The Science Behind Breaking Baseball Bats

From LiveScience:

The broken barrel of a maple bat whacked fan Susan Rhodes, 50, in the head as she sat four rows behind the visitors’ dugout at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on April 25. She didn’t see it coming. She suffered a concussion and the blow fractured her jaw in two places.

Broken bats are commonplace in baseball games, but the Rhodes incident along with similar injuries this year to a hitting coach and an umpire, are making people wonder: Has America’s pastime suddenly become a lot more dangerous and is the new trend in bat wood to blame?