Opening Arguments For Yellow Bats vs Black Bats

Written by Josh Smith (@HWLcommissioner)  |  Commissioner and Author/Editor  |  12.03.2013 

Although it's early December, the 2014 season will be here sooner than you think! The 2014 Winter Meeting is only 2 months away and we will be making some key decisions that will determine the course of the season and none of those decisions could be bigger than which bat will we use. It was talked about a great deal in the extra innings edition of Episode 3 of the HWL Podcast and it's a portal of possibility that the league is considering. In a year where the worst team in the league still had about a .400 batting average it may be time to consider options to make it more of a challenge to reach base. Overactive offense, while fun, can make games last a LONG time and take away from the general challenge and fun the game can offer. But for every reason to consider adopting the yellow bat a reason to consider sticking with the black bat presents itself. A lot of the discussion has only been had between the commissioners and a few players. The league will not reach a definitive decision on the subject until a sizable amount of voices from around the league have been heard. Voting on the website, facebook page, and debates/team captain vote during the Winter Meeting will be factored into the decision. Before you make your voice heard on the matter though, read the opening arguments for going yellow bat or sticking with the black bat below. There will most likely be at least one more article highlighting the differences between the bats and what impact either one can have on the 2014 season.

Pro-Yellow Bat
Pro-Black Bat
  • Increase competition. Everyone can hit home runs with the black bat, why not up the ante and make it harder to hit home runs and introduce a little small ball?
  • Pitchers will love it and strikeouts will increase and elevate pitcher confidence.
  • You won't have to be your team's ace to be a decent pitcher. Average pitchers from the 2013 season could become great pitchers
  • Home runs are still possible to hit but they most likely will not be in the same staggering amounts as the black bat era.
  • We will be seen by other leagues as more legitimate since most other leagues use the skinny yellow bat.
  • We will also be able to better compete in tournaments, most of which use the yellow stick. We've already been embarrassed once in a tournament due to our lack of experience with the yellow bat. It does not have to happen again.
  • Games will have baseball scores instead of football scores. Sure there may still be some massive blowouts but not nearly to the scale as some of the scores from the 2013 season.
  • More exciting plays on defense! With fewer balls leaving the ball park it will really increase the need for fielders to bring their A-game. We can expect to see some great defensive plays as a result.
  • The average HWL player hits at or above .500. That's embarrassingly high! A lot of other leagues try to parallel MLB averages if possible. So a .300 hitter in some of these leagues is a really good hitter meanwhile we look like Little League all-stars with our numbers.
  • We have used the black bats since the league started. Why change now?
  • We've grown significantly since the league started in 2012. What if switching to a bat that makes it harder to hit jeopardizes our continued growth? We want a bigger league with a lot of teams and competition, right?
  • Have you tried hitting with that toothpick? It's damn near impossible! Well not really impossible, just harder. Batting averages and home run counts will surely decrease by a large margin.
  • Who doesn't like hitting home runs? We had one player who hit over 30 home runs in the 2013 season and only a few hit 20+ home runs. It's not like everyone is dropping bombs over the fence.
  • We already have some impressive pitchers in the league. Greg Sowards struck out 66 batters in 2013 and Steven Adkins struck out 45 during Fall Ball. Strikeouts could double league-wide if we change bats.
  • Some players still struggle with hitting despite using the black bats. Do we really want to further alienate those struggling hitters?
  • The yellow bat is 3 inches shorter and half the thickness of the black bat. That's a HUGE difference. It could take a long while for batters to adjust.
  • The thrill of a lot of offense is pretty exciting. Does defense and lower "baseball" scores translate into an equal amount of excitement?
  • There's nothing wrong with having high batting averages. Over time pitching and defense could improve enough to where the black bats will not necessarily be as advantageous as they are now. Competition could even out over time.
Summary: If we want to compete at tournaments and viewed by other leagues as having legitimate competition within our league - we have to pursue a course in which we use the yellow bats. Our teams will go further in the rankings (especially if we continue to grow in number of teams) and we will surely do better in the NWLA Tournament. Sure, it may be a little harder to hit the ball but not that much harder than it is to hit it already. All that will happen is that the home run count might go down. We'll still be on an even playing field as far as hitting is concerned. Pitchers will have a little more luck as they will attempt to pitch more in the zone since it is more difficult to hit the ball - giving them more confidence. The way things are now there is an imbalance of strength of pitching and hitting. This change could correct that and bring a real level of competition the league has not yet seen. Why not give it a chance?
Summary: We have had a great time using the black bats so far. Players seem to enjoy being able to hit home runs and there doesn't seem to be any harm in them hitting several home runs while they are at it. We may do better in tournaments and we may not. We really didn't practice that much before heading to the NWLA Tournament. And who's to say we will be better represented in the rankings? It's a fact that larger leagues get more representation in the rankings and we will not be as represented until we grow. What if the black bat is one of the reasons for the sudden growth we have had? If we get rid of it and opt for a more difficult hitting tool we could discourage struggling players and shrink as a league and still not get more representation in the rankings. Maybe we eventually do switch to yellow bats...but why now? Pitching could improve enough to where the yellow bats are useless. Why risk it?

Let us know what you think! Comment below! Vote on the poll on the left sidebar! Grab a Magic 8 ball!

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