After the South Korean national baseball team failed to cross the group stage threshold at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), Park Chan-ho, the “Korean Superstar,” and Lee Seung-yup, the “National Hitter” of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), 먹튀검증 called for high school baseball players to use aluminum bats again. Since high school baseball started using wooden bats in 2004, they claimed that ‘big bat prospects’ had disappeared.
Among high school baseball field leaders, the pros and cons were tense. When the Dong-A Ilbo baseball team asked 31 coaches who participated in the 77th Golden Lion National High School Baseball Tournament and Weekend League Wangjoongwang, which concluded last month, 15 (48.4 percent) said, “We should go back to aluminum bats,” while 13 (41.9 percent) expressed their opposition. The remaining three said it didn’t matter.
Among those who said aluminum bats should be used again, many cited the issue of money rather than the development of the game. Coach Jung Yoon-jin said, “There are many players in high school baseball who use top-of-the-line bats used by professional players. Each one costs about 250,000 won, and four or five break a month. That alone costs more than 1 million won.” “There are even players who want to change their position to pitcher because of their family situation,” said Park Kang-woo.
On the other side of the spectrum, ‘injury risk’ and ‘poor performance’ were the main reasons. Kwak Yeon-soo, head coach of Shinheung-go, said, “Nowadays, batters are bigger than before. Aluminum bats are more rebounding, so the ball flies much faster. If a pitcher or infielder is hit in the head even once, there will be irreversible consequences.” Moon Yong-soo, head coach of the Yulgok High School Baseball Team, said, “We already have a serious problem with strikeouts in high school baseball, but with aluminum bats, the game time will be unimaginably longer.”
“It’s a problem that can be solved by using aluminum bats, which have little difference in rebound from wooden bats, like in Japanese high school baseball,” said a Seoul team leader who requested anonymity, “but there are also aspects that make it difficult to solve this problem because there are ‘connections’ between wooden bat manufacturers and leaders.”