Marc Stocco Explains the Pros and Cons Of Using Metal Bats

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( — February 12, 2021) —

Many baseball enthusiasts are curious about why metal bats are not allowed in the Major Leagues. Metal bats could present significant advantages for the excitement of the game, as well as lower costs due to greater durability. However, the historical character of the game is weighted against the adoption of wooden bats.

Baseball enthusiast Marc Stocco debates the importance of traditional wooden bats to the game, explaining the pros and cons of adopting metal bats.

Explaining the Difference Between Metal and Wooden Bats

Traditional wooden bats are made of ash. Other woods, like maple, hickory, and bamboo, have been used with varying levels of success. Hickory has fallen out of favor because it is heavier than other woods used for bats. The modern major league bat comes in at approximately 33 to 34 ounces.

Metal bats are typically made of aluminum. Other non-wood bats have also been used in youth and college sports, most often made of carbon fiber. A metal bat is constructed to weigh about the same as a wooden bat.

A metal bat has a larger “sweet spot” than a wooden bat. This means that the area on the bat where the ball makes contact is more productive than the area around it. This means more base hits.

Issues with the Wooden Bat

One of the primary disadvantages of the wooden bat is that it can break or splinter during play. Pieces of a bat can reach high speeds on the field and injure players, fans, and umpires alike. Certain players are more prone to broken bats than others.

Another disadvantage of the wooden bat is that it is much easier to cheat by altering its parameters. A corked bat has a hole drilled in it with a lightweight material inserted. These materials could include cork or super balls. The lighter bat travels more quickly, meaning that the player can hit the ball harder and achieve more extra bases.

The use of the corked bat has decreased significantly over the past 40 years, but players are still being caught with them today. One of the most prominent examples of players who have been caught with corked bats is Sammy Sosa during his 2003 hitting streak. Not every corked bat is detected at the time of play, and players like Pete Rose and the 2005 Houston Astros have gotten away with using corked bats in the past. A metal bat is much harder to tamper with, meaning that the integrity of the game could be improved. However, most baseball experts do not believe that the possibility of corked bats is a compelling reason for a switch to metal bats.

Issues With the Metal Bat

According to baseball experts like Marc Stocco, bats are known to cause more injuries than wooden bats. When used in youth and college play, metal bats cause many serious injuries and, in some cases, have caused deaths. This is because the players who use metal bats can hit the ball harder and longer.

Another disadvantage of using a metal bat is that it weights the game unfairly toward the batter. Pitchers and fielders are left trying to catch up with balls that are hit at high velocities. This can disrupt hitting statistics and cause uneven matches, which can be frustrating to watch and play. College baseball adopted an altered metal bat which removed some of these advantages, and the game was evened out as a result.

Metal bats are also prone to dents, which means that they need to be replaced quite often. Since they cost about the same as comparable wooden bats, the cost question is more or less even between metal and wooden bats. Youth leagues often have problems with dented bats that need to be replaced.

Another disadvantage of the metal bat is that it could significantly alter the character of the game of major league baseball. Baseball prides itself on continuity of statistics extending back for more than a century. If metal bats were introduced, it would then be impossible to compare current and past hitting statistics.

MLB players and enthusiasts want to see themselves as the carriers of a significant historical tradition in the footsteps of legends like Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth. If wooden bats were abandoned, the entire statistical shape and historical impact of the game would be changed.

Understanding the Pros and Cons

Major League Baseball has come out against switching to metal bats many times over the past decades. Metal bats would alter the character of the game as well as causing greater potential for the injury of players and fans. The continued use of the wooden bat is thought to be best for Major League Baseball because it has fewer safety implications and makes games more evenly matched. Historical continuity in the game’s statistics would be preserved, making game analysts happy.

Baseball experts like Marc Stocco are convinced that the MLB should look into the potential of switching to metal bats and that precautions can be taken to make the game safer. The question of metal versus wooden bats will continue to be debated in the MLB for many decades to come.