Six years ago, tragically, 18-year-old Brandon Patch, a pitcher on an American Legion baseball team, was struck in the head by a vicious line drive, and killed. This week, stupidly, a jury awarded an $850,000 settlement to the Patch family, payable by...the manufacturer of the baseball bat:
the jurors found the company, which makes Louisville Slugger bats, liable for failing to warn users of the danger of its aluminum bats and that this failure caused the accident that killed 18-year-old Patch.
For you non-baseball fans out there, aluminum bats are used at just about every level of the sport except the pros, for the understandable reason that they (unlike the wooden bats you see during the World Series), don't routinely break. Also, THE WHOLE POINT OF A BASEBALL BAT IS TO HIT A BASEBALL HARD. Hence such metaphorical-value-havin' words as "hardball." It's like demanding a huge warning sign on, I dunno, crampons, saying "Climbing glaciers may reduce life expectancy."
And if you think I'm being insufficiently sensitive to the poor parents of the killed pitcher, tell me again after you digest this quote:
Duane Patch shook and sobbed as the verdict was read. He clutched his wife in an embrace as they both wiped tears, and he repeatedly pointed to the sky, as if to his son.
"That's a grand slam," Duane Patch said as he hugged one of the family's attorneys.
Tip o' the (Angels) cap to Scott Ross.