NJSIAA Changes Bat Rules for 2012 Baseball Season
In just a few days the High School baseball season will begin. Always an exciting time for me, having coached baseball for so many years during my coaching career. Being retired for quite awhile, I remember the excitement of opening day and the anticipation of another season. One of the sounds of spring baseball in New Jersey was the "ping" off the bat when someone makes contact with the bat on the ball.
Yes, aluminum bats, have been used since the early 1980s and that created that "ping" sound that sent baseballs flying around the field. Well in 2012 spectators and fans around the state will not be hearing that ping anymore. The NJSIAA has adopted the college rule of BBCOR bats. These bats make aluminum bats behave more like their wooden counterparts.
Now you may ask why this has occurred. Most fans love offense, they love home-runs and 10-9 games, but the dangers that the old aluminum bats created, have brought about the changes.
Every year you would here about someone hit by a line drive off the bat and the injuries mounted. Even fans in the stands at games were injured with foul balls, and that's a red flag.
The college game, where players are bigger and stronger each year, the rule change was needed. They adopted the BBCOR last year and dramatic results occurred. Runs were down, home-runs were down and pitching ERA was significantly lower.
With the new bats, the "sweet spot" has shrunk, leaving approximately a 3"-inch area in the meat of the bat to make solid contact. Under the old bats, there were guys that were able to get away with bad swings and still be good power players. Now you've got to be more consistent. The difference is the testing procedures that measures how the ball comes off the bat after making contact. Too much of a spring effect and thus the ban on alloy metals in the making of bats.
Will this rule change effect the high school game this year? That remains to be seen, but don't expect to hear that "ping" anymore when you go out to see a game. Who knows, but going back to the wood bat may not be too far away.