With the change of the calendar to 2015, a new era of opportunity in college baseball has begun: the seam-less one.
In 2013, backed by a majority of the nation’s college baseball coaches, the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee voted unanimously to switch from raised-seam baseballs to flat-seamed ones (i.e. seamless baseballs).
The sweeping change, which is expected to bring a livelier style of play to college baseball, went into effect this year.
Seams – the two pieces of the ball’s cover that are stitched together in a raised, rolled or flat fashion – may not seem big enough to be game changers, but they are.
The Washington State University Sport Science Laboratory showed, in 2013, that flat-seamed baseballs launched out of a pitching machine at averages of 95 mph traveled around 387 feet compared to raised-seamed baseballs that went 367 feet.
In other words, flatter seams make a ball more aerodynamic and more prone to travel further.
College coaches are overwhelmingly on board with the change, which experts say will most likely trickle down to high school baseball in the future.
A survey conducted by the American Baseball Coaches Association in 2013 showed 87 percent of the respondents wanted to change to the flat-seamed baseball.
Washington State’s findings and the desire for change by most college coaches were key in the NCAA’s decision to switch to a seam-less ball that will carry up to 20 feet further and, theoretically, bringing more offense and home runs back into the game.
“Back into the game” is an important statement because in 2011 the offensive side of college baseball took a nose dive when NCAA bat standards were changed to make metal bats perform more like wood bats, thus reducing the flight of the ball.
Not only did home runs plummet, but so did the excitement in the bleachers.
This year’s change in ball seams will swing the pendulum of the game back to the offense and should even out the scale of justice on the field and excitement in the stands once again.
At BSN SPORTS we can help you with your program’s switch from raised to seamless baseballs. From practice balls to game balls, we offer eleven types of seam-less balls to fit your needs and budget.