They play by major league rules, and now they will play with major league equipment.
The Wyoming Valley American Legion Baseball League will use wooden bats starting next season when the 2012 campaign opens in June.
“It will eliminate the controversy over the aluminum bats,” said Greater Pittston Manager Drew Whyte. “I had no idea what was legal and what was not legal, so that aspect is gone.”
Also gone will be the exorbitant costs of buying aluminum bats for local players and their parents.
“We can get three bats for the price of one,” said Old Forge Post 513 Business Manager Chris Thomas. “It will be very cost effective for us.”
According to Whyte, aluminum bats can cost anywhere from $300 up to $500, whereas wooden bats will cost only $100.
“Greater Pittston does not supply the bats for the kids, they supply their own. So the cost for them will be less,” added Whyte.
The veteran GP Legion coach also believes going to wooden bats will improve the quality of play.
“Everything has gone to offense. Everyone wants to hit homeruns,” said Whyte of the high-tech aluminum bats being used today. “Now we are going to go back and learn how to play small ball, sacrifice runners, and hit the ball to right field. These are all lost arts in the game.
“And going to wooden bats will not affect how scouts look at players. If they know you play in a wooden bat league they adjust your stats. Good players will be noticed whether they are using wood or aluminum. The players like the (Paul) Chmiels and (Chris) Tontes, it won’t make a difference. That’s how good they were.”