Parents are already starting to register their kids for recreational youth baseball, but before your child gets in the batter's box -- there are some changes you need to know about!
Did you know about a new baseball bat regulation that was put in place this year?
"This is a huge thing for Little League, for the city, because we haven't had this before," said League Chairman of Huntsville Eastern League, Justin Carter. "They haven't you know allowed this type of bat to be used."
Starting January first, USA Baseball, the national governing body for amateur baseball, began requiring all baseball bats for youth leagues to meet a new standard.
USA Baseball does not explicitly say what the wood-like material is other than "the new standard will not have a drop-weight limit, so young players can use bats made with light-weight materials." From the list of approved bats, some are metal while others are composite.
"And all leagues have adapted that except for the USSSA Travel League Association," explained Patrick Kelley, the store director of Academy Sports and Outdoors. "But all local park recreation leagues will have to have this new USA bat."
Academy Sports and Outdoors is one of the stores helping parents make the switch by offering a 20% off trade-in when an old bat is brought in.
Previously parents would look for a red standard, and now they are looking for a green standard. Travel baseball leagues are still using red standard bats.
The new bats are designed to perform much like a wood bat, ensuring the integrity of the game.
Justin Carter showed us the difference between the bats at The Yard. He thinks that the bat will help keep a swing true to form. "You know you're making the kids learn their mechanics correctly and not just muscle a ball to the outfield because they are big. They're having to learn how to swing at the ball the right way at a younger age."
Carter says it's a big change that parents need to be aware of as the season gets closer. "With the standard being what it is, safety is a huge factor there and we don't want to put a different type bat out into the game that we're not expecting to be there."
So batter up -- with the right bat. You can find a list of approved bats here:
The new change only affects youth baseball, not softball.