Dr. C. Lewis
May 2, 2011
Preserving Players or Pleasing Fans
College baseball has had a unique past due to its controversial use of metal bats. While these bats allow players to hit the ball harder and farther than a typical wood bat could, they also cause injuries to players and, occasionally, spectators. The technology of baseball bats has greatly evolved over the years, allowing players to hit baseballs further, harder, and easier than ever before. During the 2011 college baseball season, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) put a rule into effect that requires college baseball teams to use a new type of metal bat that has affects ...view middle of the document...
These metal bats with such high BBCOR’s are the reason that so many runs have been scored during games. Thanks to these high scoring games, over the years college baseball has become very popular among fans. While fans enjoyed all the big hits and runs produced with the old, metal bats, they were also very dangerous because of the velocity the ball had when exiting the bat. ESPN.com reports, during the 2011 season, thus far, the numbers have shown that the new bats are actually making an impact on the batting and making the game much safer (“SEC Experiences Power Outage”).
The rule change from using aluminum bats with high BBCOR’s to low ones is good for many reasons. One of the main reasons college baseball decided on the rule change is to prevent serious injuries to anyone who may be in the path of a ball. Safety is very important and should be taken seriously in all sports. This rule change was one of the most effective ways to make the game of baseball safer. Injuries from baseballs occur many times every year; although most don’t cause death, there have been some cases where people died as a result of being hit with a baseball coming off a bat. In July of 2007, during a minor league baseball game, the first base coach, Mike Coolbaugh, was hit in the head by a line drive foul ball. He was immediately knocked unconscious and later pronounced dead at the hospital (“Coolbaugh”). While on this occasion a wood bat, with a lower BBCOR, was being used, if the player had been holding a metal bat, with a higher BBCOR, the ball would have been hit at a much higher velocity, making it even harder to get out of its path. It is not just about the serious injuries such as that though. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, says that baseball has one of the highest impact injury rates from the ball making contact with players. They also say that almost any hard hit ball off a metal bat can be potentially lethal to players in the infield (“Impact Injuries”). There are countless times where pitchers can not react fast enough and get hit with a ball. The speed of the ball is what causes people to become victims of these types of injuries. Toning down the velocity that a bat causes the ball to travel at is one way to help prevent more tragedies. The Collegiate Baseball Newspaper claims that the new, lower BBCOR, bats will reduce effectiveness by five to six percent (“Latest Info on New BBCOR Bats”). This small difference could be enough of a change to allow pitchers, fielders, coaches, or even fans enough time to react to a hard hit, fast moving baseball.
NCAA baseball continued use of the modified metal bats would also make the game of baseball more traditional. One problem that college baseball has had is games lasting too long. The Richmond Times Dispatch claims that in the 2009 College World Series tournament the average game length was three hours and thirty-eight minutes (“New Bat Regulations Change College Baseball”). ...