Bat Rolling – Legal or NOT Legal?

Let me start off first by saying that you only need to concern yourself with whether or not Bat Rolling is “accepted” by the associations. You are not breaking any laws by rolling your bat. There has only been 1 court case in regards to bat altering. The ASA sued 2 individuals a few years back for painting bats to resemble a different. Alot of people think they were sued for bat shaving or bat rolling. This is not the case, they were sued for trademark infringement. The ASA was awarded approximately $100,00 in damages. Since then there have been no suits filed for bat shaving or bat rolling.

There are always questions as to whether or not bat rolling is accepted in a certain association or not. I’ve listed the rule definitions below so you can make the choice for yourself. The thing to remember is that currently there is NO difinative way to tell if a bat has been rolled or not. Bat Rolling is ony acelerating the break in process that will occur normally as your bat ages and gets more and more hits on it.

USSSA

Altered Bats – Excessive Pressure
Included in the USSSA view of what is an altered or doctored bat are any bats that are subjected to pressure
in any manner that exceeds that of striking the bat against an approved ball traveling at game like speeds.
Such excess pressure would include, but is not limited to, any compression, rolling, placing in a vice,
hitting a stationary object such as a pole, etc.

ASA
The only thing I could find in their rule book is “The characteristics of any approved equipment can not be changed” This would be open to
interpretation. If you understand what bat rolling is doing then you can argue that it could be considered legal as well as illegal. As I mentioned earlier
you are simply accerating the break in process that will happen under normal use of the bat. You are doing nothing more.

NSA
“An altered bat is considered altered when the physical structure of the legal bat has been changed in any way, or when an illegal or non approved bat has been made up in such a way as to appear to be a legal bat. Examples of altering a bat are, but not limited to the following: Painting a bat, replacing the handle or shaving the handle or barrel or the taper changed in any way. Such as by sandpapering or applying a solvent to the surface such as fingernail polish remover or by any other means. Removing or replacing the plug or changed in any way other than factory repairs. Had the knob removed/ replaced or changed in any way or had anything removed or added to the inside or outside of the bat other than the legal way to tape the bat the specified and appropriate place as described in the NSA Rule Book”. NSA does not specifically spell it out so you could also again argue either way.

In the end the choice is yours. You don’t need to worry about detection since it is not currently detectable. Most associations DO NOT specifically address the Bat Rolling so again it can be interpreted many different ways. This is why this is one of the most debated topics around the sofball and baseball community.

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