Last month, a San Diego college pitcher was injured when a batter using a metal bat hit the ball straight at him. Bryan Crabb’s skull was cracked and he suffered a brain injury due to the force of the baseball.
Crabb is not the sole case of personal injuries caused by metal bats. A California high school baseball player was recently put into an induced coma to prevent brain damage after a line drive struck him in the face during a game. He is doing better now and has returned home, but home has changed now that his accident has stirred up major buzz surrounding the safety of metal bats in high school baseball.
California Assemblyman Jared Huffman was inspired by the recent injuries due to metal bats and is proposing a two-year suspension of metal bats in California high school baseball. If the Senate passes the bill, not only would high school players be safer, but proponents of the transition believe it would better prepare them for professional baseball. Major League Baseball uses wooden bats only, so high school teams using wooden bats would be more effective practice for those with dreams of becoming a baseball pro.
Experts recognize that wooden bats do deliver less powerful hits, which is an unappealing thought to some players. However, they point to that fact and how it would alter the high school baseball game by putting more focus on the pitcher and in-field players, a change they think would make for exciting games and more skillful players.
Currently, high school baseball regulations mandate the type of metal bats that can be used. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, those standards are set to change in 2012. Whereas now the maximum speed a ball can reach upon leaving the bat is 97 mph, in 2012 the maximum speed will be reduced to the mid-80s or low 90s.
For those who support the switch to metal bats, the pending 2012 change in regulations is not enough. Those supporters are faced with a challenge, though. Bat manufacturers are likely to fight aggressively against the change because prohibiting metal bats would mean a financial loss for them. According to sources, wooden bats cost at most $80, and metal bats cost at least $150.
We will update you when decisions regarding this proposed change are made.
Tahoe Daily Tribune: Metal bat injuries triggers call for switch back to wood