X-rays could rid game of defective maple bats

Saw an interesting USA Today story yesterday regarding the maple bat controversy. There is a portable CT scanner that will soon be made available to major league teams. Apparently the device can “x-ray” a bat and detect flaws in the wood that the human eye misses. The idea is that defective bats could be identified in advance so players won’t use them in a game.Who knows how many teams might invest in one of these scanners (maybe MLB should require them). All I know is I get to watch a lot of games covering the A’s on a daily basis, and it’s scary how many bats are shattering and hurling everywhere _¬†toward players on the field, toward fans, toward players in the dugouts. What’s most dangerous are the shattered bats that fly directly toward the pitcher’s mound. It’s the pitchers who are closest to the batter, and probably in the worst position possible to defend themselves, depending on how off-balance guys are in their follow-through.

It’s amazing to me how infielders are able to side-step a shattered bat and field a grounder all in the same sequence.¬†Not exactly a skill they teach in Little League.

Jon Becker

  • Bee

    Anything to reduce the potential for disaster with those maple bats. I thought they were going to stop using them after last or this season. What was wrong with the ash bats?

  • Jan K Oski

    Hey Bee,

    I think I read that the maple bats have more pop, but it doesn’t appear to be true, based upon HR numbers that’s the case.

  • John R. Grout

    A golf analogy to ash bat versus maple bat is forged irons versus cast irons… pros use forged irons to get more control and live with the poor results if they miss the sweet spot while ordinary golfers use cast irons which are not as sensitive to missing the sweet spot. It isn’t an exact analogy… a golf ball isn’t moving at the point of contact… but maple bats do seem more forgiving of contact that’s not on the sweet spot than ash bats.

  • Bee

    Thanks for the explanation, John and Jan. At some point, I think you have to weigh the danger against the “pop”, but I’m afraid it’s going to take someone getting seriously injured before anything will be done about it. The x-ray idea will sure help.