Bat Changes Bring Small Ball to Colleges

From Gary Klein and David Wharton at the Los Angeles Times on June 1, with quotes from SABR member Alan Nathan:

College baseball takes its annual bow in the national spotlight with this week’s opening of the NCAA tournament.

Stadiums with typically a smattering of fans will be filled and, as is customary, ESPN will saturate the airwaves with games and highlights on the road to the College World Series.

But over the next month fans will witness something new.

Or rather, something that conjures the past.

Bat specifications introduced this season turned back the clock in college baseball.

Improving safety, standardizing bat performance and eliminating tampering were the goals. The result: A drastic reduction in home runs, scoring and earned-run averages.

So-called “Gorilla Ball” offenses of the 1990s and lesser-but-still powerful descendants of the last decade are extinct. Small ball is in.

Read the full article here:,0,282784.story

Originally published: June 3, 2011. Last Updated: June 3, 2011.