A 70-degree afternoon wasn't the only thing missing from a recent baseball scrimmage.

A 70-degree afternoon wasn't the only thing missing from a recent baseball scrimmage.

When I dropped by Upper Arlington High School on March 14 to gather information for the Golden Bears' season preview, it didn't strike me until considerably later that a hallmark of high school games never made an appearance, and might not again.

The loud "ping" sound emitted when an aluminum bat made optimal contact with a ball was gone, replaced by a hard, business-like thud that produced frequent groundouts and singles in lieu of long fly balls and home runs.

The culprit is the new BBCOR bat adopted by the National Federation of State High School Associations for this year. BBCOR, which stands for bat-ball coefficient of restitution, is more similar to a wooden bat in that the ball's energy decreases on contact and reduces its speed off the bat.

Fine by me.

Other than the occasional, inevitable cry of "call it both ways" from the stands during basketball games, what sound in sports is more mocked than the ping of an aluminum bat? It's downright cringe-worthy. No one fell in love with baseball because of the ping of an aluminum bat.

The long ball isn't gone, but those that come hereafter no doubt will have been earned.

Sometimes, the beautiful game of baseball is best exemplified by a 1-0 or 2-1 pitchers' duel that resembles a chess match, rather than a 19-15 slugfest (those do happen) reminiscent of the Wiffle ball games my sister and I would play in our backyard and to which the entire neighborhood was invited.

For what this change might mean to high school ball, look no further than the college game, where the new bats became a way of life last year.

According to Baseball America, home run totals in Division I college baseball fell from 0.93 per game in 2010 to 0.53 in 2011, and runs per game decreased from 7.01 to 5.62.

Reaction across the country seems - excuse the pun - almost uniform. While a minority seems unhappy with the change, far more coaches, players and officials laud it for, among other reasons, balancing the field between pitchers and hitters and lowering the risk of injuries caused by hard-hit balls.

There still will be some high-scoring games, of course, not only because pitchers have rough days just like hitters, but because all bats aren't created equal and contact is never made on the same part of the bat every time.

"While BBCOR bats will perform more like a wood bat than previous aluminum, composite and hybrid bats, baseball bat companies can still engineer the sweet spots to be very large, much larger than those on a wood bat," Rick Redman, a spokesman for Louisville Slugger, recently told the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. "That means BBCOR bats will continue to perform better than wood bats on inside hits and when a batter fails to make contact squarely on the barrel. Because of these advantages, most players will want a BBCOR bat with a sweet spot that is as large as it can be."

I've always been of the thought that rules need to be as uniform as possible from high school to professional because, for a lack of a better term, that's where it gets real. For instance, pass interference ought to be a spot foul. The clock always should run after first downs. The designated hitter makes for fake baseball and softball, and it should go. Wooden bats, or some reasonable facsimile, should be mandated.

For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is cost, we might never get there in high school. But this is a good start toward keeping it real.