MLB to address maple bat problem

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So far, it seems, the Yankees have been relatively isolated from the maple bat problem. While Johnny Damon in particular goes through bats like they’re bananas, we have yet to see anyone in the stands or on the field injured as has been happening throughout baseball. Now, MLB and the Players Union are going to attempt to do something about the maple bat problem, and Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan runs down Tuesday’s meeting of Safety and Health Advisory Committee. (Alyson Footer has a good write-up too.) MLB is being slow to act, and I just hope nothing too serious has to happen before the game is ready to make some changes.

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  • A-Point

    Damon recently talked about how he was switching to a different wood bat, though he still has a number of maple ones left. I think it was Ash. His concern was over how many bats he was breaking and the thinking that the Maple bats could be banned due to high breakage.

    His first at bat with the Ash bat (or whatever wood it was) it shattered.

    I think the problem lies more in either the manufacturing process they use, making it too hard, too dry, or turning the handles too thin for the properties of the wood.

    You have to wonder how long this will keep up. Those broken bats are dangerous.

    Damon has gone through more than 50 bats this season so far. That is a lot of bats.

    • Adam

      luckily damon doesn’t actually swing hard enough to hurt anyone with his broken bat shards.

  • CB

    I agree with A-Point. Its difficult to know if its the wood or how thin they are cutting the handles of the bats.

    From what I understand part of the reason why players switched to maple is that the wood is somewhat harder than ash and this allows them to shave the handles thinner.

    The players keep trying to push how weight is distributed in the bat. They want to minimize the amount of weight at the handle and maximize the amount of weight at the bat head.

    They may have crossed a threshold of what wood is capable of doing as a material. If they try the same thing with ash those bats will probably break at a high rate as well. Perhaps not as much as maple but it still could pose a safety risk.

    The home plate umpire in the Royals game yesterday got hit in the back of the head by a bat breaking. He had to leave the game. It seems like its only a matter of time before someone gets hurt seriously.

  • A-Point

    I’d say that the lady who had her jaw broken at a game was a pretty serious injury.

    The different woods will react differently. The harder the wood the more likely to shatter at the right impact. This also goes to the kiln process though. The more moisture removed from the wood the harder the wood. It also means less give and more susceptible to cracking.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    Every player should just wait until lightning strikes a tree and splits it open. Then they could shape the wood into a bat, give it a name, bone it to make it hard (that sounds dirtyish) then wait 20 years and tear then cover off the ball.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      Thank you, Bernard Malamud.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        I was so disappointed when I read the read the book. Roy Hobbs strikes out???!!?? Hollywood sucks!

  • http://BlackRockBart dennis yutchishen

    Am watching the d-back/dodgers game (8-31-08). A broken bat barrel just missed the pitcher and stuck sharp point first into the pitchers mound. It appeared to stab into the mound about three inches. If it had pierced the pitchers cervical spine or his skull he would be either paralyzed or dead. These bats may help hitters, but that is no excuse for using equipment that may end the life of some childs Daddy. Bats have always broken but not at this rate. This problem needs to be addressed before tragedy occurs.