States banning aluminum bats

Thanks to Mike Hanscom for alerting me to this issue. He received an e-mail from Little League baseball that talked about a ban that has been placed on aluminum bats by the New York City council. LL is concerned that a similar ban could make its way to other states.

I am quite certain that the ban on bats is well-intentioned. No doubt the idea is to minimize risk and injuries, especially to pitchers when balls come off the bat. There’s little doubt aluminum bat technology has improved over the past few years and that bats are hotter than they used to be. But the fact is sports have inherent risks, and you simply can’t legislate that out of them.

If these government bodies really want to prevent injuries, they should ban football outright at all levels. Far more players suffer far more injuries playing football — including serious injuries such as paralysis, not to mention death — than they do being struck by a ball coming off an aluminum bat.

But why stop there? Ice skates are sharpened to razor-sharp edges, both for ice hockey and for figure skating. Why not ban skate sharpening so no one gets cut? And checking in hockey for that matter.

When basketball players go at it, sometimes they work up such a sweat that the sweat falls on the gym floor. If enough pools there, another player could slip on it, fall backwards, and crack their heads open. Perhaps they should ban sweating during basketball.

You get the point. You simply can’t legislate sports to the point where they’re safe.

What was most interesting about the message from LL is that the NYC ban on aluminum bats isn’t only for organized games and leagues. It also applies to pickup games. In his note, Steve Keener of Little League says:

“What concerns me most is that this bill in Illinois would fine children playing with a non-wood bat $250 for a first offense and $500 for a second offense. This would even include if a child played in a pick-up sandlot game.”

That’s unbelievable. It is comforting to know, though, that we have solved the problems of rape, murder, child abduction, drug abuse, burglary, etc. to the point where our police now have the time to go out and issue citations to kids playing baseball or softball at the park. Once again, your tax dollars at work.

One thing you can do is join a coaltion of Little League officials, parents, coaches and bat makers to stop this idiocy before it gets out of hand. Go to www.DTMBA.com  if you’re interested.

Understand that I grew up in the wood bat era. I never used an aluminum bat until I was an adult, and I still miss the crack of wood on ball. Still, this legislation makes no sense, especially with all the money parents have invested in high tech bats over the last few years. Our politicians need to find better things to do with their time and our money. Solve the crack problem first. Then worry about bats.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on November 28, 2007, in General Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wow, fining kids for playing in a pick-up game. Can’t say I’m a fan of that. Aren’t the specifications on the bats (1.20bpa and etc) supposed to keep the bats from becoming too dangerous? Are they saying this spec is too high or are they even researching it? Who came up with that spec and how is it justified? IF the justification is too weak, then maybe that spec needs to be tamed some, but I do not agree with making kids hit with only wood bats. The bats are the tools that are specific to the kid – they make the kid feel confident and improve the swing for the individual. Some like the weight end loaded, some like it evenly distributed…something that is much easier to accomplish with non-wood bats. If they have to do anything, then why not use softer core balls? As long as the weight and size of the ball ar ethe same, it won’t make a difference to the pitcher. There have to be better ways to address their concerns than to ban non-wooden bats.

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  2. You are correct, sir. There are plenty of ways to control the danger rather than going with wood bats. When I was a kid I played with a wood bat. They had their dangers too, including splintering or breaking and sending a part of the bat toward another player. They are also tough for girls in particular. Many have a tough enough time swinging a -10 bat. Wood bats tend to be -3 or so. Pitchers won’t be in any danger because the hitters won’t be able to swing the bat at the ball.

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