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Posts Tagged ‘Ash Bats’

Yahoo Sports writer Jeff Passan has covered this maple bat controversy from the very beginning. Last May he wrote an article about the introduction, cause, and increase in the maple bat crazy. Barry Bonds initiated the maple frenzy when he juiced 73 homers over the outfield walls in his memorable, yet highly controversial 2001 season. Since that remarkable season for Mr. Bonds, over 50% of players are now using this soft wood (truly).334-spt_p0513_13c2bondsbatembeddedprod_affiliate113

For all you carpenters out there, this sounds elementary. However, for all of us that are lost around a hardware shop this should clear up a bit of the confusion. Each wood has a specific level of hardness (called Janka Hardness Scale), typically the harder the wood the more expensive the cost. Thus, no major league batter is going to use a wood that has potential to break and pay for an uncontrollable amount (there has been no specific wood denied until now). Generally, the players have used an ash bat. They break less causing their wallets to remain bulky from game checks. Ash has a 1320 Janka ranking, while maple has a 950 Janka ranking. There is a legit reason why there are more bats shattering with Mariano Rivera’s hard cutter and leaving batters with only a few fingers on the handle.

2443989902_c1e1db808b So why switch from ash to maple? Well, superstitions of course! Every player has their superstitions, whether that is wearing the same undershirt, sniff their bat (Carlos Gomez), adjust their batting gloves after every pitch (cough *Nomar *cough). Then again, Bonds did hit 73 home runs with maple. Mmmmm, maple syrup and pancakes. Sorry, my inner mind went irrational on me. Speaking of irrational, did I mention that superstitions are all irrational and non-scientifically proven?

The safety hazard that a shattering bat, which some players can swing up to 65 MPH, put bluntly is jeopardizing all players, fans, and coaches safety. A splintered bat barrel, or even the smaller shards, could potentially cause physical harm. It is surprising that a player has not been extremely injured by a bat. We have had coaches (Pittsburg), and fans (stray flying bats), but nothing like when the Columbus Blue Jackets (hockey) had a fan die.

This new rule enacted by Bud Selig should be praised, not scorned. Players should prevent injuries that can derail entire team’s seasons. As it is, unexpected fluke injuries devastate teams year in and year out. A ball that can be thrown 100 mph is dangerous and a bat being swung at such said pitch is just as dangerous. The MLB is saving itself of many lawsuits, and preventing the health of their players (something that cannot always be said; cough * NFL * cough).

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