Maple bat maker OK with MLB ban

TORONTO -- The president of a Canadian bat company is embracing a Major League Baseball ban on the use of low-density maple bats by new players.

The change was included in the agreement between players and owners that was announced Tuesday, a deal that still needs formal ratification. Arlene Anderson, the president of the Ottawa-based Original Maple Bat Corporation, predicts the ban will have little affect on manufacturers.

"It's actually something that we welcome," she told The Canadian Press in a phone interview Wednesday. "We don't want breakage on the field, it's not good for anyone. Certainly in terms of young hitters, they will get used to the other products and many of the older players have used heavier weights to their advantage. So this will have a minimal impact on us."

Ash bats were a traditional favorite, but the harder maple bats have soared in popularity over the last 15 years.

Maple bats tend to break more easily, and when they do, they often send large shards of wood flying. Low-density models, essentially the lighter bats, tend to shatter more often, putting pitchers, infielders, base coaches, umpires and fans in harm's way.

Anderson's company, which makes the popular Sam Bat, said she has seen a shift toward longer, well-balanced bats instead of low-density models.

"Basically, what we're talking about is the weight of the wood, the volume of the wood that is used for a particular model," she said. "Certain players love to have what they call a big-barrel bat, lots of meat on the barrel, but then very lightweight wood.

"So the problem, of course, is when you create a larger barrel and you still want to have the bat very light, the wood density has to give," Anderson said. "This is something though that most manufacturers will recognize as not being the strongest product."

Anderson said her company has been reporting wood density information to MLB on a regular basis. She said they serve about 100 major leaguers, including NL MVP Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, who uses a longer, higher-density KB1 bat.

The ban would only apply to new major leaguers. Other players would be grandfathered and could continue using low-density bats if desired.