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MLB utilizing U.S. Forest Service to curb its broken bat problem

Aug 3, 2013, 7:55 PM EDT

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Major League Baseball has had a broken bat problem for quite some time now, and it has quietly been taking steps to remedy the issue. The latest course of action is described in this PopSci article by Shaunacy Ferro:

More than half of all baseball bats sold to major-league teams last year were maple, and the MLB wants to make sure every batter stepping up to the plate isn’t wielding a ticking wooden time bomb, so they’ve teamed up with U.S. Forest Service scientists to figure out how to make maple bats safer.

The scientists found that the more the cut of the wood strayed from the original grain, the more likely the bat was to shatter, The New York Times reports. The baseball league altered regulations to require that the grain in the bat not deviate from the original grain of the wood by more than 3 percent, as well as adding minimum densities and weight-to-length ratios. Black ink was added to the wood to make the grain easier to follow.

The article adds that the new regulations have cut the broken bat rate in half. All of this is good news — broken bat shrapnel shards are potentially lethal.

  1. bigharold - Aug 3, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    “The scientists found that the more the cut of the wood strayed from the original grain, the more likely the bat was to shatter, …”

    Geez, .. good to hear. I thought MLB was going to blame that on A-Rod too

  2. 13arod - Aug 3, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    25 % of those broken bats are from mariono rivera

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 3, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      And that’s just the NL bats!

  3. hojo20 - Aug 3, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Time to go to aluminum

  4. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 3, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    Hey if only someone had written about a “new” product that would prevent bats from shattering, over and over and over again:

    • Kevin S. - Aug 3, 2013 at 8:57 PM

      Exactly what I thought of when I saw this headline.

  5. leftywildcat - Aug 3, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    What about the other half of the bats used? Aren’t they ash instead of maple, and are they safer? Should maple be banned, or should other woods be tried?

  6. sumerduckman - Aug 4, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    MLB is talking to the wrong folks if they want to solve their exploding maple bat problem.
    Don’t talk to a scientist, talk to a cabinetmaker/woodturner.

    The knowledge has been out there a long time, but is very time/money consumptive.
    You have to go out in to the field to pick the tree, fell it, chop into lengths, then riv/split into the rough turning blanks. Riving the green wood follows the grain, instead of drying rough sawn boards and turning later which cuts across the grain and allows the wood to shear/break.
    The rough blanks are then turned green to approx size, then stickered and air-dried ( NO kiln dried!) weakens the wood) for about 2-3 years before final turning/finishing. You will have a hell of a time busting one of those bats.

    Some of the big boys like Chris Davis could go back to using hickory bats like the old timers. Will not bust one of those either.

    • unclemosesgreen - Aug 4, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      Great comment – I would love to see hickory bats – I wish there was some way I could make you MLB’s bat czar.

  7. jimeejohnson - Aug 4, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    One thing’s fer sure: almost everyone on this blog disapproves of aluminum bats.

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