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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

October 29, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Hot links: A bunch of interesting stuff

A few stories caught my eye today:

  • This could have huge implications for college, high school and youth baseball: Hillerich & Bradsby Company (makers of Louisville Slugger bats) was found liable for the death of an American Legion player, and ordered to pay $792,000 to the family. Pitcher Brandon Patch died after getting hit in the head by a batted ball in a 2003 game. The jury ruled that Hillerich & Bradsby failed to warn users of the dangers of its aluminum bats.

    Here is the statement from Hillerich & Bradsby that just arrived in my inbox:

    This was an emotional case and we believe the jury responded to that and issued an emotional verdict.

    Our company did nothing wrong. We made a bat in accordance with the rules. That bat was approved for play by baseball’s organizing and governing organizations. In fact, the jury found in our favor, that the bat was not defective.

    However, the verdict that our company “failed to adequately warn of the dangers of the bat” has left us puzzled. It seems contradictory for the jury to say the bat is not defective but our company failed to warn that it could be dangerous. It appears to be an indictment of the entire sport of baseball. Anyone who has ever played the game, or any sport for that matter, understands there are risks inherent in baseball and the object is to use a bat, whether wood or aluminum, to hit the ball hard. Unfortunately, this verdict seems to be a statement on the society we live in today, that everything must have a warning label.

    We sympathize with the Patch family over their loss, as we have since we first learned of this terrible accident. But we still believe this was an accident on a baseball field. Perhaps this will give the Patch family some closure. We hope that it does.

    I have long worried about the safety issues of aluminum bats. Maybe it’s time for a renaissance of wood at all levels. Here’s a good discussion of this issue at Hardball Times.

  • This blog speculates that the Marlins will trade outfielder Jeremy Hermida, a former No. 1 pick, and lists the Mariners as a team with interest.

  • The McCourt divorce is turning into the juiciest story of the offseason, one that could greatly impact the Dodgers as they move forward. The latest: Jamie McCourt is ready to buy out Frank, and Frank accused Jamie of having an affair with her bodyguard.

  • The Rangers are interviewing candidates to replace departed batting coach extranordinaire Rudy Jaramillo (who was hired by the Cubs, joining Lou Piniella’s staff). Among the candidates in Texas: Gerald Perry, whom Jaramillo replaces in Chicago; Carney Lansford, Thad Bosley, former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, and former Rangers outfielder Rusty Greer

  • Chip Hale was one of the seven people that interviewed for the Mariners’ managerial job that went to Don Wakamatsu. Now he has left his job as Diamondbacks third-base coach to assume the same position with the Mets. With Jerry Manuel’s job status tenuous, Hale could be interim manager material.

    The story mentions that former Mariners manager Bob Melvin could be in line to become Manuel’s bench coach. Melvin unsuccessfully bid for both the Astros and Indians managerial openings. The Astros job went to Boston bench coach Brad Mills — another Mariners’ managerial candidate last year.

  • The Boston Globe details Aroldis Chapman’s visit with the Red Sox yesterday. Here’s my story about the Mariners’ interest, and their intent to set up a meeting with Chapman, a 21-year-old Cuban defector who is left-handed and has thrown 102 mph.

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