Wooden Versus Aluminum Bats What happened to the old fashioned crack of the bat? The wooden bat has been used since the game’s establishment in 1864. An aluminum bat is more dangerous that a wooden bat due to the advanced technology. However, I believe that a wooden bat is better than a aluminum bat. The baseball bat controversy has been lingering over amateur baseball since the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) allowed the use of aluminum bats for the first time in 1974 (Adelson). Every year there is another injury to pitcher as a result of the aluminum bat due to its exit velocity.
The exit velocity of a ball plays a key role in determining the level of risk of injury. It is defined as the speed of the ball off the bat. The standard exit velocity of an aluminum bat at the sweet spot is nearly 105 mph. That is nearly fifteen times faster than any wooden bat. “Last year, Andrew Sanchez, a Cal State Northridge pitcher had his skull fractured by a ball hit by an aluminum bat” (Adelson5). Sanchez later sued the NCAA and Louisville Slugger, one of the two makers of the high powered aluminum bat.
Louisville Slugger remarked, “Sanchez should have known that the high powered bats increased the risk of injuries of injuries to pitchers” (Adelson 5). Although the aluminum bat increases the risk of injury, all sports have some level of risk. In an observation by Baum Bat research, within the lapsed time of . 1332 seconds, a pitcher could not move fast enough to duck one inch, raise his glove four inches, or even move his shoulder four inches. This pitcher only suffered a broken jaw and a concussion (Research 16). Baum research also shows that sixty percent of balls hit by aluminum bats arrive in less that . 75 seconds, while only five percent of balls hit by wooden bats get to the pitcher’s mound in the same amount of time. There are two key factors that contribute to a more powerful bat; balance point and weight. Obviously, the lighter the bat, the faster it can be swung. “Since a bat acts as a lever when swung in a game, a balance point closer to the knob allows hitters to move the barrel of the bat faster through the swing”(Adelson). The balance point of a wooden bat cannot be manipulated because it is not hollow. On the contrary, an aluminum bat is hollow and the balance point can be manipulated to the liking of the manufacturer.
Resulting in a more powerful bat. The aluminum bat has also played a role in injury to the pitcher’s arm. Young pitchers are starting to develop curve balls and other breaking pitches for the reason that the aluminum bat makes it easier for the batter to hit a fastball. Their bodies are not developed enough to begin throwing pitches that involve a snap in a wrist or elbow. These young players think that the regular straight fastball is not enough, because the hitters are capable of hitting the fastball with the high powered bats.
This observable fact is the direct result of many injuries in young pitchers arms that could be career ending. “Aluminum bats eliminate talented yet underdeveloped pitchers from the system”(Reasearch9). Researchers in Japan have observed an additional problem with the aluminum bat. The resounding ping of the aluminum bat in Japan is actually causing hearing loss. The Japanese correlate performance with sound. The aluminum bats are hollow and the typical American made model has a plastic plug at the end of its barrel or sound damping foam inside.
The Japanese models generally have aluminum ends and no sound damping foam. These bats can produce sounds as loud as ninety six decibels. To protect players, umpires, and fans, the Japanese High School Baseball Federation has just approved rules barring a noise louder than ninety two decibels(“Ping! ”). The aluminum bat is ruining the game, not the ball! ”(Research). In a current study with an official high school baseball, an official NCAA baseball and a Major League baseball, the exit velocities were comparable. The only difference found was in the core of some professional baseballs.
Major League baseball uses balls that have a cork and rubber composite center. Therefore, they have a higher elasticity and achieve a higher exit velocity. The balls are better that they use to be, but the hitters are not any better than those in the past (Robinson). Annotated Bibliography Adelson, Eric “Bat Controversy Lingers over NCAA,” ESPN The Magazine 31 March 2001 The performance of aluminum bats has sparked a controversy that now has the NCAA accused of ignoring safety standards recommended by its own rules committee under the specter of an antitrust lawsuit with an aluminum bat manufacturer.
And after years of accusations and rulebook deliberation, the federal government has begun looking into the matter. Ashley, Stevens “High Tech Up at Bat” Popular Science May 1992 Pg. 108-111 In spite of manufacturers' assurances that the supply of ash trees is not decreasing, the development of composite and aluminum bats continues. The wood composite bat typically consists of a plastic foam core surrounded by woven layers of resin-impregnated synthetic fibers. One of the newest innovations is a bat made of "lanxide," a ceramic-enforced material. Proponents of non-wood bats point to their resistance to breakage.