RI youth baseball league shuns metal bats for wood

By ERIKA NIEDOWSKI | July 28, 2011 | 6:14 AM EDT

In this Monday, July 18, 2011 photo American Legion national youth baseball league player Steve Inman, of the Warwick Post Two team, swings at a pitch during a game against Collette, at McCarthy Stadium, in West Warwick, R.I. Rhode Island is one of three states whose American Legion teams have switched from metal bats back to wood. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — Youth baseball in Rhode Island has returned to its roots.

For years, teams in the state's American Legion Baseball league played with aluminum bats that make the characteristic crack of the national pastime sound more like a dull clang.

But Rhode Island is once again playing with wood, one of at least three states where the American Legion has mandated a switch from metal bats to the type used in Major League Baseball.

The change is partly about tradition. But some say wood bats also make the game safer, because balls tend to leave the bat less quickly. That gives players more time to react to potentially dangerous line drives.