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Commentary April 15, 2010 //  by  // 19 Comments

Aluminum bats ruin game’s purity

UH's Caleb Ramsey leads the Cougars with a batting average of .356, but that number would be a more accurate reflection of his skill at the plate if he, along with all college players, were required to use wooden bats. | Justin Flores/The Daily Cougar

On April 3, the Vanderbilt Commodores were playing the Florida Gators in a baseball game. Vanderbilt’s pitcher, Corey Williams, after following through on his pitch, took a line drive shot off the side of his right knee.

After he was hit, he fell straight down on his stomach, with his right leg balanced in the air. Amazingly, he was still able to make a throw to first while he was lying down with his right leg suspended. Williams couldn’t move his leg and had to be carted off the field in a chair and, obviously, had to have surgery.

That’s just one more reason to consider taking the aluminum bat out of the collegiate game. An aluminum bat, in the hands of a strong 20-year-old spending most of his time in the weight room, is like a weapon. Even a ball hit by an elementary school kid can be dangerous, but they’re generally not as strong as a college player.

As seen with Williams, a ball coming off an aluminum bat swung by a 190-pound 20-year-old can do considerable damage.

With an aluminum bat, a ball can hit almost anywhere on the barrel and it can go a long way. With strong, talented players at the collegiate level using an aluminum bat, you constantly see high, unrealistic scores.

In a Feb. 26 game against Santa Clara, the Cougars had a 17-6 lead after the sixth inning. The Cougars ended up winning 17-9. In that same game, UH’s Joel Ansley hit what was basically a slow popup that ended up going over the right field wall for a home run.

Just this Tuesday, Houston had a 7-0 lead after three innings over Texas San Antonio. Then the Roadrunners scored seven in the fourth and fifth innings. The score was 10-7 after five innings. The Cougars ended up winning 14-8.

Sure some teams and pitchers simply have off nights and players at the collegiate level are at that level for a reason, but no team should score so many inconsistent runs.

It is kind of like arena football. Nobody really takes arena football seriously, because both teams usually score 40 to 50 points a game. The sport is designed for offense, so no one can really tell who is the best quarterback. It’s hard to tell who has the best natural ability.

It’s the same with the aluminum bat in baseball. It gives hitters a distinct advantage over pitchers. The offensive numbers become so inflated that it is hard to distinguish the best hitters, and on the other end, the pitchers are unfairly perceived as incapable. It is difficult to tell who is ready for the Major Leagues.

What makes the wooden bat special is that it has a small sweet spot, and if you hit it anywhere else, the ball won’t do much. The ability to make contact at just the right spot is true talent.

The college game would be better and purer if players had to rely on their natural talent instead of having the benefit of an aluminum crutch.

sports@thedailycougar.com

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  • den2010

    “In a Feb. 26 game against Santa Clara, the Cougars had a 17-6 lead after the sixth inning. The Cougars ended up winning 17-9. In that same game, UH’s Joel Ansley hit what was basically a slow popup that ended up going over the right field wall for a home run.”

    The wind was also blowing pretty violently at the game, which was a majority of the reasoning as to why the fly ball ended up being a homerun.

    “Just this Tuesday, Houston had a 7-0 lead after three innings over Texas San Antonio. Then the Roadrunners scored seven in the fourth and fifth innings. The score was 10-7 after five innings. The Cougars ended up winning 14-8.”

    How much of this can also be put on pitching and infield defense?

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