New Bat Rules Draw Complaints from Little League Parents
South Vancouver Little League players will be forced to retire their baseball bats and purchase new ones for the 2018 season in order to comply with changing equipment standards. All Little League players must play with official, “wood-like” bats, approved in January by the board of directors of Little League International, the world ruling body.
Approved bats will be labeled with USA Baseball stickers starting this season. USA Baseball was asked to come up with a standardized bat to make the game more uniform across all leagues. As such, the change will affect all affiliated youth leagues.
A fair move
“It takes away the technical advantage where kids could buy the most expensive bat, just to get the biggest hits,” said Paul Steele, president of South Vancouver Little League Baseball. “It makes it so that you have to have the skill to actually do it.”
Steele said the change will add fairness to the game, but it will be an expensive switch-over for many families.
“There’s going to be quite a few parents who, I think, are going to be a bit hesitant,” Steele said.
South Vancouver Little League vice president Moto Mukai said there isn’t a major difference in price between the bats, but having to replace an old bat with a new one is an added expense.
“Some people call it a cash grab to sell more bats,” Mukai said. “Most of us just deal with it […] if we have to buy new bats then we buy new bats.”
Little League player Cane Fahrni, nine, said that their families have already decided not to purchase the new bats.
“I’m not using those ones,” Fahrni said. “My dad did research on most of them and some were good [but] most of them were not that good. They cost too much.”
Kevin Fountain, director of media relations at Little League International, said Little League Canada cannot reject the new rules.
“As with any change, you’re always going to have some concern and push back,” Fountain said. “We’re doing our best to assist and provide resources.”
South Vancouver Little League players will have the option of using a team bat if they don’t wish to purchase their own. Mukai said that with the new bats, some players will struggle to hit as far as they did before.
“It could be the difference between being able to hit home runs or not,” said Gabe Linder, a Little League parent. “A lot of the players aren’t too excited about it.”