAthletics.com         |        Ballfields.com

THIS WEEK’S FIELD TIP

If you are sitting at a major or minor league baseball game when a rain delay is called, you’ll see the ground crew jump into action and within about 2 minutes the field has been covered — usually it’s made to look all too easy. But for those of us who have done it, we know how critical it is for everyone to work together to ensure the tarp is placed properly on the field. Full infield tarps can be as large as 175′ x 175′ and, depending on material, can weigh about 2,500 lbs for the heavier 10 oz / sq yd vinyl material that some major league teams use. Lighter weight tarps like the 6 oz / sq yd woven polyethylene tarps will weigh about 1,700 lbs for the same size. Lightweight tarps will cost about a third of what the heavy duty vinyl tarps will cost. There are pros and cons to the different weights of each…  Click to read the whole article at Ballfields.com

Lute Scarifying Rake 10% OFF

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Jennie Finch™ Pitching Lane Pro 10% OFF

Spike-resistant artificial turf with slip-proof backing. Includes a 2″ PowerLine and 6″ barrier lines inlaid into turf. Barrier lanes are the outer lines that help pitchers comply with NCAA regulations. Exclusive Jennie Finch Pitching Lane Pro: use lane10 during checkout (one-week offer valid thru June 26).

FEATURED OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK

Ball Holder … ONLY $15! — Available for baseballs (holds 10) or softballs (holds 9). Like-new conditionBall Holder

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The ABC’s of Owasso, OK.: K !

Owasso Sports Park North

   Owasso, OK. – In early July, 1,800 soccer players will descend on the Owasso Sports Park North for one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in Oklahoma.

   With a capacity for more than any one group could ever fill, the park is a hidden gem in Owasso.

   “Many tournament have been held here, many victories have been celebrated, and many growth opportunities have been shared,” Elishya Cook said. “This is what makes it beautiful…. No matter the outcome, families make memories here.”

   As an Administrative Coordinator for Recreation and Culture in Owasso, Cook knows the park on 116th Street is a daily summertime destination.

   Aside from the expansive softball, baseball and soccer complexes, the park also holds Funtastic Island, which Cook called, “one of the most coveted parks in Owasso to host birthday parties, family reunions, graduation parties, baby showers and many other life events.”

   For Owassons who think they know the park inside and out, there are a few major developments on the way.

   “A feature splash park with state of the art equipment, additional soccer and baseball fields, a new parking lot, revision of existing parking lots, and a 3.2 mile walking/running trail around the entire Sports Park,” Cook said.

   The park has a wide access road, plenty of parking lots, and fencing around the perimeter of the fields.

   At the entrance, a memorial greets visitors and reminds them of the provisions for their present blessings.

   “The Veterans Memorial was dedicated to all service men and women to honor the sacrifices they have made for our freedoms,” Cook said. “The Veterans Memorial has been a place of reflection, celebration of achievements, and ceremonies to honor our Veterans and the fallen.”

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Beacon’s Weekly Ballfields Tips !

June 13, 2016        |        BeaconAthletics.com         |        Ballfields.com

THIS WEEK’S FIELD TIP

In the course of a year, I see quite a few ballfields in my travels. One of the things that catches my eye quite frequently is how loose an infield skin surface may be. So I thought it would be a good idea to go over some standard nail dragging rules and tips to keep people up to speed with proper nail dragging protocol. First, let’s go over the equipment for nail dragging. A nail drag should be somewhat light in weight, like the Beacon Adjustable Weight Nail Drag System. You can always add more weight to the unit to get proper penetration into the infield skin. A nail drag constructed from heavy materials does not give you as much control over penetration depth.  Click to read the whole article at Ballfields.com

Steel Mat Mop 10% OFF

Designed for grooming small areas like the mound and baselines. Heavy-duty aluminum handle with 24″ x 18″ steel mat drag. Exclusive Steel Mat Mop: use steel10 during checkout (offer valid thru June 19).

8″ Pitch Pro Game Mound 10% OFF

Designed for the 12-14 age group but certainly is suitable for most ages under 14. Features a longer landing area in front of the rubber, bigger kids will not reach the end of the mound with a long stride. Exclusive 8″ Pitch Pro Game Mound: use pitch10 during checkout (one-week offer valid thru June 19).

FEATURED OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK

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Youth soccer tournaments expected to pump millions into Aurora economy !

   Two back-to-back youth soccer tournaments this summer are estimated to pump $4.2 million into Aurora’s economy.

The 2016 National Cup XV Finals and the National Premier Leagues Finals, at Aurora Sports Park, will draw 150 teams and 3,000 of the country’s top youth players.

   “These are big and important tournaments, and Aurora is fortunate to host them,” said Justin Clark, director of sales and marketing for Visit Aurora, the organization that works to draw tourists and visitors to the city. “Sports is a big economic driver for us.”

   The $4.2 million economic estimates are conservative, Clark said, and based on the National Association of Sports Commission economic calculator.

   The 2016 NPL Finals, held July 14-18, will feature boys and girls league champions from around the country. One week later, July 22-25, the National Cup XV Finals culminates the US Club Soccer’s cup-based national championship series, with about 120 teams competing in boys and girls brackets.

   Considered the most prestigious youth soccer championships in the country, the NPL Finals and the National Cup XV are the targeted annual destination for teams competing on the national level, youth soccer officials said.

   “For the second time in three years, US Club Soccer is returning to the Denver region to host our two National Championships,” said Kevin Payne, US Club Soccer CEO. “Colorado has welcomed us with open arms, and Aurora is well-equipped in providing the necessary infrastructure for thousands of athletes and their families during these marquee events.”

   The Aurora Sports Park is 220 acres off east Colfax and has 27 full-size fields, four that were just added by the City of Aurora.

   “Aurora Sports Park is a national level facility,” Clark said. “There are not many in the country like it. It is a big deal to us.”

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T-Mobile Arena Brings Concession Food Into New Millennium  !

Italian_Sausage_Sandwich

   Whether you credit food TV and other media, or a new generation of populist chefs, the rise in culinary education and sophistication over the past two decades has been astounding, if not unprecedented. Palates are more diverse, and an appreciation of good food is permeating every aspect of society. The folks at the shiny new T-Mobile Arena have clearly taken note of this. Their food and beverage options are a far cry from the steamed hot dogs, soggy pretzels and flat beer that almost completely dominated concert and sporting event concessions when I was growing up.

   I recently toured the venue and tasted some of its offerings during off hours with Garry DeLucia, Levy Restaurants’ executive chef for the arena. Other than the menus of the independently operated Hyde Lounge, local chain Pizza Forte (from the Ferraro family) and a Shake Shack, everything served within the arena is his responsibility.

hot_dog

   Those “favorites” are aimed at traditionalists who’ll find hamburgers, hot dogs, pretzels and pizza. However, “We put a little twist on it,” DeLucia says. “But nothing too crazy that would turn [people] off.” Along those lines, the burgers are served with white cheddar cheese and organic tomatoes and lettuce on brioche buns. The hot dogs are 100 percent Angus beef. Fries at the Gastro Pub are cooked in duck fat. The pretzels are a Bavarian variety and come with a choice of cheese sauces. The house pizza (separate from what Pizza Forte offers) is made with focaccia bread. And all of the breads come from the local Bon Breads Baking Company. 

   You’ll find that same level of attention to detail in all of the menu items. If you grab a charcuterie plate or prime rib sandwich in the Gastro Pub, the chefs will be slicing the meats to order. The chipotle pulled pork at the barbecue station is smoked in-house. And the giardiniera on the Chicago beef sandwiches comes from the Windy City.

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   All of these dishes, however, are high-end upgrades to familiar products. “But what we’re hoping for,” DeLucia says, “is that we can [also] open up some minds. Good-looking food is good-looking food. And there’s a lot of things that you’ll see that might not be       something you’ll normally eat. But you’ll see it and say, ‘Wow, that’s a good-looking piece of food right there!’”

   And trust me, you’ll definitely say that when you lay your eyes on some of the more exotic dishes offered throughout the arena, even in the nosebleed seats. There’s the ahi tuna poke, built to order on concession carts. It features fish flown in from Hawaii, seaweed salad, jicama, papaya, cucumber and avocado with a roasted sesame seed wonton. The Vietnamese banh mi comes from the Goose Island carvery cart on the main concourse, where the house-roasted pork belly is sliced fresh throughout the evening and piled onto a beautiful French roll with Asian slaw, sriracha aioli, fresh cilantro and red jalapeños. At $13 each, these are as good as what you’ll find at a high-end Strip restaurant or a top Vietnamese spot in Chinatown.

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   The first thing that struck me about Levy’s culinary offerings is their range. They include what are referred to as “fan favorites,” but also go out on a few very long limbs.

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BEACON’S Weekly Exclusives For Ballfields !

June 6, 2016        |        BeaconAthletics.com         |        Ballfields.com

THIS WEEK’S FIELD TIP

The baseball/softball season is a long one with games played frequently. The Little League fields that I help oversee has 3 fields — two 60′ and one 90′ diamond. Each of these fields sees approximately 400 events per growing season, including practices, league games, league tournaments, clinics, all-star practices and more. With all this activity, fields can get rundown quickly, especially if maintenance staff is stretched thin. But just a little mid-season love can go a long way toward maintaining the integrity and aesthetics of the ball field. These five mini projects can pay big dividends. Here are my 5 Favorite Ballfield Maintenance Tips for Midseason…  Click to read the whole article at Ballfields.com

Sifter Scoop Shovel 10% OFF

This shovel is perfect for sifting rocks and clay chunks out of top dressing. The one piece polymolded shovel features a solid fiberglass reinforcing core in the handle shaft. Exclusive Sifter Scoop Shovel: use scoop10 during checkout (offer valid thru June 12).

Green Hitting Mat 10% OFF

Protect your batters box and home plate area. Green 6’x12′, 5mm thick turf mat with reinforced urethane foam back and permanent white lines and flocked home plate. Exclusive 6×12 Green Hitting Mat with Home Plate: use mat10during checkout (one-week offer valid thru June 12).

FEATURED OPEN BOX ITEM OF THE WEEK

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Planned Sportspark receives $300,000 in grant funding !

multi_sports_fields#2

EDWARDSVILLE — The Metro East Park and Recreational District has designated $300,000 to be used for the city’s new sports park, city officials announced recently.

The grant will be applied toward land acquisition that will total 70 acres of land located on Goshen Road east of Ridgeview Road and near the I-55 corridor. The new sports complex, named Plummer Family Park, is being developed to accommodate a growing demand in the region for recreational space.

   The land where the park will be developed previously belonged to to Plummer Companies. The city acquired it late last year from R.P. Lumber founder Robert Plummer, who donated six acres of land worth $246,000. He also agreed to swap 32 acres of the property for 16 acres the city owned on Governors’ Parkway. The city will acquire the remaining 32 acres for the park over the next three years at a rate of $41,000 per acre.

Plummer Family Park is one of three parks in the Better Place to Play Campaign. The campaign was developed to raise money and awareness for area parks projects to include an ice rink and teen center as well as a splash pad at the Leon Corlew Park, located at Main and Schwarz streets near downtown Edwardsville.

   The sports park will provide multiple fields for baseball, softball and soccer. Tennis and pickleball courts, an ADA-compliant field, as well as concessions and restrooms will also be built at the future park.

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The MEPRD was formed in November 2000 and is responsible for the development of trails and trail facilities in Madison County and St. Clair County. The district awards grants to successful applicants under their Park and Trail Grant Matching Program. The district serves over half a million residents with a mission to develop, operate and maintain the public trails and parks throughout the counties in the district.

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