Impact of Yankee Stadium Bat Day on blunt trauma in northern New York City
Study objective: To determine the incidence of blunt trauma in northern New York City before and after the distribution of 25,000 baseball bats at Yankee Stadium.
Design: Prospective multicenter study, including ten days before and ten days after Bat Day (June 3, 1990).
Setting: Ten emergency departments in the Bronx and northern Manhattan.
Type of participant: All patients presenting to the ED with baseball bat injuries.
Interventions: Each hospital collected the following data for each subject: date and time of injury, patient’s age and sex, extent of injury, whether a Yankee bat was used, presence of loss of consciousness, results of computed tomography scan of the brain (if performed), history source, and disposition of the patient. Average daily atmospheric temperature was recorded for each day of the study.
Measurements and main results: Seventy-seven patients sustained bat injuries, 38 (49%) before and 36 (47%) after Bat Day. There were no significant differences between the two groups with respect to age, sex, time of injury, number and distribution of fractures and lacerations, incidence of loss of consciousness, source of history, or dispostion. There was a positive association between the number of cases on a given day and the average temperature that day (r = .5; P < .01).
Conclusion: The distribution of 25,000 wooden baseball bats to attendees at Yankee Stadium did not increase the incidence of bat-related trauma in the Bronx and northern Manhattan. There was a positive correlation between daily temperature and the incidence of bat injury. The informal but common impressions of emergency clinicians about the cause-and-effect relationship between Bat Day and bat trauma were unfounded.”
I grew up in the Bronx as a Mets fan. Most of my friends were Mets fans, and that was because they grew up with parents who were National League baseball fans. I just was a Mets fan because the first game I ever went to was a Mets game in 1968. Tom Seaver pitched against Bob Gibson. I remembered that. I can’t remember who won.
The next year, there was a public school strike so my parents decided to take me out of public school, and put me in a Jewish private school. The first thing that I was taught was that if you prayed for miracles, miracles would happen right before your eyes.
That summer, I prayed really hard for the Mets to win the World Series. They actually won, and coincidentally, they were nicknamed the Miracle Mets! Unfortunately, that was the last time that my prayers led to a really cool miracle. However, I personally take credit for that one.
While I was a devoted Mets fan along with all my other friends, the one time that we all ventured to Yankee Stadium was for Bat Day.
The first “Bat Day” held by the Yankees on June 20, 1965, Father’s Day, when 40,000 bats were distributed. Some 72,245 “guests” jammed Yankee Stadium for the double-header between the defending American League champions and the first place Minnesota Twins. The paid crowd was 71,245. It was the largest crowd to watch a major league baseball game since July 4, 1961, when 74,246 watched the Yankees play the Tigers at the Stadium. Back in 1961, the two clubs were in a heated pennant race that season and we all know about Maris and Mantle in ’61.
My first Bat Day was on June 7, 1970. The White Sox beat the Yankees in 12 innings that day. The crowd at Yankee Stadium was 65,880. It was the largest gathering at a major-league game on almost 5 years. In fact, it was reported that they turned away 4.000 fans who wanted to get in.
The bats they gave out were really good bats. They were not all the same. Some were heavier than others. They were also appeared to signed by a Yankee, but actually it was a signature imprinted on each of the bats. That is what made these bats so very special. Everyone wanted a Mickey Mantle bat, though it was more likely that would end up with a Horace Clarke or Joe Pepitone bat. Later in the 1970s, the bat everyone wanted was the Thurman Munson bat.
Back in the 1970s, you could not go to any baseball field or Little League game in the Bronx where the kids were not using Bat Day bats. No kids in the Bronx came from wealthy families but we were all able to afford bleacher tickets for a dollar. We got the excitement of a packed Yankee Stadium and a bat to boot!
However, my friends and I were not satisfied with just one bat. We had a system. We each got out bats, and then went to our seats. While one of my friends would watch all the bats, a bunch of us, myself included, would go back to the ticket area where they were handing out bats. Each of us would walk up to one of the bat man distributors, and putting on the most innocent face we could muster, explain that we had not yet received a bat. That explanation was good enough for Batman, and we got another bat.
And another. And another. And another.
By the second inning, we were done. We each had eight bats apiece to take home. There were even a few Mickey Mantle bats in the bunches of bats.
However, I always remember the last Bat Day that I went to when this plan didn’t work out too well. We all went on the subway with our bats, and it was like being in a scene from the movie West Side Story. We were confronted by a South Bronx gang who wanted our bats. We were from the North Bronx, and I can tell you that the kids from the South Bronx were way tougher than the kids from the North Bronx.
That is my Bat Day CrankaTsuris story. Each of us experienced a different level of CrankaTsuris. I was just happy that we did not get beaten up with the bats. Some of my friends were upset that we did not fight back. Some of my friends were upset that we did not try to negotiate a compromise. “How about we split the bats up?” Some of my friends were upset that they had no bats, and as a Mets fan, they had to suffer through a Yankee game all for nothing.
I was okay because I already had so many Bat Day bats in my closet, and was guessing that my parents would not have been thrilled with me bringing eight more to add to the collection.
There is a bit of sadness to this story because if you told any kid today that they use to have Bat Day at Yankee Stadium, you may get a look of shock. Though I lived it, I can’t even imagine a time when they gave out 60,000 weapons to a packed stadium of fans with anyone 18 years or older pounding down five to six beers. Where were the lawyers threatening to sue back then? Nowadays, fans are not allowed to even bring a bottle of water into a stadium. Every bag gets a close examination.
They say that if we do not learn our history, history will end up repeating, and we end up making the same mistakes. But, with Bat Day, this is one history lesson I would love to figure out how we did that. Just imagine. Wouldn’t it be so nice if we could figure out how we can all trust each other, 50,000 to 60,000 people at a time, in a packed stadium, each person with one or two (or, in my case, eight) bats, a few of the fans drinking some beer, and knowing that nobody would end up getting hurt! Hey, they even did a study on this!
If we can figure that one out, there would definitely be so much less CrankaTsuris in this world!!