Louisville Slugger Bat Maker Loses Lawsuit Because Batted Ball Kills Player

I imagine it went down like this: One night over drinks, a couple lawyers got together and started one-upping one another with crazy boasts. At the end of the night, one of them said, “Dude, I could sue Louisville Slugger for making baseball bats. And win!”

The other lawyer thought this was ludicrous and bet him that he couldn’t. Well, the other lawyer lost that bet. WAVE 3 TV in Louisville reports that a Montana jury has found that Louisville Slugger batmakers Hillerich and Bradsby should have put warning labels on its aluminum bats, and must pay $850,000 to the family of 18-year-old player Brandon Patch, who was killed by a line drive in a 2003 American Legion game.

The story says:

The Patch family argued aluminum bats are dangerous because they cause the ball to travel faster than those hit off wooden bats. They said Brandon did not have enough time to react after the ball was hit.

Although the jury did award the Patch family money saying that H&B failed to place warning labels on the aluminum bats, they also said the bat was not defective.

I guess the jury believes that had warning labels been placed on the bats, Patch would have read the label, refused to play and be alive today.

Montana jury finds H&B at fault in baseball bat lawsuit [WAVE 3 TV (Louisville)]
(Photo: Flying Photog)
(Thanks, Brenndan!)

Comments

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  1. bastion72 says:

    And the ball? “Warning: Baseball is hard and has a tendancy to speed off the bat towards your face.” How about the glove for not having a sticker on there? “Place glove between speeding ball headed for your face or serious damage may occur.”

    • darkforcesjedi says:

      @bastion72: That’s what I was thinking. Why is the bat manufacturer culpable, but not the rest of the equipment? Why isn’t the league culpable for allowing aluminum bats or not making every player wear full body armor while playing? Why not put labels on all the bases that say “WARNING: TRIP HAZARD”?

      This trend of forcing companies to pay out simply because they have the deepest pockets is ridiculous.

      • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

        @darkforcesjedi: Since this is all ridiculous anyway, I’ll just point out that body armor is illegal for civilians to own and wear in most municipalities.

        • jvanbrecht says:

          @Persistence: I call bullshit..

          Body armour, is not ballistic armour (like bullet proof vests and what not).

          Google SixSixOne, Oneal, Fox… they all make body armour for downhill mountain bikers amongst other sports (I use mtb as that is what I do). Then of course, how about any motor cycle race suit, many of those have body armour panals in them..

          All of those including a full face helmet would have easily protected against a speeding baseball…

          • treimel says:

            @jvanbrecht:

            You’re right, but it doesn’t matter–so-called “bullet-proof” vests are legal, too.

          • P_Smith says:

            @jvanbrecht: All of those including a full face helmet would have easily protected against a speeding baseball…

            Hockey pucks are lighter but denser than baseballs and travel at the same velocity. Injuries from a puck to a properly protected head (mask or helmet and cage) are almost non-existent nowadays.

            • varro says:

              @P_Smith: I remember several years ago, Chris Pronger got hit in the chest with a shot and collapsed – evidently, the shot stopped his heart momentarily.

              • P_Smith says:

                @varro: What are you babbling about? Helmets don’t protect chests.

                Head protection was the issue here, it’s where the boy was hit.

        • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

          @Persistence: The SCA would like to have a word with you.

    • mythago says:

      @bastion72: It’s far more dangerous than you would expect it to be. There wouldn’t be a case if it was a wooden bat. Is this so hard to understand?

      • secret_curse says:

        @mythago: How do you know a maple bat wouldn’t’ve shattered and impaled the guy? Baseball can be a dangerous sport no matter what the bat is made of.

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        @mythago: Could you not still get killed by a ball hit with a wooden bat? People have been killed by one lucky/unlucky punch to the head and falling onto snow without a helmet.

        So, it could be very possible that he would have died regardless of the bat’s construction.

        • CheritaChen says:

          @The Porkchop Express: Exactly. In fact, I’m reasonably certain that, with the right person throwing the ball and in the right position, he could have died without the bat there at all. Closed-head trauma can be incredibly severe in cases where it would seem there was barely any impact at all.

    • leastcmplicated says:

      @bastion72: agreed, and what before the pitch he woulda been like “ohhh wait a sec, can i read that label before you bat?” this is ludicrous. This is the frivolity that clogs up our legal system. what bs.

  2. Admiral_John says:

    I quit.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @wchamilton: Yup. The Louisville Slugger people should sue the Montana tort system for being defective.

    • Scoobatz says:

      @wchamilton: There’s not much else to say.

    • RichasB says:

      @wchamilton: Yup. Behold humans, the smartest animals on Earth. Like being the winners in a down syndrome spelling bee.

      I lost my faith in humanity the day I saw some guy pay $55 dollars for a $50 gift card on eBay. Oh, and plus shipping and handling.

      • coren says:

        @RichasB: There are times that Ebay offers ten percent off, and times when there is bing cash back for purchases – that guy probably made money

    • Benguin says:

      @wchamilton: I’m with you.

      C’mon everybody, let’s move to Canada.

    • KCChiefsFan says:

      @wchamilton:

      As do I. I played Baseball just like any other kid, and we were ALWAYS aware of the risks involved. Pitcher is easily the most dangerous position, and if anything, they should have sued the league for not requiring pitchers to wear helmets (I pitched in HS. The reaction time you’d need to block a ball coming off an aluminum bat to your head is super human)

      Seriously, what is next? Sue the horse breeder because your kid fell off and died during a polo match? The baseball maker because the ball was too hard and caused the fatality?

      I feel for the family because it’s truly tragic, but this has got to stop.

  3. Ronin-Democrat says:

    in the immortal words of dr ice from utfo that’s just so ridiculous.

  4. triscuitbiscuit says:

    The defense lawyer should have done some Mythbusters style science and calculate the rate of speed that a wooden bat hits a ball at and the rate of speed that an aluminum bat hits a ball at and then calculate the time difference to show that it was inconsequential.
    Or the jury should attempt to get refunds for their brains as their brains are obviously not working.
    Or the dumb judge should have dismissed the case altogether.
    But what am I thinking about for the last two! That would be ludicrous!

    • GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks says:

      @triscuitbiscuit: I actually think there IS a difference. What I would have done is shot shards of broken bats at a human analog and show how much damage a cracked wooden bat can do.

      • PencilSharp says:

        @triscuitbiscuit: Hrmm… I figure that for $850K, the fine folks at Louisville Slugger should get shots at the rest of the family… Wait. I seriously doubt Los Familias Patches are collectively worth that much… Maybe throw in a couple of pets…

        Oh, and feel free to use either aluminum or wood. I understand the difference is negligible…

    • Falcon5768 says:

      @triscuitbiscuit: he would have proven the prosecutors case though.

      Its been well studied that aluminum bats actually DO put more distance and speed on balls than wooden bats. The whole POINT of them was that they let younger players feel like they were as good as the big leaguers.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @Falcon5768: Some safety advocates have been trying for years to get aluminum bats taken out of youth and school leagues, since kids are more prone to injuries and the aluminum does add speed.

        I don’t know that I’ve ever seen stats on the injury differential, though.

        • SarcasticDwarf says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): Sure, but keep in mind that this was not a kid that was killed, it was an adult.

          • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

            @SarcasticDwarf: Oh, sure, I’m not speaking to the merits of the case, just that aluminum bats are a known hazard.

            Honestly this is why I prefer slow-pitch softball as a recreational bat-and-ball game … not nearly as much speed, and if not everyone is wearing safety gear, you’re not nearly as likely to send someone to the hospital. I have definitely seen recreational baseball games get out of hand with competitiveness, and when some of the players pitched college ball and some of the players haven’t done anything sporty in 20 years and nobody’s wearing batting helmets … it isn’t good. (And yes, I know pitchers don’t wear protective headgear against line drives anyway.)

        • floraposte says:

          @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): There’s not a lot of information on the case, but this article about it has a little more about the aluminum bat issue and the number of places that have banned them since the event occurred: [www.google.com]

    • treimel says:

      @triscuitbiscuit:

      Not a good plan, my friend–in fact, that experiment has been done, agaion and again, and there is a material difference.
      Here’s a start:
      [paws.kettering.edu]

      Also, @Falcon–No, the point is that aluiminum bats are way, way cheaper than wooden bats over time, because they last praqctically indefinitely, whereas wooden bats do not.

      • wgrune says:

        @treimel:

        Right. The study has been done showing that ball speed and distance is greater with aluminum than wood.

        The issue is that the speed difference and relatively short distance from the batter to a fielder is inconsequential (milliseconds difference) between wood and aluminum.

        In short, the ball probably would have hit him regardless of bat material.

        • GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks says:

          @wgrune: If there is any difference at all, it’s not inconsequential. Lets assume that the people who make it in baseball teams have greater physical prowess and also reaction timing. Given their muscle make up, they have more “twitch fibers” than a regular person, so they are capable of quicker starting movements. So even a few milliseconds difference could mean his body would be in a different location, where such an impact might not have killed him.

      • Coyote says:

        @treimel: Aluminum bats won’t be cheaper much longer. It’s cases like these that hurt everyone.

        This one family gets a windfall and everyone else is left paying the lawyers, the subsequent rebranding, redesign, marketing, sales, and of course the extra price hike just because why not your already pissed at your customers anyways.

  5. rickinsthelens says:

    And what about those kids who died when I was young before aluminum bats were available? Should there have been a label that said “Warning, ball comes off bat faster than a wiffle bat”?

  6. quirkyrachel says:

    Wait, seriously?
    How about a warning on the AstroTurf, “Warning this material does not necessarily protect you from falls and owner is not liable for injuries caused by people falling on it.”

  7. EdnaLegume says:

    I’m mourning the loss of common sense. Fairwell.

    • karmaghost says:

      @EdnaLegume: I’m done with mourning and the other three stages. I’ve moved on to acceptance. Still makes me sigh when I read stories like this, though.

  8. Falcon5768 says:

    Actually if I remember the cases (there was more than just this one) correctly, its that Aluminum bats would have been banned from league play had the dangers of just how much more powerful they are over wood bats been know.

    People knew they put more speed and distance on a ball, but it wasnt until recently that studies showed it put a dangerous amount of both on the ball, even with younger weaker players.

    • floraposte says:

      @Falcon5768: I suspect it’s just this sort of thing that led to the decision, and that it’s not so much “oh, no, a bat sent a ball at high speed!” as “the company knew that the speeds were considerably higher and possibly dangerous and did nothing.” I hope, anyway. But I’m guessing this one will get appealed anyway.

    • mythago says:

      @Falcon5768: Oh, there you go spoiling a tantrum about frivolous lawsuits with some boring facts, Mr. Unfun McUnfunnerson.

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      @Falcon5768:

      The danger of trying to stop a baseball with your head has been known for years.

    • ScarletsWalk says:

      @Falcon5768: But regardless of how more effective a metal bat is, that would be the league or players’ responsibility. I would say it’s common knowledge in baseball that metal bats hit balls further, so why should the manufacturer be responsible for an adult’s injury for it? (other than the stupid tort system we have)

      • Falcon5768 says:

        @ScarletsWalk: because these are not adults. These are kids leagues and while many have banned them of late, some run by people who dont know the risk have not and thus kids are still getting killed when if the ball had been hit with a wood bat the likelihood of death would have been diminished.

        Most adult leagues ban the use of metal bats actually.

        And I have personal experience with this issue. A childhood friend was nearly killed in a t-ball game by a ball hit with an aluminum bat that was driven so hard it broke his nose into his skull. He lived (and actually is a doctor today) but from that point on they required all players to wear helmets with face guards in the little kid leagues.

        • jimv2000 says:

          @Falcon5768: “if the ball had been hit with a wood bat the likelihood of death would have been diminished.”

          Minutely…the kid still would have died. A 97 mph ball is just as deadly as a 105 mph ball. You take risks when you play sports, and some things just happen are not anyone’s fault.

  9. sp00nix says:

    “Caution: Use of this microwave will make hot pockets boiling lava hot”

  10. PsiCop says:

    It’s not just aluminum bats that are dangerous. Earlier this year Nick Green of the Red Sox was nearly impaled when one of the Washington Nationals had a “broken-bat” hit and the club end of the bat went flying straight at him:

    [boston.redsox.mlb.com]

    Green wasn’t hurt but by the end of the play the bat-shard was sticking up out of the ground in short left field. Ouch!

  11. chrisexv6 says:

    Last night “FoxTrax” or whatever it is calculated the travel velocity of Mark Texieras home run at 106 mph.

    At 106 mph you dont have much reaction time regardless of what the bat was made of, especially if you were an infielder and the ball was headed right at you.

    • Underpants Gnome says:

      @chrisexv6: The difference is that only a few major league players can hit a ball at 106mph with a wooden bat, but any beer league schmoe can do it with an aluminum one. And most of the major league fielders who that ball is coming at aren’t drunk.

  12. K-Bo says:

    @Falcon5768: That and save parents money of having to buy wooden bats when their kids break them. My dad’s parents were too poor to buy his bats, so he worked his paper route almost entirely to pay for baseball bats, and breaking on was like loosing his best friend.

  13. Japheaux says:

    Somewhere in the days of youth it must dawn on every kid who plays baseball, “Hey, why do the major leaguers use wooden bats and we use these aluminum bats?” Ten bucks and my left nut says that every kid who is an avid player finds the answer to be: Because you can hit the ball faster and farther.

    The problem is, they have to play the field as well as bat.

    I have a bad feeling there will be a Baseball Bat Czar position created for this and only Nerf(tm) bats will be allowed from here on out.

  14. GreatGerm says:

    This will be overturned on appeal in 3…2…

  15. vladthepaler says:

    Sad. I really hope this is reversed on appeal.

  16. nonzenze says:

    It is physically impossible (on planet Earth) to hit a ball hard enough to go over the fence but not hard enough to crack the pitcher’s skull.

    • davemei83 says:

      @nonzenze: My thoughts exactly. A ball that is headed for the stands has enough velocity to kill a person regardless of what type of bat was used. A fastball can be enough!

      It’s sad that people have become so litigious. We might as well be playing wiffle ball.

      • Scoobatz says:

        @davemei83: Still too dangerous. Plastic shards from the wiffle ball bat could blind someone if you crudely cut the bat in half and jam it into someone’s head.

  17. sir_pantsalot says:

    Does this mean that we will now put warning labels on women and Asian drivers. We should have 12 hours per year where there is open season on lawyers to cull the herd.

  18. seanhcalgary says:

    Only in the USA could such a lawsuit be successful.

    Well, maybe Britain.

  19. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    So if the batter in this case used a carbon-composite bat, which is even more efficient at transferring momentum to the ball than an aluminum bat, would the line drive gone clean through the fielder?

    Perhaps instead of just banning aluminum bats, just ban baseball… or all contact sports, in general. And get everyone a little hamster ball in which to live.

  20. SacraBos says:

    Forget about trying to avoid jury duty. I want to be on a jury now. The only way to get rid of this nonsense is to be the voice of reason on a jury and not make it “they deserve something for their pain”.

    Of course, the plaintiff side will voire dire me out of the pool…

    • amuro98 says:

      @SacraBos: Unfortunately lawyers don’t want smart people on the jury. They only want folks who will agree with their particular side.

      If you have a brain, that means you can think, and that means you’ll form your own opinion, and lawyers can’t risk you making the “wrong” decision.

      • mythago says:

        @amuro98: Wrong. Stupid people will believe the other side’s lies and trickery. Stupid people don’t follow the law, but decide based on ‘well that’s common sense’ or ‘well I had a cousin who had that and nobody gave HIM any money’. I want smart people on my juries.

        The thing people also forget is that both sides get to pick a jury. Barring some freak accident of fate, nobody is going to get the guy who is 100% in their favor, because the other side will kick them off.

        Based on your post, I suggest that you didn’t get kicked off that jury panel because you were too smart.

    • PsiCop says:

      @SacraBos: I’ve been on a civil jury, here in CT. They generally will shun anyone who appears to be any kind of an “activist.” FWIW the voir dire process here can be pretty long. They had be on the stand … as a prospective juror … for something like 45 minutes, before the judge finally stopped the attorneys and sent me out for a couple of minutes while they decided to empanel me. I was grilled as to what I did for work, what sorts of things I did in my job, was asked about my elected position (I was, at the time, on a municipal zoning board) and the things I’d done in that capacity, etc. I could be wrong but I’ve been told that this is not how things are done in other states … voir dire is less extensive than elsewhere. (I can’t attest to this, however.)

      At any rate, I suspect that it would be pretty hard to be some sort of “judicial activist” and get on a jury, after the kind of grilling I was subject to. A lot of things get asked and any or all of them might be “red flags” to a court. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just difficult, and it’s not safe to assume one could pull it off.

      FWIW the two sides ended up settling the case immediately before we were to start deliberating. If it had gone that far, I guarantee the plaintiff would have lost … she hadn’t made her case at all.

  21. Newvox says:

    I’m starting to believe that civilizations don’t fall due to invading hordes. I think they fall through the growth of this kind of stupidity.

  22. taney71 says:

    This is just crazy. Soon people will be sued for breathing air.

    • full.tang.halo says:

      @taney71: Warning: breathing air may expose you body to harmful virus, mold, allergens, dust, smoke, smog, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Argon, Carbon dioxide, Neon, Helium, Methane, Krypton, Hydrogen, blagh blagh blagh, some may be required to live while others may be health risks including death……

    • el elarmist says:

      @taney71:
      If only we could sue for breathing polluted air, drinking polluted water, and living near toxic dump sites. Oh, I forgot, those real atrocities, which are done knowingly and intentionally, are not winnable in court.

  23. savdavid says:

    Good Lord! The lawyer will get a big chunk of that money. What a ridiculous, sleazy way to earn a living.

  24. Ishbar says:

    In America, we live in a society brought up on zero accountability with a full sense of entitlement.

    Like all sports, there are risks. This family is unable to get over the fact that their child did not play the game properly and through some sick coincidence, he died because of that.

    Accidents like this are NOT unheard of, and to suggest that a WARNING label will prevent them from using the bat is ridiculous. I STILL don’t notice the McDonald’s Coffee label – I know how to drink god damn coffee, that’s why my crotch doesn’t have 3rd degree burns.

    If those kids were using wooden bats they wouldn’t hit the ball an arms length. Here’s a suggestion; don’t sue the bat company, rather, sue the medical industry for the side effects your kids get from using roids so they can actually hit a damn ball.

    Until then, aluminum bats will keep getting away with murder.

  25. Decubitus says:

    @Ishbar: “Like all sports, there are risks.”

    Amen to that. Why is it that some people are convinced that we can and should eliminate all risks in life? Manage? Yes. Eliminate? No.

    Hypothetically, if one were to use a bat to beat some sense into this emotionally-swayed jury, would one use a wooden bat or aluminum bat to achieve the desired result?

  26. bigdandfw says:

    How big is the warning label going to have to be for the fielders to read it off the bat from their positions?

  27. Knippschild says:

    We can do away with lawsuits like this by banning sports in its entirety. Wait a minute, if we do that, let’s ban people from going to work, because you know, while driving to work might result in an accident on the way.

    Let’s force all people to just sit at home and stare at the wall all day. But the wall has to be painted a neutral color, like white. Since colors like bright yellow can cause insanity, and we do not want to sue the visible light spectrum for inventing the color yellow.

    And, while we’re at it, lets definitely ban all source of education, because you know people might have to use their brain and might have to THINK about things, and thinking might make people tired.. and we can’t put a warning label on our brains, right? So ban it all together.

    (Disclaimer: This entire comment was full of cynic sarcasm, do not take seriously. Also, pie.)

  28. mommiest says:

    I am so horrified by the obvious dangers of team sports, I have enrolled my children in fencing.

  29. Schmeeky says:

    So are they still using metal bats during American Legion games in Montana? Because if they are that demonstrates a warning label would have done nothing to protect poor Brandon.

  30. CarlinLibolo says:

    Balls do travel faster off aluminum bats. See [paws.kettering.edu]

    In addition, a batter can hit an inside pitch which would break a wooden bat. Amateur teams use aluminum because it’s cheaper – they don’t break. Major league players don’t use them for a very simple reason: They are against the rules.

    See also: [en.wikipedia.org]

    Having said all of that, I still deplore the lawsuit and its result. My Dad, a retired judge, has long said that way too many judges lack the testicular fortitude to throw such abominations out of court.

  31. El Alarmist says:

    Should knives carry a warning that say s “Object is sharp? If inserted into someone’s heart, it will kill them.”

    I guess without that warning, we are free to attack anyone we want, because, he, we had no idea it could actually hurt someone. Boy, I would have loved to be on that jury, and try to talk some sense into that group.

  32. fredmertz says:

    There is such a stunningly obvious and easy solution to this. Use “science” to deaden aluminum bats so they have similar rebound characteristics as wood.

    The bat companies don’t do it because “chicks dig the long ball” and nobody would buy a deadened bat. Unless, of course, little league and school leagues mandated it.

    Problem solved.

  33. G.O.B.: Come on! says:

    Even as a baseball purist who hates aluminum bats, I find this to be ridiculous.

  34. The_Legend says:

    I guess guys that don’t pay their gambling debts get to sue the bat manufacturers now. New warning: “May cause damage to kneecap in collection situation”

  35. [DFX] Deimos says:

    What a ridiculous ruling, I hope this gets overturned on appeal.

    Shit happens. Just because your precious little snow flake was killed doesn’t mean that someone is responsible.

  36. StanTheManDean says:

    Whoa there little doggie.

    Patch was not hit by the bat, did not use the bat and therefore had no chance to read the warning label.

    There is no doubt it is the fault of the ball maker than Patch is dead as Patch did have a chance to read the warning label on the ball as it flew towards him at 100mph.

    No warning label on the ball? Damn right, time to sue the ball maker.

  37. cranke says:

    Villarreal- You write like a Hack. Why doesn’t our youth use wood bats? They were using wood bats for the 100 years before aluminum was introduced.

    • treimel says:

      @cranke:

      There’s a simple answer to that: money. aluminum bats are so durable that they are way, way cheaper to equip a team with over time.

  38. RichasB says:

    Soo, if anyone ever shoots me, can I sue the gun company that made the gun? By their logic, there are several millions of police, soldiers, & SWAT officers that stand to make BILLIONS!

    Also, if someone hits you with their car, you should sue the pants off Toyota! They should’ve put a huge f**king warning label on the hood of the car warning you that direct contact at high speeds could result in a big splat.

    • mythago says:

      @RichasB: You go ahead and file those lawsuits. I don’t know that Smith&Wesson or Toyota actually need the fees and costs they’ll get off you, but it can’t hurt, I suppose.

  39. Shappie says:

    I’m going to sue the department of transportation for making roads that kill people!!!

  40. JimBoSlobish says:

    Worst. suit. ever.

    All baseball players know the risks. We all know how hard the ball can be hit. It’s up to them to feel comfortable enough to play at a level where the ball can be hit that hard. Tragic that he died, but it’s not because of the bat. It’s because he didn’t have the reaction time needed to catch the ball/move.

  41. my_imaginary_friends_bore_me says:

    We have a winner for most ridiculous headline of the day!

  42. ubermex says:

    I’d blame this more on a sloppy defense than anything else. People love to make a story like this about tort reform, but it’s all about the lawyer sucking.

  43. harvey_birdman says:

    WARNING – Jumping out of a moving car may result in death or serious bodily injury.

  44. DoctorMD says:

    Our legal/tort system still thinks is 1790. It was a simpler time and cost and discrimination towards anyone who wasn’t a white landowners were a limit to frivolous suits. That is not the case anymore and the criteria for negligence must be strengthened and the defense must be able to get legal fees and punitive damages if the case goes in their favor.

  45. Colonel Jack O'Neill says:

    Another day, another frivolous lawsuit.

    The league knows the dangers, and players also knows the dangers, it wasn’t anyone’s fault, it was just a freak accident, that’s it, nothing to sue over.

    • wonderboy says:

      @Colonel Jack O’Neill: freak accident? true. frivolous lawsuit? hardly. if it was truly frivolous, the judicial process would have likely recognized this and thrown it out. it appears true that baseballs do travel faster off the aluminum (and other metals and alloys) bat than off wooden. louisville slugger and other bat makers know also that higher speed off the bat = farther travel distance = more homeruns = more people able to hit homeruns = more aluminum bat sales. next lawsuits may involve the leagues that permit the use of metal bats. eliminating metals bats does not eliminate the inherent risk involved in the sport, but it can reduce it.

  46. raskolnik says:

    This is insane, but the thing is you gotta take into account juries. Juries only care but so much what the law is sometimes.

    Perfect example. When I took torts in law school, we watched a documentary about the silicone cases (when people sued Dow, alleging that silicone breast implants were causing health problems). They interviewed a couple members of one of the juries that gave a pretty hefty judgment against Dow. One of them said something to the effect of: “we didn’t really think they were guilty, we just felt sorry for the woman.” What the hell, Dow could afford it, right?

    So what the law says is right and what juries do are not always the same thing.

  47. VagrantRadio says:

    Bats don’t kill people, balls do. har, har.

  48. duncanblackthorne says:

    That’s one of the STUPIDEST things I’ve ever heard. “Hurrrrrr, baseball bats are dangerous, it didn’t have a warning label, here’s your check”. Of COURSE they’re dangerous! It would make more sense to argue that whoever it is that got hurt/killed didn’t wear adequate safety gear!

  49. zzxx says:

    This represents what is wrong with this country.

    The jury system sucks. Many dopes are on juries because despite the courts best efforts you get a higher than normal percentage of welfare recipients, housewives, senior citizens, disabled people, and other non-working people. Think about it. How many working people try to get out of jury duty asap? I did. A person with a responsible job cannot give up extended time to sit on a jury. Like many people with difficult and responsible jobs I excuse myself immediately so that I can get back to work. Taking two weeks for jury duty is impossible especially in this environment when work is scarce. Just look at the stats. Sick day usage is way down because of fear of losing a job. Decades ago jury duty was considered noble. Now it is thought of as slightly more tolerable than sick days in this dog screw dog business world. Many bosses classify this and sick days as illicit absences.

    Now that we have juries populated by people who don’t work (or at least tilted toward that) there are many feelings of hatred towards a corporation and they take those feelings out when rendering a verdict.

  50. Daemonati says:

    This makes me hate America.

  51. nstonep says:

    “Warning: This jock strap will give you jock itch” The legal system is sickening isn’t it?!? No common sense required for existence.

    Why didn’t the family sue the league for allowing aluminum bats in play? What…don’t they have any money?

  52. Cheapskate Brill says:

    I wonder why they didn’t sue Timex for not putting a label on a stopwatch that it won’t actually stop time to let the player react?

    Or perhaps the glove manufacturer could be sued because they didn’t have a warning that wearing a baseball glove can reduce reaction time because of the weight of the glove.

  53. GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks says:

    @PsiCop:

  54. Woden501 says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks: Awesome picture.

    Funnily enough I had the same thing happen to me a year back, and I was just a spectator. I was sitting basically at first base on the second level of our minor league stadium here in Dayton, and the guy batting broke the bat in half when he hit. The freaking bat flew straight towards me, and I had just enough time to let myself slip out of my chair and have it go sharp end into my chair. Not a particularly fun experience at the time, but hilarious now. Oh, and sitting in he same seat this year I had two foul balls hit the wall directly in front of me during a single game. I think I’ll just stay far away from those seats for a while.

  55. yevarechecha says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks: I was at that game. That play was horrifying. It was pure luck that the barrel end of the bat hit him and not the broken end.

    I don’t feel that the bat manufacturer here is at fault for making the bats. So on those grounds, this lawsuit is wrong. However, I do feel very strongly that aluminum bats should not be allowed, especially not when adults are playing. It frightens me to watch NCAA games with all these big college students using aluminum bats. That responsibility lies with the leagues to ban them.

    MLB also needs to ban maple bats. Nick Green got lucky. A Pirates coach was impaled through the face with a maple bat shard in 2008 and it severed nerves in his face. These things are whizzing all over the field like missiles. It’s a miracle no one has died yet. Hopefully it won’t take that much; they only started making base coaches wear helmets after a Rockies minor league coach was killed by a line drive last year.

  56. Underpants Gnome says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks: Yes. Last jury I was on we found for the plaintiff but awarded him next to nothing. The defendant was legally at fault, but the plaintiff trumped up his injuries and lied to us for three straight days.

  57. RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

    @Underpants Gnome: Mentioning that you don’t think the Federal Government has any business dictating Drug Control Policy to the States will get you excluded from Federal Drug cases. The guy next to me was a member of the ACLU, and pro-Legalization, so that works too.

    We did get to park for free, though. Not sure why you had to pay. You didn’t get issued a juror parking pass?

  58. Cyberxion101 says:

    @mythago: The thing that really confuses me is that if the stats were there to suggest that the aluminum bats are more dangerous than wooden bats, and if this is supposed to be common-knowledge amongst baseball enthusiasts, then why isn’t the league also at fault for allowing players to use the bat?

    Besides, accidents can happen regardless of the equipment used. Granted the argument here seems to be that an accident was more likely to happen with an aluminum bat in play, but someone illustrated that wooden bats can be just as dangerous on the last page, so I’m not sure how they made it stick.

    I dunno, I just don’t think that this was such an open-and-shut case. Then again, I’m just a hair’s-breadth away from being diagnosed as being legally retarded, so maybe I’m missing something.

  59. rockasocky says:

    @mythago: Thank you for being the dissenting voice, I was beginning to think I was the only one. Nobody seems to be noticing that this was not some little kid in Little League but an 18-year-old man, and that it was awarded in Montana, which is not famous for big jury decisions (as far as I know).

  60. PsiCop says:

    @mythago: If someone ever comes up with something like that, we can discuss the possibility. “What ifs” are of no account in the real world. Using them to justify idiotic legalism, only fuels business for lawyers.

    After aluminum bats have been in use, and even approved by sports governing bodies for some uses for much of that time, how useful do you honestly believe a warning label is going to be?

    The US legal system is a joke. A complete joke. Only a fool … or a trial lawyer … would refuse to acknowledge that.

  61. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    @mythago:
    How long do you think it would take you to figure out that the polymer bat hits the ball a lot farther and harder than a wooden bat?

  62. mythago says:

    @RecordStoreToughGuy_IsBeing(pur)SuedByAMonster: Well, you might want to say it only if it’s true. I was once involved in a case where a guy though saying he was a member of FIJA was his ticket home. It wasn’t, to his dismay.

  63. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    @K-Bo: i used to work in a toy store. one day a woman came in and asked for something a 8 year old boy couldn’t break.
    i told her i didn’t think there was anything an 8 year old boy couldn’t break, given enough time and motivation. she asked about the aluminum bats and i said it would probably be very difficult for him to break and might take a while. then i told her that if he has a breaking things problem that an aluminum baseball bat was probably not the best idea.
    her response: “i’m his aunt, not his mom, i don’t have to live with him” and bought it.

  64. wgrune says:

    @treimel:

    It is miliseconds.

    I read the study. Wood bats = 98.6 mph (145 ft/sec) and aluminum bats = 106.5 mph (156 ft/sec). Assuming instantaneous acceleration, the ball would reach the pitcher’s mound (60.5 ft) in .417 seconds if hit from a wooden bat and .388 seconds if hit from an aluminum bat, a difference of 29 miliseconds, which is an extremely small amount of time regardless of your reaction speed.

  65. PhiTauBill says:

    @PsiCop: And, sadly, the trial lawyers are the types of lawyers that strike it rich…

  66. treimel says:

    @treimel:

    oops–mis-read my own source–they’re actally saing 250 millisecond reaction time, which I know is wrong. In any event, I absolutely stand by my basic proposition: an eight mph difference between the batter and the mound is a very significant difference. Anyone who plays or even watches baseball knows that is the case.

  67. dp05 says:

    @Falcon5768: Either way, turf burn still sucks!

  68. RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

    @mythago: Oh, yeah, the guy next to me actually pulled out his ACLU membership card and showed it to the prosecutor. I also got grilled on my opinion on Federal Drug policy to make sure I wasn’t just making up some bullshit “I hate the gubmint” argument to get excused.

  69. floraposte says:

    @mythago: Had to look that one up.

    My dad was stunned to be impaneled on a criminal trial like a week after he retired–he was a lawyer, which in Cook County has generally been kryptonite to both sides. However, the charge was DUI, and tons of the prospective jurors were insisting that alcohol never touched their fair lips at any time, so my dad’s willingness to say “Sure, I like a drink” made him more palatable. (Guy was found guilty nonetheless and proved to have priors.)

  70. nybiker says:

    @Underpants Gnome: And not in NYC either. We get $40 per day while on jury duty (whether on a case or not). We used to get subway fare, but I do not recall if we still do. And if we don’t, then the $4.50 r/t would have to come out of the $40 we get. So, a whopping $35.50 per day. BTW, don’t forget to add your jury duty income to the income tax forms. You’d hate to get a letter from the IRS & state a couple of years later saying you didn’t declare your jury duty earnings and you now owe tax & penalties.

  71. mythago says:

    @RecordStoreToughGuy_IsBeing(pur)SuedByAMonster: I got an EFF senior attorney on a jury panel once. She made mincemeat of the defense attorney who was trying to show she was biased. He had to use a peremptory challenge to get her out.

  72. pop top says:

    @RichasB: I had a Black man talking on a cell phone run a red light and crash into my car. Does that mean Black people, or men, or Black men should come with a warning label?

  73. Woden501 says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: #RosaRocks: Nope, and the people next to me ended up getting a free shirt out of it… I don’t think they realized that it was me it almost hit not them.

  74. Knippschild says:

    @catastrophegirl: hah, +1. Be my consoomurist fwend?

  75. ElPresidente408 says:

    @treimel:

    29ms is a little misleading. If you hit a 106 and 98 mph ball from home plate at the same time, the 106 mph ball would arrive at the mound 4.5 feet before the 98mph ball.

  76. Hobz says:

    @treimel: I also think that 25 milliseconds is negligible when talking about baseball and reaction times. Hence the reason you see pitchers get hit by the ball in major league games. It happens and it hurts no matter how fast you are.

    Let’s see if you can do 25 milliseconds by just clicking your mouse?

    [getyourwebsitehere.com]

  77. CheritaChen says:

    @squinko: You’re ALL missing the damn point. It’s cars and cell phones that need the blasted warning labels.

    </sarcasm>

  78. CheritaChen says:

    @floraposte: I was dismissed from the panel on a DUI pool because I was emphatic in stating my general distrust of police, and because when the prosecutor asked if, as viewed from my seat, he told me a pen were in his hand, would it be reasonable to say that what I saw was proof that what he said was true, I told him it wasn’t–what he was holding could easily be a mechanical pencil.

    They don’t like it when you’re argumentative.

  79. treimel says:

    @Hobz:
    Not nearly as often as you see them catch them, or avoid them. Obviously, it depends on a ton of factors such as how hard it’s hit, their position after release, etc., but most batted balls that are come-backers simply don’t hit the pitcher. Sorry, but anybody who watches baseball knows that to be true. The point is, I can hot an 80 mph fastball fairly easily, and I can’t with a 90mph ball. That’s the difference he derides as milliseconds–when on the mound, it’s all the difference in the world.

  80. Gruppa says:

    @treimel: Along that line of thought, we should go back to using proper horse drawn carriages too. Modern cars are much more deadly in a crash than carriages and were in use far longer than the modern automobile.

  81. H3ion says:

    @mythago: I was called for jury duty (there are no exceptions for lawyers in my county). The judge asked if anyone on the panel knew anyone. I raised my hand. The judge laughed, thanked me by name and said I’d probably be OK. Unfortunately, defense counsel was a personal friend and didn’t want me anywhere near his jury. He used a peremptory. I probably would have voted for the death penalty.

  82. jessedybka says:

    @Gruppa: Horses could hurt somebody though. And you could fall from a carriage. Are you trying to kill everyone?

  83. ScarletsWalk says:

    @Falcon5768: Oh I know why everyone has to pander to the lowest common denominator; it just still frustrates me though. It’s not the bat’s fault nor is its manufacturer’s fault. It’s sad for his family that it happened, but it doesn’t mean anyone is responsible for it happening.

  84. MauriceCallidice says:

    @ElPresidente408: “the 106 mph ball would arrive at the mound 4.5 feet before the 98mph ball.”

    Due to space/time dilation effects altering the distance from home plate to pitchers mound I suppose?

  85. dragonfire81 says:

    @RecordStoreToughGuy_IsBeing(pur)SuedByAMonster: This was my assumption as well.