This article has a lot in it about woodworking and “slope of grain” and stress resistance and stuff and I really stop being sharp at around this time of the afternoon so I can’t really parse it too well. But this seems like the upshot to me:
MLB employs TECO, a certification and testing agency for wood products, to inspect bats. And now that broken-bat incidents are being tracked and categorized, the data can be used to target specific teams, players and manufacturers. “It becomes very obvious what players are breaking the most multiple-piece failures,” Kretschmann said. “What teams are they on? What are the teams that are breaking a lot of bats? You can kind of pinpoint where you go.”
So baseball is apparently inspecting and confiscating dangerous bats that don’t conform to some standards that are mentioned in the article but which are hard to tell whether or not they represent a safe threshhold for bat shattering.
Progress I guess? Hard to say. Unless you just ban maple bats, it seems like we’re just sort of spitballing. If no one has been killed or blinded by a breaking bat in the next five years or so I suppose we can declare victory.
It’s always a bit deceiving to see offseason workout photos of players who are said to be getting into great shape because guys in those pics are wearing compression shirts and crap and we’re used to seeing them in baseball uniforms. I remember pics of Miguel Cabrera and David Ortiz in the offseason looking svelte, only to see them in uniform come spring as their familiar beefy selves. Uniforms are often loose and billowy and the players wear a couple of layers when they’re suited up, so at least visually speaking it’s better to compare apples to apples.