Lawmaker Pushes for Statewide Ban on Metal Bats

As 16-year-old Gunnar Sandberg lies in critical condition at a Bay Area hospital, a North Bay lawmaker is using his case to push for change in the rules at high school baseball games across the state.

Sandberg, a pitcher for Marin Catholic High School, was hit in the head with a baseball hit by a player using an aluminum bat on March 11. Surgeons removed part of his skull and put him in a medically induced coma until last Friday to alleviate swelling of his brain, and had a brain scan Monday. He remains in critical condition at Marin General Hospital.

Assemblyman Jared Huffman introduced a bill Thursday that would ban aluminium and alloy baseball bats for the next three years, pending further studies on the safety of the bats and possibilities of fitting pitchers with helmets.

"I think we can anticipate that if we don't step in at some point and do something," Huffman said, "we're going to see more and more juicing of bats through new technologies."

Also on Thursday, the Marin County Athletic League unanimously approved a suspension on the use of metal bats at their 10 high schools for the rest of this season. The moratorium also applies to post-season play at the freshman, junior varsity and varsity levels, League Commissioner Susie Woodall said. The vote is

The North Coast Section of the California Interscholastic Federation, which includes the Marin County Athletic League, covers an area between Hayward and the Oregon border, may consider the prohibition of aluminum bats when it meets in April.

Huffman said he's not aiming for a ban at college sports fields because of the difficulties governing rules on a national level.

Sandberg's friends are promoting the use of wooden bats and helping to raise money for his trust by selling T-shirts reading "Got Wood?" for $25.

Contact Us