We're nothing if we're not timely. If only the umpires were reading. Last week, we published this piece, a primer on how to deal with baseball's Most Dangerous Wooden Projectile: the broken bat. Last night Brian O'Nara became the latest victim.
Step two of our article was on the art of dodging a shattered bat.
Of course, neither fans nor infielders nor Barry Zito can control pitch placement, which means a barrel is eventually coming their way. The best thing to do when it does is move, fast. "The mistake people make is guessing a direction before the object is released," says Chase Feindel, captain of 2006 U.S. dodgeball champs, Triple-A. "React only once you see it coming."
Of course, this doesn't apply terribly well to O'Nara, who kneels about three feet from the bat as it's swung. He may have to skip right to Step Four.
Flying bat fragments can, and have, seriously hurt people. But Jon Glashow, co-chief of sports medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City, insists the prognosis isn't dire. "The chances of its hitting somewhere vital aren't great," the good doc says. "And by the time a shard reaches players or fans, most of the force has been removed by air friction." If impact is imminent, stick out your keister, Glashow advises. Your padded rear end is the ideal target. But if you get stuck, hands off. Removing the dagger of wood can do more damage than the poke itself.
The bigger question is how baseball will treat it. Already, there is talk of banning maple bats, which wouldn't go over well in Canada, where many are made, but might be a hit with those who've had to dodge the flying daggers.
Either that or MLB could always save a lot of money and go aluminum.
We kid. We just wanted to hear the sound of Bob Costas hitting the floor, post-faint.