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Outside the Lines (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN)
In March, less than an instant after 16-year-old high school pitcher Gunnar Sandberg heard the “ping” of a metal bat, he was struck in the head by a line drive. The ball fractured Gunnar’s skull, and tests initially showed no brain activity. After extensive surgery and three weeks in a coma, Sandberg awoke and began a long recovery. This California incident intensified an already heated nationwide debate over the use of metal bats in high school. While some say there is no proof that they are more dangerous than wood bats, critics say balls fly off metal bats faster, giving pitchers less time to react. Steve Delsohn reports on how the move to ban metal bats is gaining traction in California.
“I’ve hit with both and obviously metal bats can hit it harder and farther. Wood bats, in my mind, and what I’ve done, they feel a lot less dangerous. And if it can save one more kid from going though this, then I think we should definitely change to wood bats.” — Gunnar Sandberg, referring to his recovery after being hit by a ball off a metal bat
“You could just be the average run-of-the-mill person walking by a ballpark and you could see a difference of how the ball travels. Anybody that doesn’t see that is lying to himself.” — Mike Firenzi, Gunnar’s coach, on the difference between metal and wood bats
“I expect them to fight it tooth and nail, just as they have fought every attempt to have stronger safety standards in the last decade or more. They’re selling these bats for over $400 now. This is a big, big money industry.” — Jared Huffman, assemblyman who drafted a bill calling for a one-year moratorium on metal bats in California high schools, on how he expects the metal bat industry to react
“The fact is, getting hit in a case like this, while rare, is the perfect storm of bad things happening: the ball, the trajectory, the position of the player, the mind-set of the pitcher at the time.” — Tom Cove, president of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, the trade group representing the bat industry
World Cup Live (Saturday 4:30 p.m. ABC)
Team U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu recalls in a first-person account the final World Cup qualifying game against Costa Rica during which he jumped for a ball in his zone and landed in a heap, crumpled against the ground. A routine play had turned into disaster for the 27-year-old, whose torn patellar tendon required surgery just eight months before the World Cup.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
In this nine-part feature story, ESPN.com’s Pat Forde takes a closer look at Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
While Washington Nationals rookie Stephen Strasburg was mesmerizing the baseball world, another pitcher had a solid outing: Detroit’s Armando Galarraga, in his first start since his near-perfect game, is ready to solidify his place in baseball.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
U.S. men’s national team coach Bob Bradley has been called “relentless” and “a force of nature.” Now, the biggest moment of his life will come down to the next four weeks at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. ESPN.com senior writer Wayne Drehs reports.