Global Warming Worries Baseball Bat Makers
While people seem to argue daily about the existence of global warming, some people are actually preparing for the worst. The New York Times reports on one such group: baseball bat makers in northwestern Pennsylvania.
Bat makers are worried about the combined effects of a warming climate and a killer beetle on the white ash trees used to make their product. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that 80 percent of the 850,000 bats that youth and adult leagues use every year under the brand name Louisville Slugger are ash, and 70 percent of that wood comes from Pennsylvania. Operators at one plant have already created a three-to-five-year emergency plan to use if the situation grows worse.
The Times reports that the beetles are the more immediate threat -- they can destroy a tree in two to three years. Perhaps as early as this summer, federal officials will release an Asian wasp that feeds on the beetle in an effort to stop it.
But the warming climate is also a concern because, as the growing season lengthens, the white ash gets softer and cannot be used for bats. In a worst-case scenario, the white ash could be greatly diminished as the climate grows warmer.
Baseball players -- men and women, boys and girls -- can get kinda weird about their bats, especially wooden ones. There is something magical about finding "the right bat." (Remember Wonder Boy in The Natural?)
Kirk Walsh speculates on his blog that Americans' love for baseball could be used to make people do something about global warming -- "[Forget] Live Earth and Al Gore. Get Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols together to explain the perils of global warming to bat production. Now, that will get action."
11:45 AM ET | 07-11-2007 | permalink