Ever go to a baseball game with your kid, sit real close to the dugout, and collect a neat souvenir from a player who broke his bat fouling a ball off on a wicked cutter? Yeah, me neither. But actually, very few fans have picked up any of these broken bats since July 2nd, because the Major League Baseball Safety and Health Advisory Committee rounded up all the shards for Very Important Scientific Research:
Since July 2nd, MLB Authenticators have collected every bat that has broken during Major League games. To date, more than 1,700 broken bats have been collected for analysis. The Committee has compiled relevant information for each broken bat, including its manufacturer, the model, its dimensions, the situation of the game when it was broken, the area in which the bat fragments landed, and video footage from MLB.com of each broken bat incident.
Yes, the Safety and Health Advisory Committee hired some nerds from the US Forest Service's Forest Products Laboratory to figure out exactly why baseball bats have been exploding with such frequency as to cause multiple injuries. The latest press release basically says: "Hey, we're still figuring this shit out. Give us some time." David Kretschmann is the HNIC for the FPL and has this to say:
Much of the speculation on broken bats this year has centered on bats made of maple. But Kretschmann said it was too simplistic to ban maple bats. "It's a much more complicated problem than that," he said. "The species itself is not necessarily the root of the problem. There are lots of factors involved, including the limitations on bat size and handle size."
Kretschmann said players were using bats of such shape and length that it's like swinging a toothpick with a brick at the end of it. "If you hit a ball going 95 mph with that, it will shatter because the brick is hanging out there," he said. "It's an impression I have had over the years in that the dimensions and shapes of bats have gone to the extreme end."
Sounds like Dave's got it all figured out and he sounds like a man with a plan in that egghead of his. But put that guy in front of the MLB Players Association and they'd laugh his ass out of that meeting faster than Troy Tulowitzki could smash his bat. Troy will give you that maple toothpick when you take it out of his cold, dead hands, nerd!