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College Baseball 101: Metal v. Wooden Baseball Bats

A Quick Intro to the NCAA's Baseball Bats Rule

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Welcome to the initial post for Banners on the Parkway's Musketeer Baseball coverage! It is my distinct pleasure and privilege to introduce a series that will help initiate the unfamiliar, College Baseball 101. Over the next few weeks, we'll take some time to differentiate the rule changes between NCAA and Major League Baseball. So, without further ado, let's play some ball...

One of the most obvious differences in college baseball is the use of metal bats, which was first permitted by the NCAA back in 1975. Over the past forty years, an overwhelming majority of players have chosen to use them rather than their wooden counterparts. Proponents of these metal bats argued, for years, that they improved the game and generated excitement for the fans through increased offense (because the ball travels much further when they're used). On the other hand, many criticized their use because of the perceived likelihood that they would limit a player's ability to adequately prepare for the major leagues (where only wooden bats are permitted). In an effort to quell these concerns, the NCAA imposed new requirements in 2011 for metal, or "composite," bats which significantly reduced the exit speed of baseballs after they're struck. Even though this change leveled the playing field significantly and made metal bats much more comparable to those used in the majors today, they are still overwhelmingly preferred by today's players.

Because it's just our first foray into baseball coverage, this post was short and sweet – just like a home run with a metal bat. However, we'll be back tomorrow with even more Xavier baseball coverage. So thanks for stopping by and we'll catch you again soon.