The two incidents that clearly stand out from last night's 5-4 loss to the Rangers are two broken bats. Hank Blalock's broken bat, which felled home plate umpire Kerwin Danley, and the bat that Travis Snider snapped over his knee. The incident with Blalock's bat raises some obvious concerns, given that it is part of a continuing rash of snapped lumber that is becoming an epidemic across baseball.
Broken bats are certainly nothing new in the game. What is disconcerting is the way that players are shaving their bat handles down to nothing while increasing the size of the bat head, resulting in a hitting implement that is too heavily balanced towards one end.
We've wondered aloud in the past whether if MLB shouldn't step in and legislate on the size of bats and the ratio between the size and weight of the handle versus the head, but our assumption is that such a rule would only result in players working harder to skirt the rules in order to gain a competitive advantage. One could imagine that, like hockey players with their sticks, hitters would carry legal bats and illegal bats and swap them in and out of games depending on the situation.
Sadly, we're going to continue to see incidents like last night's until either a star player or a spectator gets seriously injured.
You wouldn't like Travis Snider when he's angry
It's always pretty funny to watch a player lose his shit and snap a bat over his knee, but we're a little concerned over The Pasty White Hope's reactions to a couple of at bats last night.
Snider followed up breaking his bat after a strikeout with a total freakout after popping up with the bases loaded in the eighth. And while it's great to know that Snider is passionate about the game and never wants to give an inch, we worry that his ostentatious outward anger is a sign of some inward frustration that could affect his game. Baseball is a game of failure, and we hope that Snider is able to handle the bad at bats as well as the good.
Another thought on Snider
Sniderman's been getting under a lot of balls in the past few games and popping them up. We're not sure if this is a sign that the swing is a little off or that pitchers are keeping things down a little better against him, but here's hoping that he makes the adjustment.