If you missed it yesterday, Tyler Colvin of the Cubs was coming down the third base line when the maple bat of teammate Wellington Castillo shattered and struck him in the chest.
Colvin had to leave the game. His season is over, but he is expected to fully recover. He was lucky, the jagged shard could have pierced him in the throat or eye.
Here’s my question: Why hasn’t Major League Baseball announced that maple bats are banned?
Unless baseball acts, it’s only a matter of time before a piece of maple bat kills a player or a fan. All wooden bats can break. But the traditional ash bats tend to crack or break into smaller pieces. The maple bats, which some players believe hit the ball with more authority, tend to break into larger, more jagged pieces.
MLB has been studying the issue and closely monitors broken bats and the causes. But so far maple bats remain legal.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com wrote about this subject today and questioned the MLB Players Association. He wrote:
The leaders of the Players Association need to ask themselves the question, what would they do about the maple bats if Colvin had been killed or suffered a career-ending injury?
That’s a good point. To take it a step further, what if a fan is injured or killed? The back of the ticket says the team is not liable. But how could baseball explain to fans that the best seats also come with the danger of being impaled?
This seems pretty simple: ban maple bats unless there is a way to make them as safe as ash. The alternative is not worth the risk.