02
Mar
11

the latest in wood vs non-wood bats…will it ever end?

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1 Response to “the latest in wood vs non-wood bats…will it ever end?”


  1. March 2, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    BYLINE: Chris Hunn, New Haven Register, Conn.

    Feb. 28–Like a towering home run sailing though the air, the debate over the safety of metal bats seems endless.

    State Sen. Paul Doyle (D-9) is taking his own swing at the issue. Doyle recently proposed a bill to ban all non-wooden bats during any organized baseball activity for ages 10-18 in hopes of reducing injuries.

    “Basically, the thought is to explore the issue of aluminum vs.. wood, because the velocity of a baseball is higher off aluminum than wood,” Doyle said. “We want to explore the issue in terms of safety.”

    Doyle, who represents the towns of Cromwell, Middletown, Newington, Rocky Hill and Wethersfield, said his constituents have raised the topic. But he added the proposal has generated more controversy than expected.

    “Legislators are all up in arms,” Doyle said. “Prospects are not looking great. People don’t even want to go for a public hearing.”

    Rep. Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said usually a proposed bill will get a public hearing. It’s up to the committee in which the bill was proposed. In this case, it’s the Select Committee on Children. Klarides said if a public hearing does take place, it will not happen for up to four weeks.

    “We don’t totally agree with a full ban,” Klarides said. “Maybe certain composites. It doesn’t seem absolutely necessary.. But I don’t want to pass judgment until I get all the information.”

    Following test results, Little League officials announced a moratorium that disallows the use of all baseball bats constructed with composite material in the barrel. Little League has created a list of bats, which can be found at Littleleague.org, that have received a waiver from the moratorium. Wooden and aluminum metal/alloy bats are not subject to the moratorium.

    “I hope it doesn’t pass,” said Dave Ruotolo, Little League District IV director. “I don’t think Little League injury statistics justify prohibiting non-wood bats.”

    The proposed bill would also affect high school baseball in the state. For now, the CIAC strictly follows the National Federation of High Schools rules. CIAC baseball committee chairman Anthony Azzara, who is also the Region I representative for the NFHS baseball committee, said he would like to meet with Doyle to discuss the issue.

    “We’ve been discussing the issue for a very long time,” Azzara said. “We’ve been working to make everything safe, so non-wood bats would react the same as wood bats and be less expensive.”

    Like Little League, the NFHS has generated a list of bats approved for the upcoming season. The CIAC will follow suit. The list is compiled of bats that meet the ball exit speed ratio standards, otherwise known BESR.

    “We went a whole year to see the performance of bats,” said Elliot Hopkins, baseball rules editor for the NFHS. “The effort and idea behind it is safety. We’ve acted responsibly and met the concerns of parents and state legislators.”

    American Legion officials made the decision to switch to all-wooden bats for the state tournament in Connecticut in 2009. According to Sports Illustrated, New York City and North Dakota have banned metal bats from youth and school sports. Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have voted against the ban.


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