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Safety Zone: Wood vs. Aluminum

Nick Simone, Sports Writer

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       The stories keep appearing on the news, another baseball player, no matter what level they’re at, has been hit in the head by a baseball from a line drive off the bat from the batter. Obviously the batter had no intention of this, but the trajectory of the ball was so perfect that it strikes the pitcher in the head. Depending on how direct the hit to the head was, a pitcher can be just grazed and winded or completely knocked out.

        A severe blow to the head could cause life threatening injuries. Different levels of baseball use different bats. Little league through college level uses aluminum bats and the Major leagues use wood, but head injuries happen on all levels, so which bat has a worst effect?

        A public panic led too many studies into finding if there is a difference between wood and aluminum. Most studies have led to the same conclusion, aluminum bats are more dangerous than wood bats. In one particular study, Ravi Ravindra, a physics professor at NJIT, devised an experiment to test both types of bats. The main purpose of the study was to prove to the legislature that metal has more negative effects than wood does, thus adding to the argument that a bill should be passed to ban aluminum bats from all levels of Baseball.

        For the study, Ravindra received the help from 2 NJIT baseball players. Ravindra dipped baseballs in liquid nitrogen until they freeze over, like ice balls, then the players hit the “ice-balls” using both kinds of bats. Afterward, Ravindra would analyze the cracks on the surface of the balls. A wider range of cracks on the ball, with deeper impressions made from the impact of the bat, would obviously mean that that bat was the more potent of the two.

        The result of the experiment was that aluminum bats are more potent than wood bats. In simple terms, an aluminum bat has a much larger barrel than a wood bat has, so a player has more of a chance to square a ball up and rip it, while a wood bat has smaller barrel so there is less of a chance to square up the ball. The aluminum bat also generated more force than the wood bat because of the aluminums elasticity, thus increasing the momentum to the baseball.

        With this knowledge, one would think that a law should be created and passed to outlaw aluminum bats in games. Some places have already outlawed aluminum bats from being used in games, maybe more places will follow. The legislature has the facts, something should be passed to ensure the safety of pitchers.

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Safety Zone: Wood vs. Aluminum