Monday, June 19, 2006

A Modest Proposal: Wood Bats

bamboo bat
Originally uploaded by dangunderman.
About half this season, my Vermont baseball league is being played with wood bats, rather than metal. It's a test-run to see if we can become an all wood-bat league. For those of you interested, but not familiar, with the argument for and against metal and wood bats, here's a summary:

Pro Metal Bat/Con Wood Bat
- Metal bats are ultimately cheaper. It's hard to break a metal bat, so it becomes a one-time investment. Players are willing to share their bats with teammates.

- It's easier to hit with a metal bat. The sweet spot is bigger, and the ball goes farther.

Pro Wood Bat/Con Metal Bat
- It's more dangerous. Alright, so injuries can happen with wood bats as well, but the technology of metal bats allows for lighter bats with more power. Bat speed goes up, balls fly faster with our aging reflexes, and someone could get hurt.

- It's easier to hit with a metal bat. You can do it with little actual skill. The game has more finesse with a wood bat.

- Real baseball is played with wood bats.

There are more points to be made on both sides, probably, but that's why I called it a summary.

I played my first wood-bat game on Saturday night in Ludlow, Vermont. As I mentioned in a previous posting, it's an ideal place to play ball. Mountains, sunset, a nice bunch of guys to play against... I'd like every game to be there.

I hit a couple of balls really hard during the game. Unfortunately both were foul, but ultimately I didn't care. Hitting the sweet spot on a wood bat is much more satisfying than hitting it with a metal bat.

We lost the game, by the way, which with my team tends to go without saying. But it was a respectable game. We kept it close throughout. We got guys on base; we just struggled to bring them around. And we only made a couple of errors.

But I'm still thinking about my foul balls. One went into the woods beyond the left field fence. I probably didn't hit it so well that it would've been a home run had it been fair, but a fella can dream. The other was probably the hardest-hit ball I've had in my four-plus years of (occasionally) playing in the league. A line shot down the third-base line that hooked just foul. I ended up one-for-four. My least well-hit ball blooped in for a single and my only hit. Amazing how that happens.

The feeling of that line drive through my hands will carry me for weeks until my next game.

Oh, and it was great meeting Phil, the Ludlow Gold first baseman. He managed to connect me to B&E over the course of the game. (This is a different Phil, by the way, than the one that occasionally comments on the site. At least I think it is.)

And I'm not completely sure about this, but I think Ludlow Gold Phil might just be bald under that cap of his. He also made an effective play to end the game. So welcome to the B&E club, Ludlow Gold Phil!

Anyway, CRVBL commissioners, there's at least one dude on the McNeill's Brewers in favor of a completely wood-bat league.

Now bring on the 'roids, HGH, and greenies! Papa wants to hit one out!



At 11:39 PM , Blogger Missy said...

I really wanted to make a comment about your foul balls, but that would just be juvenile.

At 9:22 AM , Blogger dan g said...

And hard foul balls at that. Really, I'm surprised you could contain yourself, Missy, if that is indeed your name.

At 9:48 AM , Blogger Missy said...

I KNOW! I must be maturing or something awful like that.

At 1:25 PM , Blogger Ted Carter said...

The girl child is playing softball this summer, and I have to say that I am much more comfortable with her playing with a wooden bat than with an aluminum bat.

And from my infrequent experience playing ball, I always prefer the feel of a wooden bat. There is something much more "authentic" about the experience.

Now, when I am bludgeoning someone, on the other hand, I do prefer the sound of the aluminum bat on human bones...


Post a Comment

<< Home