Aug 28, 2016 3:21 PM GMT
NYT: The emerald ash borer is a luminescent green insect that probably arrived in the Detroit area more than 15 years ago. These small Asian beetles, possibly coming to this country on wooden packing materials, have been devouring millions of ash trees as they eat their way from Michigan across the Midwest.
The disappearance of white ash trees would be devastating for the ecosystem of Northeastern forests. It would also spell trouble for baseball: White ash was the classic wood for bats for years. Some major leaguers have opted for maple or other woods for their favorite bats, but about 25 percent of bats are still made of white ash.
Ron Vander Groef, manager of the Rawlings bat factory near Albany, told NPR that if the ash borer is not controlled, “We will not be able to make any more pro bats or retail bats or anything out of white ash because it will be gone.” That would be a tragedy, and not just for lovers of the white ash baseball bat.