Presenting both sides of the BatGlove debate

Repeating my prior ramble before we get to a great article:

I’ve been cheerleading for BatGlove for a while, but really, it’s not about BatGlove specifically; it’s about finding a solution -any solution- that can prevent injuries from shattered bats from ever occuring again. I really don’t care who is to blame. Each entity has their own rationale for their decisions and actions and I have no doubt they are being made by really smart people.

Let me make this crystal clear: I don’t care if it’s BatGlove or some other solution, so long as there’s a solution in place… soon.

Now, I will happily turn the mic over to Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan, who does a magnificent job presenting both sides of this debate:

The Rauso brothers paid for a study at the UMass-Lowell Baseball Research Center, which concluded the Bat Glove “could significantly reduce the number of multi-piece bat failures when applied to maple bats.” They also wrapped bats for a number of teams to test the Bat Glove in minor league games. Chris Guth, manager of the Rangers’ minor league complex, said in an email that the product was a “neat idea and concept” and “seemed to work well.”

Rawlings disagreed. The company’s study raised a concern of “tethering” – the bat breaking, then snapping back and hitting the batter, catcher or umpire. Though the Rauso brothers have tried to discredit the Rawlings study, the company sent it to David Kretschmann, the league’s independent analyst at the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wis., who told MLB to continue testing before verifying the Bat Glove for in-game use.

[…]

More red tape – which, as usual, is laced with green. And more danger to players and fans by an issue that should’ve been solved long ago.

Read Jeff’s work; it’s excellent, as you might expect. Sadly, Jeff’s last line above is spot on. It’s something that should have and could have been solved long ago but money got in the way of progress. It’s a shame.

(h/t to Lar at WezenBall)

Continue reading Presenting both sides of the BatGlove debate

More BatGlove link love

Woke up to a nice Deadspin.com link:

Speaking of baseball, in light of Tyler Colvin’s injury, why isn’t Major League Baseball implementing the BatGlove, an adhesive wrap that prevents shattered bats from impaling its players? If you guessed “because it’s the same organization that doesn’t use instant replay and costs pitchers perfect games,” you are correct.

And soon after, the mighty WSJ.com:

The good news is that technology does exist that could make maple bats safer – Jason Rosenberg of the Yankees-centric blog It’s About The Money Stupid has been writing passionately about this for some time. The bad news is that products that prevent maple bats from shattering – which, the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers points out, are inexpensive and not hard to find – have been painfully slow to catch on.

“Why hasn’t it happened?” ESPN’s Rob Neyer writes. “Because the players, collectively, care more about their freedom to use any bat they like than about some potentially catastrophic injury. They figure that even if something terrible does happen, it won’t happen to them.”

Buster chipped in (Insider subscription required), linking to the Phil Rogers story I’m quoted in:

Count Oakland reliever Brad Ziegler among those who want a ban of maple bats, in the aftermath of the Tyler Colvin injury.

There is a device that might have prevented the Tyler Colvin injury, writes Phil Rogers; within this pieces, both Rob Manfred and Michael Weiner speak of progress in safety, which is admirable. But all that will be rendered meaningless and hollow the instant someone is killed, because all involved have known for years that they have a problem and would inevitably be forced into making changes in the aftermath of a tragedy.

So why not make any possible change — whether it be a standard handle width or more quality checks or an outright ban on maple bats — right now. The injury to Colvin has fueled more conversation about maple bats, writes Gordon Wittenmyer. Brewers manager Ken Macha wants a ban of the bats, within this notebook.

My $0.02: Banning maple isn’t the answer. Blaming maple isn’t the answer. Ash can break/hinge and injure, too. Wrap the bats, all bats, all types of wood, and eliminate ALL risk. It’s that easy and that cheap. Continue reading More BatGlove link love

Phil Rogers (Chi Tribune) is now on board with the BatGlove

I spoke with Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune for a while yesterday afternoon about the BatGlove, shattered bats, safety and other fun stuff. His story today:

BatGlove might have prevented Colvin’s injury

Clear plastic wrap, which keeps bats together when they break, might give MLB something to consider in future

[…]

The application does not change the performance of the ball on the bat,” said Jason Rosenberg, a New York-based baseball fan who devotes his Web site — itsaboutthemoney.net — to the issue of shattered bats. “It just keeps the bat together when it does break. You don’t have parts of the bat flying around, like the one that hit Tyler Colvin.”

Sweet. Thanks for the chat, Phil! Continue reading Phil Rogers (Chi Tribune) is now on board with the BatGlove

IIATMS exclusive: A chat with BatGlove founders, Phil and Steve Rauso

It’s been a hectic day or so since the Cubs’ Tyler Colvin was speared by a sheared off bat. People who have been around this site for any length of time know that this has become my cause celebre and something I take very seriously. We’ve touched on a number of points about the bats and the incident and the blame. But to really know the story, I spoke directly with the two gentlemen behind the BatGlove product: Phil and Steve Rauso. I’ve spoken to these guys plenty of time, mostly via email, but I wanted to capture the essence of our discussions and share them with everyone. A hearty thank you to the Rauso’s for their limitless time and boundless enthusiasm in seeing this problem fixed.

IIATMS: We’ve already been introduced to the BatGlove here on this site. We know it is essentially a thin film of reinforced plastic that is applied to the handles of wood bats to help keep the barrel and handle together when the bat cracks. Does the product adhere to all MLB rules? Does it change/impact the flight of the batted ball or the performance of the bat itself?

BatGlove: The Bat Safety System (aka BatGlove) is already allowable under MLB Rule 1.10 and according to the MLB approved research center at Lowell/UMASS the BatGlove does not change the trajectory of the ball or the performance of the bat.

IIATMS: How much would it cost to apply the product, en masse, to every bat on every team? Or at least what does it cost for one bat?

BatGlove: The bat glove application costs less than $5 per application per bat. It could be less if adopted as standard on all bats.

(click “view full post” to read more)
Continue reading IIATMS exclusive: A chat with BatGlove founders, Phil and Steve Rauso

Neyer on the BatGlove and the role of the Union

Leave it to Rob Neyer to get to the kernel of this shattered bat / BatGlove discussion:

Why hasn’t some real fix been mandated yet? Some will blame Major League Baseball. Some will blame Rawlings and other bat manufacturers. But most of the blame, paradoxically enough, goes to the players. If the Players Association pushed for safer bats, what would Major League Baseball and the bat-makers say?

“Sorry, but we can’t help you. We don’t care if someone winds up with a sliced jugular in the middle of a baseball diamond, bleeding out, with thousands watching in the stands and many more thousands watching at home.”

I don’t think so. The exact moment players demand action, it’s a done deal because none of the other parties would be able to raise any objection that could pass muster with the public or anyone else. Game over.

Why hasn’t it happened? Because the players, collectively, care more about their freedom to use any bat they like than about some potentially catastrophic injury. They figure that even if something terrible does happen, it won’t happen to them.

Here’s the thing: The safety concerns raised by the Union are largely due to possibly deceitful messages sent by Rawlings, citing the cause of “tethering” was enough of a reason to keep the product off the field by 2010. Rawlings own testing of BatGlove was done opposite to their own testing manuals and done under “test to fail” scenarios, which are completely unrealistic. When tested under the proper methodologies, BatGlove showed 100% containment (pdf here: Lowell Report 12_15_09). One hundred percent. Except the Union wasn’t shown this data or the accompanying videos. They were shown the bogus Rawlings tests and results, putting enough fear into quashing this product.

Why? You got me. Continue reading Neyer on the BatGlove and the role of the Union

The gospel of BatGlove is growing

Al Yellon from BleedCubbieBlue is on top of this now, too. Good to have him on board. How’s this for his headline:

MLB Had A Solution To Shattered Bats And Refused To Institute It

No pulling punches there, eh? Al spoke with Phil Rauso of BatGlove:

MLB does know of a fix for this problem and so do all the major bat manufacturers. Rawlings is actually responsible for keeping it off the field in 2010 after MLB’s Dan Halem said it would be mandated for this current season and it just so happens it was a Rawlings bat that impaled Tyler Colvin.

[…]

There is a special kind of clear tape that the bat manufacturer or player can apply to the lower 18″ of a bat (allowable under MLB Rule 1.10) that has been tested at Lowell/UMASS, the approved MLB testing facilities that has passed 3 rounds of tests over the past two years. This tape has proven 100% successful in keeping the bat in one piece even after it shatters and breaks and can be applied to a bat in less than 45 seconds. MLB testing facilities also showed that the tape does not change the trajectory of the ball or the performance of the bat. In other words, the players hands never touch the tape and you would never know anything was on it because it’s clear. At a cost of less than $5 per application they refuse to use it. It was also issued approval for use in professional game-play for the 2009 season by the Players Union and the Health and Safety Commission yet they made it impossible for this tape to be used on the field and refuse to allow this tape to be put on a bat that is already allowable under their own rules? Why would MLB and the bat manufacturers go out of their way to let these bats continue to break and injure players and spectators if they know of a fix that has already been approved?

I just got off the phone with a well-known reporter in Chicago. This story will not go quietly, not if I can help it! Continue reading The gospel of BatGlove is growing

The BatGlove Story

The following story was written by Justyna Cardello. I chose to post this because of my long running stance on the dangers of shattered bats (just click here for all postings on the subject). It should be noted that if this invention ever gets adopted, the Rauso Brothers will donate a percentage of the proceeds, for the life of the patent, towards the Sickle-Cell Foundation and the Children’s Cancer Hospitals. All of the graphics and videos (at the bottom) are mine, not Justyna’s.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Great entrepreneurial story of Two Brothers, a MLB invention, and overcoming Sickle Cell Anemia*

Brothers Invent Safety Device For MLB In Gold Canyon, Arizona

By Justyna Cardello

Injuries due to broken and shattered bats have become a serious concern not only in Major League Baseball but also within the Minor Leagues. When a solid-wood bat breaks during game-play it literally turns into a deadly spear type weapon that can boomerang and fly into the stands or on the playing field. The rate of serious injuries has escalated over the past decade and will become more serious and life threatening to players, umpires and fans if MLB continues to balk at solutions they are now aware of.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading The BatGlove Story

A bit more about the new rule regarding maple bats

Back in December, I briefly discussed the new rule in the CBA governing the usage of low-density (LD) maple. A reminder on the rule in question:

The ban would only apply to new major leaguers. Other players would be grandfathered and could continue using low-density bats if desired.

As you might remember, too, I have been pretty darned vocal about this shattered bat thing for, well, ever. Because of this obsession of mine, I developed a new BFF in the baseball universe, Wendy Thurm from FanGraphs and Baseball Nation. She asked me a few questions via email and I send a whole mess of a response her way. She turned it into something much better, as you can read here. Like the pro she is, she took only a quote from me:

I’ve been as outspoken as anyone about this issue. The new restriction on bat density for new players is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough.

A number of potential solutions have been developed. Some include radical multi-piece bats that will likely never see a major league game under current MLB Rule 1.10 as they fundamentally change the time-honored equipment of the game. Other solutions include ultra-thin polymer films that wrap the bat to keep the barrel and handle in place should the bat suffer what the manufacturers call a “multi-part failure”, something that has passed significant MLB-approved testing at their Lowell, MA facility. [videos here]

Regardless of the possible remedies available now or in the future, as long as the players want the thin handle, heavy barrel bats that create a whip-like action, bats will continue to shatter. According to MLB regulations, the difference between the bat length and weight can be no greater than 3.5. In other words, a 35” bat cannot be lighter than 31.5 oz. Bats with bigger barrels and narrower handles that push the limits of physics and this rule (or exceed them due to player modification such as sanding the handles for weight/narrowness) all greatly contribute to this problem.

If you want to see/read/learn a bit more about bats, low-density vs. high-density, maple vs. ash, read on friends. After the jump, be warned, my mess of a response to her questions in its completeness. So yeah, I ramble a bit. Sue me.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading A bit more about the new rule regarding maple bats

A bit about the new CBA rule about maple bats

As you probably heard with regard to one of the many items in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, there will be a ban on low-density maple bats. Well, sorta:

The ban would only apply to new major leaguers. Other players would be grandfathered and could continue using low-density bats if desired.

In other words, every player who has ever appeared in an MLB game can still use the low-density bats as long as they are active. As you also might remember, I’m pretty vocal about this whole bat thing.

Rather than rant, I contacted Phil Rauso of BatGlove for his closer-to-the-issue thoughts on the new rules:

(click “view full post” to read more)
Continue reading A bit about the new CBA rule about maple bats