We all know from his television comments with the American network NBC that Johnny Miller can speak what is talked about, but for a time, in the mid-1970s, he did too, probably better than anyone else who has stepped on a golf course.Everyone he competed against, including Nicklaus, Watson, Weiskopf and Trevino, knew that if Miller blew up, he was invincible, and that even on a bad day he was stil...
According to Major League Baseball, hitters broke 2,232 baseball bats from July through the end of the regular season. 756 of these bats broke into pieces. An MLB investigation team was hired after several high-profile crashes with seriously injured spectators, a point guard, and eventually a plate umpire. Additionally, several close calls were reported, including one with the team president and another with Bobby Cox, manager of the Atlanta Braves. The researchers found that maple bats were three times more likely to break into several pieces than more traditional ash bats.
The researchers’ recommendations were presented to MLB in December. While there are very likely numerous reasons for the dramatic breakups fans are witnessing with maple, researchers are currently focusing on the wood grain structure for maple bats. In particular, the maple kernels should be as straight as possible. Unlike ash, straight maple grains are harder to find. Regardless of the type of wood, the researchers believe that bats are much more likely to fail when the so-called “grain slope” is greater than one inch over a 20-inch length of the bat (just under 3 degrees). Also, the face of the bat hitting the ball must be reconfigured by moving the trademark a quarter turn for maple.
To this end, researchers have made a series of recommendations to MLB and these recommendations have essentially become regulations. Below is a summary of these regulations:
- Bats must meet a grain requirement slope of just under 3 degrees for the mango and taper regions.
- Bat makers need to put an ink dot on the grain side of the handle for maple and birch bats to measure the tilt angle.
- The striking surface of the maple and birch should be the front grain, not the edge grain, which means a quarter turn (90 degree) placement of the trademarks on the bats.
- Handles for maple and birch bats should have a natural or transparent finish (to see the grain and ink dot)
- Bat manufacturers need a system to track maple and birch bats leaving their stores
- Bat makers are required to participate in an MLB sponsored workshop on wood grading and engineering
- Bat manufacturers will be visited and audited for manufacturing processes and monitoring systems.
- Audits will also be done randomly (sound familiar?) At ballparks.
- An ongoing third-party certification program needs to be established to deal with new innovations in the future.
Additionally, Major League Baseball has doubled its bat certification fee from $ 5,000 per company to $ 10,000. They have also doubled the liability insurance requirement from $ 5 million to $ 10 million.
Ultimately, these measures are expected to reduce the number of dangerous broken bat episodes for all who enjoy America’s hobby. However, these may only be the first steps to be taken. Only time will tell.