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Heads Up - Fox News interviews FPL's Research Scientist David Kretschmann

Shepard Smith :

Here at Shea field and ball parks across our nation, crews warn the fans to match out for fly balls and bats that may fly into the stands.

And when it comes to broken bats, players that do not have lightening fast reflexes could very well get hurt.

It happened at a pretty alarming rate this year, and just getting grazed by a shattered bat can mean a trip to the diabled list or a much shorter career.

MLB investigating why we've seen so many broken bats incidents lately, and to try and fix the problem, the league is going all the way to the source.

Steve Brown, our Chicago based correspondence,live in our news room there..what are they doing Steve.

Steve Brown :

Well, Ted Williams once wrote a book, he's a baseball immortal, you know, Shep, he wrote a book called the "science of hitting", turns out there
is a science to bat making as well, and the lab is in Wisconsin.

Lots of major leaguers love maple bats.

They are definely more durable.

The story breaks on bats and its rap on maple bats is when they break, they shatter spraying big, sharp pieces.

Last September, Cubs outfielder Tyler Colman was briefly hospitalized when the barrel of a broken maple bat stabbed him in the chest.

Announcer :

"A broken bat, look out".

Steve Brown:

The Ray's David Price in may had to limbo out of the way of another.

David Price :

At the last moment, I tried to get out of the way. It just clipped me in the back of the head, it could have been a lot worse that it was.

Steve Brown:

Thats where the wood experts at the US Forestry Service lab in Madison, Wisconsin come in.

David Kretschmann:

I received a phone call from major league baseball asking if I would be interested in trying to help them, to determine why there were so may multiple piece failures.

Steve Brown :

And after three seasons of collecting shattered bats...

breaking bats in the lab...

Announcer :

look at this exploding bat...

and video review of every broken bat...

And I am pretty sure its probably was a slope of grade failure...

Steve Brown :

Kretschmann team found that the more that the grain of a bat sloped or angled from straight down the handle, the more likely it was to fly apart when it broke, leading to a new major league rule on bats, maple, and otherwise.

Dave Kretschmann :

They have to have a slope of grain no greater than three degrees in the handles

Steve Brown :

A single sbot of ink exposes the grain and is checked by inspectors who make un-accounced visits.

Since, Kretschmann says the number of shattered bats has been cut in half.

Dave Kretschmann:

Can it be realisticly be zero?

I'm not so sure about that because wood is a natural product that got a lot of variability.

Steve Brown :

Meaning that woods break - but now, those maple bats, are shattering far less frequently...

Now major league baseball has fined bat manufacturers that don't meet consistently that grained standard, but won't say which ones.

Future inovations on bats, at least in the discussion phase right now are some sort of sleeve over this portion of the bat which is where a lot of those complaint breaks happen.



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.