Bat Ban Update

Congratulations, New York! You're the first city in America to ban metal bats for high school kids:

The New York City Council passed a bill today banning the use of metal bats in high school baseball games, securing enough votes to override a potential veto by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and setting up a possible legal challenge from the metal bat industry.

“I know this is not the most pressing issue on the minds of New Yorkers,” said [the bill’s original sponsor, James S. Oddo] shortly before the vote, “but I really believe in this bill. There is risk in all sports, and there is risk in baseball playing with a wooden bat, but when the risk becomes unreasonable, people have to act.”

How did this just "become" unreasonable? Is aluminum some kind of new technology? Are kids suddenly so hopped up on steroids that they're hitting with deadly force? Or are athletes just more effete thanks to the ever-enervating War on Boys?

David Weigel, a shill for the metal bat industry if there ever was one, noted the imminent ban this morning.

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  • Kap||

    Well, at least Ozzy will be safe.

  • ||

    David Weigel, a shill for the metal bat industry if there ever was one, noted the imminent ban this morning.

    Well, if he posts an article about the hazards of pthalates in plastic soda bottles, we'll know for sure he's in the pocket of Big Aluminum.

  • ||

    Well, if not metal, what about carbon nanotube bats? Non-metallic nanotubes, of course. Or maybe granite bats?

  • thoreau||

    David Weigal isn't a shill, he's the batman!

    I don't know why I just typed that, but it seemed like fun.

  • ||

    The first time a wooden bat splinters and sends a shard through the pitcher's heart, this bill will be reconsidered.

    But when it's discovered that the pitcher was a vampire, the council action will appear completely appropriate.

  • ||

    I'll say it! This ban is batshit insane!

    D'oh!

    Kerry Howley wins the award for funniest Reason writer.

    Don't they make ceramic or composite bats too?

  • thoreau||

    FFF-

    Yep, it was a mistake for me to comment, because Kerry won the thread before it even started.

  • ||

    It also marks a long-sought victory for the bill's original sponsor, James S. Oddo, a Staten Island Republican who began pushing for a ban that would have included Little League and independent leagues more than six years ago against intense opposition led by bat manufacturers. Mr. Oddo later narrowed his bill to draw broader council support.



    I wonder if the ban that Mr. Oddo actually got passed wouldn't have the same effect as the one he was looking for. From a liability standpoint, would leagues that continue to allow the use of metal bats be considered negligent in the face of a ban for "safety reasons"? If they could, then the risk of allowing the use of metal bats would be too high for most people.

  • ||

    How about wood bats with metal spikes around the top of the bat? Would that be okay?

  • Kap||

    because Kerry won the thread before it even started



    I tried, but she clinked me.

  • ||

    David Weigel, a shill for the metal bat industry if there ever was one, noted the imminent ban this morning.

    Maybe he only posted about it because Oddo is a Republican. :)

  • ||

    Has the City Council backed this ban up with any kind of statistic? Has the human toll of aluminum bats been calculated? Is there a list of athletes struck down by baseballs that would have been less lethal if hit with wooden bats?

    Can't these guys find something constructive to do? Maybe they should allow video games in the council chambers.

  • bill||

    If metal bats are banned for safety reasons , why isn't football banned altogether? Rarely a pitcher gets hit with a ball, while 200 pound linebackers smash into 150 pound running backs, on purpose and as hard as they can, all the time.

  • bill||

    Oh ya, don't forget that young soccer players sometimes have brain hemorrhages and neck injuries from heading the ball.

  • ||

    Has anyone told them about golf clubs? Polo mallets? Shot put? Javelin throw? Hammer throw?

    Just a hunch, but I bet the majority of NYC council did not pass physics 10.

  • ||

    Actually, I rather prefer the sound of wooden bat to the "tink" of aluminum. Of course, I don't think government should have any role in bat regulations... it's just a nostalgia thing.

  • VM||

    "bill | March 14, 2007, 6:15pm | #
    Oh ya, don't forget that young soccer players sometimes have brain hemorrhages and neck injuries from heading the ball."

    nah - they just roll around and produce fake doctor reports til they draw the red card...

    that's nice there, Aresen, you muppet hater, you.

    /kicks grover in balls. trods off.

  • Gimme Back My Dog||

    It is only a matter of time before a college pitcher is killed by a ball off coming off of an aluminum bat. But this is not really a danger at the high school level.

    OTOH, kids have died after being struck in the chest by pitched balls. If they were really thinking of the children they would have mandated chest protectors for batters instead.

  • Stephen Macklin||

    Smoking, trans-fat, aluminum bats, iPods in crosswalks is there anything NYC doesn't want to ban?

  • ||

    "Smoking, trans-fat, aluminum bats, iPods in crosswalks is there anything NYC doesn't want to ban?"

    Banning things, evidently.

  • ||

    Great job of increasing the costs of playing high school baseball. Wood bats break and need to be constantly replaced. This is so idiotic. As a NYer, I think the city counsel needs to be disbanded. Let the Mayor run everything.

  • Casey Khan||

    I'm all for baseball going completely back to wooden bats, but not at the hands of the state.

  • ||

    Metal bats are brittle pieces of crap, I don't understand this.

  • Jeff P||

    Imagine what this will do to the teen steroid market.

  • One German kid to another||

    Kuck' mal! Hier kommt der Fledermausmann!

  • Bill O\'Malley||

    I'm all for banning silly causes like the defense of metal bats at least until American forces withdraw from Iraq and/or Bush and Cheney are impeached. I mean, who gives fuck what kind of bats kids use? And while I'm at it, who gives a fuck if some nitwit can't light up in a bar or some fat, greasy biker is forced to wear a helmet? We Americans are going through a risk-averse phase. Big deal.

  • Bavarian Kid looking on||

    Schau ma! zwaa Piefke!

    und ein Arschloch!

  • ||

    The new metal bats actually are a new technology. The "pop" coming off some of these new bats is orders magnitude better than their predecessors of a decade ago. (Okay, that might be overstating it, but they ARE getting better.)

    A Minnesota Gopher had to have major reconstruction surgery after getting hit in the face on the mound by a batted ball.

    So, to make believe their isn't a real safety issue makes you sound uninformed. However, what a City council is doing being the regulatory body here is beyond me. The various sports leagues and baseball associations have been determining which equipment is safe for use and which are not. If a new XLB wants to use bats which launch the ball off the bat at 500 mph, I'd like to see their insurance costs.

  • dhex||

    "Smoking, trans-fat, aluminum bats, iPods in crosswalks is there anything NYC doesn't want to ban?"

    not so much, no.

    you forgot spinning hubcaps, btw. (no joke)

  • ||

    Kids have been killed by line-drives off of wooden bats, too. This is not a matter for the city council, it's a matter for the league in question to decide.

    -jcr

  • Robert||

    For some of these enactments there's a pattern: they don't hurt much, and are therefore "easy" to pass, because they still allow close substitutes. If they ban trans unsaturated fats, cis unsaturated fats are still allowed. If they ban metal bats, wood bats are still allowed.

  • Seitz||

    How did this just "become" unreasonable? Is aluminum some kind of new technology?

    Not defending the ban, but are serious? The only way current aluminum bats resemble the original aluminum bats is the shape. And really, even the shape is fairly different nowadays (tiny handle, huge barrel).

  • ||

    "not so much, no.

    you forgot spinning hubcaps, btw. (no joke)"

    I can't believe they're giving bling bling the heave-ho. What the problem is.

  • TeX Metafont||

    damn that Bud Selig anyhow...

    Betcha it's a Major League Baseball conspiracy

    Teams are sick and tired of drafting kids that look impressive batting with aluminum, only to find out they can't hit for shit with wood.

    cui bono, eh?

  • ||

    What about glass bats? The ball would slow way down after being hit by a glass bat.

    Barring that, why don't we just put foam insulation around the aluminum bat? That would lessen the impact force and thus the initial velocity of the batted ball.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Face it Kerry, as any red blooded American knows baseball bats are not made from aluminum, they are made from HICKORY.

    Back when the Silver Bullets (sponsored by those right wing Neandethalls at Coors) were playing serious baseball, they finally got competative when they made the switch to aluminum bats (makes the sign of the cross as if warding off Dracula).

    Your results may vary.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Yogi, I see your point and I don't think anyone is in denial about any safety issues. But the diff between metal and wood can't be much. In fact, when my boy played little league they required the kids to use aluminum bats. For safety.

  • ||

    Hits from wooden bats or aluminum bats and throws from pitchers, infielders and outfielders are all deadly. The problem is the ball. We need legislation to mandate nerf baseballs at all levels.

  • That wasn\'t Bavari nice of yo||

    Count again; we Besserwessis don't share everything; communism's dead, y'know.

  • Pow, Batman||

    Is it legal to hit the trucker's balls with yon aluminum cudgel?

  • ||

    Sorry to crash the party here, but aluminum bats are for total pussies. And as long as people are making extremely weak comparisons to other "unsafe" sports, the effect of an aluminum bat on a baseball is more akin to a football filled with helium or hockey stick with some sort of exploding charge that sends a puck screaming toward other players and fans at much higher speeds. I have no problem whatsoever with this exercise of state's rights. Slow night here or what??? Really second-rate stuff.

  • ||

    Sorry..."state's rights"
    Shit such regulation is even more appropriate at the city-government level. I missed that one.

    "as any red blooded American knows baseball bats are not made from aluminum, they are made from HICKORY."

    Nice one. Spot on. Here here.

  • ||

    Actually, baseball bats are made from ash not hickory.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Isaac. Some modern weenie bats are made from ash because modern ball players can't handle bats like the 47 ounce Hickory bats that Babe Ruth wielded. Bonds uses maple, but real baseball players use hickory.

    Thanks Pinko.

  • ||

    If no evidence of increased risk exists, it's a bullshit ban. That being said, I've hit with both, and I find it hard to believe that aluminum doesn't sometimes have more punch, especially on middle-in pitches which are more likely to be sent back up the box than the outside stuff. It's been said that aluminum doesn't have a better sweet spot, just a bigger sweet spot.

    In any case, however, I don't see the point of getting riled up about this, for heaven's sake. The government is deciding what's appropriate for children who participate in school sports that it runs.

    Still, I hope Mr. Fiddler dies of an infection brought upon by a splinter.

  • ||

    TWC-
    I used to umpire a men's amateur league in southern MN that a few years ago, switched from metal-composites to wood bats. The average combined score per game went from the 20 runs per game range to the 5 runs per game range. The runs/game in a college game is vastly different from a A or rookie ball game with kids of the same age and roughly the same skill level. Besides that, the physics of the ball coming off the bat says, YES, it makes a huge difference. That split second more reaction time to get a glove in front of your face and the less speed ( < force) of the ball hitting the face could save lives.

    But, like I said, the baseball leagues should be the ones governing this.

  • ||

    That split second more reaction time to get a glove in front of your face and the less speed ( < force) of the ball hitting the face could save lives.

    It's been a long time since I played any baseball (with aluminum bats, OMG!!!1), and I certainly don't keep up with the sport any more, but has there really been a large number of lives lost to people being hit in the face by baseballs hit off of aluminum bats? I was hit in the face once by a bouncing grounder, and I just want to know if I should have been in fear of my life.

  • ||

    "Helium filled football"? Didn't that myth get busted? I'm pretty sure Mythbusters debunked that one.

  • ||

    Maybe we need to just change the ball, rather than the bat. Make it bigger, so it isn't as aerodynamic. Put more padding on the outer part of the ball, so that when it hits something, it isn't as damaging. Make the pitchers pitch slowly, and underhanded, for control - this will both protect batters, and increase scoring. Lower the mound to ground level, so pitchers aren't throwing 'down' at batters.

    I think this game could be quite popular.

  • ||

    I think it's perfectly clear that this should be a league issue. That being said, I have to admit to being a bit of a baseball luddite. I'll take an afternoon in Wrigley field over one in the nicest new (taxpayer funded) stadium. I'd like a real hot dog, please, not one made of turkey or some soy-based abomination. Although I prefer dark beers, when I'm at the game, I'd like a good frosty American lager. Oh, and more than anything, I want the sound of a well-hit ball to be "crack" not "ding!"

  • Dan T.||

    I had to check Kerry's bio to see if she lived in authoritarian New York.

    I was close, she lives in authoritarian Washington, DC.

    Once again, why to so many Reason staffers live in such places? Why is Reason based in California? With today's communications technology, you could all live in small-government paradises like Idaho if you wanted to.

  • ||

    Dan T:

    I would imagine that the Reason staffers live in NYC or DC because that's where the action is vis-a-vis radio/television appearances, access to interviews, etc.

    I also strongly suspect that the Reason staffers don't share the bunker mentality of some of those who comment here.

  • Dan T.||

    Dan T:

    I would imagine that the Reason staffers live in NYC or DC because that's where the action is vis-a-vis radio/television appearances, access to interviews, etc.


    I'm sure, or stated more simply these places are more cultured, diverse and interesting. People want to live in cities because cities are good places to live.

    So you see what I'm getting at - cities, by necessity, have more rules and higher taxes than rural areas, yet also provide more opportunties for both jobs and recreation.

    So which is better for liberty and freedom? Fewer rules or more opportunity? Where you live should indicate your answer.

  • ||

    hey, you'll hear no arguments from me on that count, other than grumbling about the smoking and foie gras bans. (i live in chicago, and ain't leaving.)

    that said, i repeat my point that i think the reason-writers get this also. they seem, at least, to be a pretty aware bunch.

  • Dan T.||

    that said, i repeat my point that i think the reason-writers get this also. they seem, at least, to be a pretty aware bunch.

    Perhaps they do, but their postings here indicate that they're unwilling to consider that anything proactive the government does might have benefits.

  • ||

    or they're just playing to the audience, the audience being libertarians.

    don't ask me, i'm barely to be included in that club.

  • ||

    perhaps reading the blogs of the writers would be instructive here; julian sanchez's most recent blog entry certainly seems to indicate that not everything is a matter of simple libertarian dogma.

  • ||

    So you see what I'm getting at - cities, by necessity, have more rules and higher taxes than rural areas, yet also provide more opportunties for both jobs and recreation.

    I think you have cause and effect mixed up...

    Because cities provide more opportunities for both jobs and recreation, the "resident surplus" -- the value a resident gets minus the cost -- is higher than in rural areas.

    Thus there is more the government can tax and control before people get tired of it and move someplace else. And, indeed, governments tend to grow to grab as much of the resident surplus as they can.

  • ||

    Excellent. Nect up, Astroturf and the designated hitter.

    - Josh

  • Dan T.||

    Thus there is more the government can tax and control before people get tired of it and move someplace else. And, indeed, governments tend to grow to grab as much of the resident surplus as they can.

    But you're ignoring the fact that when a government collects taxes, the money doesn't just disappear. It buys things, (in theory at least) the things a city needs to prosper. Taxpayers often forget that their contribution is quite tiny compared to the benefits they receive.

  • ||

    But you're ignoring the fact that when a government collects taxes, the money doesn't just disappear. It buys things, (in theory at least) the things a city needs to prosper.

    In the case at hand here, it's buying more bats to replace broken ones. It's also buying more regulations and enforcement to make sure people don't use unapproved bats.

    Taxpayers often forget that their contribution is quite tiny compared to the benefits they receive.

    You misspelled 'egregious'.

  • ||

    But you're ignoring the fact that when a government collects taxes, the money doesn't just disappear. It buys things, (in theory at least) the things a city needs to prosper.

    To be less sarcastic...

    The things of value provided by city government and taxes are already included in the resident surplus. Yes, there are more public services required in a city. Yes, the city provides those services. Yes, the city collects taxes to pay for those services. All that is already in the computation of the surplus as benefits minus costs.

    As you note, cities have a lot of employment and leisure benefits, due simply to the fact that a number of people are concentrated there. These far surpass the extra costs required from the public weal to support the concentration of people.

    Furthermore, due to self selection, those who live in cities gain greater benefits from them and can better tolerate their costs than those who live in rural areas.

    All these effects produce large resident surpluses in cities -- surpluses that allow cities to tax and regulate well beyond the point of public benefit.

  • ||

    People want to live in cities because cities are good places to live.

    In my experience, people want to live in cities because that's where the jobs are. Now, having a good job is certainly part of having a good place to live, but . . .

    Many people, as soon as they can afford to not have a full-time job, leave the city as quick as they can. I know I will.

  • Dan T.||


    Many people, as soon as they can afford to not have a full-time job, leave the city as quick as they can. I know I will.


    Some do, sure. But cities are full of people who have enough money to live without a job, especially if they wanted to live out the in sticks.

    I guess everybody has their preferences but availablity of good jobs is just one of many benefits that cities have to offer.

  • Robert||

    I just thought of something: Who's going to enforce this? Not umpires, because it's not against the rules of the game in gen'l nor of the state HS ass'n. So what will happen when, even though the school didn't provide a metal bat, a student brings his own metal bat to an extramural game he's playing in? It's not going to be a violation of even the law, I suppose, until the student actually steps up to bat with it, so what's going to happen then? And you know it will happen.

  • shiek of araby||

    It'll be enforced by the bureaucrats who purchase the schools' baseball bats.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Dan T, Reason was one of the pioneers in virtual offices and the staffers live all over the country.

  • ||

    It'll be enforced by the bureaucrats who purchase the schools' baseball bats.

    But what if an Albany high school team is visiting a New York City high school team? Albany High can't use their own bats?

    What about NYC high school teams visiting other cities? Can they use aluminum outside the five boroughs?

  • ||

    ZAP! POW! OOF!

    Bat ban! Na na na na na na na na na na ...

    Bat ban! Na na na na na na na na na na ...

    Bat ban!

    Bat ban!

    Bat bannn ...

    NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA ... BAT BAN!!!

  • ||

    It's the weight the matters, not the material. They're effectively forcing kids to use heavier bats so they can't swing as hard. This article explains the physics quite nicely.

    http://www.kettering.edu/~drussell/bats-new/batw8.html

  • Russ 2000||

    Weight really only matters at the youth level where metal bats are as much as -11 (ounces under length). At the high school and college level, the lowest ratio one can use in a metal bat is -3, but most wood bats are -1 and -2, so the difference is neglible.

  • ||


    Weight really only matters at the youth level where metal bats are as much as -11 (ounces under length). At the high school and college level, the lowest ratio one can use in a metal bat is -3, but most wood bats are -1 and -2, so the difference is neglible.


    A one ounce difference is definitely NOT negligible in the feel of the bat.

  • M||

    James S. Oddo
    Shows odds better than Lotto
    That an empowered abogado
    May as well be blotto.

  • Robert||

    "It'll be enforced by the bureaucrats who purchase the schools' baseball bats."

    No, that doesn't address the case I raised (and which you quoted from) wherein the student brings hir own, personal property bat to the game.

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