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Should Maple Bats Be Banned?


olehippi

Should maple bats be banned?  

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  1. 1. Should maple bats be banned?



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Yesterday Tampa Bay pitcher, David Price, deflected the the barrel of a shattered maple bat with his non-pitching hand. The bat missed his head, but he received a cut on his hand in the process.

These incidents will continue to happen unless something is done.

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If they had reasonable limits on bat size and shape I don't think the type of wood should matter. Right now there are no specified limits for minimum handle thickness or weight. All there are now is maximums, which is useless. Nobody in 75 years has used a bat anywhere close to the maximum weight or length.

Do some testing, then set minimum sizes. To meet those you have to have thick handled bats that are more shatter-resistant. And they couldn't be baked and hardened to remove all the moisture (and the weight) and that would also make them less prone to shattering. A big, fat-handled, unbaked maple bat would probably be perfectly safe.

And we'd also get the return of Cesar Izturis-sized guys choking up six inches on the bat. And maybe even the return of Luke Appling-style hitters who never strike out and make a living hitting Texas Leaguers over the infield slapping at the ball with a big fat bat. How cool would that be?

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If they had reasonable limits on bat size and shape I don't think the type of wood should matter. Right now there are no specified limits for minimum handle thickness or weight. All there are now is maximums, which is useless. Nobody in 75 years has used a bat anywhere close to the maximum weight or length.

Do some testing, then set minimum sizes. To meet those you have to have thick handled bats that are more shatter-resistant. And they couldn't be baked and hardened to remove all the moisture (and the weight) and that would also make them less prone to shattering. A big, fat-handled, unbaked maple bat would probably be perfectly safe.

And we'd also get the return of Cesar Izturis-sized guys choking up six inches on the bat. And maybe even the return of Luke Appling-style hitters who never strike out and make a living hitting Texas Leaguers over the infield slapping at the ball with a big fat bat. How cool would that be?

While the thin handles that hitters seem to like is at least partially at cause, it is the composition of the wood that is the root cause.

Maple is a structurally brittle wood because of its lack of linear grain. As a result, maple "snaps" when broken, and naturally, the heavier barrel end goes flying.

Ash on the other hand, has many linear grains and when it breaks, it tends to "bend" before finally breaking. The bat handle can be as thin as the hitter likes and in almost all cases, the barrel won't go flying when it breaks....it stays attached to the handle.

If you ever played with old wooden bats (as I did when I was young), you had to salvage them when they broke because they were expensive to replace. It wasn't unusual to put glue in the linear breaks -- the ol' cracked bat syndrome -- insert a screw or two, and tape the handle up. If done right, the bat would be almost as good as new. Definitely can't do that with a maple bat.

But, I guess they can always go to plying the wood bats and perhaps simulate the graining effect.

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I vote for thicker handles, based on testing by people who know how to test things properly.

Maple has different properties than ash, but they always seem to break at the handles. Thin handles are a fairly recent phenomena, just like the cupped fat ends, and it's based on the fairly new bat-speed religion. Maybe maple bats need thicker handles than do ash bats, beats me. If so, then they should have different MIN handle sizes for each kind of wood.

They should take serious steps about this before somebody gets maimed by flying bat shards, but they probably won't.

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Handle thickness isn't really the issue. I've seen plenty of ash bats with a smaller handle than most maple bats; the Rawlings 433 for example.

If it's a legitimate concern for MLB, they either have to ban maple all together or move to a composite bat (i.e. Brett Bats, DeMarini etc)

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Handle thickness isn't really the issue. I've seen plenty of ash bats with a smaller handle than most maple bats; the Rawlings 433 for example.

Sure it is. I think all bats currently have handles that are too thin, and they should mandate a standard quite a bit larger than any bats use today.

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I vote for thicker handles, based on testing by people who know how to test things properly.

Maple has different properties than ash, but they always seem to break at the handles. Thin handles are a fairly recent phenomena, just like the cupped fat ends, and it's based on the fairly new bat-speed religion. Maybe maple bats need thicker handles than do ash bats, beats me. If so, then they should have different MIN handle sizes for each kind of wood.

They should take serious steps about this before somebody gets maimed by flying bat shards, but they probably won't.

I've read that Hank Aaron was one of the first to use a thin-handled bat in the early 50s. No idea if it was nearly as thin as some of the bats in use today, but it was apparently noticably different than most bats of the time. 755 homers have a tendency to make stuff popular.

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Sure it is. I think all bats currently have handles that are too thin, and they should mandate a standard quite a bit larger than any bats use today.

Ok, but why not just use a composite handle? The technology is there and most composite bats are permitted at the low A level.

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Yesterday Tampa Bay pitcher, David Price, deflected the the barrel of a shattered maple bat with his non-pitching hand. The bat missed his head, but he received a cut on his hand in the process.

These incidents will continue to happen unless something is done.

These bats are the baseball equivalent of throwing knives except they aren't weight on the point end.

As a fan can you imagine? You're enjoying your beer and slamming a dog, and bam!!, stake to the heart!! That might be OK if we have some rowdy vampires in the crowd...

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These bats are the baseball equivalent of throwing knives except they aren't weight on the point end.

As a fan can you imagine? You're enjoying your beer and slamming a dog, and bam!!, stake to the heart!! That might be OK if we have some rowdy vampires in the crowd...

However, after lifelong prolonged enjoyment of beer & dog slamming, a maple stake to the heart is merely an alternative to the more conventional heart attack. I wonder what a vampire's preference would be?

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Bamboo...

Tensile strength of steel. :eektf:

I agree something should be done. Banning Maple seems a bit harsh. The processing of the maple is the issue. They dry it out in special ovens or microwaves or something so its lighter and denser. But this makes it brittle. Hence the shattering.

They could mandate the handle diameter a bit and ban drying the bats to some degree. That would do it.

Or just make everyone use the same composite material bat. Only options are length, weight, taper, cup at the end, and handle shape.

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Bamboo...

Tensile strength of steel. :eektf:

I agree something should be done. Banning Maple seems a bit harsh. The processing of the maple is the issue. They dry it out in special ovens or microwaves or something so its lighter and denser. But this makes it brittle. Hence the shattering.

They could mandate the handle diameter a bit and ban drying the bats to some degree. That would do it.

Or just make everyone use the same composite material bat. Only options are length, weight, taper, cup at the end, and handle shape.

How you might "cure" the maple isn't the problem. As I said in an earlier post, it's the properties of the wood itself.

Years ago, I was part owner of a guitar manufacturing company located in SW Virginia. My experience with trying to bend solid maple for the sides of maple acoustic guitars was frustrating beyond belief -- the wood is very brittle and does not like to bend. That is why almost all acoustic guitars that uses maple sides and back is plied with mahogany or other woods.

As for bats made from composite materials....I suspect they would be as dangerous as allowing ML hitters to use aluminum bats.

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