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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Answers for your questions on baseball bats

Here we go again.
You’ve made your annual trek to your local sporting goods outlet to purchase a bat for your son.
The prices, of course, are outrageous and the choices are unlimited. But there are things you should be aware of before you buy a bat.
Arnie Mann, the commissioner of the Greater New Haven Umpires Association, said that all bats will be checked to see if they meet federation standards. Any bat used in high school this season must be stamped (no decal) with a BESR (bat exit speed rating) approval.
But, this will be the last year that these bats are legal. Next year, all bats must be stamped with a BBCOR approval.
Mann said the bats used this season are basically the same bats that have been used for several seasons but soon they will become dinosaurs. He has his large staff of umpires go through the dugouts prior to game time and check all the player’s bats.
“I honestly don’t take it as a nuisance,” Mann said. “I take this very seriously. That’s how much I value the safety of the kids. One portion of the evaluation of the umpires is how well they check the bats.
“If I find that someone is not doing a good enough job checking the bats then I will reduce their schedule.”
Mann said that the CIAC, headed by Director of Officials Joe Tonelli, is also coming up with a list of bats that will also be allowed for high school use. He said that there are currently around 35-40 bats, not stamped with a BESR rating, that will receive an exemption to be used in games. He said the list will be circulated before next week’s season openers and it could be found on National Federation website and is changing fluidly.
Said Mann: “What parents should be aware of is before they spend $300-$400 on a bat with a BESR rating, is that it won’t be legal for next year.”
BBCOR bats have less of a trampoline effect and resemble the speed of the ball hit with a wooden bat. The sound they make is music to Mann’s ears.
“I really wish that Connecticut would follow other states and go back to wood,” he said. “I remember doing a game while back when a kid came up to the plate with a wooden bat and the catcher said, ‘Hold on. Is that legal?’”
Mann said that even high school coaches throughout the state are confused by the restrictions especially with the list of bats that will receive exemptions.
Little League baseball is also caught up in the confusion. Little League baseball is banning bats with composite barrels but the handles can still be made of composite materials. But, there are currently 16 composite barrelled bats that have been approved.
You can check the list by searching for: little league baseball bats approved for 2001.

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