18 August 2011
Watching Little League Baseball
While watching the big game between Billings' Big Sky All-Stars and the All-Stars from Rapid City, SD
I thought for a few moments in between innings: I wonder what was behind this 85 pitch count limit and have there been any changes in bats what with a successful lawsuit here in Montana, the result of a catastrophic head injury to a pitcher from Miles City up in Helena by a ball batted with a metal bat, at the American Legion level, i.e. advanced high school level, some 8 or 9 years ago.
I did a little Googling and found that metal bats are still being used by the Little League, and that there have been no scientific studies showing that metal bats are more dangerous than wooden bats. This was reported in the Wall Street Journal back in April of this year. I had forgotten that I had read it but Mr Google kindly reminded me of a previous blog of mine. Here is some info on bats from earlier this year. Following some of the leads will get you more info.
And then back to sore arms, pitch counts, curve balls. I found a very nice summary of material coming from the University of North Carolina showing that curve balls didn't seem anymore dangerous than a lot of other practices for Little Leaguers. It was primarily the innings thrown and the number of pitches thrown that led to an increase in later injuries. The study looked fairly sturdily constructed to me. After the game I started thinking about the arm troubles of Dave McNally and wondered how many pitches he had thrown in Legion games back in the late 50s?