The Bats, Gloves, & Gadgets for Baseball Season
The ping of a baseball popping off an aluminum bat can herald a superhuman swat, but those high-velocity line drives can cause devastating injury to a collegiate or Little League player. New 2012 regulations known as BBCOR—inside baseball, that's "batted ball coefficient of restitution"—force bat manufacturers to find a way to make aluminum and composite bats perform more like wooden ones. To play by the new rules, some manufacturers have wedged discs inside the barrels, and others have slimmed down key spots of the bat's walls by hundredths of an inch. So do the sticks work? We took batting practice with two styles of the new bats, an Easton and a Louisville Slugger, along with a white ash classic. The bats hit with a wooden thump and a lower velocity than the aluminum of yore. But one stood out as the smoothest swinger with the biggest sweet spot. Turn the page to see the bat we'd take to the on-deck circle.