MLB utilizing U.S. Forest Service to curb its broken bat problem

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Major League Baseball has had a broken bat problem for quite some time now, and it has quietly been taking steps to remedy the issue. The latest course of action is described in this PopSci article by Shaunacy Ferro:

More than half of all baseball bats sold to major-league teams last year were maple, and the MLB wants to make sure every batter stepping up to the plate isn’t wielding a ticking wooden time bomb, so they’ve teamed up with U.S. Forest Service scientists to figure out how to make maple bats safer.

The scientists found that the more the cut of the wood strayed from the original grain, the more likely the bat was to shatter, The New York Times reports. The baseball league altered regulations to require that the grain in the bat not deviate from the original grain of the wood by more than 3 percent, as well as adding minimum densities and weight-to-length ratios. Black ink was added to the wood to make the grain easier to follow.

The article adds that the new regulations have cut the broken bat rate in half. All of this is good news — broken bat shrapnel shards are potentially lethal.