Baseball Bat Alphabet Soup: BESR, BBCOR, etc…

I truly feel sorry for any well-intended Mom or Dad who attempts to purchase their son a new baseball bat for this coming spring. That’s because -thanks to the aluminum and composite bat manufacturers and fueled by the dopey support of LL Baseball that there’s no difference between a ball coming off a wood bat or a non-wood bat —  there’s now more confusion than ever in the history of baseball as to what kinds of bats are legal to use in amateur ball in 2011.

And here’s the irony. All of these new bats with new rules are being constructed with one purpose in mind – to come close to simulate the effect of a wood bat hitting a pitched ball.

Huh?

I can hear you asking. “Well, if that’s the purpose, why not just get rid of aluminum and composite bats, and simply go back to just using wood bats.”

And that’s exactly my point. Starting this spring, and then carrying over into 2012, pretty much every baseball bat will have to carry a BBCOR certification…which means that the bat will have the same kind of very restrictive trampoline effect that all wood bats have. The only advantage, from what I can tell, is that non-wood bats won’t break. Aluminum bats and composite bats won’t drive a ball any further; they’ll just be difficult to break.

So the question is: why would you spend $300 or more to buy a composite or aluminum bat when a really good maple bat only runs $125? True, a maple can break, but even that extra maple bat still costs you less than the $300 composite.

As Steve Kallas pointed out on the show this AM, this is just madness. Plus all of these BBCOR/BESR certifications now puts an extra burden on umpires working the game to review all the bats before the game. Umps will need a long list of which bats are legal, and which ones aren’t.

What’s the simple solution? Just outlaw aluminum and composite, and pass a rule that only wood bats – just like they use in pro ball – are allowed. Not only does it make for a better game, but it’s the way the game was invented.

I just don’t see any reason why this can’t be done. It’s just common sense, plain and simple.

  • PistolPete44

    As a former college pitcher, now long time high school and college ump, we are all missing the obvious. First of all, yes, metal bats cost too much, make the bat too easy to swing, makes games longer, are dangerous on the speed back at the pitcher, but ….THE REAL REASON TO STOP THIS CRAP METAL BAT STUFF, is that they are cause arm trouble for the pitcher. I see time after time, the pitchers NO LONGER PITCHING TO CONTACT …which makes them throw to the corners, throw more breaking pitches, walking more hitters, nibble here and there cause when they get it over, the easy free swing bats will kill the ball. Just check out my facts, look at the ages of pitchers having arm trouble and arm surgery. This amoung many reasons is the real reason to CAN THE METAL NOW. We should be teaching the kids to have the hitter hit the ball to the fielder. Oh sure, some kids can with control become strike out pitchers, but , put wood back in the game and kids will learn to pitch again and use different speeds and can the stupid SLIDERS that are killing the elbows. Lets mount a National campaign and get wood back NOW.

  • Allen

    The reason for non-wood bats is known to anyone who watched MLB last year. Wood bats splinter and shatter. They have caused infielders to take their eye off the batted ball. Baserunners have had a bat chard knife into and ramion stuck in their chest. Umps have been hit by the chards.

    Non-wood bats do not shatter, so if their performance is otherwise the same as wood, the non-wood bats are safer. Non-wood bats do not shatter or become weaker due to an inside pitch.

    I umpire far more than 85 games a year, and have been doing so for over 25 years. My undergraduate degree is in engineering.

    Anyone who starts out by calling LL “dopey” loses for having gone to ad hominem argument rather than scientific data. Currently, the only valid argument against metal alloy bats is the awful sound. Otherwise, depending on the level, I am glad that little kids have something they can swing to make the game move. While my pitcher friend above might whine about non-wood bats, the better thing to do is develop his ability. The pitch count approach now required by LLB might also make sense.

    • askcoachwolff

      Alas, while I respect your posting, I couldn’t disagree more. Aluminum bats have changed the game of baseball dramatically over the years. LL Baseball is supposed to be about “safety first” but it’s only a matter of time before a LL player is drilled by a line drive off an aluminum or composite bat. For the directors of LL Baseball to say, in public, that there’s no difference between a ball hit off wood vs. aluminum is not only foolish, it’s also dangerous. If the idea is to get aluminum and/or composite bats to behave like wood, why not just make wood bats the rule rather than the exception?

    • RulesMan

      Hey goof,,,go play metal ball with your friends and leave my game along. I say we also use metal balls as they do not shatter either.

  • beagamer

    Allen,

    the one thing that you don’t factor in the equation is that the bats that you see on TV are NOT the same bats that you would get in a store AND the players using them have bat speeds way higher than the bat speeds of the high school and college players. Also, more bats break from being hit on the ends of wood bats then they do by being hit on the inside so either way bats can break. Lastly The shattering of bats on TV are ALL maple bats where as ash bats not only don’t shatter like maple, but they are also much cheaper.

    Go to wood and ALL questions are over with.

  • Big Stick

    there is a much larger mark-up on metal bats than taht of wood. Money talks. My kid likes to swing his stick even though it may be heavy he has the ability to control and make contact. When that happens its a beautiful thing… when he makes the same contact with the lighter metal bat the bat recoils and the ball dribbles off the bat…. not such a good thing… i like wood… besides there is no bigger smile that when a kid breaks his bat…. it’s all for the kids.

  • answer your BBCOR questions at http://bbcorbats.com/ I found them when searching for info. They dont sell bats just provide info and ratings on all bats and links to the best prices on the net. Easy.

  • nick primiano

    I’m 13 do i have to use a bbcor bat?

    • Rick Wolff

      Yes, Nick, if I were you, I would start using either wood bats this summer, or find a BBCOR that you’re comfortable with. I’m convinced that travel baseball and HS baseball will all be using BBCOR bats soon. Coach Wolff

  • Dennis

    I know that NFHS rules will require BBCOR in 2012, as well as Babe Ruth and American Legion leagues 16 and up. Don’t know about the junior leagues.

  • I was under the impression that the BBCOR designation/certification only applied to bats which are 100% composite… meaning that my son’s Easton SV12 hybrid or an all-alloy bat could be BESR certified and that was still allowed… am I wrong??

  • Wood Bats: Hitting a Baseball on the Sweet Spot
    Ballplayers that use wood bats know that one of the greatest thrills in sports is to square up and hit a baseball on the nose. You feel no vibration what so ever. Meeting a ball perfectly with wood bats and feeling the immediate gratification of a batted bat jumping off your wood bat is sensational. Hit the ball a little off the sweet spot or on the bat handle and you will feel ‘stingers’ and ‘bee-bees’. If the weather is on the cooler side then the ‘stingers’ are generally magnified.
    Baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams Explains the Difficulty in Hitting a Baseball Squarely
    Hitting a baseball—I’ve said it a thousand times—is the single most difficult thing to do in sport. I get raised eyebrows and occasional arguments when I say that, but what is there that is harder to do? What is there that requires more natural ability, more physical dexterity, and more mental alertness? That requires a greater finesse to go with physical strength, that has a many variables and as few constants, and that carries with it the continuing frustration of knowing that even if you are a .300- hitter—which is rare item these days—you are going to fail at job seven out of ten times?
    Why Wood Bats? 35 Years of Aluminum Bat Wandering
    Wood bats have been a big part of my baseball life. I grew up using wood baseball bats until I reached college baseball. I started playing college baseball in the mid 1970’s right when metal bats came on the market and were authorized for competitive use. I took a 4-year interruption from wood bats during my college baseball career. Immediately after college I started playing baseball professionally and of course wood bats are used exclusively in professional organized baseball. So I began my youth baseball career using wood bats and ended my professional career with wood bats. I really like the game of baseball when wood bats are used. After playing professionally I coached and managed in professional and college wood bat leagues for over 20 years. Wood bats bring a true purity to the game of baseball. The game is real when played with wood bats–not artificial. Baseball is played on much more of level playing field when using wood.

  • Valerie

    I have seen first hand what a metal composite bat will do to a pitcher and this is in slow pitch co-ed league. The pitch threw a flat ball and the batter hit it right back up the middle. It was coming so fast that the pitcher did not have the time to react and get out of dodge. The man is now blind in one eye. He had to go through several surgerys after having he right side of the face shattered. I as a parent am scared to death of these composite bats. Both my boys own one and as a mother of a JV player it makes me more nervous with what might happen to a child.

  • David Leavitt

    If my sv12 says it is bear certified does that mean it is just as legal as bbcor bats