By now, most baseball fans have heard of the debate revolving around maple bats and concerns about them possibly shattering more frequently than their ash bat counterparts. Discussions have ranged from an outright ban, to placing restrictions on how small in diameter handles can be (read Mariners president Chuck Armstrong’s take on maple bats within our State of MLB – 2008 compilation).
But, what if there were a way to examine the bats on the inside? Look to see if there were cracks? Conduct a CT scan in 30 seconds, and not away from the ballpark, but at it?
Universal Medical Systems, Inc. (UMS) of Ohio in cooperation with Penn State's Center for Quantitative Imaging, will unveil the world's first baseball-bat dedicated application of a portable, battery-operated CT scanner on June 27 at this year’s SABR convention in Cleveland nicknamed “Battery-Mate”
"Our CT-scanning application -- in 30 seconds at any clubhouse or factory -- can help eliminate this Russian roulette Major League Baseball is playing right now with fans, players and coaches," says David Zavagno, president, UMS.
A committee meeting consisting of representatives from the players' union, the Commissioner's office and Major League Baseball (MLB) teams will meet in New York on June 24, 2008, to discuss the workplace safety hazard caused by in-play breakage of maple bats.
"Once a crack has started it can explode along the direction of maximum stress much like you split wood with a wedge," says Dr. Phillip Halleck, co-director of Penn State's Center for Quantitative Imaging.
UMS states that, “Data demonstrates raw maple may need to be chosen very carefully because hidden defects could cause breakage. The wood in maple bats is harder and denser than ash and supposedly more durable, but there is a greater chance of defect in a maple bat compared with a bat made of ash.”
Source: Universal Medical Systems, Inc.