Compliance and Building a Better Baseball Bat

Did you know that Major League Baseball (MLB) funds research?  The United States Agriculture Department (USDA) recently announced the results of a study on baseball bat breakage funded by the MLB (see the press release).  In 2008, the joint Safety and Health Advisory Committee of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association asked for and provided funding for a team at the USDA’s U.S. Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) led by project coordinator, David Kretschmann, to study the frequency of bats breaking into multiple pieces, and to develop guidelines for a safer bat.

The team reviewed both video footage and actual broken bats of every broken bat incident that occurred during the 2008 season.  Inconsistencies in the “wood quality, primarily the manufacturing detail “slope of grain,” for all species of wood used in Major League bat manufacture was the main cause of broken bats. Also, low-density maple bats were found to not only crack but shatter into multiple pieces more often than ash bats or higher-density maple bats. Called multiple-piece failure, shattered bats can pose a danger on the field and even in the stands.”  Straighter grain in bats tended to result in less breakage.  Statistics indicate that 64% of bats used in MLB are maple, while 33% are ash.

Data presented in the Lab Notes section of the FPL website indicates that since 2008, the average multiple-piece failure bats per game has decreased from 1 to 0.5, indicating a 50% drop, with the majority of the decrease coming from 2008-2011.  The average broken bats per game has also decreased from about 2 to 1.8, a 10% decrease in the same time period.  Manufacturing changes were implemented based on limits to bat geometry dimensions, wood density restrictions, and wood drying recommendations.

So how does this all relate to compliance and software?  Could this study have been tracked with the InfoEd suite?

  • Clinical Trials / Human Subjects – video monitoring, consenting study participants to the dangers of possible broken bats, adverse events.
  • Grants, Pre/Post Award – funding of the research, agreements.
  • Environmental Health and Safety – hazardous materials, Items Equipment collecting data on make, model, and type of equipment.
  • Technology Transfer – patents, manufacturing, improvements.

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