Baseball Bat Regulations

In professional baseball, only wooden bats are permitted, and they are not allowed to be hollowed or corked—that is, filled with an alien substance such as cork which reduces the weight, and is thought to thus increase bat speed without greatly reducing hitting power. In amateur baseball, both wooden and metal alloy bats are generally permitted. Recently there have been increasing numbers of "wooden bat leagues" and the trend back to wood seems to be accelerating due to safety concerns regarding the speed of a batted ball hit directly toward the pitcher's head. Metal (generally aluminum) alloy bats are generally regarded as being capable of hitting a ball faster and farther than wooden bats swung with the same power.

Aesthetically, wooden bats are generally agreed to be superior to metal bats, both because of their more traditional appearance and because a ball hit with a wooden bat makes a loud "crack" sound, while metal alloy bats have a "ping" sound.

Most wooden bats are made from ash. Other natural materials used include maple tree wood, hickory wood, and bamboo. Hickory has fallen into disfavor because it is much heavier than other woods, while maple bats have become more popular recently. This ascent in popularity followed the introduction of the first major league sanctioned maple baseball bat in 1997, by craftsman Sam Holman, founder of Sam Bat.

The first player to use it was Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays.[2] Barry Bonds used the bats the season that he broke Mark McGwire's single-season home run record in 2001 and Hank Aaron's career home run record in 2007.[3] Recently, Major League Baseball has debated whether maple bats are safe to use, due to the tendency for them to shatter into pieces.

Within the standards set by the various leagues, there is ample latitude for individual variation, and many batters settle on an individual bat profile, or occasionally adopt a profile used by another batter. Formerly, bats were hand-carved to a template obtained from a fixed number of calibration points; today, they are machine-turned to a precise metal template: these templates are kept in the bat manufacturers' vaults; for example, Babe Ruth's template, which became understandably popular among major-league players. 

Once the basic bat has been turned, it is then branded by burning, with the manufacturer's name, the serial number, and often the signature of the player for whom it was made: the brand is applied to the hard side of the bat, allowing the batter visual control of the hardness of the surface hitting the ball; the burn residue is then sanded off. (The first player to endorse and sign a bat was Honus Wagner.)

The next step is the finishing of the head: bats are more often given a rounded head, but some 30% of players prefer a "cup-balanced" head, in which a cup-shaped recess is made in the head; this lightens the bat and moves its center of gravity toward the handle. Finally, the bat is stained in one of seven standard colors, which include natural white, red stain, black, and a two-tone blue and white stain.

In high school baseball in the United States:

The bat is not allowed to be more than 2 5/8 inches (67 mm) in diameter.

Its "drop" (inches of length minus ounces of weight) must be no more than 3: for example, a 34‑inch (863.6‑mm) bat must weigh at least 31 ounces (880 g). [4]

The bat may consist of any safe solid uniform material; the National Federation of State High School Associations rules state only "wood or non-wood" material.

In order to be legally used in a game, an aluminum bat cannot exceed a BESR (ball exit speed ratio) rating of .728 because it has been determined that a pitcher loses the ability to protect himself when this ratio is exceeded. [5]

In some 12-year-old-and-under youth leagues (such as Little League Baseball), the bat may not be more than 2 1/4 inches (57 mm) in diameter.[6] However in many other leagues (like PONY League Baseball, and Cal Ripken League Baseball), the bat may not be more than 2 3/4 inches (70 mm) in diameter.[7]

A baseball player may apply pine tar on the gripping end of the bat in order to improve grip. Too much pine tar, however, is illegal: according to Rule 1.10(c) of the Major League Baseball Rulebook, it is not allowed more than 18 inches up from the bottom handle. An infamous example of the rule in execution is the Pine Tar Incident on July 24, 1983, when Kansas City Royals third baseman George Brett was called out after hitting an apparent home run, because after comparing the length of the pine-tar treated area to the width of home plate (17 inches), the umpire determined too much of the bat was covered with pine tar. At the time, such a hit was defined in the rules as an illegally batted ball, the penalty for which is that the batter is declared out according to Rule 6.06. Nonetheless, at the time, the out call was challenged and overruled, and the game was resumed on August 6, starting after the now-upheld home run.

Rules 1.10 and 6.06 were later changed to reflect the intent of Major League Baseball, as exemplified by the Commissioner's ruling. Rule 1.10 now only requires that the bat be removed from the game if discovered after being used in a game; it no longer necessitates any change to the results of any play which may have taken place. Rule 6.06 refers only to bats that are "altered or tampered with in such a way to improve the distance factor or cause an unusual reaction on the baseball. This includes, bats that are filled, flat-surfaced, nailed, hollowed, grooved or covered with a substance such as paraffin, wax, etc." It no longer makes any mention of an "illegally batted ball."

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Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson - I am the author of BplowestPrices.com. Before becoming a blogger, I played baseball for seven years. Therefore, I want to bring benefits and value to those who follow. The blog mainly reviews the best baseball bats and the best baseball gloves for all ages. Giving is receiving back, I hope everyone will support me and Bplowest Prices.