George Carlin — at least I think it was George Carlin — had an old bit that, as a tangent, talked about violence around a baseball park, with stinger to it in which he said “and hopefully it’s not bat day!” Ever since I heard that many years ago I have always thought about people beating the heck out of each other with bats every time I hear about a team giving away bats.
I’m not the only one, apparently. Enough doctors wondered about that at one point 20 years ago or so that a study was commissioned about it. The upshot of the study from the research abstract at the National Institutes of Health, which was released back in 1994 based on a study of bat day in 1990:
The distribution of 25,000 wooden baseball bats to attendees at Yankee Stadium did not increase the incidence of bat-related trauma in the Bronx and northern Manhattan. There was a positive correlation between daily temperature and the incidence of bat injury. The informal but common impressions of emergency clinicians about the cause-and-effect relationship between Bat Day and bat trauma were unfounded.
So, bat day is not a factor in people hitting other people with bats but heat is. Just another argument for domed stadiums.
(thanks to Jeremy Fox for the heads up on this oldie but goodie)
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.