Bat(suit) Outta Hell

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.

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  • ||

    That hackneyed response had to have been practiced. What a travesty.

  • @||

    He clutched his wife in an embrace as they both wiped tears, and he repeatedly pointed to the sky, as if to his son.

    As a baseball fan, I'd like to register my complaint that the Point To The Sky™ gesture is stupid, clannish and ineffectual. Dear (mostly black and Hispanic) MLB gesturers: There is no god. He (your imaginary god) doesn't care whether you strike out or hit a home run or use steroids or get shot in a strip club. When you point at the sky, you publicize your ignorance. Just hit the friggin' ball (especially if you're a Yankee) and leave the mysticism to the professional retards.

  • saxon||

    "There is no god"

    prove it.

  • edna||

    prove it.

    the existence of george steinbrenner, dan snyder, and the irsay clan.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    "That's a grand slam," Duane Patch said as he hugged one of the family's attorneys.

    Brandon would have wanted a Hollywood catch phrase.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In their pursuit of justice, Brandon would have wanted his parents to "swing for the bleachers."

    Which, coincidentally, he would have also wanted the batter who killed him to do.

  • Kilo||

    HA!

  • Botox Porcupine||

    HA!

  • Attorney||

    I thought people in Montana had more sense than this.

    Anyway 1: It will be appealed and hopefully reduced or even vacated.

    Anyway 2: Tort reform is and oughtta be a state thing.

  • Ward S. Denker||

    From the article: "Aluminum bat maker Hillerich & Bradsby Co. failed to provide adequate warning as to the dangers of the bat used by a Helena Senators player during the game"

    Why is it that if someone were to use one of these bats in a murder that no jury would ever buy the argument that it wasn't murder because there was no label on the product which warned that it could be lethal, but when this kind of thing makes it to a civil trial where an "evil corporate bad guy" is involved that people make such distinctions?

  • ||

    because it's more obvious that using a baseball bat to try to kill someone would likely kill them than that an aluminum bat sometimes sends balls flying harder and faster than you might expect. I'm not defending the ruling, but equating the two is idiotic.

  • ||

    an aluminum bat sometimes sends balls flying harder and faster than you might expect.

    Unless, you know, you've ever actually hit a ball with one.

    This suit was ridiculous from the get-go. Shame on the jury.

    -jcr

  • Jim Treacher||

    Who knew that hitting a baseball with a bat might send it flying hard and fast?

  • JB||

    I wouldn't mind seeing a baseball bat taken to those jurors.

    What morons. Those people sure aren't my peers.

  • ||

    I think America NEEDS a 5 day waiting period on these Dangerous weapons.

  • juris imprudent||

    Between each pitch. You need a cooling off period after all.

    Then baseball will actually be slower than cricket.

  • Mo||

    Matt,

    Of course the reason they don't use them in the pros is the fear that something like this will happen. The pros don't want to be on the hook if/when a player or, God forbid, a fan gets killed by a struck ball.

    In college baseball, the bats aren't technically allowed to be able to hit the balls faster than they come off of wooden ones. But those rules are regularly flouted and as such, college is temporarily banning composite bats.

    However, that doesn't justify negligence on the part of the bat manufacturer. They made the bat to the league's specifications. If anyone should be the target of a suit, it would be the league.

  • Matt Welch||

    Agreed.

  • ||

    Absurd.

    Obviously, if the ball had not been made so dangerously hard, none of this would have happened. It was the ball maker who should be sued. Or perhaps the descendants of Abner Doubleday.

  • ||

    I think you mean Alexander Cartwright, but OK.

  • juris imprudent||

    Maybe the parents should be sued for allowing their child to play baseball.

  • ||

    Mo's premise is simply false. But way to offer the propose the obnoxious cynical response du jour. Aluminum bats can be designed to have any performance characteristic the MLB would want to require -- which includes performing better, the same, or worse than wooden bats. The safety factor is irrelevant.

    The real reason? Tradition. MLB has always been reluctant to change rules that have been around for 100+ years. Which I think is one of the cool things about baseball.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/quest.....138AAn3mz7

  • Mo||

    Considering that MLB can't tell if a bat is corked until one shatters, how are they going to tell which bats are at spec and which have been doctored? The incentive to doctor the bats is very great and the chances of catching someone breaking the rules are slim. That's why the NCAA is banning composite bats, they can't tell the ones in spec from those out of spec without testing the bat used. Testing one bat is easy, testing every bat used every game becomes a logistical nightmare.

  • ||

    You are not seriously saying that a ball hit by a mere wooden bat hard enough to send it to top bleachers of the furthest stands does not have more than sufficient energy to kill anyone who's head gets in the ball's way are you? Are you seriously saying that such a person would be any more dead had the ball been struck by an aluminum bat?

  • ||

    You live in the country with the people who live there -- not with those you wish to live with.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    +1. You really take the bad with the good.

  • kinnath||

    First, let's kill all the lawyers . . .

  • ||

    Spare us the Shakespeare, please.

  • ||

    'Tis now the very witching time of night,
    When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
    Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
    And do such bitter business as the day
    Would quake to look on. Soft! now to my mother.
    O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
    The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom:
    Let me be cruel, not unnatural:
    I will speak daggers to her, but use none;
    My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites;
    How in my words soever she be shent,
    To give them seals never, my soul, consent!

  • ||

    Sorry, man.

  • The Gobbler||

    As well you should be.

  • ||

    You're right. I should've gone with the one old-time Hit & Runners will recognize as one of my go-to Shakespearean speeches:

    DAUPHIN

    For the Dauphin,
    I stand here for him: what to him from England?

    EXETER

    Scorn and defiance; slight regard, contempt,
    And any thing that may not misbecome
    The mighty sender, doth he prize you at.
    Thus says my king; an' if your father's highness
    Do not, in grant of all demands at large,
    Sweeten the bitter mock you sent his majesty,
    He'll call you to so hot an answer of it,
    That caves and womby vaultages of France
    Shall chide your trespass and return your mock
    In second accent of his ordnance.
  • ||

    O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
    She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
    In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
    On the fore-finger of an alderman,
    Drawn with a team of little atomies
    Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep;
    Her wagon-spokes made of long spinners’ legs,
    The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
    The traces of the smallest spider’s web,
    The collars of the moonshine’s watery beams,
    Her whip of cricket’s bone; the lash of film;
    Her waggoner a small grey-coated gnat,
    Not half so big as a round little worm
    Prick’d from the lazy finger of a maid:
    Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
    Made by the joiner squirrel or an old grub,
    Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
    And in this state she gallops night by night
    Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;
    O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on court’sies straight,
    O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees,
    O’er ladies ‘ lips, who straight on kisses dream,
    Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
    Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:
    Sometime she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose,
    And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
    And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail
    Tickling a parson’s nose as a’ lies asleep,
    Then dreams, he of another benefice:
    Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,
    And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
    Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
    Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon
    Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
    And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
    And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
    That plaits the manes of horses in the night,
    And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
    Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes:
    This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
    That presses them and learns them first to bear,
    Making them women of good carriage:

  • ||

    Peace, peace, Aresen, peace! Thou talk'st of nothing.

  • ||

    Troth, sir, I can yield you none without words; and words are grown so false, I am loath to prove reason with them.

  • ||

    What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?

  • ||

    I would my horse had the speed of your tongue.

  • ||

    You always end with a jade's trick: I know you of old.

  • ||

    I think I am as like to ride the mare if I have any vantage of
    ground to get up.

  • BakedPenguin||

    This reminds me of the Coleco decision in NJ. A drunk guy climbed onto an above ground pool deck with the stairs up (which also had a sign that said CLOSED), ignored a NO DIVING sign, dove in head first, and broke his neck.

    He sued, and won millions. It's like a stupidity lottery.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    What the hell does that have to do with Colecovision?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Both were massive clusterfucks that nearly ruined the company?

  • Nipplemancer||

    his parents should be charged with negilgent homocide for not teaching their son to duck.

  • ||

    I am agree.

    did anyone hear about the guy that got peeked on in his own home at 5am when he was nude, and he got charged with something or other?

    Was that one in reason and I missed it?

    If i had billions, I would fund prosecuting the peeping tom mother.

  • Attorney||

    Was that one in reason and I missed it?

    Yes, several times.

  • ||

    I do not know the jury selection rules in Montana, but I am willing to bet that the Plaintiff's lawyer fought hard to keep anyone who showed any sign of an ability to think logically off the jury.

  • skr||

    the sad fact of american juries is that one or the other of the lawyers is going to do just that. This results in stupid juries. I have found that if I just use big words and equivocate for every question I am always excused.

  • JB||

    Two words: jury nullification. You will never sit on a jury if you use those words.

  • prolefeed||

    Throw the jury notice in the trash, and don't fucking respond. If they come after you, claim you never received it.

    Unless you enjoy working for well under minimum wage at a really tedious job.

  • Harris Trinsky||

    Not to disagree with Welch's point - you're playing hardball, look out, or with the hilarity of the "grand slam" comment, but I will say current metal bats are like supercharged. I coach little league baseball and all the kids are using metal bats - most now using $300 graphite and titanium composites, not just aluminum (like in the little league world series, many kids used a version of the Combat).

    Anyway, these bats perform incredibly. I pitch BP to 12 year old kids and the rubber is 45' from the plate, and every kid can rip a ball with these things. Kids routinely hit 250' home runs. My sons pitch now but I would be nervous as hell if they continued to pitch to high school and college players weilding these monsters.

  • ||

    Agreed. Merits of this as fodder for litigation aside, I don't get aluminum in, well, baseball. Grew up knowing that aluminum bats will make the ball fly like, like, like. . .a bat out of hell.

  • Russ 2000||

    Kids routinely hit 250' home runs. My sons pitch now but I would be nervous as hell if they continued to pitch to high school and college players weilding these monsters.

    They can't. Little League bats are as light as -11, high school and higher are only as light as -3.

    But I agree, the -11 is just crazy, the bats are almost as light as wiffle bats.

  • ||

    I agree that the performance of some of these bats is incredibly, and at higher levels, ridiculous and unnecessarily unsafe. But aluminum bats can be manufactured to perform any way you want them to. Hell, if people wanted safer bats, they could easily design an aluminum bat that performs WORSE than hickory or maple. Leagues -- including little leagues -- simply need to decide on a "Bat Performance Factor" (BPF) and have the ump check the bats at the beginning of each game. Lots of leagues already do this.

  • ||

    Usually these "ridiculous tort suit win" stories turn out to be not so ridiculous upon closer inspection (the McDonalds coffee case from ~10 years ago comes to mind). But, that said, it seems hard to believe that this one will turn out that way.

  • Jordan||

    How is the McDonald's coffee case not as ridiculous as it sounds? Oh noes, the coffee was hotter than your average coffee. That doesn't excuse the dipshit who spilled it on herself.

  • highnumber||

    Ever read anything about it?
    http://tinyurl.com/yete4y5

  • Thomas||

    http://www.vanfirm.com/mcdonal.....awsuit.htm

    http://lawandhelp.com/q298-2.htm

    That's exactly what I'd heard before, and it's still ridiculous.

  • Jordan||

    Believe me, I'm familiar with the case. It's outrageous, period. Also, the judge later reduced the damages this moron was awarded.

  • prolefeed||

    We're talking about an idiot putting a cup of hot coffee between their thighs in a motor vehicle, and driving off in it and getting burned when the coffee spills, and then getting a big jury award -- which part of this do you think is not a ridiculous travesty of the legal system?

  • zoltan||

    You know who should have been sued? Her car manufacturer--not enough cup holders.

  • ||

    Radley linked to this story earlier this week. My comment -

    Wait until these bloodsuckers discover boxing. I’ve a theory that boxing gloves do not eliminate the brain damage caused by getting punched in the head repeatedly.

    The research I’ve seen on aluminum vs. ash bats indicates that the sweet spot is larger for aluminum bats* but velocity of the batted ball struck within the sweet spot is the same. IOW, more high velocity batted balls but not batted balls at a higher velocity.

    * I know. Only a hopeless baseball geek would know this crap off the top of his head and link to it in a political website.
  • Warty||

    The entire point of boxing gloves is to allow the boxers to punch each other harder and longer in the head. You can't punch your opponent in the face very hard for very long if you're bareknuckled, you see - hands have a distressing tendency to break.

  • ||

    As a libertarian I find this ruling reprehensible.

    As a fan of baseball at all levels, I say we should be banning metal bats for everybody. Wood bats FTW.

  • Attorney||

    It's all fun and games until some kid gets a splinter in his eye.

  • Tara Davis||

    They could always go back to the magnesium bats. If you hit a homer with one of those, you earned it.

  • Russ 2000||

    Apparently the Patch family, and H&B lawyers, don't know that Little League baseballs are softer than other baseballs. The hardness of the ball makes a lot more difference than the bat.

  • NeonCat||

    Hey, I've got an idea, instead of a BS lawsuit against the bat manufacturer, how about encouraging baseball organizations to develop helmets for pitchers?

    No, that would be, what's the word, intelligent.

  • Russ 2000||

    Cat, some softball pitchers DO wear masks.

    But those are for girls.

  • MJ||

    Who are also significantly closer to the plate as well as the dynamics of throwing underhand tend to leave the pitcher standing straight up rather than bending over.

  • ||

    A jury doesn't award settlements; they render (or award) verdicts. Settlements occur without the participation of a jury.

  • ||

    Thank you, franz, for posting my didactic snark 40 minutes before I would have.

  • Attorney||

    How did I miss that boner?

    [smacks forehead]

  • BakedPenguin||

    Just make sure those wooden bats aren't made of maple.

  • ||

    THE WHOLE POINT OF A BASEBALL BAT IS TO HIT A BASEBALL HARD.

    I really hope that's the dumbest thing you ever wrote Matt.

  • #7||

    Warren must have struggled in a slow-pitch league. Did they make fun of you, Warren?

  • ||

    Maybe Warren played in the T-ball leagues where you could use those blow up bats.

  • Richard Rider||

    It's time we realized that sports should be banned. Period.

    With few exceptions (chess,perhaps), they all entail risk. Each year, hundreds of thousands of loved ones (and unloved ones) are injured participating in sports. Each year, too many die (i.e. -- more than zero).

    It's time to end this pandemic. Ban sports. Certainly all physical sports. We need to all be safe, all the time.

    This was never more true than now, when we are about to adopt national health insurance. We'll all be paying for these thoughtless, unnecessary injuries via the public option.

    Ban sports. Ban driving. Ban mobility. Save the endangered U.S. human being.

  • juris imprudent||

    Benjamin, I have one word for you: nerf.

  • MJ||

    But, dear Gad man, what about the obesity epidemic?!!

  • Richard Rider||

    Good point! To solve the obesity epidemic (a very REAL epidemic), we must ration calories. Food stamps in reverse.

    Anyone consuming more than, say, 1500 calories would be arrested and put on a bread and water diet -- without bread.

    A side benefit would be the economic stimulus. A new bureaucracy for rationing calories could easily employ the entire state of Michigan -- and we know how much they need employment.

    Plus all the enforcement officers, auditors, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and jailers employed at "prevailing wage" would drive the economy to even better prosperity than the wildly successful (according to Obama) Cash for Clunkers triumph.

  • BeesInTheBrain||

    From an SI article on the subject

    Surprisingly, no professional player at any level on the U.S. mainland has been killed by a batted ball. Of the 76 deaths caused in that manner—five of which involved batters killed by their own foul tips—all occurred in amateur games and included kids as young as six.

    Keep in mind that these are number since 1887. It doesn't break them down and does mention a catcher as being one of the deaths so we count them all as pitchers we will have a number on the high side. Meaning even IF all non-batters killed were pitchers, it would still be only 71 deaths in 122 years. Given all the baseball games played and all the players involved it hardly seams likely that there is a significant risk of deaths to pitcher.

  • ||

    Thank you, son, for your tragic death. Mother and I will spend this ridiculous settlement $$$ in ways you would have wanted us to, had you only lived to make the big leagues . . .
    People like thes two make me puke . . .

  • MNG||

    It's not settlement money, it's a verdict. A jury of their peers heard evidence and arguments presented by both sides under with a judge as the referee and decided the company had violated the standard of care in not providing better warning. You guys were not there, you don't know what was shown and not shown during the trial causing the jury to find they way they did. It's at least conceivable that these bats create risks to young people using them in baseball games, risks that the maker knows about but participants might not without warning.

    And sheesh what would it kill them to provide such a warning? We're talking about print on the side of the stupid bat or box it comes in for crying out loud. That's not exactly TEH SLAVERY...

  • Botox Porcupine||

    God. Shut the fuck up.

    "It's at least conceivable that these bats create risks to young people using them in baseball games, risks that the maker knows about but participants might not without warning"

    Are you fucking serious? Show me someone who has played/watched/heard about baseball that didn't understand that a crucial part of the game is hitting a hard, orange sized ball as hard as possible in the direction of a dozen (or thousands) of people.

    And who the fuck reads the warnings on the side of the box containing a baseball bat?

    But hey-- good for these parents. This verdict will surely save hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.

    Or not.

  • MNG||

    I can certainly imagine, no actually know, people who might not appreciate, understand or even know that the metal bat has a significant effect which in turn has been demonstrated to be dangerous, especially to certain positions (pitchers).

    Also, some people may read the warning. More importantly this award may raise awareness of the issue and get people talking about ridding little leagues of these bats, which in turn may indeed save some lives, and many others from needless injury. Good things if you ask me.

  • saxon||

    if there were a warning on the box (that Al bat hits harder than wood bat), what would the PITCHER do differently?

  • ||

    You weren't at Leo Frank's murder trial, either. Are you ready to tell us not to second-guess the jury that listened to all the evidence there, too?

  • MNG||

    Because the two trials are SO analgous here! In both sides it's so clear due process was afforded both sides.

    Actually it's only clear for this trial, and clear it wasn't afforded to Frank, and so the analogy is seriously inapt, and that further means you continue to be an idiot.

  • ||

    So you've read the complete record in the Frank trial?

  • ||

    So you've read the complete record in the Frank trial?

  • prolefeed||

    Your post was full of stupid, MNG (well, the first sentence was OK). Of course baseball bats hitting baseballs create risks. D-oh! And of course the experts who manufactured the bats would know more about the risks than the average player. But, fucking-A, MNG, are you telling me that even the dullest player is incapable of understanding that a hardball flying off a swung bat isn't dangerous?

    A kid voluntarily took a small but obvious risk, almost certainly with the consent of his parents, got the worst case scenario, and now his parents and their lawyers are cashing on this accident?

  • ||

    A plaintiff's lawyer would *never* call something like this an "accident." Events like this are *always* the inevitable result of the defendant's negligence. For which he must be made to pay, big time.

  • ||

    Every infringement of liberty that MNG supports, he does so and mocks "teh slavery"

    I wonder how he would have defended actual slavery of back in the day. Such a propensity to defend violations of individual liberty, I am sure he would have defended slavery.

  • IceTrey||

    "that the metal bat has a significant effect"

    Please explain how a ball coming off a metal bat at 90 mph is more dangerous than a ball coming off a wooden bat at 90 mph?

  • ||

    "And sheesh what would it kill them to provide such a warning? We're talking about print on the side of the stupid bat or box it comes in for crying out loud."

    What would a warning do? The batter, or the batter's team, is the one buying the bat. The pitcher is the one at risk. A batter seeing a warning that "This bat causes balls to fly faster than wooden bats" is, if anything, more likely to buy that bat.

  • Richard Rider||

    One of the MANY problems with such warnings is that there are today so many lawyer/politician-mandated warnings on so many products that the consumer has learned to ignore such boilerplate. Indeed, the people profiting so much from all these warnings should themsleves be sued for causing consumers to ignore REAL warnings on truly dangerous products.

    Makes every bit as much sense as the ball bat ruling, don't you think?

  • ||

    Since the pitcher wouldn't be able to read a warning label on a bat from the mound, how would he know the label was there? Oh, he would remember that if a line drive hits you in the head it could be dangerous??? He just couldn't remember it unless it was printed upon the bat used? What about the ball? If there had been a label could the batter have hit the ball differently? What would it say "There is a one in ten million chance that a line drive might kill someone, including yourself"?

    Only a complete moron, read MNG, could imagine that the bat makers knew of a dangerous defect that could increase the chance of accidental deaths. He is competing with Chad today in the "Most Asinine" category, and that is saying something.

    I have two Stanley fiberglass hammers. They have warning labels in "illiterate". There is a picture of a nail with a dotted line going to a face wearing goggles. On a hammer. Since there is no warning against getting my children's attention by tapping them on the head with one of them I guess that would be OK. Would hitting them lightly on the skull be dangerous? There is no warning on the hammer, in English or Illiterate, so how could I possibly know? Surely I couldn't be expected to use, what appears to be very uncommon, common sense.

  • MNG||

    You mean the batter MEANT to kill the pitcher? Of course!

    No, it was an ACCIDENT. It might be safe to assume players, and more importantly the parents who organize the games, assume and count on the bat making the ball be hit harder and faster (though when I was a kid I did not assume that; I honestly remember that we preferred metal bats because they did not break and looked cooler).

    But the parents/players probably did not know that this had been demonstrated to increasing the risks of harm, especially to certain positions (i.e., pitchers). If you read the article you'd see that plaintiff introduced statistical evidence of a significant connection between that increase of risk/harm and use of the metal bat and that defendant, knowing of such, would then have a duty to warn.

    So see, use of this kind of bat could easily be found to "increase the chance of accidental deaths." Use your vaunted "common sense;" the bat makes the ball go faster; a faster ball increases the chance of accidental hitting of players; an increase of that leads to an increase in the number of deaths (since they are a subset of the former).

    And I should think it reasonable that the manufacturer did know about this.

  • Robert||

    This is why it's called silly mid-off.

  • anonymous||

    Ordinarily, I would be outraged. However, with enough suits like this, perhaps the scourge of baseball can be eliminated once and for all.

  • Jim Treacher||

    The ball wouldn't have been going that fast if the game had been played underwater. The parents should sue the grass and trees that generated the oxygen.

  • hmm||

    I don't agree with the law suit, but isn't there data proving aluminum bats generate much higher higher forces than wood bats? Seems like something a league should look at rather than a lawsuit.

    I wonder how often this happens or if anyone has data on it. I know there was some controversy over it a while ago.

  • ||

    I don't agree with the law suit, but isn't there data proving aluminum bats generate much higher higher forces than wood bats? Seems like something a league should look at rather than a lawsuit.


    There's basically two separate parts as to why Aluminum Bats (as they are traditionally constructed) outperform wooden.

    The strength of the metal allows the barrels to be hollow, this allows aluminum bats to replicate the same surface area of a wooden bat at a much lighter weight. Since in the energy transfer, the speed the bat is traveling when it strikes the ball swamps any effect mass may theoretically have, the lighter bat with the same surface area and same (if not better) structural integrity is more effective.

    There is also the "trampoline effect." We don't see it because the moment of impact happens so quickly, but when the ball strikes the bat the ball undergoes a very severe compression (it squshes) and then springs back into shape launching it off the bat. The wooden bat also compresses, but because of the type of material and its construction it is very minimal and adds little in terms of energy to the flight of the ball. The same can not be said of many aluminum bats. With hollow barrels and thicknesses of different amounts, an aluminum bat barrel can compress in a much greater amount than a wooden one. The additional energy transferred to the ball when the bat uncompresses leads to additional energy being applied to the flight of the ball.

    However if you're playing baseball at 18 years old and don't already know that balls are hit harder, faster and farther with aluminum bats than wooden ones.

    Unless this bat was somehow obscenely dangerous compared to other aluminum bats, it's moronic to think that any lack of knowledge of the risks involved in playing with them was the fault of the bat company.

  • MNG||

    Yes, if anyone read the article before manifesting the usual Paul Harvey-esque outrage, they would know such evidence was a big part of plaintiff's case.

  • ||

    I re-read the article and there was no indication that there was anything unusual about this model of aluminum bats. They seem to be just suing because it was an aluminum bat, and that they strike balls harder than wooden bats.

    But an 18 year old pitcher in an amateur league has to know that:

    a) Aluminum bats are going to be used in the game

    b) Balls are able to be struck much harder off of Aluminum bats.

    The physics behind why balls travel faster off of Aluminum bats are not that well understood by most players, but virtually every player above the age of 12 playing any organized ball knows that balls come off of Aluminum bats harder. That's why all the hitters use them whenever they're allowed.

    It's preposterous to argue that the pitcher needed a written warning to that effect. The event, while tragic, was the sort of risk (minimal though it was) the pitcher had to know he was taking.

    Even if you want to argue Aluminum bats should be banned, that still doesn't mean the manufacturer is liable prior to such a ban. The league maybe, probably not them either.

  • MNG||

    Look, you agree the bats create a higher risk. You agree that we can expect the manufacturer to know that. We tend to require manufacturers of products that create such increased risks to warn of the risks they know of. They are in a much better position to accurately know the risks than an 18 year old baseball player.

    The pitcher doesn't have control over what bats the league allows or the batter uses. Are you arguing that he "assumed the risk" by particpating in the game knowing full well the increased risks to his position? If you mean primary assumption of the risk I'm not sure the kid could appreciate the increased chance of serious harm or death in order to satisfy that defense. But this may well have been a secondary assumption of risk at best, in which case the manufacturer can be liable for some of the damages.

    I'm guessing this was not about negligence anyway but was a product liability failure to warn case.

  • ||

    And wooden bats create a higher risk (i.e., they allow balls to be hit harder) than plastic bats. So I presume that the next time a pitcher is killed by a line drive hit by a *wooden* bat, and a plaintiff's lawyer persuades a jury that the poor kind might be alive today if only the bat manufacturer had put a warning label on the bat, and the manufacturer is mulcted megabucks in damages, you'll presumably be defending *that* result as well.

  • ||

    And wooden bats create a higher risk (i.e., they allow balls to be hit harder) than plastic bats. So I presume that the next time a pitcher is killed by a line drive hit by a *wooden* bat, and a plaintiff's lawyer persuades a jury that the poor kind might be alive today if only the bat manufacturer had put a warning label on the bat, and the manufacturer is mulcted megabucks in damages, you'll presumably be defending *that* result as well.

  • MNG||

    The funny thing here is you have some people defending the manufacturer because they could not be assumed to know these bats increase the risks for accidental harm (see Wonder Boy at 9:02) and others defending the manufacturer because everyone, everyone knows the same thing...

    Easily manufactured right-leaning outrage is truly a matter of reflex, not thought!

  • saxon||

    If there had been a warning label on the bat, what do you think the PITCHER would have done differently?

    If you want to find someone to blame, try to league; not the equipment manufacturer unless it is defective (not working as designed).

  • MNG||

    The league could be liable for ngeligently allowing their use, but manufacturer product liability for failure to warn is indicated as well.

    It doesn't matter what the pitcher would have done differently, maybe the league would not have allowed their use if they had been properly labeled and the pitcher would be alive today.

  • Richard Rider||

    By the tort defenders' tortured logic, we should ban snow skis made in the last 50 years because you can go faster on them. CLEARLY going faster inceases risk, and the severity of falls.

    And they would ban fiber glass pole vault poles because they allow one to jump higher (and fall further).

    Or else they want the manufacturers to put meaningless warning labels on such equipment that would not save a single life. Not one.

  • MNG||

    Because banning=putting a small warning on the box...

    Brilliant!

    You refer to "tort defenders." I'm guessing you don't like regulation, now you don't like tort law. WTF are you for then?

  • ||

    So you don't deny that it would be appropriate to hold the manufacturers of snow skis and pole vault poles liable if they don't put labels on their products warning that the products create a greater risk of injury than the old models, which didn't allow you to ski as fast, or jump as high. As long as the products aren't actually banned, it's all good.

  • MNG||

    I'd be against a ban, but yes, I'm for requiring manufacturers of products that increase the risk of serious harms of users to put truthful labels on their products.

    I know, I know, "TEH SLAVERY!"

  • ||

    So you admit that that means labels warning skiers that the new, better skis will make it possible for them to crash into trees at faster speeds than the old models, and warning pole vaulters that the new improved poles will enable them to jump higher (and thus fall farther)? That may not be "teh slavery," but it sure is "teh stupidity."

  • Richard Rider||

    I'm for freedom, my friend. Freedom, and personal responsibility. That's why I read REASON.

    No one makes the teams use such bats. No one forces the players on the field. They all roughly understand the risks prior to playing. To claim otherwise is to deny reality.

    Sure, we need tort law. But we also need "loser pays" to rein in 90% of the harassing lawsuits filed in America today. And we need better, more restrictive definitions of valid torts, along with the elimination of the "1% responsibility can hit deep pockets for 100% of the cost."

    To deny that we desperately need tort reform makes clear that you likely are a tort lawyer. Nothing wrong with that I guess, but full disclosure would be nice.

  • MNG||

    Methinks like many right-leaning libertarians you emphasize the responsibility part over the freedom part, but look, I support some ideas of "tort reform" and oppose others. For example, a common one is caps on certain damages. How in the hell does that support your "personal responsibility?" If someone through their half-ass negligence kills my loved one or causes me daily pain and suffering then how in the hell does capping their liability for the loss of consortium or pain and suffering they have caused me promote personal responsibility? Get real corporate shill...

  • MNG||

    Capping these losses is in fact all about literally LIMITING the personal responsibility of the tortfeasor (wrongdoer)...

  • LarryA||

    But aluminum bats can be manufactured to perform any way you want them to. Hell, if people wanted safer bats, they could easily design an aluminum bat that performs WORSE than hickory or maple.

    Baseball isn’t my sport. If you get beaned with a line drive at 40’, is there really a significant difference if it’s off of aluminum or wood? It seems like either one would be game over.

  • MNG||

    According to the article the plaintiffs introduced evidence that you'd have significantly less time to react if its off aluminum and that could be the difference between serious harm or not.

  • IceTrey||

    So you consider 25 THOUSANDS of a second a "significant" amount of time. Your a moron.

  • IceTrey||

    Correction. YOU'RE a moron.

  • MNG||

    Statistically significant, and significant in terms of the result (reaction time). Sometimes a fraction of a second, especially when dealing with reflexs, is very significant indeed.

  • IceTrey||

    Bullshit. A human blink takes 400 milliseconds. As reported, the time it takes a ball hit from a wood bat to reach the pitcher is 400 milliseconds. So even if the batter had been using a wood bat the event would have LITERALLY happened in the blink of an eye. Again if you think 25 THOUSANDS of a second is a significant amount of time you have no idea what you're talking about and should just be ignored.

  • MNG||

    And you think the manufacturer's defense team did not bring up arguments like this? Of course they did, and the plaintiff likely called expert witnesses that undercut it.

    It's you that don't know what you are talking about. Actually, I don't either in the sense that neither of us is an expert on human reflex I'd bet. The difference is that I defer to the trial in which both sides had opportunity to parade such experts before a jury of people like you and me and actually hear what's what, but you think you know. I'm guessing you don't.

  • MNG||

    Read the post directly below mine Ice-moron, Voros' post, where he concedes this point...

    "According to the article the plaintiffs introduced evidence that you'd have significantly less time to react if its off aluminum and that could be the difference between serious harm or not.
    That is of course true."

    You'd do better to do what he and smarter libertarians are doing and bet your money on some form of obviousness/assumption of the risk rather than something you're ignorant of...

  • MNG||

    And let me add to the list more evidence of what a moron you are: the 25 (22 actually) thousandth of a second difference noted in the article was the difference between what this pitcher would need to react and what he got in this instance from a ball hit by an alloy bat, it was NOT the difference between how much time you would get with a wooden vs. an alloy bat.

    In other words they showed that they time you would need for a pitcher to react is greater than that allowed from a ball hit by an alloy bat, hence it was dangerous to pitchers.

    "Baseballs hit with aluminum bats, such as the one used in that American Legion game, only give pitchers milliseconds to respond in a defensive stance, the plaintiffs said. Plaintiff's attorney Joe White said the average time needed by a pitcher to defend a batted ball is 400 milliseconds. Patch had 378 milliseconds to respond, he said."

  • ||

    According to the article the plaintiffs introduced evidence that you'd have significantly less time to react if its off aluminum and that could be the difference between serious harm or not.
    That is of course true. The problem with that reasoning is that for any baseball player in this country who isn't a professional, hitters with aluminum bats are not just the norm, but the overwhelmingly expected situation. The pitcher in question in his life likely had a ratio of batters faced wielding aluminum bats to batters wielding wooden bats of well over 100:1. If he's played lots of games, it's quite possible it's over 1000:1. Unless you're a pro, aluminum bats are standard risks for all American players.

  • MNG||

    Thats not true, I've seen kids play in little leagues that disallow alloy bats for this reason. And maybe suits like this will bring about more of this, which, since everyone agrees the bats increase risk of harming kids, and everyone is against harming kids, is a good thing, right?

    Look, if the manufacturer has done what we usually expect of those that make products that increase risks significantly, and everyone involved appreciates the risks, and is an adult, and still chooses to participate using the product, then I have no beef with that.

  • Richard Rider||

    I've got it! We pass a law that the pitcher must pitch from 2nd base. THAT would provide sufficient reaction time, right?

    It has the extra added bonus of an efficiency in fielding teams. We can eliminate the redundant 2nd baseman.

    Of course, bunting would have to be banned, but it's for the greater good.

  • ||

    Every infringement of liberty that MNG supports, he does so and mocks "teh slavery"

    I wonder how he would have defended actual slavery of back in the day. Such a propensity to defend violations of individual liberty, I am sure he would have defended slavery.

    MNG, every infringement on liberty is ok if it is for the 'greater good' huh?

  • MNG||

    I mock "TEH SLAVERY" stuff kwais because I think it's not only a false analogy but does a horrible dis-service to the horror that was slavery "back in the day." Just like Holocaust survivors balk when people liken this or that injustice to the Holocaust.

    So yes, I think equating the requiring of manufacturers of dangerous products putting a LABEL on their product with SLAVERY to be foolish and a dishonoring of the real tragedy that was slavery.

  • Random Dude||

    Is MNG in the same category as LoneWacko yet?

    I mean, really.

    These people sued because the people who sold aluminum bats in an American pastime did not mention that balls hit with aluminum bats instead of wood travel 5.5% faster?!

    1) Who did not know this?

    2) If there was a 1.5 x 3.0" sticker on the side of the bat.... would that have really influenced that kid's decision to play.

    If you think that the answer to 2 is an affirmative, then you sir, are a fucking idiot.

  • MNG||

    It doesn't matter whether the sticker would have influenced the kids decision to play moron, it may have influenced the parents on whether to play, or the league in whether to disallow the bats.

  • Kant feel Pietzsche||

    A basic grade wood bat runs about $45. Some composite and alloy bats run as high as $500. Can anyone (even MNG) argue with a straight face that a player/parent isn't aware of the higher performance characteristics of the comp/alloy bat? No, we just missed a house payment to buy Junior that bat because it "looked cool"???

    I'm guessing that MNG never played the game past the age of 9, when most kids with his mindset switch over to Playstation.

  • MNG||

    I played 'til I was 15, and seriously I played with an aluminum bat because it did not break and they looked much cooler. I guess I had some realization that it made the ball go faster, and I should have had some appreciation that making the ball go faster increased the risk of harm, but I did not appreciate it really. I was 15 after all...I certainly did not think it increased the chances of killing the freaking pitcher!

  • ||

    These folks voluntarily had their son in a position in a game where he stands in the middle of a field and throws a ball - as hard as he can - at someone who is going to swing a bat - as hard as he can - to hit the ball... what part of personal responsibility don't these people get... by these people I include the courts that allowed the lawsuit in the first place. I have little hope for my own libertarian ideals because there are so many people today who are unable to face up to their own shortcomings, they want to find someone/something to blame. Mock me if you will but I foresee the day when all little kids will need to wear a helmet - everywhere they go

  • @||

    It isn't all that farfetched. Civilized humans wear shoes to protect their feet, carry umbrellas to stay dry, wear overcoats to keep warm. Why not helmets, just in case? Of course The Children®, already required by the force of law to wear helmets while biking, will soon have to don them on The People's playgrounds, parks and beaches, sandlot baseball fields...every public place where a city council, legislature or president claims ownership, on behalf of The American People®.

  • Kant feel Pietzsche||

    Hey, wasn't trying to be mean, MNG. My point is that trying to claim that kids and parents aren't aware of the high performance of their bats is BS. They PAYED for that performance. I would bet you dollars to donuts that the kid who died had a similar bat in his bag.

    The real problem with the baseball and softball bats is the same problem plauging golf. Technology has made it possible for people with mediocre strength and athletic talent to hit a ball a ton, and people with inferior strength and athletic talent to hit a ball 1/2 a ton. People want this technology because it makes them "feel" as though they are adequate.

    As someone who has played, and then coached baseball for 40 some odd years, and a near-"scratch" golfer before my accident, I have observed this phenomenon with mixed feelings.

    It is not the fault of the manufacturer that they provide these tools to those who are willing to pay for them. It is, and has always has been, the role of a sport's governing body to limit how technology alters the landscape. And they have done that.

    For instance, any club builder can make any club they desire and offer it for sale. But, in order for that club to be legal in competition play, it must fall within specs provided by the USGA.

    In baseball, for the last 4 years, all metal and composition bats have to pass a BSR (bat safety rating) certification before they are legal for high school or college play. They cannot be lighter than -3, which refers to the length in inches minus the weight in ounces. This brings the swingweight in line with the average wood bat. Likewise, a bat's escape velocity (or trampoline effect) is limited to nearly that of a wood bat. These limits were invoked not only for safety reasons, but to try to maintain some semblance of integrity to the game. The BSR cert is clearly marked on the bat, enabling umpires to spot illegal bats easily. The (comparitvely) HUGE sweet spot in a metal bat still gives it an advantage over wood.

    However, for many youth leagues, there are no limits. So you still have kids in some leagues using rocket launchers for bats.

  • Kant feel Pietzsche||

    spell check, spell check, spell check! *smacks forehead*

  • ||

    I wonder if the parents can be charged with reckless endangerment for allowing their kids for playing such a dangerous sport?

  • Kant feel Pietzsche||

    It makes just as much sense as finding the bat maker liable.

  • ||

    MNG, you excuse a million infringements on liberty, using the same logic that those that excused real logic used. "It is for the greater good".

    A million infringements on individual freedom here and there, and soon you are starting to talk about real tyranny.

    Freedom necessarily includes the freedom to make a wrong choice. Just as freedom of speech necessarily includes the right to say something unpopular.

    In the end though it leads to a better life for everyone.

  • MNG||

    kwais
    I actually agree with your last three sentences. I think freedom is as a rule a better promotor of the greater good than coercion. I'm a liberal that follows Mill's On Liberty not Marx's Manifesto. But in some cases where it strikes me as not I'm not going to stick to it for its own sake.

    Example: last night folks told me that in some states it is illegal for an adult to wear a mask in public. I thought this was tragic, what kind of freedom loving people would allow such a stupid law? Folks said "well, I guess it is in case the authorities needed to know someone's Identity." I thought "WTF?! A perfectly innocent activity, i.e., an adult wearing a Halloween mask (hurts noone) is illegal because the authorities MIGHT come across someone wearing one and want to know their identity? What a sad state I thought that my countrymen would have such a trifling attitude about their freedom and such a sad deference to "the authorities" and what they "might" need to make their jobs easier...

  • Random Dude||

    "I thought "WTF?! A perfectly innocent activity, i.e., an adult wearing a Halloween mask (hurts noone) is illegal because the authorities MIGHT come across someone wearing one and want to know their identity? What a sad state I thought that my countrymen would have such a trifling attitude about their freedom and such a sad deference to "the authorities" and what they "might" need to make their jobs easier... "

    I thought "WTF?! A perfectly innocent activity, i.e., an adolescent playing baseball with an unregulated aluminum bat (hurts noone) is illegal because the authorities MIGHT come across someone who gets hurt by a baseball hit with it? What a sad state I thought that my countrymen would have such a trifling attitude about their freedom and such a sad deference to "the authorities" and what they "might" need to make their jobs easier...

  • MNG||

    "an adolescent playing baseball with an unregulated aluminum bat (hurts noone)"

    Er, it seemed to kill this kid...

  • MNG||

    Kwais and Kant
    It's a failure to warn suit, it's not about whether anyone should be able to, knowing and appreciating the risks, should be able to engage in such activity, but whether the manufacturer of a dangerous product should have to provide a warning of the dangers it knows of. I feel you on the "obviousness" argument, indeed in failure to warn law an obviously dangerous characteristic of a product is one that might not require a warning. And yes, it strikes me that most parents/players are probably aware that the alloy bats make the ball go faster when you hit it. Were I a juror I might have found for the defendant. But look, my point is the decision is not bat-shit crazy: it's at least reasonable to think that the players/parents did not appreciate/know the extent of the dangerousness of the bat and that the manufacturer did and would not be burdened much to put a warning on the bat...

  • Kant feel Pietzsche||

    MNG: You are still missing the point. Forget warning people about the "pop" of those bats during that time period. It wasn't a bug, it was a feature! It was, in fact, a selling point. This is like someone buying a Ferrari, wrapping it around a tree @ 180 mph, and then suing Ferrari because they didn't put a big warning sticker on the car warning of the danger of going 180 mph on public roads.

    This suit is even more stupid than those against gun manufacturers. "Like, who knew those little lead thingies came out of the barrel at such astounding velicities!!"

  • Kant feel Pietzsche||

    Or I guess I should say, the driver's survivors. This is just a classic "deep pocket" suit by someone trying to make a buck off of a personal tragedy.

  • nobody special||

    OK, don't know much about baseball, but wouldn't the person or group who taught this guy how to pitch be more at fault than the bat maker? If he pitched all strikes this wouldn't have happened.

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