Maple bats have got to go! Sure, they may not splinter and may last longer, but when they do break, they are by far more dangerous.
This year alone we have seen an umpire get impaled in the neck, a base coach who needed stitches after he got hit in the head, a spectator incur a broken jaw, and a player who got hit in the shoulder by the broken off barrel of his own bat.
The overlapping theme here is that all of these injuries were due to the manner in which these maple bats break.
Maple trees are great sources of maple syrup, but cutting them down to make baseball bats out of them is becoming dangerous and robbing us of much needed maple syrup.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am in no way an environmentalist who works to protect our national forests or even maple trees for that matter. I wouldn’t think of either chaining or tying myself to a tree in an attempt to save it or its forest. I’m just a concerned fan of the wonderful game of baseball and a man who likes maple syrup on his pancakes.
Part of the problem is that MLB doesn’t want to hurt the majority of the paying customers by installing more netting in the possible "danger zones" around the infield seats that would protect the few fans that “might” get injured from one of the flying shards.
The other problem is that the players are used to these bats, and for the most part, might see it as interfering with their livelihood.
They would be upset if the commissioner's office declares that either maple bats will be banned or that maple bats (or even bats in general) need to have smaller barrels and thicker handles for security reasons.
In my opinion, both arguments are weak! Hopefully, this will get resolved before MLB has a death on their hands like the NHL had in 2002 (of a 13 year old fan). But don’t take my side without reading up on the subject a bit more.
Check out a few of these articles and maybe even some others, if you can find them, that state the other side of the story. If you do find any, please send them to me in the comments. I’d love to read a few myself!
You can read more from Peter Schiller at his blog, Baseball Reflections.