A couple years back a 12-year-old kid got hit just above the heart on the mound with a line drive in a rec league baseball game. The boy’s heart stopped beating and his brain was deprived of oxygen for over 15 minutes, resulting in disastrous bodily harm. Two years later, the family of the wounded child is now suing the bat manufacturer (Hillerich & Bradsby Co., maker of the 31 inch, 19 ounce aluminum Louisville Slugger), Little League Baseball for sanctioning the bat (even though it wasn’t a Little League game) and the Sports Authority for selling the bat at their store.
This is quite the lawsuit. The whole basis of the family’s case is that the bat is unsafe (too light, basically). But the reality is that bats of these whip like caliber have been in use for years on end. In my personal opinion, they are too light, but the durability of aluminum forced out wood bats at the youth league level long ago. Considering these factors, I think this seems to be an unfortunate case of a devastated family that simply is looking for someone to blame for a very tragic accident. This is not Little League’s fault, nor Louisville Slugger’s, nor the sporting goods store.
I do believe that the incredibly lightweight nature of aluminum youth league bats is consistently dangerous (that’s why they changed oz. rules to -3 for high-schools near the millennium), but until parents and leagues are willing to pony up the cash to switch back to wood, aluminum bats will remain what they are.