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Doctors once studied whether bat-related injuries spiked in the wake of bat giveaway day at Yankee Stadium

May 27, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

Juan Marichal Hitting Catcher John Roseboro

George Carlin — at least I think it was George Carlin — had an old bit that, as a tangent, talked about violence around a baseball park, with stinger to it in which he said “and hopefully it’s not bat day!” Ever since I heard that many years ago I have always thought about people beating the heck out of each other with bats every time I hear about a team giving away bats.

I’m not the only one, apparently. Enough doctors wondered about that at one point 20 years ago or so that a study was commissioned about it. The upshot of the study from the research abstract at the National Institutes of Health, which was released back in 1994 based on a study of bat day in 1990:

The distribution of 25,000 wooden baseball bats to attendees at Yankee Stadium did not increase the incidence of bat-related trauma in the Bronx and northern Manhattan. There was a positive correlation between daily temperature and the incidence of bat injury. The informal but common impressions of emergency clinicians about the cause-and-effect relationship between Bat Day and bat trauma were unfounded.

So, bat day is not a factor in people hitting other people with bats but heat is. Just another argument for domed stadiums.

(thanks to Jeremy Fox for the heads up on this oldie but goodie)

  1. Old Gator - May 27, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Eleven years too early to have influenced The Warriors, unfortunately – though I would be really interested to correlate the bats given away on bat day in 1978 with sales of eye black and Bucky Dent uniforms.

    • bigharold - May 27, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      “… attendees at Yankee Stadium did not increase the incidence of bat-related trauma in the Bronx and northern Manhattan.”

      Yeah but that didn’t stop Yankee fans from going to Queens and beating the hell out of Met fans with’em.

      Actually having once attended a bat day at The Stadium as a pre-teen I can tell you for sure the real bat related violence came as a result of swinging the bat in the house and busting a lamp. But that goes back to a time when beating ones child for all manor of misbehavior was not only permissible but expected. Be assured, both my brothers and I absolutely tested the meager limits of my Father’s self control on a regular basis.

  2. Jason @ IIATMS - May 27, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    Good news, Sunday is Bat Day at Yankee Stadium. They need to mix Bat Day and Helmet Day.

    • sdelmonte - May 27, 2014 at 2:18 PM

      Is Adam West throwing out the first pitch?

  3. mreezybreezy - May 27, 2014 at 2:43 PM

  4. ejheim62 - May 27, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    one of my favorite comments regarding bat day; “Can’t believe they give away free bats at Yankee Stadium. I mean, that’s like arming the Contras.”

  5. musketmaniac - May 27, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    love the warriors, what was the name of the yankee gang

  6. 18thstreet - May 27, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    The fact that I can’t get “The distribution of 25,000 wooden baseball bats to attendees at Yankee Stadium did not increase the incidence of bat-related trauma in the Bronx and northern Manhattan” down to 140 characters (plus a link) is a huge tragedy.

    • mckludge - May 27, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      Just sub some words and abbreviate others. It’s not that hard.

  7. nbjays - May 27, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Has anyone looked into the increase in bobblehead related violence in recent years? Just asking…

    • 1981titan - May 27, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      That only happens when the honoree makes a critical error by bobbling the ball & losing the game for the home team and therefore causes the frustrated fan who got a bat last week to take the free bat to the upside of the bobble’s head.

  8. lew24 - May 27, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    Free baseballs is bad too! I remember the umps stopping a Dodger game when they fans through baseballs on the field.

    • renaado - May 27, 2014 at 7:42 PM

      “when the fans threw baseballs on the field?”

  9. mikhelb - May 27, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    “There was a positive correlation between daily temperature and the incidence of bat injury.”

    I would love to read that study to see if they collected data from one full year or a given lapse of time. The problem with correlating daily occurrences with temperature is that you’d need at least data of three years, because we are talking about social conduct and maybe the temperature was good enough that kids and youngsters went out to play baseball, resulting in injuries related to bats (not neccesarily accidental), while in the winter with cold days it would not be as enticing to go out and play.

    similarly, regarding the social aspect, it is not the same to have a wonderful morning with high temperatures while on vacations than during school, on vacations youngsters would have maybe twice the amount of available time to… injure themselves.

    Not everything is as simple as it seems in those types of studies, unfortunately there are a lot of studies done in a simplistic manner taking into account a small sample, and disregarding lots of other variables.

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