If you've watched any Diamondbacks broadcast in the past few years, you've no doubt heard Mark Grace discuss the issue of broken bats, and the potential dangers they pose to players and spectators. To be honest, most of us probably have heard it so often that we tune it out, but that's probably a mistake, since it's undeniably a real problem. Just ask Pirates' hitting coach Don Long, hit by a shard in spring training last year - it just missed his eye and opened up a gash in his cheek that needed ten stitches.
As a result of incidents like this, baseball instituted new requirements earlier this year, in an effort to curb the shattering, especially of bats made from maple. The reaction from some manufacturers was hostile: "The morons you hired to do this amazing research have put together a list of the stupidest regulations ever assembled on one piece of paper," was one response. However, a pair of local Phoenix residents, Steve and Phil Rauso, have come up with an remarkably elegant alternative solution. It was covered a little while ago on the Diamondbacks pre-game show, and was tested out in the lower reaches of our farm system earlier this year. Here's the first part of the story:
Parts two and three can be found after the jump.