AB 7 – HIGH SCHOOL
           BASEBALL SAFETY ACT
                5 MAJOR MYTHS vs. FACTS



                             ...
Myth #2
“The evidence must be inconclusive – bat manufacturers dispute the safety issue and cite
  studies suggesting mini...
disparities between wealthy players, who have no problem paying $400 for a bat, and
   less affluent players, who must cho...
restrictions on performance-enhancing bats and the potential for protective head
     and/or body gear for pitchers.
    ...
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The 5 Myths of Using a Metal Bat: What the Bat Manufacturers Refuse to Tell Us!

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The 5 Myths of Using a Metal Bat. What the Bat Manufacturers Refuse to Tell Us!

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The 5 Myths of Using a Metal Bat: What the Bat Manufacturers Refuse to Tell Us!

  1. 1. AB 7 – HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL SAFETY ACT 5 MAJOR MYTHS vs. FACTS Myth #1 “Metal bats pose no greater safety risk than traditional wood bats.” Facts Performance-enhancing metal bats create an obvious safety risk -- here are the hard facts: 1. At identical bat speeds, metal causes balls to fly significantly faster than wood. Studies show that balls travel at a maximum speed to 93 mph off a wooden bat, and 4 to 7 mph faster off an aluminum bat. That’s a significant difference, but it doesn’t stop there. 2. There’s also a difference in bat speed. Metal bats are designed to swing faster than wood, which adds even more velocity. Industry-sponsored studies downplaying the velocity difference between wood and metal bats invariably assume no difference in bat speed – ignoring real-world conditions. 3. Now consider the “sweet spot.” Metal bats have a much larger “sweet spot” – the contact point that generates power and velocity. That means many more hard- hit balls and a greater statistical risk of injury. 4. Plus the “break-in” factor. Many non-wood bats create even greater velocities over time because the “trampoline” properties of the metal increase as the bats are broken-in. This effect is so well-known that players sometimes accelerate the process by subjecting the bat to a “rolling” procedure. 5. All of this translates to a greater safety risk for pitchers, who stand unprotected less than 60 feet from the batter: they have less reaction time, are exposed to hard- hit balls more frequently, and when balls do hit them there is more damage because the ball is traveling faster.
  2. 2. Myth #2 “The evidence must be inconclusive – bat manufacturers dispute the safety issue and cite studies suggesting minimal differences between metal and wood bat performance.” Facts Bat manufacturers say different things to different audiences. When someone gets hurt and people question the safety of metal bats, they downplay the performance advantage of their products. But when promoting their products for sale, manufacturers admit all the key facts: they routinely boast of greater bat speed, more power, larger “sweet spots” and improved performance after a break-in period. These facts prove the safety problem -- no matter how they spin it when someone gets hurt. The NCAA acknowledges the safety problem too. In 1998, the NCAA tried to conclusively address the problem with safety rules restricting the use of metal bats… but Easton Sports Inc., the nation’s leading aluminum bat manufacturer, filed a lawsuit to stop them. The settlement of that suit incorporated more lenient standards approved by the bat manufacturers. Myth #3 “AB 7 will cost schools more money because wood bats break more than metal bats.” Facts Switching to wood will not significantly increase costs for players or their teams. In fact, it will level the playing field for disadvantaged communities and save money. Again, here are the hard facts: 1. Traditional wood bats cost between $20 and $60. The price of metal bats has risen faster than gasoline. Top metal bats cost up to $400 because they deliver enhanced performance, and players understandably want that extra edge. This creates major
  3. 3. disparities between wealthy players, who have no problem paying $400 for a bat, and less affluent players, who must choose between buying a metal bat their family can’t afford or putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage with a wood bat. 2. While traditional wood bats break more frequently than metal, experience in New York City and the state of North Dakota – where metal bats are banned – suggests switching to wood bats still produces a net savings. In Marin County, where leagues voluntarily suspended use of metal bats for the 2010 season, the number of broken wood bats and the replacement costs have been much lower than metal bat manufacturers typically claim. 3. The cost comparison isn’t even close when you consider the option of new wood composite bats that sell for roughly $100. These wood-based bats can be purchased with the same one-year guarantee as leading metal bats, but at a fraction of the cost. Myth #4 “Metal bats are already regulated by the NCAA – this bill isn’t needed.” Facts The problem is not being adequately resolved by the NCAA. The current “Ball Exit Speed Ratio” (BESR) standard was designed by bat manufacturers to mask the performance advantage of metal bats. It ignores bat speed, among other key factors. As safety concerns continue to mount, the NCAA recently banned some metal composite bats and proposed a new set of safety standards that take effect in 2011 for college baseball and 2012 for high school baseball. The new standards were likewise conceived by bat manufacturers and it is unclear whether they adequately address safety issues. However, it is clear that many of today’s top-selling metal bats will be illegal in a few short years under the new safety rules. AB 7 is needed to:  accelerate the phase-out of bats that have already been deemed unsafe;  create a level playing field for players and teams who choose to take the precautionary step of using wood bats until new safety rules take effect in 2012;  provides an essential NUDGE to baseball officials and equipment manufacturers – to seriously review all appropriate safety options, including more meaningful
  4. 4. restrictions on performance-enhancing bats and the potential for protective head and/or body gear for pitchers.  AB 7 is already making a positive difference by elevating this debate! Easton recently unveiled conceptual drawings of lightweight, highly functional products that could be worn by pitchers to reduce the risk of serious injury. These products are not commercially available today – but could be brought to market by 2012. AB 7 provides a temporary measure of safety for pitchers until these products become commercially available. Myth #5 “AB 7 will hurt our economic recovery – Easton is a California company that could lose revenues and jobs if metal bats are banned.” Facts High school baseball is a fraction Easton’s global sporting equipment business, and like most bat manufacturers they sell both metal and wood bats, including wood composite bats. During the AB 7 moratorium, Easton would sell somewhat fewer of its lucrative metal bats, which are manufactured in China. But it will sell more wood and wood composite bats, which are made with American labor in the United States. AB 7 could also have a market-creating effect that would benefit Easton’s proposed protective products for pitchers.

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