Q&A With USSSA Executive Director And CEO Don DeDonatis III
Many questions loomed among fans and onlookers alike after it was announced on Friday that the USSSA Pride had decided to withdraw from the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF).
The Pride, who spent 11 seasons as part of the NPF, captured seven regular-season titles and five Cowles Cup championships during their time as affiliates of the professional softball league. USSSA's final title in the NPF was won last month when the squad swept the Chicago Bandits in the 2019 NPF Championship Series.
What we know so far about the Pride's immediate future is that they will compete as an independent professional softball team going forward. According to Florida State's fall softball schedule, USSSA will play in an exhibition game against the Seminoles on Nov. 16. No other contests featuring the Pride have been announced yet.
In the immediate wake of the organization's announcement to depart from the NPF, USSSA Executive Director and CEO Don DeDonatis III could not be reached for comment on the situation, but he was able to provide some answers to Softball America via email this week.
See below for a brief Q&A with DeDonatis about the Pride's decision to leave the NPF and the team's future in professional softball.
SA: What are the plans for the Pride’s immediate future, in terms of the team’s 2019-2020 schedule and opponents?
DD: We do not currently have any plans to modify the team’s 2019 schedule. As of today, we have not made any final scheduling commitments for the team in 2020.
SA: What was the organization’s main reason for leaving the NPF?
DD: The decision to forgo renewal of USSSA’s partnership agreement with NPF in 2020 was purely a business-driven decision.
SA: Does the Pride plan on joining or being a part of the creation of another professional softball league in the future?
DD: There is no new fastpitch league being formed that USSSA is aware of. As we move into 2020, our USSSA Florida Pride plans to continue to compete while promoting the game of fastpitch through our USSSA program.
SA: How will the organization’s decision to leave the NPF impact the Pride’s players?
DD: Our goal is to continue to provide a platform for Pride’s players to grow, thrive and compete.
SA: What is the general feeling around the organization, among its players and front office members, about the future of professional softball in the United States?
DD: All of the internal feedback we’ve received related to our decision has been wholly positive. We thank our players, associates and partners for their continued support of USSSA and its mission.