Colvin hit by shattered bat, pierces chest inches from heart

The incident:

Video, for now:

More video via CBS:

Same game, another busted bat:

My dear friends at MLB… please, make this stop.  The solution is in front of you. Remove the roadblocks and allow, or enforce, teams to use the Batglove.


[the material below was presented in this posting on August 10, 2010]

What did they know and when did they know it?

In 2008, Major League Baseball found that maple bats were three times as likely to break in multiple places as traditional ash bats. The league has since set new production standards for bats.

Does anyone think that these production standards are really, really working? Me either. Changing production standards is a good way to start, but the solution is already here. As a refresher, here’s the email I got from Steve Rauso at BatGlove, Inc.:


The product was developed to adhere to MLB rule 1.10. From the bottom of the handle, 18″ up a player is allowed to use any material or substance as long as it is to improve the players grip on the bat. The players already use adhesive products to promote player grip on the bat. Because of the location as well as the ultra thin transparent film that is being used, the players cannot even tell the product is on the bat. It is in the area where a player applies pine tar to a bat, so it makes it even less obvious to the player once the tar is applied.

Every player who has ever held a bat with our invention has endorsed it. Most of the time the product has to be pointed out to them because they do not even see it or feel it when they hold the bat. Let’s face it, nobody wants to be “that player” who has to deal with a death or injury in the stands or out on the field. If it does not change the performance of the bat and meets all of the criteria for MLB. Why not?

The MLB Research Center @ Lowell/UMass reports that the invention definitely promotes safer conditions for players, fans and umpires.

And we know MLB has seen the results of the BatGlove product, tested in their Lowell MA testing facility. And the results of those tests conclusively prove that bats which have been applied with the batglove still break, but do not separate and helicopter (towards players and fans and coaches and umpires). In a posting here made in the preseason, following an incident where David Price was hit but not seriously injured by a broken bat, I spoke with Phil Rauso at The BatGlove, for his thoughts on that incident and asked him what’s the barrier for getting his product into use at the MLB levels. His reply:

“This didn’t have to happen, and it will happen more frequently as the season moves on. MLB had the opportunity to use this and at the last minute pulled it [the Bat Glove] from the players hands because of concerns that Rawlings presented to MLB… concerns that were already addressed with the multiple Lowell/UMASS tests and the on-field use of 200 bats last year by the AZ Diamondbacks.

Any injury caused by maple or ash bats could have been avoided this year. MLB has no excuse and Rawlings is the fuel on the fire.”

[If anyone from Rawlings would like to comment on the statement above, please email me]

I posted the results from the Lowell/UMASS tests here, if you’re interested. Or you can download it here: Lowell Report 12_15_09. Seriously, read it. It’s not too long and overly scientific (or watch the videos at the bottom of this posting). But if you want the jump to the results of the test:

“Overall, each of the eleven bats that was wrapped with the polymeric film remained intact during failure, while seven of the 10 natural bats tested at the 14-in. location resulted in multi-piece failures. The Bat Glove System’s 100% containment of the failures during this study for impacts at a location that shows a high potential for multipiece failure demonstrates that its use could significantly reduce the number of multipiece bat failures when applied to maple bats.”

100% containment. That simply means that when the bat shatters during contact, it simply is held together by this product. Meaning, no 30 ounces of razor-sharp wood helicoptering towards another human.

My discussion with Phil Rauso continued and was equally enlightening, yet frighteningly honest:

“Rawlings said that even though our product keeps the bats from going on the field when they break it may cause a hinging effect and hurt the batter…. this issue was already addressed in the multiple Lowell tests and on-field tests with the DBacks as you have already seen in the videos, but Rawlings comment was enough to get the players union to squash it at the last minute.

On another note, months prior to their “concerns” Rawlings approached us and said they were interested in the invention for themselves. We denied exclusivity to them because we want this to be put on every wood bat… not just Rawlings bats. If you watch the ash test video it shows a Rawlings bat hinging without the Bat Glove but it stops the bat from hinging when it is applied. Kerwin Danley was knocked out by a Rawlings ash bat last year because of the hinging effect without the Bat Glove. They are trying to say our product causes hinging?… I was born at night but it wasn’t last night.”

[Full Disclosure: I have no financial interest or investment in BatGlove, Inc.]

Here’s the video of Mark Grace discussing the BatGlove:

And here’s Diamondbacks President & CEO Derrick Hall on the product and its effectiveness:

And if you like slow motion and things gettin’ all busted up, here’s the maple bat tests, with and without BatGlove:

And for kicks, here’s the same with ash bats, with and without BatGlove:

Part 1 of the Fox Sports Arizona series:

Part 2 of the Fox series:

Part 3 of the Fox series:

About @Jason_IIATMS

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23 thoughts on “Colvin hit by shattered bat, pierces chest inches from heart

  1. Baseball got along just fine before maple bats became popular.  It would get along fine without them again.  All that needs to be done is to change the word "wood" in Rule 1.10(a) to "ash."  There's no real reason to allow so much variety anyway.

  2. I wish I felt like this incident would in fact wake up MLB to using something that would actually help the problem, but I am dubious.

  3. Jason, we should DEMAND a clear statement from major league baseball AND from the player's union.


    It appears obvious: bats are shattering at a rate we've never seen before.  We want to know why.  Is the problem with maple bats?  All bats?  Does baseball have a plan to address this problem?  Are potential solutions being evaluated? If so, we want to know what's going on.


    If baseball has determined that there's nothing that can be done to address this problem, then baseball should SAY SO, and in addition baseball should describe in the CLEAREST POSSIBLE TERMS the danger to players and fans from flying bat shards.


    What baseball CANNOT be allowed to do is what it is doing.  Baseball cannot be allowed to pretend that this problem does not exist.  Baseball cannot be allowed to pretend that every shattered bat is some kind of freak accident.


    Moreover, baseball has to recognize the existence of the BatGlove.  I'm no expert; maybe the BatGlove is the wrong solution.  But baseball cannot pretend that there ARE no potential solutions to the problem of shattered bats.


    The time for silence and inaction is over.  We have seen a bat shard nearly kill a baseball player.  If baseball continues to do nothing about this problem, we must see this failure as an INTENTIONAL DECISION by major league baseball to do and say nothing, to foolishly hope that this problem somehow goes away by itself, and to trust to its lawyers for protection in the event that someone is seriously injured or killed by a flying bat shard.

  4. Exactly, Larry.  BatGlove may or may not be the right answer, but it's the closest we've seen as a working, feasible, logical and cost-effective solution. 

    From what I heard, Rawlings conducted tests of BatGlove in the middle of the night, without allowing BatGlove employees to observe, and conducted tests that were not MLB-approved.  In other words, the "evidence" that Rawlings presented to MLB to refute BatGlove's evidence (shown above) is bogus, or at least, unrealistic.

    There's more to this story and I'm working on getting more answers.

    Unfortunately, those answers won't come from MLB any time soon.

  5. I fully support the use of the batglove, but I feel some satanic advocacy coming on in this particular case.

    First, any injury to the chest area will literally be "inches from the heart". The implication is that the bat narrowly missed piercing his heart much the way Van Helsing stakes Dracula. Though baseball bats are swung (and shattered) with great force, I'm not sure a flying shard has near enough force to penetrate the tough bone, muscle and connective tissue protecting the chest cavity.

    This is not to say that there is no risk – even small injuries should be avoided, and you certainly have a risk of concussion or eye damage (almost certainly moreso than heart damage), and most or all of that risk can go away at a simple cost.

    I guess what I'm saying is that the argument for the batglove is a simple and reasonable one, and shouldn't need overdramatization to make the point.

  6. @Mister D: I understand that any injury to the chest will be "inches from the heart." But I just want to point out that Colvin did have a chest tube inserted. He seriously had a tube inserted into his lung through his chest (though apparently just as a precaution) to prevent a collapsed lung. This is a very serious injury with a very large and sharp projectile. I don't think there's any hyperbole in the headline.

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  8. Mr. D, after I wrote what I wrote above, I saw the play in real time on ESPN, and my reaction was the same as yours: I thought that what I wrote exaggerated the extent of Colvin's injury.  It looked like Colvin had received only a glancing blow.  I was then surprised by the later reports that Colvin was hospitalized, that the injury was serious (though given the prompt attention Colvin received, the injury was not life-threatening), and that Colvin will be sidelined for the rest of the year.


    I am not a doctor, or a forensic pathologist, or anything like that.  But it appears that the threat here is probably from a slashing, cutting kind of action.  The piece of broken bat is probably spinning or tumbling (some say "helicoptoring").  So I'd guess that the injuries we need to worry most about are those to the face and neck.

  9. Mister D: While we’re all prone to hyberbole from time to time, the “inches from his heart” was not meant to be so.  As Mike McT noted, he needed a chest tube because of a “sucking wound”.  Yes, it was a mere few inches from his heart.

    Look at the pictures: he’s been hit in the left side of his chest, just above his heart area. 

  10. More on the severity of the injury:

    After a broken bat punctured Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin’s chest on the left side, doctors had to prevent a collapsed lung since air entered the player’s chest wall following the freak accident Sunday.”

    The shard of the broken bat hit him in the chest, inches from his heart and jugular vein.”

    from here:'%20Colvin%20After%20Bat%20Accident

  11. My guess is that broken bats will continue to be a problem until the people at risk start complaining. When the players decide that the risk of injury isn't worth using maple bats, then the players union will say something, and the problem will go away instantly.


    Are there players, or even managers or coaches on record complaining about broken bats?

  12. Prof Longnose: check the videos that I posted.  The D'Backs were on board until someone hushed them.  But you are right; it will take the PLAYERS demanding a solution until this gets resolved… or someone getting seriously hurt or worse (if you don't consider getting speared in the chest with a bat "seriously hurt").

  13. Watching the Batglove tests, I really like this idea.  With the Batglove in place, will a player still be able to tell when he "breaks" his bat by the experience of the customary hand sting that usually goes along with the event, or will it just be a "dead" bat that is more difficult to discern by the hitter; possibly resulting in a loss of force at impact?  Just curious.

  14. If the union cared about safety in the workplace, it wouldn't have allowed some of its members to take dangerous illegal substances in order to force other members who chose not to do so out of work.

    And the only thing that would make Selig wake up and pay attention would be lost revenue due to the disgust of the fans.  Or an eleven-inning All-Star game that ended with a tied score.

  15. @Jim: the MLBPA has always been opposed to the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. What got more press, however, was that the union opposed random drug testing. There were a couple of hot spots regarding steroids that the player's association wanted to protect, namely that no players would be unjustly punished for using performance enhancing drugs during the period of time when doing so was not against the rules and that drug testing would not be Gestapo-esque in nature. They felt that many of the drug testing policies being considered were an invasion of privacy.

    They have since come out in favor of random drug testing for steroids and they also supported the 50/100/lifetime suspensions for positive drug tests.

  16. Also, just to add a point–the player's union were initially in support of the BatGlove until Rawlings claimed it could potentially injure the batter. The player's union isn't at fault here. Rawlings is being shady as hell.

  17. I saw this video posted over at Wezen-Ball and thought it was more than applicable:
    Someone is going to die.

  18. Steve Yeager was impaled by a bat shard; Colvin, yesterday, was inches from death (not sure a shard could pass the sternum plate, but open up someone's coratid artery and we all know the result) or blindness.

    Most players today wear a cup to protect the Jewels, yet the only time I can recall seeing a noncatcher taking one in that area was with Crawford this year (and he survived it). What I'm saying is most players will wear a cup, affecting their performance at some nonzero level (else Crawford would wear a cup), to keep all those parts safe. Either maple has to be banned or the bat glove has to be installed … now. Before someone dies.

  19. Is the players union preventing its members from using the product? It seems that even though the league hasn’t mandated usage of the Batglove on all bats, individual players could take it upon themselves to use it and prevent further injuries to their peers.

  20. Ted: that’s a fair question and from my understanding, the batglove does nothing to impact the performance of the bat or ball.  That said, this is one of the questions that I sent to the BatGlove guys today.

    In other words: STAY TUNED!

  21. @Dan: Don't forget Adrian Beltre. He took a sharp one-hopper to the groin last year that severely bruised his testicle. He stayed in the game and hit the winning run in the 14th inning. On his first game back, Ken Griffey, Jr. had the announcers play the Nutcracker Suite during his first at-bat.