Senate committee approves one-year ban on metal bats bill

The state Senate Education Committee approved a bill today that would place a one-year moratorium on the use of metal bats in high school baseball games, Assemblyman Jared Huffman said.

The vote was 5-1 and the bill, AB7, now heads to a vote by the full Senate.

Huffman, D-San Rafael, proposed a three-year moratorium in the bill but he accepted the committee's recommendation for a one-year moratorium, his spokesman Lawrence Cooper said.

The one-year moratorium is consistent with the National Collegiate Athletic Association's current review of safety standards, Cooper said.

The bill is in response to the injury of Marin Catholic High School player Gunnar Sandberg who was hit in the head on March 11 with a baseball hit with a metal bat.

Sandberg, 16, was put in a medically-induced coma at Marin General Hospital and a portion of his skull was removed as his brain swelled.

He was transferred to a rehabilitation facility in San Francisco and was expected to be released today but will still under go further therapy on an out-patient basis, his family said.

The incident revived the debate about using metal bats which critics claim make the ball travel faster than those hit with wood bats.

The issue has been studied since the 1970s and high school teams in the Marin County Athletic League agreed not to use non-wood bats for the remainder of this season.

"This tragedy is a wake up call," Huffman said in a news release.

"It's time to seriously consider the safety of allowing kids to use performance-enhancing metal bats with the pitcher standing 60 feet away with virtually no protection," Huffman said.

"If using metal bats creates an additional risk of injury or death, as the evidence strongly suggests, then we shouldn't hesitate to err on the side of safety and require our high school athletes to use traditional wood bats - the same bats used by Major League players so many of them admire and aspire to be," Huffman said.

Huffman said his bill does not dictate the outcome of the debate but "provides an appropriate precautionary measure - and a leveling of the playing field, for leagues and teams who choose to protect pitchers by suspending the use of performance-enhancing bats while baseball officials sort out the options over the next few years."

Senate Education Committee Chair Gloria Romero, D-East Los Angles, and Committee member Senator Elaine Alquist, D-San Jose, asked to be co-authors of the bill today, Cooper said.

The California Athletic Trainer's Association and the California Brain Injury Association support Huffman's bill, Cooper said.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Softball Mom
a resident of Danville
on May 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Let us hope that the full senate can do what the NCS-CIF could not do the other night. Let us stop the insanity.

Lost in the news shuffle! Read below.

While the baseball community is extremely aware of the Gunnar Sandberg saga, the softball community is very much aware of the Kristi Denny incident which occurred in SoCal at about the same time. This high school pitcher took a line shot directly to her face. Kristi subsequently required six hours of reconstructive surgery and now has a forehead made of of titanium mesh. The real "kicker" to the story is that this young high school pitcher was wearing head/face mask potection. Doctors have stated that had Kristi not been wearing her face mask, she most likely would have been killed.

Currently designed aluminum bats must be considered lethal weapons. Don't think for a second because your daughter plays "softball" and wears her protective face mask that she is immune from such catostrophic injury.

Web Link

Surreal! Post your support.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by NCAA
a resident of Danville
on May 7, 2010 at 6:04 am

Yes, I believe the one-year high school metal bat moratorium bat is both reasonable and responsible action. It will allow coaches and programs to determine if wood bats do indeed impose an undue financial upon players, as aluminum bat proponents have stated.

However, even if the state legislatures adopt the one-year metal bat moratorium, there is still going to be an uphill battle. The NCAA has attempted to restrict and regulate metal bats in the past, but have been stymied by metal bat manufacturers who have prevented such regulation through "restraint of trade" law suits.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reasonable Cost
a resident of Danville
on May 7, 2010 at 6:29 am

High schools do not complain about the cost of football helmets. Swimming programs do not stop using chlorine in the pools to save money. The health and safety of the student athlete, in addition to skill development, should be the primary concern, not avoiding reasonable costs.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ralph N. Shirlet
a resident of another community
on May 7, 2010 at 7:18 am

Ralph N. Shirlet is a registered user.

Dear Emily,

I must be confused or simply drifting. Aren't metal bats those animals that hang upside down in caves and feed on aluminum foil each night?

If not, we must be discussing the materials used to create a large club-like devise to strike a hard, round sphere. One could ask that the choice of materials be explained as increased danger. A bat of such specification is dangerous no matter what hard wood or metal is used.

It does seem that tradition is the thing that separates other sports using club-like devices from Baseball. I watched helmeted La Cross players who were protected from the clubs and balls by a face mask. It seems to verify the definition of tradition as the excuses we make for the silly things we do repeatedly.

Have you ever wondered why the audience at golf competitions do not wear helmets?

So many questions, right?

The ROFL in Ralph N. Shirlet

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