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Would Mandated Regulations For Bat Usage At All Levels Of Baseball Provide A Safer Environment For The Sport And Reduce Costs?

2068 words - 9 pages

Would mandated regulations for bat usage at all levels of baseball provide a safer environment for the sport and reduce costs. Decades of debating over these questions leaves people in disagreement. When it comes to discussing the use of metal bats from Little League to the Majors cost, safety, and performance are among the currently most heavily debated topics, with wide spread disagreement among people in the industry. Complicating the debates, especially the safety debate, is the fact that little scientific, researched based, safety studies have been conducted.
When determining the safety of metal bats there are two assumptions that one must consider. batted ball aluminum bats ...view middle of the document...

“The results were an average batted ball speed (for line drives) of 88.6 mph for the wood bat and 92.5 mph for the aluminum bat.” (Physics and acoustics….Why Aluminum bats perform….) A second part of the study was conducted in attempt to determine the probably cause of the increase in speed for metal bats by comparing the size of the think part of the metal bats (known as the sweet spot) compared to the wooden bats and determined that the metal bats had a thinker sweet spot. This could contribute to the increased speed with metal bats.
Again, the problem with stating with absolute certainty that metal bats impose an increased safety risk is that there are also studies that conclude that metal bats do not outperform wooden bats when it comes to speed of the batted ball. Another unpublished study conducted in 1989 using pitching machines to send balls to stationary bats concluded that the speed of the batted ball greatly depended on the location that the ball impacted the bat and the hand position of the player holding the bat. (Physics and acoustic of Baseball…..Why aluminum perform better…..) This study is backed up by a another study done in the 1990’s which also resulted in no increased batted ball speed when using metal bats compared to wood bats. (Physics and acoustics……Why aluminum perform better…..)
One of the most highly respected, and only published studies comparing wood to metal bats was published by Crisco and Greenwald. This study was realistic in that it was conducted using live batting practice from pitchers not pitching machines. Nineteen players hit using two different brands of wood bats and five different metal bats. They used high speed video to record and analyze the batted ball speeds. “The results show conclusively that metal bats outperform wood bats. (Physics and Acoustics…Why aluminum bats perform) However, this study was conducted prior to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) imposed the current performance limits of metal bats. Thus the bats used in this study do not represent the metal bats that are used today at the high school and college levels.
The Crisco-Greenwald study is helpful in other ways. It lead to other important findings. Experts in the field began to search for the answer to what causes the batted ball speed to increase with the use of metal compared to wood bats. Researches now state several possible reasons for the increased batted ball speed. Metal bats are hollow, making it easier to swing the bat with greater force compared to a solid, wood bat. In addition, solid wood bats do not have as good of a center of balance compared to metal bats. With metal bats, the center of balance is closer to the gripping spot of the bat. This leads to greater force when the ball impacts the bat. Metal bats have approximately a 10 inch spot for hitting the ball. This area is known as the ‘sweet spot’ of the bat. Wood bats have approximately a 3 to 4 inch sweet spot....

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