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Monday, June 02, 2008

The batted ball

Posted by: Hammer / 8:57 AM

Interesting study and troubling recommendations for high school baseball:

"Based on our findings regarding the risk of sustaining an injury when hit by a batted ball, we strongly recommend helmets with face shields or at least mouth guards and eye protection be used by all pitchers, infielders and batters at the high school level," explained the study's lead author Christy Collins, MA, research associate in CIRP of Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Maybe these types of precautions are necessary. If so, the game has changed a lot in the last 20 years. I know that today's high school players are bigger and stronger than 20 years ago. That's a result of the combination of strength training, supplements, and steroids.

But bats are another factor. According to one study, a high performance aluminum bat sends batted balls at a velocity of 106.5 miles per hour. A wood bat using the same swing produces a batted ball with a velocity of 98.6 miles per hour. Aluminum bats have a larger sweet spot, can be swung faster, and have more "bounce" than wood bats. This results in more hard-hit balls, and the hard-hit balls will be traveling nearly 10% faster.

Stronger kids and high performance bats have changed high school baseball. Wood bats are more expensive, which means most high schools will have to stick with aluminum bats. Rather than armoring the fielders like paladins, high schools should consider requiring aluminum bats to mimic the performance of wood bats. I know a ground rule double is less exciting than a home run, but it's easier for kids to smile and cheer when they have all their original teeth.


5 Comments:

if you cant dodge a line drive to 3rd base, you shouldn't be playing 3rd base.

By Blogger Vinneeee, at 10:02 AM  

Yeah, I know what you mean. Pitchers are most likely to be injured, because they are closest to the hitter and are usually off balance at the start of the play.

Consider this, though. Could you compete in tennis, racquetball, or golf using the racket and club technology from 20 years ago? Or would you be at such a competitive disadvantage that you would have to use the latest graphite composite materials? If the materials have changed sport, then have a little pity for the kid at 3rd base with the infield drawn in.

By Blogger Hammer, at 10:45 AM  

Well, look at what happened to Nick Blackburn at Sunday's Twins game. He had just enough time to deflect that line drive a little with his glove before it nailed him, taking a little off it before he got hit in the face. This is why the MLB won't even allow aluminum bats at the minor league level. He would been dead if that had came off aluminum.

I know some colleges are dropping the aluminum bats because they're just too damn dangerous.

By Blogger Jerjo/Carjo, at 8:02 PM  

It's not all aluminum bats that are the problem. It's the high-performance bats. I think high schools and colleges could still use aluminum bats which were engineered to perform more like wood bats.

I'd think the MLB would want to get behind that, because it's easier to scout kids using similar equipment.

By Blogger Hammer, at 9:43 AM  

of course I could compete in racquetball 20 years ago. I would probably be better 20 years ago with old tech, cause I am a good athlete.

I know what you are saying tho.

there are some softball guys that are 50+ now and they had to work really hard to be able to smash the crap out of the ball. these days skinny kids like me (well little) can crank it just as far cause of the equipment

By Blogger Vinneeee, at 1:51 PM  

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