Hey, my mom just pointed this out to me in the paper today… Apparently there was a vote that passed that would ban the use of Metal Bats in New York… I guess this is the first step-what do you all think?
[quote]The New York City Council passed a bill today banning the use of metal bats in high school baseball games, securing enough votes to override a potential veto by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and setting up a possible legal challenge from the metal bat industry.
Industry officials, who opposed the bill, said they believed the council was the first legislative body in the nation to pass such a measure. It also marks a long-sought victory for the bill’s original sponsor, James S. Oddo, a Staten Island Republican who began pushing for a ban that would have included Little League and independent leagues more than six years ago against intense opposition led by bat manufacturers. Mr. Oddo later narrowed his bill to draw broader council support.
“I know this is not the most pressing issue on the minds of New Yorkers,” Mr. Oddo said shortly before the vote, “but I really believe in this bill. There is risk in all sports, and there is risk in baseball playing with a wooden bat, but when the risk becomes unreasonable, people have to act.”
City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, who rallied support for the measure among council members, added, “We think this is an appropriate safety step for us to protect our high school athletes.”
The bill passed by 40-6 with two abstentions. It would need 34 votes, two-thirds of the 51 members on the council, to override a veto.
Speaking before today’s vote, Mayor Bloomberg declined to say whether he would oppose the legislation.
“I have been called by professional baseball players, who are friends of mine, on both sides of the issue and I’ll look at the data and try to decide whether or not it’s an appropriate thing for the city to do, to get involved, and if so, what the science says,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
The use of aluminum bats, which were first introduced in the early 1970’s, has been debated for years both from a competitive standpoint and increasingly for safety reasons. Critics of the bats say balls fly off them faster, giving pitchers less time to react. In 2003, Brandon Patch, an 18-year-old American Legion pitcher in Montana, was killed when a line drive off a metal bat smashed into his left temple. His mother and uncle were among people who supported the bill. The council also heard from Joseph Domalewski of Wayne, N.J., whose 12-year-old son, Steven, was critically injured from a ball to the chest in a game last June.
But while supporters used these and other anecdotal examples, industry officials say there have been no reliable studies showing that metal bats provide greater risk of injury than wooden bats.
A number of coaches, leagues and athletic organizations, including Little League International and the New York High Schools Athletic Association, opposed the bill.
Part of the opposition rests on the cost of replacing wooden bats, which frequently break. According to the City Council, it would cost the city’s public high schools $253,500 to replace 5,070 metal or metal-composite bats used by 169 baseball teams with wood bats, and $67,600 a year thereafter to replace broken wood bats.
Little League officials also say the design of aluminum bats makes it easier for younger, less-skilled players to develop their hitting, where they might otherwise get discouraged with wood bats.
“This unnecessary legislation clearly was not supported by factual data, and will ultimately harm the baseball programs of the city’s high schools,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said in a statement after the vote.
“This is not a safety issue,” said Jim Darby, spokesman for Easton Sports, a leading bat maker based in Van Nuys, Calif. He added that his company and the industry would “look at all the different options out there” to block the legislation, including possible legal action.
In a statement after the vote, Mr. Darby added: “We are obviously disappointed with today’s vote, but we applaud the council members who recognized the facts and voted against this wrongheaded bill. We are hopeful that Mayor Bloomberg will also recognize that this ban will neither enhance safety nor improve the game of baseball and veto this bill.”
In voting against the bill, Councilman Tony Avella of Queens said that “as much as this is an emotional and sensitive issue, sometimes you have to have facts, and the statistics are just not there.”
“This is a common sense issue,” Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., of Queens responded. “Anyone who has been on a ball field knows aluminum bats hit harder.”
Among those who lent their support to the bill was former New York Mets pitcher John Franco, while opponents also fielded a Major Leaguer in Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina.
Councilman Lewis A. Fidler, chairman of the council’s Youth Services Committee and a key supporter of the bill, said he was “absolutely certain” the industry would bring a lawsuit and that the city would fend it off.
Addressing the full council moments before the vote, Mr. Fiddler took an emotional tone and said, “We will never know what parents’ child we saved by passing this bill today.” [/quote]
Also, if this has already been discussed, sorry for the repost…