WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (March 23, 2007) -- Recently, Little League International has received a number of inquiries regarding non-wood bats, particularly in relation to a March 14 vote by the New York City Council to ban the use of non-wood bats in high school baseball games.
It is important to note that the New York City Council's vote applies only to high school baseball games played in the city, and does not apply in any way to Little League games at any level in the city or anywhere else.
Little League International has and will continue to provide as much factual information as possible on the subject to the media, to volunteers, and to legislators considering laws that would dictate the use of certain types of equipment in Little League Baseball and Softball. It is Little League International's belief that the same governmental imposition may soon be directed at Little League Baseball and other youth baseball programs.
Little League Baseball has always advocated that local leagues and individuals may choose wood or non-wood bats for use in our program.
Little League supports the right of a local Little League to implement a wood-only rule, and we support any league's right to make that choice for its local community. Some prefer the game played with wood bats, and that's fine as well. But Little League International does not accept the premise that the game will be safer if played exclusively with wood, simply because there are no facts -- none at all -- to support that premise.
As a result, any individual or league choosing a wood-only option must understand that the choice is not being made because of any factual data or scientific information.
Little League volunteers already know that participation in Little League is made safer by Little League rules, regulations and policies. Little League's safety record is second to none, as less than 1 percent of all participants annually in Little League require medical treatment of any kind as the result of an injury in a practice or game.
As Steve Keener, Little League Baseball and softball president and chief executive officer, said: "If there was a safety concern, based on Little League's proven history of attention to safety with matters such as mandating background checks and pitch counts, we'd be the first in line to address it."
Safety continues to be Little League's No. 1 concern, and the non-wood bat issue is no exception. For that reason, we are providing these facts: