Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Whats Changing in College Baseball? The Bats.

The baseball bat has evolved in the last twenty years tremendously with the addition of composite bats being introduced into the market. Aluminum bats have been generally used in baseball in the levels of college and below, but within the last few years the use of composite bats has increased greatly leading to an increase of hitting overall, turning the most average hitters into sluggers.
            Composite bats produce a much greater trampoline effect when a baseball is struck. The trampoline effect is described as the bouncing of the ball off of the bat when it is struck. The barrel of the bat compresses when contact is made forcing the energy of the ball to decrease less. The composite bat is made with a combination of that is usually graphite and fiberglass resulting in a greater trampoline effect and higher bat speeds. These bats usually take over about 100 swings to break in unlike aluminum bats. The composite bats being so much lighter than the aluminum will not only increase bat speed but the speed that the ball comes off of the bat, sometimes making it extremely dangerous. This fear is not as strong in wood bats due to the fact they do not compress as much and not having an impact on bat or ball speed such as the metal bats do.
            College baseball has veered away from composite bats and regular aluminum bats in 2011 by making the BBCOR (Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution) bat the only legal bat to use. This new line of bats was created to as closely as possible imitate the velocity of wooden bats but still have the non-wood material to create longer lives of bats and durability. The change in this is first for the safety of all players and coaches (mainly pitchers, infielders and base coaches), and second to separate the true hitters from the hitters who would get lucky hits by not hitting the ball on the sweet spot. These new bats are going to bring true baseball back. Balls will not be flying out of every single park as they have been for the last few years. Small ball, such as bunting, stealing bases and hit and runs, are going to play a much bigger factor in winning baseball games for teams from now on. This will also increase the importance of defense and pitching to win ball games. With balls not jumping off the ball as fast as they have been, players will have to increase their ability and concentration to execute the fundamentals of fielding a ground ball and throwing it across the diamond. Hitters will have to perform at a higher level than with the older bats by hitting the ball on the sweet spot of the bat.
            This change in college baseball is very beneficial for the game making baseball what it should be. There won’t be as many fly balls that are outs, carrying out of the ballpark. Being a college baseball player myself, it is extremely easy to tell the difference from the old bats to the new bats. Although the bats may look almost identical, once on is in your hands it is a whole different ballgame. The ball does not take off when it is struck anymore like it used to. Though the bats are still metal and powerful, why not go straight to wood bats? Wood bats would make the game all the more natural and there wouldn’t be any doubt in who the true baseball hitters are, plus there is no sound like the crack of a wooden bat when a ball is struck, it is a definite sound. The change is beneficial for the game but if true baseball is wanted, then every one should play equal with wooden bats and eliminate any advantages or misjudgment of true baseball players.

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