There’s a solution for Little League’s bat problem

Let’s call this “The Case Of The Black Marucci 33 – 30.”

Sounds like a great movie title…a spy book…or at least an interesting episode on the Duck Hunters TV show!

But in reality, the Black Marucci is about a baseball bat. An illegal Little League baseball bat that the Senior League team from Panama was using at the World Series. At the end of the day this bat cost a player and a coach to miss what was their greatest day in their baseball lives. They couldn’t participate when their Panama team won the SLWS championship on Saturday, 2-1 over Pennsylvania.

For the record, the Panama folks left town with a world championship banner, and a strong belief they did nothing wrong. The one coach left available to coach on Saturday, Jorge Cedeno, says they bought the bat at the Bangor Mall early in tournament week and that the umpires told them they could use the “Marucci Black” bat model.

Tournament officials say two things – a) the umpires checked five team bats and that the “Marucci Black” was not one of them and b) the umps check for cracks and dents and drop rates. Whether or not the bat is on the LL illegal list is the responsibility of the manager of the team. (That’s why the player using the bat and manager were ejected)

As someone who volunteers for local Little League, I have said for years that the “bat thing” has gotten way out of control. Why can’t we just designate one bat type and say all teams will use this bat, issued by the tournament officials.

I know, I know, the baseball/softball bat business is big business. Bat companies need to make a buck and showcasing their bats is part of it. I get it.

But here is what I say… All teams play on a field where the pitcher throws from the same distance. The distance from home to first base in the same. The baseball that is used is the same brand for all teams. Every team must record the same amount of outs before they can win. It is a level playing field.

Except when it comes to bats.

There is a wide range of bats you can use and I can only assume if mom and dad buy their kid a $450 bat instead of a $100 bat, they think this is an advantage for their kid and their team.

I looked up the Marucci Elite BBCOR (-3) on the company site. The headline says “Faster=Further. A faster bat means a more powerful swing. The multimaterial barrel combines our ultra-responsive AZ3000 alloy with carbon fibers to reduce the barrel weight…the result is a fast swinging bat specially designed for you to turn bat speed into power.”

Sounds like a deal for just $349.99. (Ten bucks extra for custom engraving)

Fine. Great. Let’s use this bat. I’m not against any bat company.

One bat (with various weights).

“The Case Of The Black Marucci 33-30” solved.

ITEMS FROM THE DUFFEL BAG:

– It is quite possible that when winter rolls around there could be two hockey goalies from Maine starting on the international stage…former Black Bear Jimmy Howard for the USA Olympic team and John Gillies (South Portland) starting for the USA World Junior team.

– Who is responsible for the schedule that has the Red Sox playing a night game in Boston followed by a game the next day in San Francisco? And while you are checking, who scheduled the Sox playing two interleague games at Colorado during the last week of the season?

– Can you imagine what it would be like if the Red Sox met the Dodgers in the World Series?

– Let the fall high school sports season begin!

– Remember when the Red Sox were going to trade Manny Ramirez and Jon Lester to Texas for A-Rod?

– The Williamsport LL championship game coming this week live on Sportsradio 92.9 TheTicket.