Banner for LabNotes
From Lab Notes
Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592
Email

 

You are here: FPL Home  / Information  / News  / FPL in the News

Forest Service Cracks Mystery Behind Broken Bats - AP News interviews FPL's Research Scientist David Kretschmann

Announcer :

If there are less broken bats in the big leagues that's due in large part to work done in this building in Wisconsin. Baseball had a problem in 2008, bats were sometimes breaking into pieces. That concerned MLB, which turned to the US Forest Service for help.

David Kretschmann :

What you want to do is reduce the number of times that you get two pieces, something that is going to end up out in the field.

Announcer :

Or in the stands! So Dave Kretschmann went to work. Kretschmann is a research engineer at the US Forest Service's Forest Products Laboratory near the University of Wisconsin campus. Kretschmann and colleagues at two universities identified issues that made bats more prone to shattering. The main problem they found, the so called "slope of grain" in the wood.

David Kretschmann :

If you grab a hold of a pack of pencils and you think of those as being the wood fibers-you want those to go up and down the handle of the bat and the more that they would tip away from being up and down the length-wise version of the handle of the bat, the weaker the wood in the handle.

Announcer :

Today equipment manufacturers can be fined if they make bats that don't meet new standards that include slope of grain restrictions. The goal is to avoid frightening incidents like the one involving Tyler Colvin of the Chicago Cubs, who was hospitalized after being struck in the chest by a sliver of a broken bat last season. The efforts made by Kretschmann and others appear to be paying off. Kretschmann has noticed the reduction of roughly 50% of the most dangerous type of broken bat, where a piece or pieces of the bat literally come flying off the handle, after contact with the ball.

David Kretschmann :

You know we recognized what the problem was, suggested a solution, and the very first season there was a dramatic drop.

Tony Migliaccio (Brewers Equipment Manager) :

I think we've seen a decrease, yah I think we have seen a decrease. And I think you see less multiple fractures, explosions going into the stands, injuring people.

Announcer :

And beginning this year, MLB said young players coming into the majors are not allowed to use bats made of low density Maple. Steve Garmonson, Associated Press.

End



 

Broken bat incidents For more information about FPL's contribution with assisting the Major League Baseball (MLB) with the broken bat incidents please click here.