NYC considers ban on metal bats in Little League

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by Doc Holliday, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday New Member

    LMAO at this one. :roll: Are the boys going to have to play with the big red plastic bat and ball set that we all got when we were three?

    How to hit more runs without failing a drug test

    By JIM LITKE, AP Sports Columnist
    March 14, 2007

    Anybody over 30 can remember the first time they heard bat meet ball with a less-than-satisfying "ping" instead of a hearty "crack!" Apparently some of us haven't gotten over it still.

    The latest fight over performance-enhancement in baseball isn't being waged at spring training, and it has nothing to do with HGH. It's taking place in New York, where a bill banning metal bats in high school games is expected to pass the city council by a comfortable margin Wednesday afternoon. If the measure gains traction, it could change baseball forever.

    Or not.

    New York is a big town, but it's still only one, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg might yet veto the measure. Beyond that, chances the manufacturers would sue even before the ban takes effect next fall are about as good as Mariano Rivera protecting a ninth-inning lead. And it's been an emotional, expensive debate already.

    "And I'm a conservative Republican," said James Oddo, the Staten Island councilman who led the push for the bill. "I hate government intervention."

    Oddo understands there are more pressing issues. He's already been clobbered by the tabloids for pursuing a "Nanny-State" agenda. That explained his pause.

    "But when the protection of student-athletes is left to people who are in bed with the metal bat companies," Oddo resumed, "someone has to do something."

    When pressed, the councilman acknowledges he has no reliable data on how many kids have been severely injured by drives off metal bats -- beyond the heartbreaking stories witnesses told during hearings -- and no inclination to trust the numbers the industry puts forward. That's because he doesn't much trust the bodies that crunched them -- the NCAA, National Federation of State High Schools and Little League Baseball, among others -- even though he has no hard evidence those organizations are "in bed" with the manufacturers, either.

    But Oddo sees sponsorship ties at just about every level, reads the bat ads promising ever-increasing speed and pop, and watches a few games in his district. He's sure his eyes aren't lying, no matter how many times the manufacturers insist the metal bats have been throttled back.

    "We make them to specifications the associations set," said Jim Darby, a spokesman for Easton Sports, a leading bat maker. "The NCAA, Little League, the high school federation -- the groups that that give us our marching orders -- they all keep injury statistics. He offers no data, no science, almost nothing in return. He just accuses them of being wrong. How do you base public policy on that?"

    Commissioner Bud Selig sent the council a note offering some of his executives for advice, but Oddo had no luck following up. No surprise there.

    The last thing Major League Baseball wants to do is stumble into another performance-enhancement fight. Especially because no one knows what would really happen to the pitchers, let alone the record book, if the best sluggers got their hands on the latest technology. In golf, where that's been the arrangement for years now, the results are decidedly mixed.

    Asked whether MLB would ever allow such bats, spokesman Rich Levin referred to an answer given by Selig's predecessor, the late Bart Giamatti, in 1989. "He said as long as there are trees, there will be wooden bats in major league baseball. The policy hasn't changed since."

    Technically, he's right, although MLB approved the use of some composite materials in bats in some Class-A leagues five years ago for the same reason colleges and high schools began allowing them in the mid-1970s: to save money. Back then, metal and wood bats performed equally. But as engineers at the bat companies started employing better and stronger alloys, the scale tilted drastically. Metal bats began producing faster line drives, especially dangerous when they were hit back at the pitcher. Batting averages, home runs and scores all soared.

    People in the industry point to the 1998 College World Series as the final straw, when Southern California's 21-14 win over Arizona State so embarrassed the NCAA that it appointed a panel to take some of the sting out of the metal bats.

    The centerpiece of the new standards the researchers drew up is a measurement called the "ball exit speed ratio (BESR)," which must be low enough so that the ball rebounds off a metal or composite bat at a maximum speed in the mid-90s. That's the same speed a ball hit on the sweet spot of a wood bat would produce, and since the standard was put in place, studies show injury rates are about the same as when only wood bats were used.

    In 1992, Little League reported 146 injuries by batted balls. In 2004, after the new standards were in effect, the number was 26. In both instances, the number of players were about 2.6 million and they compiled 160 million at-bats.

    "That sounds great to the uninitiated, like saying, 'Oh, we just peeled the onion back,"' Oddo said. "But it's not the reality. Any 15-year-old can tell you that.

    "They went from a $50-million-a-year business to $300 million by pushing high-end, high-performance bats, and I had a kid in Staten Island eat a ball a while back. I just don't believe they have the best interests of my constituency at heart."

    Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at [email protected]

  2. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

    I don't understand why it's the city's business whether metal or wooden bats are used. It doesn't concern them, they should stay out. This is just another exemple of gov intrusion into areas where it doesn't belong. Th erisk of injury is inherent to playing all sports.
  3. asbrand

    asbrand Active Member

    Why not just outlaw all sports played by minors? That way, Little Johnny will never be harmed... :roll:

    To be honest, I never cared if I used a wooden or metal bat back when I played. That was in the 70's and 80's though. *shrug*
  4. Sharky

    Sharky Active Member

    pretty soon all youth sports are going to require little Johnny or Susie to wear a uniform that looks like the kid in "The Christmas Story". The scene where his mom is dressing him in the full body snow suit and wrapping his face completly up!

  5. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday New Member

    No, I heard that it was going to be the pink bunny suit! :lol:
  6. Sharky

    Sharky Active Member

    Here is an update

    NEW YORK -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday he'll veto a bill to ban metal bats from high school baseball in the nation's largest school system, a change that supporters say would make the game slower and safer.

    "I don't know whether aluminum bats are more dangerous or less dangerous," Bloomberg said. "But I don't think it's the city's business to regulate that."

    Hmmmmm what else is it NOT the citys business to regulate!!!!!!!!!! HMMMMMMMMM?????????????????????????
  7. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    This reads like a spoof from the Onion.
  8. GeorgiaGlocker

    GeorgiaGlocker Romans 10:13

    Good Grief! The next thing they will band will be balls! :shock: