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Unassisted
09-17-2007, 02:35 PM
Interesting article here about the hazards of maple bats with a quote from Bronson.



http://sun-sentinel.com/sports/baseball/marlins/sfl-flspmaplebats17nbsep17,0,1272098.story



Knock of wood: Some worry about maple bats

KNOCK ON

By Kevin Clark
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
September 17, 2007
MIAMI GARDENS


The maple bat is no longer a growing phenomenon in baseball. It has literally exploded into the game.

"A maple bat is like a ceramic tile compared to regular bats," Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo said. "They just explode. There is stuff flying all over the place."

Durability is stressed by the maple-addicted. Maple bats don't chip away like ash bats, players say. They say they maintain their quality for months. In place of the chipping away, the downfall of ash bats, maple dies an explosive death after months of showing no signs of wear and tear.

"[The players' association] told us when they break, they break into no less than three pieces," Marlins catcher Matt Treanor said.

Typical ash bats break into two pieces, if they separate at all. Often they just crack.

Are maple bats dangerous? If they are, the danger is widespread. An estimate for usage of maple bats is hard to gauge, since many players use both maple and ash. But an informal poll shows a majority of Marlins and other major leaguers use maple at least part of the time.

"My concern is for the fans, especially the little ones," St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Mike Maroth said. "They won't be able to get out of the way. When the maple flies, it can hit and really injure somebody."

The general consensus from players is fear for those in the stands, admitting ducking shattered bats is part of their game.

"Fans can't go anywhere, they can't run, there is no mobility," Arroyo said. "All they can do is put their hands up. It could really hurt somebody."

The call to regulate the maple bat is coming from an unlikely source: one of its creators. Sam Holman is credited with the first maple bat business in 1997. He is part Henry Ford, part P.T. Barnum and calls himself the "Guru of Quality." The Sam Bat is the stick of choice for Albert Pujols, Barry Bonds and Alfonso Soriano.

Holman has profit margins to protect but also a reputation. He said the problem is not the medium, it is the details. He claims maple is tightly wound wood and that machinery is the cause of the problems.

"If you were turning out bedposts, you would want the machines they use to make bats," he said.

Holman says companies, including Louisville Slugger, use machines in some cases intended for furniture production and the machines add to the tightly wound nature of many maple bats.

"I've suggested to Major League Baseball that they use the same specifications as aviation," Holman says. "When you buy a piece of equipment, it meets certain standards."

Repeated calls to Louisville Slugger were not returned and Major League Baseball has not taken a side.

"We do not anticipate a change regarding our bats," MLB spokesman Mike Teevan said.

Many hitters, especially those who use maple, downplay its danger as an occupational hazard. Most maple users feel the positives outweigh the way the bats shatter.

"I don't know anything about breaking," Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. said in late July. "I've used the same maple bat, for batting practice and games, since spring training."

Some players use maple in the summer only because they've heard the bats break more easily in cold weather. Others claim it takes unpredictable hops off the bat, leaving infielders clueless.

But maple's hallmark is its explosive nature.

"When a maple bat breaks, you know it's going to go flying," Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla says.

In mid-July, Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon was injured in the dugout by a ball hit off the maple bat of New York Yankees first baseman Andy Phillips. Even though he was hit by the ball, Maddon used the occasion to launch into a tirade, saying, "These bats are exploding all over the place, they're dangerous."

There is no overwhelming sense players want to rid themselves of maple, but controversy remains.

"If I were commissioner, I would really do some research," Maroth says. "I wouldn't go right in and get rid of them, but I would look at the hazard of it."

Big Klu
09-17-2007, 03:50 PM
Maybe that stuff is maple syrup!

Mmmmm, pancakes! :D

LoganBuck
09-17-2007, 10:10 PM
With the problems related to emerald ash borer, more players are going to be forced to use maple.

Red Heeler
09-18-2007, 09:58 AM
I think MLB needs to at least look into allowing laminated bats. That would open up the bamboo market and allow more efficient use of traditional hardwoods. Maybe laminates explode into shrapnel too, but I think with the adhesive technology available that they would be less likely to come apart at all.

Unassisted
05-09-2008, 11:01 AM
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-maplebats050808



Baseball at breaking point over maple bats

By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports 8 hours, 34 minutes ago

Someone’s going to die at a baseball stadium soon.

Might be a player. Could be an umpire. Possibly even a fan.

It almost was a coach.

The scar on Don Long’s left cheek still puffs around the edges, fresh enough that it looks like a misplaced zipper instead of the mark of someone who lived too hard. Like every scar, this one has a story, and it involves a piece of shattered wood, about two pounds heavy, that tomahawked 30 feet before slicing through his face.

Nate McLouth thought he just missed the sweet spot of the bat. It was April 15, the eighth inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates were getting pummeled at Dodger Stadium. Long, the Pirates’ hitting coach, milled about the dugout until he heard McLouth hammer Esteban Loaiza’s 0-2 pitch. Long looked up and tracked the ball down the right-field line. He had no idea baseball’s greatest weapon was headed right at him, and that had he been positioned an inch to the left or right, he might not be here to talk about it.

About two or three times a game. players swinging bats made of maple wood end up with kindling in their hands while the barrel – blunt and thick on one end, splintered and sharp on the other – flies every which direction. Pitchers and middle infielders stand in the greatest line of fire and do their best acrobat imitations to avoid the remnants. On occasion, the shard will land in the stands and harm a fan. And sometimes, as it did in the case of Long, it will wind up in the dugout.

“Didn’t see it at all,” Long said. “It just hit me. I backed up. I saw the blood coming out on the card I keep and on my shoes.”

The Pirates’ training staff rushed Long into the clubhouse to stop the bleeding. The bat sliced through the muscle in his cheek, catching nerves in its wake. A piece broke off and lodged under his skin. A doctor needed to remove the stray wood before he could sew 10 stitches.

When McLouth ended up on second base, he wondered why so many people were scurrying around the dugout. He ran to first with three inches of wood in his hands. He couldn’t find the other 30 or so, when it occurred to him: the ruckus was over his bat, the maple that was barely seen in baseball before 2001, when Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs using one. Now, about 50 percent of players use maple.

“They’re great,” McLouth said, “except for that.”

The incidents keep happening, and following Mike Coolbaugh’s death last season when a batted ball struck him in the neck while he was coaching first base in a minor league game, neither Major League Baseball nor the MLB Players Association can afford to wait for another tragedy when it could take preventative measures. Were officials from either party to meet with Long and see his face, they would understand the issue must be resolved immediately.

“When I blow my nose out of this side,” Long said, “I have to look in the mirror and make sure nothing’s hanging there because I can’t really feel what’s happening.

“Could’ve been a lot worse. Could’ve hit me in the eye.”

Long tried to smile. The right side of his mouth perked up. The left side didn’t move.

In 2005, alarmed by the increasing number of broken bats, baseball gave $109,000 to a man named Jim Sherwood and asked him to compare maple bats with the ash ones that used to be the norm. Sherwood runs the Baseball Research Center at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and the conclusion of the study did not jibe with the hundreds of players who swear maple leads to better performance.

“We found that the batted-ball speeds were essentially the same for the two woods,” Sherwood said. “Maple has no advantage in getting a longer hit over an ash bat.”

The study also found something evident to anyone watching baseball: Ash bats crack while maple bats snap.

Even so, something about the maple bats caused a frenzy. Sam Holman, who started the Original Maple Bat company out of Canada to give players an alternative to the softer ash, supplied Bonds with his first maple in 1999. Word spread, and soon Sam Bats, as they’re called, showed up across baseball. Chuck Schupp, the director of professional sales at Hillerich & Bradsby, the parent company for Louisville Slugger, saw the abundance of Sam Bats in clubhouses and urged his company to join the maple fray. More than 20 bat makers now are licensed to sell maple bats for about $65 a pop, compared to $45 for ash bats, and the demand isn’t lessening.

“I feel like they’re harder,” McLouth said. “Whether or not that’s scientifically true, I’m not sure. But psychologically, I feel like they are.”

Players love their bats irrationally. Ichiro Suzuki keeps his in a silver case. Kosuke Fukudome weighs his to the gram. Jeff Cirillo slept with his. Some talk to them, kiss them, massage them. Anything to keep them happy.

So when in 2006 MLB broached the issue of maple bats during the collective-bargaining negotiations, it did not go well. The union wasn’t receptive to a unilateral ban and didn’t budge at the thought of at least imposing specifications to lessen the likelihood of breakage.

MLB scoffed at putting nets in front of the seats closest to the field, as the NHL did after a stray puck struck and killed 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil. The discussions went nowhere quickly, and it ended with them agreeing to table the issue until a later date. Both sides spent the next year focusing on the Mitchell Report, and only after the Long incident did they revisit it.

“We have provisions in the agreement,” union leader Don Fehr said Thursday by phone. “There will be a committee that will be put together and meet on it. We’ll look at it in good faith.”

Said Rob Manfred, MLB’s lead labor counsel, in a statement through a spokesman: “Baseball is aware of the bat issue. We have done scientific research in the area. We brought the issue to the bargaining table in 2006 and we are embarking on a detailed consideration of the issue with the union in the context of the Safety and Health Advisory Committee.”

When that happens, the thickening of the bat handle seems the likeliest compromise. Sherwood said the study showed that as the size of the handle increases, the potential for broken bats decreases. Players might object to thicker handles because they add weight, and every 10th of an ounce counts.

An outright ban is unlikely to muster union support, and it would be a logistical nightmare: Schupp said Hillerich & Bradsby would need at least 18 months to fill the orders of ash bats for all their clients.

Though, as one union source noted, after long struggles the players agreed to add earflaps onto helmets and ban amphetamines. If MLB is insistent enough, and perhaps willing to sacrifice something in return, the players might agree to forgo maple.

“I do not anticipate players will jump up and down and say, ‘You can take our bats away right away,’ ” the union source said. “If that’s backlash, I do expect some, yeah. Players may say, ‘Aren’t there other things you can do first?’ ”

Yes, though sources said MLB, while not sold on an outright ban, will push for one. The day after Long was hit, officials received video of the McLouth at-bat from multiple angles. One particularly gruesome shot came from a field-level camera pointed toward the dugout.

That afternoon, MLB officials contacted the union to set up a meeting to discuss maple bats.

All last season, Jorge Posada encouraged New York Yankees teammate Doug Mientkiewicz to switch from maple to ash. Mientkiewicz was tired of his bats breaking.

“They blow up constantly,” said Mientkiewicz, a first baseman now with the Pirates.

He had seen his bats shatter and heard stories, like the one where Eric Byrnes, angry after a bad at-bat, slammed his maple into the ground and saw its shrapnel hit catcher Miguel Olivo in the head.

Outspoken voices are beginning to emerge. Pirates manager John Russell and Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon have called them “dangerous,” and Mientkiewicz said it was “amazing” that one hasn’t struck and injured a player.

“It’s going to take somebody getting severely hurt to think about a change,” Mientkiewicz said. “Anybody who thinks I’m overreacting should go look at our hitting coach’s face. It was spooky. It was really spooky.”

Doctors predict the nerves in Long’s face will regenerate and he’ll be able to smile again. He’s not calling for an outright ban on maple, either, because he understands how particular and superstitious players can be.

Look at McLouth. A 26-year-old who hadn’t finished a season with more than 329 at-bats, he ranks fourth in the National League in slugging percentage and is on target to make his first All-Star appearance.

No one would blame him for not changing his underwear, let alone the tool he uses to get his hits.

“I’m thinking about maybe trying ash again,” said McLouth, sitting in the clubhouse at Nationals Park last week, holding his maple bat, flexing his wrists, taking quarter swings. “I mean, just thinking about it. Because I swear, ever since I broke the bat that day in Dodger Stadium, it seems like, as a team, we’ve broken three or four bats a day.”

That afternoon, against the Nationals, on the third pitch of the game, McLouth’s bat split. The bat boy ran out to retrieve the refuse, returned from the dugout with a new one and handed it to McLouth, who walked back to home plate with his weapon of choice.

REDREAD
05-09-2008, 11:21 AM
I missed this thread the first time around. I'm interested in this comment:


"If you were turning out bedposts, you would want the machines they use to make bats," he said.

Holman says companies, including Louisville Slugger, use machines in some cases intended for furniture production and the machines add to the tightly wound nature of many maple bats.

"I've suggested to Major League Baseball that they use the same specifications as aviation," Holman says. "When you buy a piece of equipment, it meets certain standards."

Basically bedposts and bats are turned on lathe like machines, right?
I just wonder what alternate method of manufacturing this would make the bats more stable. He claims the manufacturing process adds to the problem of maple. I'm not so sure. Ash is a more open grained wood than Maple. I'm not so sure manufacturing has anything to do with it, but then again, I'm far from being an expert.

BCubb2003
05-09-2008, 12:15 PM
I'm not sure I'd want a bat made out of an airplane wing.

15fan
05-09-2008, 01:51 PM
Let me make sure I have this straight.

Danger is involved in a sport where someone 6'6" throws an object at 90+ mph from a distance of less than 60 feet towards someone else who is 6'6" and swinging a bat?

Get out.

KronoRed
05-09-2008, 02:01 PM
Eh lets just switch to aluminum bats, and helmets for pitchers.

Watch the numbers fly :D

smith288
05-09-2008, 02:59 PM
I have an answer for Bronson... miss more maples bats. There...problem solved.

Red in Chicago
05-09-2008, 03:06 PM
I have an answer for Bronson... miss more maples bats. There...problem solved.

ding ding ding:beerme:

Unassisted
05-15-2008, 04:28 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/baseball/mlb/05/15/owners.meetings.ap/


Owners ratify tougher drug policy


MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Baseball owners unanimously ratified tougher drug testing rules Thursday, and commissioner Bud Selig said he will now turn his attention to whether maple bats have become dangerous.

<snip>

Selig said the executive council discussed players' use of bats made from maple wood, which seem to be shattering more frequently -- and in a more dangerous fashion -- than those made of ash.

Selig said the discussion was "very premature," and baseball officials plan to discuss the issue with the players' association and the rules committee before taking any action.

Asked if baseball would consider regulating the thickness of maple bat handles or even ban them entirely, Selig said it was too early to say.

"I don't want to get into any of that, because I'm not sure," Selig said. "We're working on a lot of things. But it's been a source of concern for me."

Pittsburgh Pirates hitting coach Don Long was injured when he was hit by the shattered fragments of a bat used by Pittsburgh's Nate McLouth during an April 15 game in Los Angeles.

Selig believes it's a trend.

"I watch a lot of games, and I'm concerned," he said.

deltachi8
05-15-2008, 07:38 PM
Maybe that stuff is maple syrup!

Mmmmm, pancakes! :D

this guy agrees

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2042/2388731044_774d73df64.jpg?v=0

RedFanAlways1966
05-15-2008, 09:51 PM
Maple? Ash? Both woods can shatter. It is the nature of the beast. Of course maple is more likely to shatter. But I remember a shattered bat incident before the maple days that was far more severe than coach Long's injury...

In 1976, Dodgers player Steve Yeager was injured when a piece of teammate Bill Russell's bat shattered and hit him in the neck while in the on-deck circle, piercing his esophagus. He had nine pieces of wood taken out of his neck in 98 minutes of surgery. After the incident, Yeager invented a throat protector that hangs from the catcher's mask. It was soon worn by most catchers around the Majors and other leagues.

vaticanplum
05-17-2008, 04:57 PM
Maple bats sound like the baseball equivalent of that belt that goes around the car engine. It's built so you don't see the wear and tear on the outside because it needs to be that way to protect the engine, but when it snaps, you're up crap creek. The solution of course is to replace it based on timing/miles and not wait for it to snap. Maybe they should just consciously limit the lives of maple bats and retire them before they break? Is that too wasteful/expensive?

(that's really the only car analogy I'll ever be qualified to make, so I had to throw it out there.)

UKFlounder
05-17-2008, 06:44 PM
I'm not sure I'd want a bat made out of an airplane wing.

Then make them out of the material used for the black box they find after so many wrecks. That sucker won't break:D

Chip R
05-18-2008, 12:49 AM
Maybe they should just consciously limit the lives of maple bats and retire them before they break? Is that too wasteful/expensive?


Why do you hate the environment? ;)

Chip R
06-01-2008, 09:51 PM
Looks like a fan has been hurt pretty bad by a maple bat breaking.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-bats052908&prov=yhoo&type=lgns


Fan’s injury should force bat policy change

By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports May 30, 12:50 am EDT


The wire came out of Susan Rhodes’ mouth this week. Doctors replaced it with rubber bands, so now people can understand her when she tells the story of how a maple baseball bat shattered her jaw.

“Your whole life changes,” Rhodes says over the phone, and she’s not looking for sympathy. Just an explanation as to how Major League Baseball continues to allow maple bats when their danger becomes more obvious by the injurious incident.

First came Pittsburgh Pirates hitting coach Don Long getting sliced along the cheek with the splintered end of a bat that snapped at the handle. Ten days later, on April 25, sitting four rows behind the visitor’s dugout at Dodger Stadium where Long was hit, Rhodes took the barrel end of a flying bat to the left side of her jaw.

What’s next? A fan or player dying?

At the recent owners’ meetings, commissioner Bud Selig highlighted maple bats as one of the game’s most pressing issues. A decade ago, they were barely in baseball. Since Barry Bonds’ record-breaking season, though, more than 50 percent of players have gone from the traditional ash bats to maple, which the converts claim feel harder.

A study commissioned by the league and the players’ union in 2005 showed maple and ash hit the ball equally well. Ash bats tend to crack innocuously, the study found, while maple bats explode, sending huge chunks of wood in every direction. When Todd Helton swung at a 2-1 pitch from Cory Wade in the seventh inning of the Colorado-Los Angeles game Rhodes attended, little did she know the remnants of the bat would reach all the way to her seats.

Rhodes, 50, wasn’t much of a baseball fan. Her friend John Andrews invited her and another friend, Gale Banks, to the game. Rhodes is a single mother of two teenaged boys, works in marketing and lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Sherman Oaks. It would be a nice time out, she figured.
And it was until Helton’s swing. He was borrowing a bat of teammate Troy Tulowitzki. While a Rockies spokesman said Tulowitzki uses both maple and ash, a clubhouse attendant speculated that because of the manner in which the bat snapped, it was almost in all likelihood maple. And a Rawlings spokesman said the last batch of bats made for Tulowitzki was maple.

The bat blew up, and Rhodes’ eyes followed the ball, which landed in center field for a single. Meanwhile, the bat tomahawked toward her.

When Rhodes recovered consciousness, she kept asking Banks what had happened, the concussion robbing her short-term memory.

“All I remember is feeling this complete slam against my face and pain,” Rhodes says. “You know when you’re in such shock, you think, ‘What the hell happened?’ I figured I got hit by a ball. I was very conscious of one flying and thought we aren’t in a very safe area. I don’t know if I was looking at the ball. I can’t remember anything except for the smash and total memory loss.”

Dodgers officials summoned paramedics who took Rhodes to an on-site triage center. Once stabilized, she was offered a ride to a nearby emergency room. Instead, she sought care closer to home, where a CAT scan revealed two jaw fractures, one on the upper-left side, where the bat struck, and the other on the lower right, where the force reverberated.

Once the swelling subsided three days later, Rhodes underwent surgery in which doctors inserted four screws and a titanium plate on the right side. For three weeks, Rhodes barely slept. Once, when her nose was clogged, Rhodes says she started panicking that she couldn’t breathe. Banks brought Rhodes nasal spray for the stuffiness and a Vicodin for the pain.

Since then, it hasn’t improved much. Rhodes subsists on liquid supplements Ensure and Boost and tries to come up with palatable concoctions in the blender. Migraines dig into her skull. Doctors can’t say for certain if she will recover fully.

“I had perfect teeth before,” Rhodes says. “They’ve shifted. My bite is off. The jaw on the left side has atrophied. I don’t have the same energy. I’ve got two kids, and I’m a single mother.

“It’s not easy. You just want to sleep. I don’t go out anymore. I’m exhausted.”

The medical bills have started to come in, and so far, Rhodes says, they’re more than $7,000. She’s not sure how much insurance will cover, so she contacted an attorney, Alan Ghaleb, to inquire about whether the Dodgers would help cover the costs. Ghaleb phoned the team and received a call back from American Specialty Insurance and Risk Services, an Indiana company that offers insurance to professional sports teams. The response shocked him.

“No way, no how, no way would they cover it,” Ghaleb says. “The adjuster was professional, but they would never consider helping anybody with their medical bills. It’s tough luck and you assume the risk.”

There is a reason every team announces before the game that teams are not responsible for flying bats and balls. The same is printed on tickets. Around Dodger Stadium, signs are posted: “Please be alert to bats and balls entering the seating area.” There’s a Spanish translation, too.

Fans who have brought litigation against baseball clubs for injuries due to batted balls and other projectiles have almost universally seen their cases dropped due to the assumption-of-risk doctrine. Every team that sees an injury at its stadium, no matter how serious, fights helping with medical costs because of the implications throughout the rest of the industry.

Ghaleb says that Rhodes is “considering (lawsuits) both against the Dodgers and the manufacturer.” He plans on deciding within 45 days whether cases are worth pursuing, and if he determines they aren’t, he will start a letter-writing campaign to Rawlings and the Dodgers on the dangers of maple bats.

“This is an unfortunate incident, and we wish her a speedy and full recovery,” Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch says.

Rhodes worries that the warnings aren’t enough. The issue of maple bats is so new, only the most ardent fans have heard of the danger. She figured a line drive into foul territory was enough of a threat. Now, having researched the Long incident and seen two or three or sometimes more bats per game breaking, Rhodes wonders why the netting that protects fans behind home plate isn’t lengthened to cover the baselines.

“Some child or someone’s parent is going to get killed,” Rhodes says. “I’m very fortunate this is all that happened. If it was just a few inches higher, it would’ve hit my temple or poked my eye out.

“Why wouldn’t they extend (netting)? I don’t get that. Would you like to live or would you like to see the game? If anything comes out of this, I want people to be safe.”

MLB and the union, though derelict in reaching an agreement to this point, want that as well. They will meet in June and go through a number of possible solutions, including netting, thickening the handles on bats so they’re less likely to snap or banning maple bats outright.

“We’re very concerned about this issue,” MLB spokesman Rich Levin says.

“We are definitely looking into it. I know the commissioner is very concerned.”

As much as Rhodes appreciates the concern, it can’t return her life before a two-pound wooden club blindsided her. She wonders how a sport can put its players and fans in such precarious positions, prone to assaults with a deadly weapon.

Rhodes won’t find out again anytime soon.

“From now on,” she says, “I’m going to Lakers games.”

Tony Cloninger
06-02-2008, 10:46 AM
It always amazes me how obtuse MLB and the union is. No nets? What are you waiting for? Obviously a death, right? That will make it seriously.

Then you have the union...who always has to have something back from the owners in oder to implement something that makes sense. Do the players need more money? Free Agency after 3 years? More meal money? (That's a joke to me now...do they still get that?) I do not care about their precious bats and superstitions.....this is a joke and it's just luck someone has not been hurt more.

Unassisted
11-20-2008, 09:16 AM
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2008-11-19-mlb-change-maple-bats_N.htm


Major League Baseball likely to change, not ban, maple bats
By Ray Glier, Special for USA TODAY
Major League Baseball's Safety and Health Advisory Committee is scheduled meet in New York on Friday to discuss the routine shattering and exploding of bats during the 2008 season. For those who have condemned the use of maple wood and blamed it for the epidemic of broken bats, it might be time to rethink their position.

Brian Hillerich, the great-grandson of Bud Hillerich, the founder of the company Hillerich & Bradsby, which makes the Louisville Slugger, said Major League Baseball is not likely to issue a ban of maple bats but it is going to explore specification changes to the models of bats being used.

"We've been told that they probably won't ban maple, that they will come up with some recommendations for changing what we do now," said Hillerich, professional bat production manager for the company, which has a 60% share of the MLB market.

One of the remedies to reduce the number of broken bats is to change the difference between the length and weight of a bat. According to MLB rules, bats can be no more than minus-3.5, which means the difference between the length in inches and weight in ounces cannot be greater than 3.5.

"A 34-inch, 30.5-ounce bat is waiting to be broken in half," Hillerich said.

MLB collected more than 1,700 broken bats between July and September and launched a research initiative into the breaking of bats, which was a near nightly occurrence throughout the summer. Players were dodging projectiles in the field, a fan was hit by part of a bat in the stands in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh Pirates coach Don Long was hit by a flying piece of a shattered bat.

Jim Anderson, the vice president and director of sales for MaxBat, which makes maple bats for players such as Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins and Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, said the model of the bat has more to do with it shattering than the wood species.

Anderson submitted a 24-page report to MLB and reported relationships of weight to length of the bat and barrel size were factors in breakage.

"There was too much generalization being made about maple … ash bats break violently, too," Anderson said. "Baseball needs to look at the specs currently allowed for a solution."

Pat Courtney, MLB vice president of public relations, said in an e-mail that Friday's meeting would cover more than maple and model. The committee will explore findings by its experts on thickness of bat handles, size of barrels and grains of wood.

The committee will hear from a team of experts on wood, including Timberco Inc., which tests structural and non-structural wood products, and James A. Sherwood, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and the director of the Baseball Research Center.

Anderson said more players are requesting big barrel bats and those at the minus-3.5 difference.

He said it was Nate McLouth's il3 model that broke in Pittsburgh, the barrel flying into the face of Long, who was in the dugout.

Anderson compared the il3 with the R10 model swung by David DeJesus of the Kansas City Royals. It has a minus-2 difference (33.5 to 31.5) and a barrel less than 2.5 inches.

"DeJesus has yet to break the first R10 he was given at the beginning of this year's spring training," Anderson said in an e-mail.

MLB reacted to the glut of broken bats by raising the financial thresholds of companies that want to be licensed to make bats for big-leaguers.

Beginning in the 2009 season, the approximately 30 companies are required to have $10 million in liability insurance, up from $5 million. MLB also raised the administrative fee for being a partner to $10,000 from $5,000 to help defray the costs of research into the exploding bats and for additional quality control.

SunDeck
11-20-2008, 10:16 AM
It always amazes me how obtuse MLB and the union is. No nets? What are you waiting for? Obviously a death, right? That will make it seriously.

Then you have the union...who always has to have something back from the owners in oder to implement something that makes sense. Do the players need more money? Free Agency after 3 years? More meal money? (That's a joke to me now...do they still get that?) I do not care about their precious bats and superstitions.....this is a joke and it's just luck someone has not been hurt more.

On the other hand, ticket prices are way to high for me to be anywhere near field level anymore. Thanks owners and players for keeping me safe!

Highlifeman21
11-20-2008, 10:48 PM
David DeJesus didn't break 1 bat in 2008?

Really?

westofyou
12-10-2008, 10:07 AM
http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/09/changes-for-maple-bats-in-2009/


December 9, 2008, 5:35 pm
Changes for Maple Bats in 2009
By Jack Curry

LAS VEGAS — After collecting and analyzing 2,232 bats broken during games last season, Major League Baseball and the Players Association have accepted the nine recommendations made by the Safety and Health Advisory Committee to combat the rise in broken bats. The recommendations will be implemented for the 2009 season.

The study found that 756 bats broke into multiple pieces. Among the multiple breakages, maple bats were three times more likely than ash bats to break into two or more pieces. The failed bats showed that the maple bats were four times more likely to have broken because of the poor quality slope of the grain than the ash bats breaking in the same manner.

Here is a synopsis of the recommendations.

All bats must conform to slope of grain wood requirements. Slope of grain is a term that quantifies how straight the grain is on the wood.
# All manufacturers must place an ink dot on the tangential face of the sugar maple and yellow birch bats before finishing. This enables the slope of grain to be viewed easily.
# The orientation of the hitting surface on sugar maple and maple bats should be rotated 90 degrees. To facilitate the change, all manufacturers must rotate the logo they placed on bats by 90 degrees.
# The handles of sugar maple and yellow birch bats must be natural or clear to allow for the inspection of the slope of grain in the handle.
# Manufacturers must track each bat they supply.
# Officials from each manufacturer must participate in an M.L.B.-sponsored workshop on engineering properties and grading practices of wood.
# M.L.B. will visit manufacturers regularly to audit each company’s manufacturing processes.
# Random audits of bats will be conducted by M.L.B. at ballparks.
# A third-party bat certification and quality control program should be established to certify new suppliers, approve new species of wood, provide training and education to manufacturers and address non-compliance issues.

In addition, the administration fee for bat suppliers has increased to $10,000 from $5,000. The minimum umbrella insurance for suppliers also rose to $10 million from $5 million. There were 32 approved bat makers last year. None of them were banished from making bats.

corkedbat
12-10-2008, 11:24 AM
Eh lets just switch to aluminum bats, and helmets for pitchers.

Watch the numbers fly :D

Lightweight bodyarmor all around with 20 ft. of Hockey-like glass circling the field? Sure! :beerme: