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Calif. to have stricter metal bats standards

August 11, 2010 10:46:37 PM PDT
A Marin County assemblyman shelved his plans for a one-year moratorium on high-end metal baseball and softball bats. The proposal was no longer needed, after the governing body of high school sports banned what are known as composite bats. That ban starts next season.

The $400 "CF4" composite metal bat was the hottest seller at Pleasant Hill's store "All Out Baseball" for high school players looking to get that extra "pop" at the plate.

"Anywhere you hit it in there, you're going to get a base hit," P.J. McLoughlin from All Out Baseball said.

But now, the California Interscholastic Federation has banned the CF4 and others like it at the high school level.

They are being replaced with a new standard, called BB-COR, or "batted ball coefficient of restitution."

"The new standard is a reduction of 15 to 20 percent," McLoughlin said. "It has to do with not only exit speed, which was the old standard, but the speed of the pitch coming in, how the bat reacts over the ball, and the exit speed as well,"

The new standard comes seven months after the severe brain injury to Marin Catholic pitcher Gunnar Sandberg, hit by a ball off an aluminum bat.

"When the ball hits the bat, the bat kind of bends and snaps like a trampoline, which really pushes the ball off the bat a lot hard and faster, making it difficult sometimes for kids to see," International High School coach Anthony Thomas said.

Chris Kyriacou is the baseball coach at Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd High School.

"Lowering the standards, I have no problem with less home-runs, less injuries. It's going to be the same bats on both sides," he said.

The CIF will also encourage high school pitchers and infielders to wear some kind of headgear.

In 2011, it will be voluntary and in 2012 it could be mandatory. It's something Novato high has already done.

"Now that we've lowered the standards, I think we might just be overreacting as far as infielders, but pitchers are very close, recommending that they have the opportunity to wear headgear, I think giving them that choice, that's not a bad thing," Kyriacou said.

Another issue the CIF addressed, some players made the hot bats even hotter by altering them in some way, even driving over them with a car. The new bats may have a sticker on them that changes color, if the bat is tampered with.


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