Thursday, November 20, 2008

Maple Bats Aren't Going Anywhere

There is some incremental progress on the maple bat front:

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.
The article talks about adjustments to length-to-width ratios and things like that, rather than a simple ban. I don't have the science to know if that will be effective, but I am always more encouraged when I hear people talking about science-based tweaks as opposed to outcry-based bans.


Alex said...

I'm less encouraged by the "We'll think about considering the possibility of becoming interested in small, incremental changes recommended by a panel of scientists to be arranged at an undetermined date," which is all I'm hearing here. I'm sure they'll wait till the season starts, and when someone gets killed or seriously hurt, they'll take a true CYA approach and enforce a change. Also, how has the players' union let this go on so long? These bat splinters put the players in serious danger, and I thought part of the union's purpose was to keep the players safe.

Justin Zeth said...

Thicken the handles. Problem solved.