Posted by Backward Thinking, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2010 at 9:47 pm
NCS-CIF Board of Managers missed the point last night at their meeeting in which they discussed the relative safety of high performance aluminum bats in comparison to wood bats.
The Board members should have started with the concept of APRT (Available Pitcher Response Time). That is how much time a pitcher needs to defend and protect himself from a line shot, and then worked backwards to determine the actual designed safety level of the high performance aluminum bat for the high school pitcher.
Aluminum bat manufacturers as we all know have the ability to make aluminum bats even safer than wood bats, or from a reasonable responsibility standpoint at least equal to wood bat performance.
CIF-NCS board president Gil Lemmon believes that an aluminum bat may only increase the speed of the ball by 2/100ths of a second, while others believe it can be up to 4/100ths of a second.
For the sake of my argument below I will utilize the CIF-NCS board's estimate of 2/100ths of a second.
As we know, a high school baseball can be hit off an high performance aluminum bat at a top end speed ranging somewhere from 100-110mph. That speed translates to a travel distance of between 146.6 and 161.3 feet per second. Therefore within this mere 2/100ths of a second timeframe this particular baseball will have traveled an additional 2.9 and 3.2 feet towards the pitcher.
Consider that after the baseball is hit out in front of the plate, and the pitcher finishes his stride toward the plate, the pitcher is left with approximately 50 feet to react to the baseball.
The high performance aluminum bat with its 2/100th of a second increased pop over a wood bat has thus diminished the pitcher's available reaction distance by roughly 6 percent (~3 feet/50 feet).
Amador Valley High School coach Lou Cesario watched his pitcher, Will Lamarche during an Easter tournament in April 2008 lose his front teeth while suffering a fractured jaw. Gunnar Sandberg is recuperating in a San Francisco rehab hospital with a piece of his skull missing from his head.
Could a wood bat have accomplished this same unfortunate feat? Absolutely! Should aluminum bats be designed and manufactured with more performance than wood bats, considering the already enlarged sweet spot of an aluminum bat? Absolutely not!
CIF-NCS, please work backwards when considering the safety of aluminum bats in high school, start with the Available Response Time for the Pitcher, first!
Posted by Blind in One Eye, a resident of another community, on Apr 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm
In the second game of a double header this past weekend at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, a pitcher for the visiting Clayton Valley High School baseball team took a line drive right back at him. Fortunately, he turned around and amazingly the ball lined right into his glove and he recorded the out. The moment took less than one second to take place. On the way back to the dugout, fans and players heard him say to his coach, "That was the scariest moment of my life."
Watching it from the stands, if you blinked, you would have missed it. If you weren't watching the ball before the bat was swung, you would have missed it. It was that quick. By the way, this was a freshman game, not a varsity game. From the stands, it was quite the scary moment. Immediately after the play was over, talks about what happend in the Marin Catholic/De La Salle began to be talked about. A change needs to be made and it needs to happen soon before we start saying, "Thank god it's only a broken jaw" or "thank god his is just blind in one eye."
Posted by Caroline, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2010 at 12:40 am
How many women are on the board of the North Coast Section? If there are any women on the board, how did they vote?
Just guessing...women, more specifically mothers with kids playing ball, would have been more likely to vote for the ban on non-wood bats given the dangers as noted both in the article and the comments from Backward Thinking and Blind in One Eye....just wondering....
Posted by Coach, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2010 at 6:59 am
"Caroline": You are wrong, it makes no difference if you are a mother, or father, of a child playing baseball. ALL parents support changing the rules regarding these bats. As a little league coach, I am constantly amazed at how fast the ball comes off these bats, especially the Combat brand bats. The Board made a mistake, and hopefully next year they will change the rule before the season starts. Do not assume that mothers see this issue different than fathers.
Posted by high school player, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2010 at 8:53 pm
I bought 3-5 wood bats for my senior year...you actually can get really good wood bats at a discounted price when you buy in bulk as well...lets not forget that there are a lot of small bat companies out there who would be more then willing to sell 10-20 bats at year at a price around $50-$75 for a bat...
I think the cost is such a small cost when you look at how much a life lost would cost...you can't put a price on it...
and the last point I'd like to make is that if you have players use wood bats they will learn VERY quick how to be a better hitter...you have to hit it on the sweet spot to make something happen...and you break a $50 bat you paid for on your own and you learn to hit too so you don't have to keep buying them...sure wood bats break...its part of the game...but I've also seen $300 aluminum bats break...I'd much rather buy 6 bats for $300 then one alumnium for the same price just for the simple fact the $300 will make me a better hitter and it will show just how good of a hitter a player really is
Posted by Jeanne LaMarche, a resident of another community, on May 4, 2010 at 9:03 pm
High School Aluminum Bat Debate
Shame on you high school baseball, coaches for not banning aluminum bats for NCS championship games. You need to stroke your ego because your baseball team can have a better season for using aluminum bats instead of wooden bats. If your son suffered a blow from a ball that was hit from an aluminum bat….I bet you would vote to ban them. Bet it would be more personal. Look at the bigger picture, coaches. Let go of you’re egos and focus on the boys and their safely.
Posted by Softball Mom, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on May 4, 2010 at 10:02 pm
While the baseball community is extremely aware of the Gunnar Sandberg saga, the softball community is very much aware of the Kristi Denny incident which occurred in SoCal at about the same time. This high school pitcher took a line shot directly to her face. Kristi subsequently required six hours of surgery and her forehead is now made of titanium. Now for the real "kicker" this young pitcher was wearing head/face mask potection. Doctors have stated that had Kristi not been wearing her face mask, she surely would have been killed.
Currently designed aluminum bats must be considered lethal weapons. Don't think for a second because your daughter plays "softball" and wears her protective head/face mask that she is immune from such catostrophic injury.