OMAHA—Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin was on the money Friday when he said the subject of college baseball's new BBCOR bats was "tired."
By now, everyone who's paid an ounce of attention to college baseball knows the bats have dramatically reduced offense in across the nation—officially, from 7.01 runs per team per game in the 2010 regular season to 5.62 runs per game in the 2011 regular season.
Most coaches now seem at peace with the new era the bats have ushered in. In fact, American Baseball Coaches Association executive director Dave Keilitz said Friday that he conducted a survey of all NCAA coaches (73 percent responded). Just 16 percent of Division I coaches responded that they didn't like the new bats, while 42 percent said they liked it, and 41 percent said it's acceptable, Keilitz said.
But there was one fresh bat-related story to come out of Friday's press conferences. Dr. Lloyd Smith, who runs one of the NCAA's bat-testing laboratories at Washington State, acknowledged that "altering of equipment is always a concern, and that's always a possibility."
After the press conference was over, Smith weighed in on the latest bat-tampering method that coaches are starting to whisper about. It is possible to remove the end cap, then remove a metal ring from inside the barrel, then reattach the end cap.
"With these new BBCOR bats, to lower the performance you have to thicken the wall of the bat," Smith told BA. "When you do that, it makes the bat heavier, and batters don't like that. One of the ways they've been able to lower the performance but not increase the weight is to put these metal rings inside the barrel of the bat. So if you go in there and take that ring out, that's going to be a problem for the game. For this tournament here, we've tested all the bats, and we're going to continue to do that. We're also working with manufacturers to come up with ways in the design of the bat so that it's either more difficult to remove the end cap or make it apparent when the end cap is removed."
How, specifically, does this form of tampering affect performance?
"In some cases, if they remove that ring, it can make the bat less durable, so it's going got be more likely to dent and it's not going to last long. In other cases, it's going to turn it back into a BESR bat," Smith said, referencing the old bat certification method before BBCOR, "and you're back where you started from. This ring is kind of a new problem we've had with BBCOR."
Smith said equipment in the umpires' room at TD Ameritrade Park allows officials to test for this sort of tampering, but it's not readily detectable without the tests. Clearly, this could become a major issue for college baseball over the next couple of years, because some individuals are always going to seek any advantage they can find.
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog