Dangers of Little League Baseball

LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL: New Bat Rules go into Effect on January 1st

Christmas is almost here, and the New Year follows a week later….if you bought your kid a shiny new $300 LL bat just a few months ago, you might be surprised and shocked that at the stroke of midnight on December 31st, that expensive bat is going to become obsolete – and that you will have to go out and buy a new one for your kid.

Hard to believe but true. Steve Kallas joined me on my radio this show to highlight that this development has not been well publicized to the youth baseball world, and that parents are going to be shocked when they hear about this.

In short, only those bats that carry a USABat logo will be eligible to be used in LL (and to be fair, in all other youth leagues). All other bats will be banned.

Steve had suggested back in June that it would be nice if LL and the bat manufacturers offered some of discount or buy-back of soon-to-be obsolete bats. But as of today, we have not seen any evidence of that.

What is not lost on us is that more and more sports parents are saying that youth sports is becoming a case of haves- and-have-nots in sports. That is, in order for your kid to keep playing and  progressing, one needs a lot of money.

Having to buy a brand new bat would, it seems to me, fall into category.

Here’s a direct quote from the LL Baseball website:

The USA Baseball USABat Standard will officially be implemented in all Little League Baseball programs at the Junior League division and below, effective January 1, 2018. The majority of parents, coaches, and volunteers believe wood is the ideal material for bats. The new USABat Standard bats are designed to have a wood-like performance, while having the benefits of a non-wood bat.

Steve and I chuckled at this. I mean, if everybody in LL wants to use wood bats, well, why not mandate wood bats?

LL says that wood is scarce. Hmm. I’m not sure how accurate that claim really is, especially when new USABats are more expensive than a wood bat. Besides, for those kids who want to go on and play pro ball, they need to understand that pro ball still only uses wood.

LL has announced a USABatKit for those LL programs that are in good standing but need financial help. That’s a nice gesture, but in my experience, pretty much every LL needs financial help. Again, it would be nice if LL did more to help out in this major transition.

SO, JUST TO BE CLEAR…

If a parent purchased a new LL bat for their kid just a few months ago – and that bat doesn’t have a USABat sticker on it — that bat will not being grandfathered in.

In short, your youngster can no longer use that bat.

Honestly, I’m not sure why LL is doing this. They say they are trying to introduce a standardized bat that will emulate wood bats, which they claim everybody wants.

But in the end, it just seems, as Steve said, like another money grab. I sure hope not.