I went to see the defending NCAA Baseball National Champions play last night. The UCLA Bruins were at Loyola Marymount to take on the Lions. I was excited to see UCLA, even though they are currently ranked 20th. I went to Page Stadium on the campus of LMU. Check out the review of the stadium here: http://www.stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/george-c.-page-stadium-s1096. It was a cool night, 61 degrees and breezy. I took a picture of some fans that were all bundled up and posted on my Facebook page to show my friends in Wisconsin. Truth be told – I was cold, too. I needed to get some fleece blankets from the car to stay warm, my blood has thinned since I have been in the warmer weather! It was a great game with UCLA winning 5-3. I loved the stadium with its’ unique site lines, it was great. LAX International Airport was in the background, so there were planes taking off and landing during the game. I have not been doing profiles lately on purpose. I am trying to get a feel for different aspects of the game the fans might find interesting or things they might never have questioned. One thing that my friend and sports blogger, Paul Goode, has mentioned to me is that he doesn’t follow college baseball because of the aluminum bats. He doesn’t like the fact that almost anyone can hit a home run now-days. I agree with him that it can become redundant.
Great news, Paul! College baseball no longer uses aluminum, they have switched to BBCOR. I have seen bat company’s at some of the college baseball classics I have attended and decided to talk to one of the employees that was at the Gene Cusic Classic. Carrera Sports has it headquarters in Fort Myers, Florida that manufactures two types of bats, wood and BBCOR. I have heard the term BBCOR a lot, but never looked into that much. Even though, I have been getting an education on the subject during this trip. To explain what BBCOR stands for, the concept of its’ design, and the reason colleges and high schools have gone to these particular bats, I took this from Carrra’s website:
“BBCOR (Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution) is the new standard currently governing adult baseball bats used in collegiate play, and was implemented for high school play in 2012. Rather than measuring the ratio of the ball exit speed to pitch and bat speeds (like with BESR), BBCOR measures the trampoline effect of the bat. In the past, when a pitched ball made contact with an alloy or composite bat, the barrel would flex inward ever so slightly and the ball would retain some of its energy resulting in farther hits. Wood bats don’t have as much “give” to them and the ball loses much of its energy upon impact. The BBCOR standard ensures that non-wood bats perform more comparably to wood bats in an attempt to level the playing field.”
I have heard a lot of people say that these bats are expensive and they should just go to wood bats. Well, it isn’t that simple since the cost of a quality wood bat can cost upwards to $150. With wood bats there are many factors to consider, species, grain, etc. All play a factor in the price, here is a great link to explain more about wood bats: http://www.justbats.com/buying-guides/baseball-bats/wood/. I think that BBCOR bats are the answer for all levels of play. The price tag might seem expensive, but if you consider the amount of hits you can get out of it compared to wood, the cost can be justified.
Frank Schrantz, Sales Manager from Carrera Sports, explained to me that the premium wood bats are used by the Major League players. They usually are paid for by the team or by the bat company. If you aren’t a high profile player you select the bats provided by the team, these bats normally aren’t the best grade of wood. All wood bats break; however, players can use their own bats. If so, they purchase them and could get very expensive. The difference is in the skill level of the player. Frank told me, “professional players know the sweet spot of the bat and have the skill to not hit balls outside of that spot.” He says that is why you can pay $100 for a wood bat but it can possibly break on the initial use.
I have also heard the BBCOR has created the “dead” ball in college baseball. Well, I am not going to get into that on this post, but what I will say is, “if you are a fan of ‘small ball’, like I am, you will love the college game even more!” Paul, being the sports aficionado that you are, it is time to rethink your position on college baseball! There is a lot more information on the internet regarding this topic. The science of the game is changing and players, along with coaches, need to adapt. I love the technology as I am a traditionalist for the most part, I wish all levels could afford to use wood.
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