There was an interesting feature in the Times the other day, titled "Going Against the Grain," by Bill Pennington, which chronicled the efforts of the Massachusetts high school system to banish metal bats in favor of wood bats. Opinion is split, and the debates are heated, but I like the concept behind the move. I grew up playing with metal bats, and I appreciated how they were easier on the hands, and how they gave me an inflated sense of myself as a hitter.
Some high school coaches are complaining that using wood bats will ruin the chances of their kids to compete for scholarships. While this may be true, anyone who is worth their salt is eventually going to have to use a wood bat if they make the minor leagues, let alone the majors, anyway. Why not get 'em started early?
Besides, who prefers the ping of a metal bat over the crack of an old fashioned wooden one?
"I'm worried about the future," said Frank Carey, the baseball coach at North Redding High School, who made an impassioned plea at the hearings. "Kids have trouble with failure and metal makes it easier to hit. Nobody likes to hit .200."
Alex Campea, the baseball coach at Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, suggested that wood bats would improve the quality of games. "Those kids will also become better fielders and better bunters," Campea said. "We will have 2-1 games with speed and strategy. It's not supposed to be about who hits it farthest. We had too many 15-12 games. Those are football scores."