Putting lumber back in H.S. bats

The crack of the bat could make a comeback.
Metal bats could become a thing of the past at local high school baseball games if a federal judge agrees with the City Council and forces New York City teams to use only wood bats.
Federal Judge John Koeltl will decide in the coming weeks whether to overturn the 1970s ban on wooden bats in high school leagues. The New York City council recently overturned a veto by Mayor Bloomberg who supported the use of metal bats.
“(The) ban on metal baseball bats in the city high school baseball games is unsupported by any empirical data, and risks placing city high school baseball players at a competitive disadvantage,” Bloomberg stated in court papers.
However, one Queens high school coach isn’t buying it.
Jack Curran, the 1988 National Baseball Coach of the Year, who coaches at Archbishop Molloy in Briarwood dismissed the notion using wood bats would put high school athletes at a competitive disadvantage.
He said that in many of the tournaments, featuring teams from multiple states, wood bats are used adding that leagues should be using wood bats because that is what is used in the major leagues - which is the end goal for every ballplayer.
“It puts them at an advantage,” Curran said, “because they are used to the wood bats.”
A few years ago, Curran said he had two players seriously injured by balls hit off metal bats, including one of his pitchers who needed massive facial surgery after being struck in the eye.
Even though a Double-A first base coach died on Sunday after being hit in the head by a line-drive off a wooden bat, Curran said this incident does not take away from his argument that wood is safer.
“Your chances to reacting to a ball coming off a wood bat are much greater than a ball off a metal bat,” Curran said.
Curran said anybody who believes a ball off a wood bat is the same as a ball off a metal is kidding themselves. He compared metal bats to the creation of metal tennis racquets and metal golf clubs, which were designed to make the balls go faster.
David Ettinger, a Detroit-based lawyer who is representing the plaintiffs in the case, said metal bats are no more dangerous than using wood bats, adding metal bats hit the ball no faster than a ball off a “fast wood” bat - the type used in the major leagues.
Metal bats make games more competitive because little tappers off the handle can turn into actual plays, Ettinger said.
However, Curran disagrees saying metal bats can ruin games by turning outs into hits. “If you just watch the game you can tell a difference,” Curran said.

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