Aluminum Bats vs. Wooden Bats
Is baseball America's pastime? For the major leaguers maybe, but for college athletes it seems more like a new age video game. The introduction of high dollared aluminum bats produce football like scores, higher statistics, and a percentage of danger to each and every player on the field. The NCAA has changed the regulations of the bats so far and should look further into to making another change to wooden bats.
High tech aluminum baseball bats aren't quite as new to the game as many people may think. Author, Patrick Hruby, wrote in Sports Illustrated, "introduced in the mid-1970's
metal bats have become increasingly potent, forged with alloys
pressurized air chambers" (Hruby 42). Over the last few decades these aluminum killer bats' have evolved to be even more potent. "Some coaches and players claim these powerful bats are ruining the integrity of the game and placing pitchers at undue risk" (42). Every college, divisions I through III, are using these bats religiously. Each year bigger and better bats are at each team's fingertips. A few of the more popular bats this year are the TPX C555 Platinum, TPX Omaha, and the EASTON Redline, just to name a few. These bats are so advanced that almost everything about them has changed, for instance, "
an expanded "sweet-spot"- the area of the bat that produces maximum hitting power. While the sweet spot on a wood bat is roughly 6 to 8 inches long, aluminum sweet spots can be twice that size"(43). James Braham, a writer for Machine Design, says that the new "aluminum baseball bats have actually taken over an estimated 90 to 95% of the market, with wood bats remaining largely in the professional major and minor baseball leagues"(James 56).
Another exciting characteristic of aluminum bats is the speed at which the ball leaves the bat compared to the speed that it leaves a wooden bat. A one time representative
of Louisville Slugger, J.W. MacKay, says "When a ball is traveling at 94 miles per hour as it leaves the bat, a pitcher has four milliseconds to respond
you can't react that fast"(Palmer 2). Studies show the bats have enough power to propel balls at speeds up to 123 miles per hour, up to 30 mph faster than balls struck with wooden bats. In a memorandum written to the NCAA, Cedric W. Dempsey states that "traditional wood bats when swung at 70 miles per hour at a ball moving at 70 mph will produce an exit velocity of approximately 93mph or less. Aluminum bats regularly produce exit velocities in excess of 97mph under the same conditions" (Dempsey 2). Besides the velocity of the ball coming off of the bat there is also the reaction time to look at. "Baseball Rules Committee believe that a collegiate pitcher needs approximately .4 seconds to react and move to avoid being struck
a pitcher is between 51 and 52 feet away from the point of impact between the bat and ball at the time of impact" (3). Dempsey also states that "at 94 mph the ball will travel 52 feet in approximately .371 seconds
with high power aluminum bats speeds well in excess of 100 mph the ball will travel 52 feet in .354 seconds
at 110 mph, a ball will travel 52 feet in .321 seconds" (3).
Baseball bats aren't the only things that are changing; in fact it is the aluminum bats that are changing the game. If you asked players who only played with wooden bats, like the legendary Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, or even Willie Keeler they would all say that these aluminum bats are taking away from the real game of baseball. These Hall of Fame players aren't the only ones thinking that it takes away from the game, Bill Thurston, Amherst College's baseball coach said "All you have to do is talk to pro scout,
They think the college game is ridiculous" (Hruby 42). They think that it is ridiculous because the bats that collegiate players use are helping turn baseball scores into football like scores. A perfect example of this is the 1998 season "During the 1998...
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Hruby, Patrick. "Hitters like high-tech bats, but critics smell foul play." Insight on the News 15.27(1999). 29 Mar. 2002 http://newfirstsearch.oclc.org
Kennedy, Kostya. "Heavy Metal." Sports Illustrated 86.4(1997). 29 Mar. 2002 http://newfirstsearch.oclc.org
McCallum, Jack; O 'brien, Richard. "Statitudes." Sports Illustrated 88.18(1998). 29 Mar. 2002 http://newfirstsearch.oclc.org
Mravic, Mark. "Killer Bats?" Sports Illustrated 92.13(2000). 29 Mar. 2002 http://newfirstsearch.oclc.org
NCAA Baseball Rules Committee. "Easton Sports ' Recent Letters." National Collegiate Athletic Association. 4 Dec. 1998. 5 Apr. 2002 http://www.ncaa.org
Palmer, Bob. MacKay asks government to recall metal bats. 5 Apr. 2002 http://www.eumpire.com
Patterson, Matt. "Interview." 5 Apr. 2002.
Seifman, David. "Pols Would Toss Metal Bats From Kid Games." New York Post.com. 28 Jun. 2001. 5 Apr. 2002 http://www.foxnews.com
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