NYCity News Service
A slim majority of New Yorkers believes the City Council made the right call by voting to ban the use of metal bats in high school baseball games, an informal NYCity News Service survey found. Nearly 57 percent of the 53 people questioned by NYCity News Service reporters backed the Councilâ€™s controversial move â€“ and parents supported the measure by a 2-to-1 margin. Some 64 percent of those surveyed said the ban should be extended to organized games involving younger children. â€œIf itâ€™s going to prevent people from getting injured itâ€™s a good idea, especially with children,â€ said Robin McHugh, 49, who was shopping for a baseball glove for his 10-year-old at the Modellâ€™s Sporting Goods store on W. 42nd Street. The bill, sponsored by Councilman James Oddo (R-Staten Island) and supported, by among others, Brooklyn-reared ex-Met John Franco, was spurred by reports of serious injuries and even deaths of young players attributed to balls hit with aluminum bats. Some experts contend that balls fly off metal bats at higher speeds than those hit with wooden bats, giving players â€” particularly pitchers â€” less time to react. Mayor Bloomberg vetoed the bill, but was the Council overrode him. Critics of the measure include sporting good industry officials who say there is no reliable data indicating metal bats are more dangerous than wooden models.
â€˜Politicsâ€™ v. Safety
The NYCity News Service survey found some strong critics of the measure, particularly among men. While 69 percent of women questioned supported the ban, 52% of men did. In Modellâ€™s, manager Edwin Cuevas, 25, chalked up the bat bill to â€œpolitics.â€ He noted that metal bats last longer, and are lighter and easier to swing. â€œTheyâ€™ll struggle more to excel with the wood,â€ he said. â€œWhy did they want to ban them?â€ asked Edwin Rodriguez, a 46-year-old father of four. â€œThere are other safety problems, like knives and guns.â€ But others said that the cost of switching over to wooden bats â€“ estimated at $250,000 in the public high school system alone â€“ was a small price to pay for safety. â€œIfâ€¦it will actually have an impact on safety, then Iâ€™m all for it,â€ said Monica Reyhani, 23. Enemencio De la Cruz, 57, agreed. â€œI have a grandchild in school,â€ he said. â€œAnything to keep him safe.â€ Even some of those against the ban for high school ballplayers, said they favored taking metal bats out of the hands of younger kids. Oddo had sought to include Little League and independent leagues in the ban, but backed down in an effort to draw more support from his colleagues. â€œYouâ€™d think youâ€™d want to protect them [younger children] a little bit more than the older kids,â€ said Malik Little, 35, the father of a 3-year-old son.