The New Sound of College Baseball
COLUBMIA - New hat day for Mizzou baseball, but Connor Mach is more worried about taking care of his bat.
"I do like to take care of it, though. I don't like to hit it on my cleats a whole lot. I like to keep it looking good," Missouri infielder Connor Mach said.
And sounding good.
But this season, college baseball will sound different.
"I still haven't figured out the sound, yet. Some balls you'll think they hit good and it will sound weird and it won't go anywhere and other ones will sound dead and it will carry," Missouri outfielder Jonah Schmidt said.
"They sound kind of like a graphite driver kinda," added Mach.
But they're not clubs, they're bats.
And college baseball mandated new ones this season.
Same looks... New logic.
"You kind of hit a ball and it will jump fine, but as it reaches the outfield a ball kind of dies a little more than the usual carry," Mach explained.
"And then all of a sudden now it's landing at the warning track. Then, I think people will start to realize there's a change here," Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said.
The bats have less pop on purpose.
NCAA baseball designed them for better safety.
"Exit velocities kept going up off the hitter's bat and they were worried about the pitchers health. I don't know. They're throwing a ball 93 and it's coming back at 103. What's the difference? We gotta react. They should be able to react," Schmidt said.
Sarcasm aside, speed of the ball isn't the only factor for new sticks.
"I believe it's pace of play. They are trying to shorten the length of the games and they think that taking offense out of the game, making it more like wood that the length of the games will be shorter, which makes it a better product for TV," Jamieson said.
Coach admits the change has them focusing more on bunts and steals, but don't expect the home runs to disappear.
"It doesn't matter if you have wood, aluminum, hot aluminum, cold aluminum in your hand, it will not make that difference. So, the emphasis goes more on teaching the kids to swing the bat the right way," Jamieson explained.
In the fall, Mizzou only practiced with wood instead of the old aluminum bats, thinking that when they move to the new aluminum bats they'll feel better than the wooden ones.