Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote a column in early May with a frightening but eye-opening lead sentence. “Someone’s going to die at a baseball stadium soon,” he surmised, because of the splintering effect of newly popularized maple bats.
That didn’t happen this afternoon at the Marlins’ Sun Life Stadium. But it could have.
Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin was struck in the left side of his chest by a shard from a broken bat while running down the third-base line during Sunday’s game against the Marlins. It cut through the skin, left a deep wound, and he had to be rushed to a local hospital for precautionary monitoring. This all comes via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Colvin will be fine. He had minimal external bleeding and will probably return to the field early this week. But had that bat shard struck him just a few inches lower — near the heart — we might’ve had a real tragedy on our hands.
It’s time to do something about the composition of baseball’s wooden bats. Whether that means outlawing maple or throwing money into research for the standardization of a type of lumber, action must be taken before a player, umpire or fan is killed at a baseball stadium.
Colvin, a rookie outfielder, has hit .254/.316/.500 with 20 home runs, 18 doubles, five triples and 56 RBI in 358 at-bats this season. He is 25.
UPDATE: MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann shares an incredible screen grab of the shard just inches from Colvin’s chest.
UPDATE II: Wittenmyer says that Colvin will remain in a Miami hospital for the next 2-3 days as a precautionary measure. The shard punctured his chest wall and air got in, but he is now in stable condition and expected to make a speedy recovery.
UPDATE III: The Chicago Tribune is now reporting that Colvin will not play again this season.