…did not happen today. Yet.
But it will happen sooner or later. And everyone knows it will. And it will be in living color on video.
“Lord, that was very scary,” said Nationals manager Manny Acta. “We have seen bats split in two in the last couple of years, but I’ve never seen a bat travel that far and that fast toward that guy. What came to my mind was, ‘What if it was toward the mound, which is only 60 feet, six inches [away]?’ It was scary, but I think they are doing some studies on that. Hopefully something good will come out of it.”
These bat fragments are flying everywhere: in the stands, on the field, behind the plate, and of course near the batter. What will it take to outlaw these lethal weapons?
August 4: According to MLB, inspection of the wood used in the manufacturing of maple and ash bats has cut down on the number of bats shattering, which has reduced the potential for injury to fans, players, coaches, and umpires.
Dan Halem, MLB senior vice president and general counsel, said the incidence of bats breaking into multiple pieces in 2009 is down 30% from 2008 when shards sailing onto the field or toward the stands was commonplace. There were at least two examples last season of injuries: Pittsburgh Pirates hitting coach Don Long sustaining a slash to his left cheek, and spectator Susan Rhodes suffering a broken jaw when the barrel of a bat hit her in the face.
LOS ANGELES — Don Long, the Pirates’ freshly scarred hitting coach, was counting his blessings as well as his stitches yesterday.
“I’m feeling very lucky right now,” he said. “When I think about what could have happened there, yeah, I’m lucky.”
Nate McLouth’s bat broke when he doubled in the eighth inning Tuesday night, and Long, watching the ball head toward the right-field corner, never saw the bat. It whirled toward the Pirates’ dugout, and the splintered end went full-force into Long’s left cheek.
Less than 2 inches below the eye.