Former Mets relief pitcher John Franco testified in support of a New York City Council proposed ban on metal bats in high school baseball on Monday, while Yankee pitcher Mike Mussina has already taken a swing against it. Franco and the bill’s supporters say metal bats hit balls faster and harder, while Mussina and other opponents say there is no evidence to suggest they are more dangerous.
“I’m speaking from someone who was standing on the mound for 22 years, and I can see the difference,” Franco told a council committee on Monday. “And while I’m standing in the stands watching my son play, or some of the other Little Leaguers, I can see the difference.”
Franco said afterward he hopes a New York City high school ban would inspire others to follow. The council votes on the bill Wednesday.
Similar measures have been proposed by youth leagues and lawmakers in other states, including New Jersey, where a batted ball struck a 12-year-old boy in the chest, sending him into cardiac arrest. He was revived by spectators but was in a coma for months.
His father, Joseph Domalewski, told the committee on Monday his son suffered brain damage and still cannot walk.
“My son is doing a sentence, and to me the only thing he did wrong is to pitch to a guy holding a metal bat,” he said.
Mussina and the ban’s opponents believe the anti-metal movement relies on emotional anecdotes, but no scientific data. In 2005, an American Legion Baseball study found no substantial scientific evidence to support the argument that wooden bats are safer than metal, which have been in use since the early 1970s.
“I don’t think it matters whether it’s metal or wood or whatever the material is,” Mussina said last fall. “I’ve been hit in the face. It’s just part of it. I can understand they’re emotional about it. But I don’t see there’s any more danger playing with aluminum or some other material.”
Mussina is a member of the board of Little League Baseball, which also opposes the council’s ban, along with sporting goods makers like Easton Sports.
The Mets’ Chan Ho Park allowed 4 runs in 3.1 IP in a 9-6 loss to the Nationals, while Lastings Milledge went 3-4, knocked in a pair of runs and raised his spring average to .345.