AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
Boston Red Sox’s shortstop Nick Green looks back to second base as he runs near a broken bat by Washington Nationals’ Elijah Dukes during the second inning of Wednesday’s game in Washington.
UPDATED: Thursday, June 18:
We saw the replay of this near ugly impaling incident on the MLB Network (check out the clip yourself at this link), nearly a few minutes after it happened. And Elijah Dukes was credited with a base hit for what was an otherwise routine grounder to Nick Green in Wednesday’s game. The reason: Green was busy trying to avoid the spiraling sharred end of the barrel of the bat that was coming at him and he let the grounder go into left field.
Again, someone barely avoids getting speared.
On the Red Sox’s website story (linked here), Green, who turned to see the broken bat lodged into the outfield grass after the play ended, said:
“It hit me in the forearm, but it was the barrel, so it was all right,. It happened so fast, you don’t really have time to react. I did what I could do to get out of the way of the bat. That’s all you can do. I didn’t have time to get scared. [It's] just one of those things that happens and you try to get away as quick as we can.”
Said Washington manager Manny Acta: “Lord, that was very scary. We have seen bats split in two in the last couple of years, but I’ve never seen a bat travel that far and that fast toward that guy. What came to my mind was, ‘What if it was toward the mound, which is only 60 feet, six inches [away]?’ It was scary, but I think they are doing some studies on that. Hopefully something good will come out of it.”
Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester: “I thought we put a whole lot of money and time into researching how that doesn’t happen, but we’re still getting a lot of bat heads that break and go flying. There’s nothing you can really do.”
The video clip made for some interesting replays on ESPN’s yackfest shows in the days that followed. Among the reactions that seemed to border only on common sense:
Tim Cowlishaw on “Around The Horn” said: “There’s no need for this. Just make guys use ash bats. End of story. Get rid of maple.”
Tony Kornheiser on “Pardon the Interruption” said: “When you ask Bud (Selig) a question, he forms a commission, he studies it for 10 years, he delays and delays and delays and tells you sometime in the future he’s going to come out with a decision. You can’t have this. When one of these bats splinters and hits somebody in the head, and he looks like a visadop, because he’s got something sticking out of his head, you can’t have that. Ban maple.”
Added Michael Wilbon: “For 80 years they used ash baseball bats. How many bats did (DiMaggio) break during the 56-game hitting streak? Babe Ruth, it seems, used the same bats for an entire season. They didn’t break … and the solution is so simple. Ash baseball bats. Just do it already.”
Yes, this is the first time in the discussion that we’ve been on since 2007 that the word “visadop” has been dropped into a sentence. And I can’t even begin to figure out what kind of thing that is. I can’t spell it. I’ve never heard of it. I have no idea what that would even look like, except to imagine it based on his description.
You know how “normal” these broken bats now seem to be? They’re included in video games:
Add to this, a story this week about an 8-year-old fan hit by a broken bat in a minor league game in Toledo (linked here):