But What Will We Use To Beat On The Brat?

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It's Wednesday—time for the New York City Council to do something stupid!

The New York City Council today is expected to vote today on a bill that would ban metal bats from high school baseball games. The measure was unanimously approved by a committee Monday.

Supporters of the bill say aluminum bats are a safety hazard because the ball ricochets off the bat quicker than off a wooden bat. But others say there's no evidence to prove metal bats are more dangerous than wooden ones.

Plus, parents know that baseball is a gateway to drug abuse. This sailed through committee, but it might meet resistance. From the latest report:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also expressed skepticism, saying a ban may not solve the problem. He has not said whether he'll veto the bill.

Yes, even Bloomberg is against it.

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  1. No doubt someone will show up shortly to point out that Bloomberg’s opposition to this ban is proof that he’s a libertarian.

  2. Bob Kostas, George Will, and Doris Kearns Goodwin just haven’t gotten to him with the “aluminum bats are like trans-fats for the soul” argument.

  3. But others say there’s no evidence to prove metal bats are more dangerous than wooden ones.

    I’d assume that these others have never played third base in Sunday morning beer league.

    That said, I don’t know why the city council need to pass anything, it should be up to the governing body of high school sports to decide which equipment is legal under the rules.

  4. …a ban may not solve the problem.

    Obviously His Honor would prefer a bill outlawing bats made of anything harder than vulcanized rubber.

  5. Forget the bats. Don’t they realize the designated hitter rule is a leading cause of childhood obesity? Won’t someone please think of the children?

  6. Sorry, but aluminum bats ARE the gateway to drug abuse. When I was in shop class, we used to turn them into opium pipes and sell them to grade-school kids at fantastic prices. It kept me in “snow” until college, when I turned to gun-running.

  7. Plus, parents know that baseball is a gateway to drug abuse.

    But wait, this makes sense. People use drugs primarily because they are bored. OHHH!

  8. I’d assume that these others have never played third base in Sunday morning beer league.

    That’s what I do.

    I’d rather have the ball come at me faster than have to dodge a broken bat and have splinters fly into my eye, but that’s just me.

  9. LOL, David’s comment. I wouldn’t get in any closer than the outfield – saw too many injuries from alum. bats. Next, let’s make Tiger play with persimmon head driver and hickory shaft!

  10. What problem?

    This is the biggest non-issue I’ve seen on here. More pointless than foie gras, jaywalking, and smoking bans combined.

  11. Cute comments aside. It is amazing that the arguments for aluminum bats such as; expense of wood bats, durabilty of the metal bats and the fact that they make it easier for younger (smaller) players such as my ten year old to actually be able to hit the ball, never, ever have been included in the “debate” leading to the proposed ban.

    Not likely the NYC Council will not take the opportunity to ban something.

  12. Plus, parents know that baseball is a gateway to drug abuse.

    Isn’t that the reason that they slide headfirst into base? That chalk has cocaine in it I’m sure. 😉

  13. I’d rather have the ball come at me faster than have to dodge a broken bat and have splinters fly into my eye, but that’s just me.

    I didn’t say they should be banned, only that it’s true that the ball does come off of modern aluminum and alloy bats much faster than the wooden bats.

  14. Not a single “nice Ramones reference” comment yet. New record.
    Oops.

  15. are a safety hazard because the ball ricochets off the bat quicker than off a wooden bat.

    That’s the fucking point of the goddamn things! Jesus H. Christ, I hate America sometimes.

  16. When baseball bats are outlawed, only steroid users will have baseball bats. Or something like that.

  17. the ball ricochets off the bat quicker than off a wooden bat.

    So are we going to outlaw strong kids from playing baseball too? How about power hitting and fastballs? Hell, just arrest anybody who hits a home run. A ball hit that hard could have knocked somebody’s head off if it went lower!

  18. I could never decide which bat I liked better, metal or wood. Wood had such a nice “crack” sound to it when the ball hit, but I seemed to be able to hit the ball a lot further with a metal bat.

    (Full disclosure: I’m not a lesbian. I just play one on TV.)

  19. Incidentally, the headline spurred me to research which type of bat the Ramones likely were referring to in beating on the brat. Aluminum bats were first allowed in college baseball in 1974, and the Ramones released “beat on the brat” in 1976. Now, even allowing for the fact it came on the first album, and could have been kicking around for a while before being released, I would guess that at that at any reasonable point for the gestation of that song, aluminum bats were at least in some use.

    Perhaps most pressingly, this question CAN be answered. According to “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk” there was an actual brat beaten on with an actual baseball bat that one of the Ramones saw, which inspired him to write the song.

    I’ve always pictured a wooden bat, so I’m going to go with that, but I had honestly expected to find that aluminum bats were a much more recent phenomenon than the Ramones. Learn something new everyday, I suppose. The real lesson here? My train of thought is easily derailed.

  20. Plus, parents know that baseball is a gateway to drug abuse.

    Isn’t that the reason that they slide headfirst into base? That chalk has cocaine in it I’m sure. 😉

    Tim Raines used to slide headfirst because he kept blow in his back pocket.

  21. Smacky,

    Yeah, but wouldn’t you like to live on Lesbos?

  22. I never liked aluminum bats, nor wooden soda cans.

  23. Look, aluminum bats go “dink” when you hit the ball.

    Not “crack,” “dink.”

    Nobody wants to hear about the “dink of the bat.” Besides, broken bat singles, man!

  24. Next, let’s make Tiger play with persimmon head driver and hickory shaft!

    Actually, professional golf would be well served to roll back the distance of the ball about 10%. A lot of great courses are becoming obsolete. Jack Nicklaus is one of the biggest proponents of this.

    That’s the fucking point of the goddamn things! Jesus H. Christ, I hate America sometimes.

    Actually, it’s not. The point of the things is that they don’t break, so you don’t spend a lot of money replacing broken bats.

    Obviously since their introduction, there’s been sort of an arms race (just like there is for all sporting equipment). And some of the new technology has just ruined other sports for me. Tennis was kind of boring to begin with, but it’s unwatchable now. Serve – return – smash. Serve – return – smash. At least with the old wooden rackets, guys had to be shot makers.

    I don’t agree with a ban, but I do think that governing bodies ought to look into establishing limits on size and weight, as well as coefficient of restitution.

  25. Grotius,

    Well, since you put it that way… ^_^

  26. Wow! One of the rare times that I agree with joe. Wooden bats are so much better than aluminum–“Dink,” indeed.

  27. That’s the fucking point of the goddamn things! Jesus H. Christ, I hate America sometimes.

    This is a reason to hate New York. There are plenty of other reasons to hate America (sometimes).

  28. Seitz,

    Right on!
    I’m not anti technology, but sometimes, you have to ask, “what’s the point?”

  29. Is no one else going to give props to lunchstealer for being the first and only person in the thread to use a regex? Then I shall. Props, lunchstealer

  30. Well, everyone knows that the last World Series will be played in 2042. 😉

  31. My first year in little league, I got a shiner from trying to catch a pop fly with my face. Best thing that ever happened to me. Leave the game alone, statists!

  32. mobile,
    They always told me “don’t be scared of the ball.” I always thought, “bastard, you’ve never been smacked in the face with one!”

  33. Everyone here is missing the most obvious advantage of aluminum bats: They’re made from an easily-recycled material, and they save thousands of trees!

    Aluminum bats. It’s for the Children and Gaia!

  34. The libertarian in me knows this proposed law is idiotic.

    The baseball purist in me wants the use of aluminum bats banned and their inventors and manufacturers sent to prison.

  35. You know, of all the stupid bans the NYC Council has passed, is passing, and hopes to pass in the future, this one might be the least stupid.

    I’m not saying I support it – this really is, as David mentioned, more of an issue for whatever body governs high school athletics in the city (and, one would hope, that is not the NYC Council). And, as a matter of principle, I’m inclined to oppose the Council on whatever they do.

    But I don’t understand, as a factual matter, how there can be any serious debate about the fact that a baseball comes off an aluminum or alloy bat a hell of a lot faster than it does a wooden bat. Especially off the sweet spot. And that sweet spot is a lot bigger on a metal bat than a wooden one.

    Again – that’s not necessarily a reason to ban them. All (real) sports involve some risk of injury. But I’m certain that anyone who says the ball doesn’t leap off an aluminum bat at the high school level has never set foot on a field (or, if they have, spent most of their time in deep right…).

  36. Nobody wants to hear about the “dink of the bat.” Besides, broken bat singles, man!

    Flying splinters. Shards of destruction. Clearly, the only safe game of baseball is no baseball.

  37. For once, I am complete and total agreement with joe. Metal bats make a really stupid little “dink” noise, it’s terrible. I’d love college baseball if they’d make them use real bats.

    That said, this ban is still frickin’ ridiculous.

  38. They always told me “don’t be scared of the ball.” I always thought, “bastard, you’ve never been smacked in the face with one!”

    There’s been a few players that haven’t really minded taking a few balls to the face. Billy Beane comes to mind.

  39. MP: maybe the whole debate could be resolved by insisting the children play Whiffleball instead. Safety first!

  40. Billy Beane comes to mind.

    Wrong one. You mean Billy Bean, not Billy Beane.

  41. OK, we’ve had The Ramones and The Clash today. Can we squeeze in The Sex Pistols?

    And X-Ray Spex “Oh Bondage, Up Yours” would have been perfect for that Israeli ambassador story (although Identity is their best song).

  42. Seitz,

    And I should have known better. I’m a Twins fan.

  43. is there some kinf of Punk refernce trifecta in play?

  44. Can we squeeze in The Sex Pistols?

    Ron Bailey could do a AGW post titled “Belsen Was a Gas.”

  45. Can we squeeze in The Sex Pistols?

    Include “Bodies” in the next abortion-related post.

  46. maybe the whole debate could be resolved by insisting the children play Whiffleball instead.

    Forget that. Just keep them under anesthesia until their 18th birthdays so they stop being so dangerous to themselves and others.

  47. At last a topic I can agree entirely with joe about. If these clowns had come out and said “Look, aluminum bats make that sissy plink sound when they hit the ball, not the proper crack of a wooden bat, and we’re making them illegal for that reason and that reason alone,” then I’d support the measure without reservation.

    For that matter, if they’d argued “Hey, we’re in the pocket of Big Lumber” or “This will discourage high school student vampires from playing night baseball games,” I’d buy it in a New York minute (which, by the way, is 50 seconds if you’re a New York psychologist, 45 seconds if you’re a New York hooker). But aluminum bats are too dangerous? Phooey!

  48. During freshman high school gymn class, we spent a semester playing softball. The first day, Coach was showing us how to swing the bat. In the course of his swing, the bat split. A chunk of it flew through the air and hit a kid in the mouth, knocking out his front teeth and causing him to orally spurt a good quantity of weirdly purple blood.

    As far as I know, wooden bats can split, but metal ones don’t. For this reason, and with a lack of data about the actual dangers of metal bats, I have to conclude that metal bats are actually safer than wooden ones.

    Therefore, I believe the NYC Council must be in the pocket of Big Reconstructive Dentistry.

  49. You know, it’s only a matter of time before the NYC City Council realizes that the baseball is still coming off the wooden bats at tremendous speeds, and decides to ban wooden bats as well. They might also realize that the ball is moving quite fast when the pitcher releases it from his hand. They’ll have to ban pitchers, or, better yet, ban the baseball itself. It’ll be time to go back to whiffleball on a tee.

    And what about football? People are tackling each other, for chrissakes! Clearly, that needs to be banned. I can’t believe no one else has already taken this to its (il)logical extreme — the banning of everything dangerous.

    The sad thing is, I can’t even be hyperbolic about it. We all used to joke about banning fast food and such ten years ago; look at us now. Yep, it truly is only a matter of time before we are all completely infantilized. Then it’ll just be cradle to… well, more cradle.

  50. The important thing is that this is an aesthetic law disguised as a child safety law. Little League Baseabll already regulates metal bats for exit velocity.

    Rawlings has a wood baseball bat plant in New York and a timber industry to support it.

    We’re cutting down forests for baseball bats!

  51. As far as I know, wooden bats can split, but metal ones don’t.

    Metal bats can break, but often this is only after the bat has already developed stress cracks; once you notice the cracks you uually stop using the bat. Even when they do break it’s not a clean break that causes pieces to go flying.

  52. Then it’ll just be cradle to… well, more cradle.

    It’ll still be cradle to grave, there just won’t be any other points in between.

  53. Although I’ve been away from the game for a few years, I believe that they have limits in place for the trampoline effect of metal and carbon fiber bats. In baseball you have 90 feet, not so bad. The scary thing is to watch women’s college softball. 45 foot base lines and they allow bunting, so the third base person sometimes plays in to protect against the bunt. Some of those girls wear helmets with facemasks in the field and I don’t blame them.

  54. Oh sure, New York City Council! Ban aluminum bats. I’m all for it.

    All good thinking men hate the “dink of the bat”. This hatred of the dink transcends all of our political and religious differences and we stand united in goodwill.

    But then you leave alone the greatest sacrileges of baseball today.

    Yes, you know what I’m talking about. The Designated Hitter Rule and Artificial Turf.

  55. There’s only 3 parks with astro turf anymore, and one of those will be going away. Seems like the market is taking care of that one all by itself.

    (Yes, I realize “market” is sort of a misnomer when it comes to taxpayer-funded ball parks, just go with me on this one.)

  56. 45 foot base lines

    They’re 60-foot baselines.

    But that brings up a point. Women’s softball moved the mound back a couple feet, why not do the same for youth baseball? (The fields are basically the same dimensions otherwise.)

  57. mike in ftw:

    Actually, the biggest injury concern for balls hit with aluminum/alloy bats is for pitchers who stand just 60’6″ from the plate (and who, after completing their windup, are actually quite a bit closer).

    HBO’s Real Sports did a show about the effect of aluminum bats on head injuries to pitchers in college baseball. The gist of it was that the metal bats are allowing more and more college hitters to generate hits “back through the box” at a speed that makes it impossible for the pitcher to react in time to a ball batted at his head.

    The NCAA should ban metal bats. High school athletic associations should probably think about banning metal bats. I don’t think Little League’s need to worry so much about it, but playing it safe and having the LL governing body mandate limits on COR is probably a smart. In any case, I don’t believe it’s the gov’t’s bidness.

  58. But then you leave alone the greatest sacrileges of baseball today.

    Yes, you know what I’m talking about.

    Actually, I thought you were going to mention the $5 hotdog and $6 beer.

  59. Also, the bigger problem I see with youth baseball is too many of them are playing on “skin” infields – no grass (and no raised mounds). With a small hardball (even though the little league ball is softer than a normal baseball) infielders get a lot more bad hops and those cause more injury than anything else.

  60. The NCAA should ban metal bats. High school athletic associations should probably think about banning metal bats.

    I agree, but not because of batted balls causing injury. Metal bats are forcing pitchers to rely more and more on strikeouts and breaking balls. Throwing too many breaking balls and trying to throw every fastball at maximum speed is wrecking arms.

  61. Nobody wants to hear about the “dink of the bat.”

    i’ll join the chorus of people agreeing with joe for the first time. ewww, feels weird.

    worst thing is that i have to buy one of those monstrosities today; it’s a requirement for my son’s t-ball league.

    elder moment: the coach put the biggest kid on first base, saying that’s what he always likes to do. i made some comment about boog powell and got a totally blank stare in return.

  62. Joe M’s joking aside, there have been attempts to make a safer baseball for youth leagues.

    If this ordinance covers private schools, I’m agin’ it, but I’m perfectly happy with NYC representatives making the rules for their publik skools.

    I do think that the governing bodies of amateur baseball should switch back to wood. The metal bats inculcate too many bad habits in the players. I’ve seen complaints from pro coaches that pitchers coming out of school nowadays are shy about pitching inside. If they miss to far inside, they risk hitting the batter, which is more heavily punished than it used to be. If they don’t hurl it tight enough, a player using a metal bat can “get around” on that pitch easier than one using an ash stick. The metal bat’s greater sweet spot, and the wood bat’s tendency to break near the handle, accounts for the difference. Getting “Charlie Browned,” as Dr. Noisewater points out, is no fun. Neither is giving up gopher balls.

    Trees, the source for wooden bats, are a renewable resource. Aluminum has to be mined and smelted, leading to nasty byproducts that pollute Holy Mother Earth.

    edna: Substitute Richie Sexson or Prince Fielder for Boog, and Coach might relate.

    Kevin

  63. Ohhh..I can’t believe I flubbed the base path length.

    If they want to make the game better they will forget about the bats and ban the parents.

    Former High School/Little League Umpire

  64. Mike Mussina is against the ban.

    His reasoning is superior to John Franco and he gave a nice ratonal quote..let me find it..doesn’t this sound like something a good Reasonite would say?

    “I don’t think it matters whether it’s aluminum or wood or whatever the material is. I’ve been hit in the face [with a batted ball]. It’s just part of [baseball].

    “I can understand [supporters] are emotional about it, but I don’t see there’s any more danger playing with aluminum or some other material,” he said.

  65. maybe we should make the balls out of tofu? i mean, really, who ever got hurt from getting hit by tofu?

  66. “Joe M’s joking aside, there have been attempts to make a safer baseball for youth leagues.”

    what, like they wear condoms?

  67. When I was a a little leaguer, I took so many batted balls to MY balls, THEY said I would never have kids!

    But here I am a mere 15 years later and I have “accidentally” impregnated 3 different women during the first sex act!

  68. Actually, I thought you were going to mention the $5 hotdog and $6 beer.

    As someone who remembers taking my kids to the old Exhibition Stadium in Toronto and buying $2.00 “bleacher” seats so we could munch on fifty-cent hot dogs and soft pretzels while we watched the Blue Jays get beaten I have to agree.

    However, because of Ontario’s liquor laws I could not enjoy a beer there.

    There’s only 3 parks with astro turf anymore, and one of those will be going away.

    And, yes, the last time I took my (now grown-up daughter) to Tropicana Field the indoor turf looked surprisingly realistic.

    But I was being deliberately hyperbolic.

    Separate story: my father went to an exhibition game in Syracuse in the 20s. The Yankees had come to town. Dad remembered two things 1) a funny little man with short legs and eyes that were strangely far apart coming up to the plate who 2) stepped up, pointed to the outfield fence and then proceed to hit the ball over said fence. Of course he actually knew the name of that legendary player. When we have a jazz thread I’ll tell the story of how my dad saw Fats Waller play in a dive in Boston.


  69. There’s only 3 parks with astro turf anymore, and one of those will be going away.

    But now, I challenge you, defend the obscene Designated Hitter Rule.

    I defy anyone to tell me how that has improved the game.

  70. But now, I challenge you, defend the obscene Designated Hitter Rule.

    I defy anyone to tell me how that has improved the game.

    It’ll add five years to Barry Bonds’ career. Oops, you said improved.

  71. LOL

  72. I happen to *support* this proposed ban. Why?
    Because I hate that annoying metallic “doink” sound aluminum bats make upon contact with the baseball.

    If we give in to the metal doink then the terrorists will have already won.

  73. But now, I challenge you, defend the obscene Designated Hitter Rule.

    Nobody wants to hear the “dink” of the bat.

    Nobody wants to see a pitcher try to hit.

    The market in action.

  74. Nobody wants to see a pitcher try to hit.

    Carlos Zambrano

    I am a White Sox fan, but Carlos Zambrano is possibly the most exciting player to watch in all of baseball, on the mound or at the plate.

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