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Boy hit with shattered bat at Miller Park

Apr 27, 2010, 9:12 AM EDT

He’s fine, but this is scary:

In the bottom of the fourth, Alcides Escobar’s
bat shattered when he grounded out to end the inning. A sharp piece of
the barrel flew into the Miller Park stands about 10 rows behind the
Pirates’ on-deck circle, careering off several fans and hitting the boy
in the head.

Maple bats and insufficient netting is going to end up getting someone seriously hurt or killed.  Baseball needs to (1) either ban the bats or make them safer via technology; and (2) extend the netting to the dugouts.

This game is too fast and the equipment too dangerous not to.

  1. Moses Green - Apr 27, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    Sadly they’re going to wait not only for someone to be badly injured, but for that person to successfully sue MLB. Because it’s more cost-effective this way. Until it’s not.

  2. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Apr 27, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    Craig, as one of the few [known] lawyers here, do these people have a case to sue MLB/the team for an injury? I know most of the tickets have a disclaimer/liability clause printed on them, but it didn’t stop the NHL fan(s) from sueing due to being injured by a puck.
    Wouldn’t a person also have a stronger case knowing how easily shattered the maple bats are and how often they are used (negligence)?

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Apr 27, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    The disclaimer has held up in the past, but I don’t know that it has ever been tested with maple bats shattering. The issue there, I think, is whether maple bats shattering represents a new kind of risk that the older risks such as foul balls do. Specifically, whether it is a kind of danger that is more unexpected and unreasonable, etc., and whether MLB is aware of this fact.
    I think a good faith argument could be made that shattering thin-handled maple bats are a bit different than batted balls, and that MLB — through their now two-year long “study” of the matter — is aware of this increased risk. I think someone could mount a challenge to that sort of thing.
    The key thing: disclaimers don’t protect against all dangers, and some things are so unreasonably dangerous that even disclaimers can’t get you off the hook (e.g. you can’t get out of liability for keeping a rabid wolverine tied up on a playground simply because you put a sign up).

  4. Ralph Nader - Apr 27, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    Unsafe at any speed. Extend the netting.

  5. T.J. - Apr 27, 2010 at 11:18 AM

    Maybe gluing shrinkwrap or some fibrous type of wrap around the middle portion of the bat,where it usually breaks, would at least stop the shattered pieces from flying when broken. As long as it doesn’t affect the grip,I don’t think it would affect contact with the ball.

  6. Jason @ IIATMS - Apr 27, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    New money quote from my guy at BatGlove:
    “For less than $5.00 per bat, the problem could be solved.”
    Chew on that for a moment. $5 per bat and this potential hazard goes away with no impact on the performance of the bats. Yet, this is stuck in perpetual limbo by some higher ups at a bat company who’s got the ear of MLB… despite the evidence to back up BatGlove’s claims.
    TJ, this is your very idea, in action.

  7. T.J. - Apr 28, 2010 at 6:30 AM

    I can’t see why MLB wouldn’t want to go with it either- a built in excuse to increase revenue by raising ticket prices (for the safety of the fan. After all you can’t expect the players to pay for this- it would be quite a burden on their salaries.

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