In 2012, SPFYBA will follow the Babe Ruth League / Cal Ripken Bat Regulations. This is a change from recent years. However bat availability and additional research on the subject has brought the Executive Board to the conclusion that in 2012 we will follow the Babe Ruth standard.
Latest Rule Changes from Babe Ruth League, Inc. for 2012
CAL RIPKEN BASEBALL DIVISION
The bat may not exceed 33”in length, and the bat barrel may not exceed 2 ¼” in diameter. Only 2 ¼” barrel non-wood bats marked BPF 1.15 will be allowed. Wood 2 ¼” barrel bats are allowed.
13-15 BASEBALL DIVISION
The bat may not exceed 34” in length, and the bat barrel may not exceed 2 5/8” in diameter. All aluminum/alloy barrel bats and all composite handle (only) aluminum/alloy barrels are allowed. Only composite barrel bats certified and marked BBCOR .50 will be allowed. Wood barrel bats conforming to the specifications of Official Baseball Rule 1.10 are allowed.
16-18 BASEBALL DIVISION
The bat may not exceed 34” in length and the bat barrel many not exceed 2 5/8” in diameter or be greater than a -3 length to weight ratio. Only metal/composite bats certified and marked BBCOR .50 are allowed. Wood barrel bats conforming to the specifications of Official Baseball Rule 1.10 are allowed.
If the illegal bat is discovered prior to a batter completing his “at bat” the bat is simply removed from play and the “at bat” continues.
A player who uses an illegal bat or non-conforming barrel dimension and hits a fair ball will be ruled out. No advancement on the bases will be allowed, and any outs during the play shall stand. This is an appeal play. The “at bat” will be considered legal once a pitch is thrown to the next batter.
Any bat discovered prior to the game that does not conform to the above rule shall be directed to be removed immediately and not be allowed for use during the game.
Read Our FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: I have noticed that the official Babe Ruth League statement on bat regulations mentions nothing about the "drop ratio" for bats. In past years, SPFYBA has had "drop ratio" limits specific to each division. What’s the story for 2012?
A: Research has been done for years, and research will likely continue for years into the future. At the present time, the experts are less concerned with the "drop ratio" and more concerned with the makeup of the bat. Composite bats are proven to be more dangerous than non-composite (aluminum or wood) bats. However the current wisdom is that the "drop ratio" has a far lesser impact to ball exit speed than does the nature of the bat material itself. SO there will be no "drop ratio" limits in SPFYBA in 2012.
Q: What is the “drop ratio”?
A: The “drop ratio” is the difference between the length of the bat in inches, and the weight of the bat in ounces. So for example, a bat that is 28” long and 17 ounces has a drop ratio of 11. This can also be referred to as “-11” or “minus 11”… meaning that the differential between the weight and the length is “minus 11”, or “drop 11”.
Q: Are composite bats allowed?
A: The simple answer is NO. The only exception is that any composite bat must be certified and marked BBCOR 0.50. No other certifications are permitted any longer by Babe Ruth (BESR, etc.). BBCOR is the ONLY permitted technology in composite bats, and the BBCOR factor must be 0.50. Please also note that the BBCOR technology typically applies to the bigger bats used by the Senior division and up.
Q: So what are the permitted bat specifications for a regular bat (not BBCOR)?
A: No composite bats (unless BBCOR). Besides that, the things to remember are that the bat barrel may not exceed 2 ¼” in diameter, only non-wood (aluminum) marked BPF 1.15 will be allowed. Wood 2 ¼” barrel bats are allowed. Note that most “Official Little League” bats meet the specifications for Babe Ruth League.
Q: These acronyms are a little confusing. What does BPF mean? How about BBCOR? BESR?
A: It is confusing. BPF is Bat Performance Factor. It’s a measure of the bat’s exit speed on a pitched ball at 60 mph. A BPF performance factor of 1.15 means that the 60 mph ball, won’t go any faster than 69 mph on exit from the bat. BPF is typically used on the Little League size bats (2 ¼” barrel). BBCOR stands for Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution. LET’S MAKE THIS SIMPLE – BBCOR 0.50 means that the bat will exhibit very “wood-like” performance, which is substantially less performance than other composite predecessors that were covered under the BESR standard. BESR stands for Ball Exit Speed Ratio. BESR has little significance to us starting in 2012 as BBCOR is the new adopted standard.
Q: In the past, we’ve had trouble finding the drop-8 and drop-10 aluminum bats that SPFYBA has mandated for the Majors and Juniors divisions respectively. How does the situation change with the new bat regulations in 2012?
A: As the years went by, the drop-8 and drop-10 bats have become increasingly more difficult to find in local stores. The change in rules this year will actually make it much easier for parents of youth ballplayers to find bats that are legal in SPFYBA in local sporting goods stores.
Q: To be clear, are there any "drop" rules for SPFYBA house league any more? In other words, if I want to get my kid a "drop 12" or "drop 13" bat because it's lighter and they can swing it easier, that's fine?
A: Yes. There is no drop consideration this year. The bat will be allowed as long as if follows all of the other Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken regulations.
Q: By adopting the literal Babe Ruth League standard in 2012, has this created an insurance/safety issue for the ballplayers in the program?
A: The debate on baseball bat safety is likely to rage on for years. We can only make decisions based on the data we have that is current and widely accepted. Babe Ruth has seen its way clear to do away with composite bats, unless they are BBCOR 0.50 certified. The research backs that decision relative to ballplayer safety. The research on the drops seems more focused on what makes the youth ballplayer more comfortable (i.e. a bat they can get around quick enough with) rather than a performance enhancer in and of itself. Young ballplayers on the younger and smaller side are likely to swings bats with a great drop so they can get them around. Bigger kids are going to typically be more comfortable with a bat that is a little heavier (less drop) because they are big enough to get it around quicker. The research we’ve seen says the composite issue is far more significant than any issue around drop differentials, and the Babe Ruth League regulations support that.
Q: Are the new bat regulations safe?
A: The simple answer is yes, keeping mind that this is a sport. Kids do get hurt occasionally. There are no guarantees in any sport. However there is no reason to believe that lifting the drop regulations in 2012 presents any additional safety issues to the kids in our program.
Q: What if we have more questions that aren’t answered here?