Pat Shingleton: "Bats..."
Is it ash or maple when it comes to the best baseball bat? Terry Bahill, an engineer at the University of Arizona wrote “Keep Your Eye on the Ball: Curveball, Knuckleballs and Fallacies of Baseball,” and researched how much energy was released when a bat struck a baseball. Scientists can’t determine whether ash or maple is more effective and could be the relationship with the person swinging the bat. Some scientists do see a threat to the quality of the northern white ash because of rising temperatures over a period of decades. Bat manufacturers, Rawlings, believe that Ash growing in the warmer Southeastern States is softer due to the longer growing season. Three years ago, The New York Times reported that Russell, PA could have lost their livelihood. Russell is located in the heart of the mountain forests that supply the best baseball bats. A warmer climate assists in the invasion of the emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle detected in 2008, that killed 25 million ash trees in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Maryland. To combat the beetle, Asian wasps were recruited to gobble them up. Authorities in Michigan have stored ash tree seeds for storage. Ash trees have survived the competition of aluminum bats, outlawed composite bats and sugar maples.