Federal researchers have discovered a way to lower the number of baseball bats that shatter in the course of Major League Baseball games, Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Friday.
“This innovative research by the U.S. Forest Service will make baseball games safer for players and fans across the nation,” Vilsack said in a statement. “The U.S. Forest Products Laboratory has once again demonstrated that we can improve uses for wood products across our nation in practical ways – making advancements that can improve quality of life and grow our economy.”
The Elias Sports Bureau, which tracks statistics for MLB, doesn’t track the number of bats that actually break, but the sense is that the number of broken bats has increased since a majority of players began using maple bats over the last decade. In 2011, a shard of a maple bat hit a fan attending a Kansas City Royals baseball game in the face.
(Hat tip to Jason Pye)