BBCOR Certified Baseball Bats
It seems baseball is changing. You could say it's kicking back to the early days of America's favorite pastime. Safety concerns have prompted modifications to baseball bats, and how their performance is being measured. And now bats used in games are hitting more like their wood predecessors.
Beginning this year, January 1, 2012, high school baseball in the US will have to use BBCOR certified baseball bats, and the prior BESR rating is no longer considered an accurate means of measuring bat performance. The new bat rating system has already been in place for college baseball as of January of 2011. The new standard isn't replacing, but simply expanding upon the previous BESR baseball bat rating.
What is BBCOR certification and why the change?
The new acronym stands for Bat Ball Coefficient of Restitution, and measures the trampoline effect, or bounciness of the bat. The old standard (BESR) or Ball Exit Speed Ratio, simply measured the ratio of the baseball's exit off the bat compared with the speed of the pitch and bat swing. BBCOR certification still includes the old BESR standard.
Governing bodies established the new rating in response to concerns that aluminum bats were not as safe as wood, and to make metal bats perform more like wood bats to level the playing field.
What does this mean for baseball?
Under the new rule, all bats used in high school and college games must bear the BBCOR logo on them or they cannot be used.
BBCOR certification slows down the speed at which balls can come off the bat, so BBCOR certified baseball bats perform more like the original wood ones. While players may score fewer home runs now than in recent years, and you may see more wood bats on the field, the idea is to level the playing field for everyone and hopefully reduce player injuries.
How are BBCOR certified bats different from the old ones?
The BBCOR bats include an Accelerated Break-In Test (ABI). This is to make sure that a well-used bat doesn't exceed maximum performance limits. Older more broken in bats with composite barrels tended to increase their trampoline effect as barrel walls got more broken in. But don't worry; the science of the new bats really isn't all that different from that of the old ones.
Does this mean I need a new baseball bat?
Under official high school and college baseball regulatory guidelines, yes. But you can continue to practice with older non-official BBCOR certified baseball bats. You just can't use them for games. However, we recommend practicing with the new bats to get used to the different feel.
Who will be affected by the new rule?
As of this year, 2012, any organization that functions under NFHS and NCAA rules, high school and college baseball respectively, will be required to use bats that are BBCOR certified.
Where can I get BBCOR certified baseball bats?
BBCOR certified bats are available at most any major sporting goods retailer, such as Epic Sports. Our full line of BBCOR certified baseball bats are available here: BBCOR Certified Baseball Bats.
By functioning more like their wooden predecessors, the new baseball bats will bring baseball back to its roots. The new bats will hopefully make the game safer for players, coaches and spectators. While there may be fewer fly balls caught by spectators in the stands, at least our leaguers will be swinging baseball bats on a level playing field again, more like the game our ancestors used to enjoy.