CIF approves metal bat standards, will encourage use of protective gear
The executive committee of the California Interscholastic Federation approved last week a motion that would require aluminum baseball bats to be used for the 2011 season to meet the new BBCOR performance standards.
It also passed a motion that would mandate the CIF to encourage member schools to voluntarily require protective headgear for baseball and softball infielders and pitchers for the 2011 season, while also proposing to the National Federation of State High School Assn. Baseball and Softball rules committees to develop standards for protective headgear in 2012.
The motions come in response to a pending bill in the State Legislature, AB 7, that would prohibit non-wood bats for the 2011 season. The bill's author, Jared Huffman (D-Marin), had been negotiating with the CIF, so he's expected to withdraw the bill.
College baseball teams are switching to the new BBCOR performance standard next season.Requiring infielders to wear protective headgear in baseball will not be popular. "As an infielder, I wouldn't want to wear one," Mission Hills Alemany Coach Randy Thompson said. "I could see pitchers wearing a skull cap under the hat."
The actions come after lots of lobbying and publicity in the wake of several injuries suffered last season after balls hit from metal bats struck high school players in the head.
-- Eric Sondheimer