USA Baseball, our National Member Organizations and all licensed bat manufacturers take a strict anti-tampering stance when it comes to the illegal alteration or manipulation of USA Baseball Approved Bats (USABats). All youth bats certified under USABat feature permanent text that reads, “TAMPERING WITH THIS BAT MAY VIOLATE CERTAIN FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS AND VOIDS THE USA BASEBALL CERTIFICATION, AS WELL AS ALL MANUFACTURER WARRANTIES.”
It is important for players, parents, coaches, and league officials to understand that bat tampering is considered cheating in baseball. Individuals who tamper with a USABat certified bat risk their player being ejected from a game, suspended, or permanently banned from their league. Tampered bats also create higher risk of injury for players on the field. Parents or coaches who pursue, endorse, or allow bat tampering may face legal ramifications in the event of a player injury. Bat tampering is cheating – it is unethical, illegal, and dangerous.
What is bat tampering?
Bat tampering is an illegal practice that consists of altering a certified bat in order to enhance its performance. Any service offering to alter a bat beyond simple cosmetic changes is considered tampering. The term ‘tampering’ covers a wide variety of techniques used to alter or manipulate a bat. Some of these include:
- Removing a bat’s end cap
- Rolling a bat
- Shaving a bat from the inside
- Removing or repositioning any materials inside of a bat
- Adding materials or weights to a bat
- Placing a counterfeit USA Baseball certification mark on an otherwise unapproved bat
What does bat tampering do?
Many bat tampering techniques are inconsistent and result in bats that degrade or break more quickly than they normally would. The intent of bat tampering is to illegally enhance a bat’s performance in order to gain an unfair advantage out on the field.
Can a tampered bat still be used for play?
No – Once a bat has been altered, it is no longer considered compliant under the USABat Standard. Tampered bats are not legal for play under youth baseball rules and may violate certain federal and state laws as well. Tampering with a bat also voids its manufacturer warranty. Bat manufacturers will not replace bats or accept warranty claims if there is evidence that the bat has been tampered.
Can I use a tampered bat for practice or recreation?
While certain practice and recreational activities may fall outside of your league’s jurisdiction and rules, the use of tampered bats for any reason is still dangerous, unethical and detrimental to baseball’s integrity.
What are the consequences of bat tampering?
Bat tampering is a form of cheating in baseball that may result in a variety of consequences that include:
- Player ejections, suspensions, or permanent league bans
- Direct liability for any parent, coach, or league official who knowingly allows the use of a tampered bat in play
- Degradation of youth baseball’s fairness and integrity
- Legal ramifications on a state or federal level
- The voiding of a bat’s USA Baseball certification and manufacturer warranty
It is up to players, parents, coaches, umpires, youth administrators, and bat manufacturers to work together to eliminate bat tampering in baseball. The practice of altering bats is detrimental to the integrity and safety of the game and is directly counter to USA Baseball’s mission and values.