Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Making the switch

The recent bowling fund raiser for the Dodgeville Home Talent League team provided an opportunity for manager Pat Reilly and centerfielder Gary James to reminisce about the switch the league made to wood bats.

Home Talent used to be an aluminum bat league. More like college. Then they made the switch to wood bats in 2002. Now it's more like the pros.

James is enough of a veteran to have been around for the years both before and after the switch, and he thinks it's changed the way the game is played.

"A wood bat makes you a better ballplayer," said James. "It definitely does because you have to hit it in the sweet spot. Otherwise it doesn’t go.

"It makes the game more competitive. You don’t have games that are 20 to whatever."

Reilly seemed to remember a game in Cross Plains back during the aluminum bat days that had a final score somewhere in the ballpark of 38 to 36.

The games rarely, if at all, have scores in the thirties anymore, and that certainly would make a league more competitive and a change from the way the game used to be played.

In fact, the switch the league made to wood bats is a story in its own right.

"It’s funny because when we were talking about going to wood, we had a committee that was going to study it and then present it for the next year," explained Reilly. "Well, the committee said, 'Screw this. We wanna go this year.'"

Once the change had been made, it has been smooth sailing ever since. Well ... semi-smooth.

"They broke the hell out of them until they learned how to hit with them," said Reilly.

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