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Christopher Miller

Why don’t college baseball teams use wooden bats?

Should the NCAA use wood bats?

The coming of spring typically means one thing. It means that the blustery winds, subzero temperatures and snow will depart. But in the sports world, it means another thing: the great game otherwise referred to as “America’s pastime” is back after a six-month hiatus that is undoubtedly long and arduous for baseball fanatics worldwide.

Nonetheless, the game of baseball, even with such a storied and prestigious reputation as a sport, has its fair share of criticism at both the collegiate and professional levels.

Some common gripes against one of America’s oldest sports are that games are too long and that scoring and other offensive fireworks are too infrequent.

Those complaints have plenty of merit, but they are not the issues I wish to focus on. I would like to address the one glaring difference that currently exists between baseball at the collegiate and professional levels. The difference I am referring to is that the NCAA uses aluminum bats, whereas the MLB and other professional leagues use wooden bats.

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In my opinion, there is no reason why college baseball should play with aluminum bats when the professionals, who are just a step above these college players, use wooden bats. In fact, there are a plethora of justifications for why the NCAA should just start using wooden bats.

The first and most obvious objection I have to the use of an aluminum bat is the fact that it creates an unnecessary adjustment period for players. The switch from an aluminum bat to a wooden bat when heading to the minor leagues or to the MLB is not always a seamless transition.

When making the move from college ball to professional ball, it is not uncommon to see someone who had great success at the plate in college struggle to adjust in the pros. Obviously, some of these struggles can be attributed to the increase in talent level, but other struggles are often attributed to a change in bat.

Though most would agree that a baseball can be hit just as far with a wooden bat as it can be with an aluminum bat, there are still subtle differences amongst the two. The contact points, trajectory and bounces differ when using aluminum vs. wood. Additionally, it is easier to hit a home run with an aluminum bat than with a wooden bat. These are just a few of the many differences that can be seen.

To account for the expected struggles in bat transition from college and high school to the pros, it has become relatively commonplace that both collegiate and even high school baseball players will participate in summer wood-bat baseball leagues trying to get experience with the different bat. Participation in wood-bat summer leagues is done with one goal in mind, preparing for the pros, where the wooden bat is the norm.

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I fail to see any legitimate reason as to why college baseball should use an aluminum bat instead of a wooden bat. Doing so will better prepare them for the next level and ease or eliminate an uneasy and frustrating transition period from college ball to pro ball.

Also, one benefit of the aluminum bat is that it is easier to hit home runs. But, is that really needed? In this day and age, high school and college baseball players are bigger, stronger, and faster than ever before. Do they really need the extra benefit provided by an aluminum bat?

The reality is that many of these young men are well-built, physically strong athletes more than capable of hitting the ball out of the park regardless of what type of bat they are using. With this in mind, why not just require the use of a wooden bat in college baseball? It will not noticeably alter the game we love so much. It will simply add consistency and unanimity to the game and better prepare these young athletes for the next level.

Christopher Miller is a junior studying broadcast journalism and sport management. Do you think college athletes should use wooden bats? Let him know at or @MLLRC93.

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