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Hamilton Flings More Than Dozen Bats Into Stands

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Hamilton Going Batty

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Josh Hamilton loses grip on his bat against the Detroit Tigers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Monday.

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It happened again at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Tuesday night -- Josh Hamilton took a chop at a ball and flung his bat into the stands.

It's happening with such regularity that even casual baseball fans are starting to take notice.

Hamilton is very aware of the issue. His hitting coach says he's tried different gloves, sprays, pine tar, anything to try to hold on to the bat without ruining his swing. It simply hasn't worked.

"He swings with a lot of force. He's got a lot of torque in his swing; he finishes [with] one hand," said Rangers hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh. "We want to be tension-free in the swing, and you want to have loose hands, and when you have loose hands, your fast twitch muscles work and, consequently, you get the bat to the zone a lot quicker."

The Rangers say they don't want this bat issue to get into Hamtilon's head. They want him to concentrate on his swing, making contact with the ball and, hopefully, sending it out of the park.

Fans we talked to said the thrill of getting a bat outweighs any danger of sitting near the first base line.

"If I could catch one for these guys, they'd love it, so for us, I wouldn't change it," said Brad Boothe, who was attending Wednesday night's game with his family.

"I want the bat with the autograph," said Boothe's wife, Mandy.

The Rangers say fans who happen to catch a Hamilton bat, do get to keep a Hamilton bat, though it might not be the one they caught.

Chip Stewart, a professor who teaches media law at Texas Christian University, caught a Hamilton bat Saturday. He told TCU360.com he didn't get to keep the original bat, but a security guard traded him for another of Hamilton's bats.

The Rangers say Hamilton usually tries to make an apology to the fans in the stands who catch his bats and often signs the bat they take home.

If you're sitting along the first base line, you'll want to pay close attention when Hamilton steps up to the plate -- so that you go home with a souvenir bat and not a knock to the head.

NBC 5's Randy McIlwain contributed to this report.

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