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Hillerich to the Rescue

02-07-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

An important event happened in 1884, which is now frozen in history. This event involved a broken bat and a young woodworker. During the 1884 baseball season, John Hillerich, a woodworker for his father and a good amateur ballplayer, was in the stands watching 'The Louisville Eclipse' of The Professional American Association play. During this game, Pete "The Gladiator" Browning, star outfielder, broke his favorite bat and became very frustrated. After the game, young Hillerich invited Pete to his Dads' woodworking shop. He claimed that he could create a new bat for Pete.
 

The Early Restrictions

02-03-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

In 1859, The Professional National Association of Baseball Players Governing Committee voted in favor of the first limitation on bat size. The limitation specified that bats may be no larger than 2 1/2 inches in diameter and that they may be of any length. As we shall see, several more changes evolved from this limitation in the forthcoming years.
 

BYOB (Bring Your Own BAT)

01-30-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

Numerous changes were made in all aspects of the game of  baseball during the first six years. At this time, each player was responsible for selecting baseball bats for themselves, and there were no restrictions as to length, size or width. Bill Deane, Senior Research Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York has on record a well documented account of a baseball game played on June 19,1846 at Elysian Field in Hoboken, New Jersey. This game was the first played under the Alexander Cartwright rules, which included a 9 inning game, 9 players on each team and 3 outs per side. However baseball players made their own bats and as a result, many different sizes and shapes were used.
 

The Evolution of the Baseball Bat

01-29-2014  |  By: Bernie Mussill edited by Steve Orinick |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

...from the first crack to the 'clank'

Come travel with me many years back into history and let us study "The Evolution of the Baseball Bat". I am sure that each of us at one time or another has had the urge to skip a stone across a lake or to pitch, catch, throw or bat some type of ball. In Europe, Nicholas Grudich played Lupka with other boys by using a five inch round pointed stick that was set at an angle on the ground and hit with a flat bat. From these types of activities came groups of boys playing Rounders, Flyball, Townball and Caddy.

Townball was a game involving twenty to thirty boys in a field attempting to catch a ball hit by a tosser. The tosser used a four inch flit bat with a tapered handle so his hands could grip it firmly for control and leverage. Even though history is sketchy at this time, I believe that it is safe to say that from this idea came the modern day baseball bat that is used in every game to thrill fans all over the world.

 

But Wait - Bat Weight is not as important as "Swing Weight" (moment-of-inertia)!

01-23-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

There is a big problem with the discussion of bat weight that I have summarized in this article. All of the physics used to derive the optimum mass and the batted ball speed assume that the ball hits the bat at its center-of-mass. This very rarely happens - hits at the sweet spot are several inches from the center-of-mass. There is another very important parameter of the bat which affects how quickly you can swing a bat, and what the final ball speed is. This parameter involves the distribution of mass along the length of the bat and how that mass distribution affects the motion of a rotating object. In physics we refer to this parameter as the moment of inertia. It turns out that the moment-of-inertia (or "swing weight") matters more than mass..
 

Rules of Thumb for Recommended Bat Weights

01-21-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

The plots above were obtained by using the Bat ChooserTM machine to determine the Ideal Bat WeightTM for a specific player. The data proves the point that bat weight affects both swing speed and batted ball velocity. But, how does an amateur player, without access to this machine, estimate his/her optimum (or ideal) bat weight in order to get the best batted ball speed and still maintain control over the bat? Using the results of a large database of measurements* from the Bat Chooser instrument, Bahill and his colleagues have come up with up set of basic rules of thumb which can help any player estimate the recommended bat weight he or she should be using in order to obtain the highest performance possible. If you want more detailed rules, or information about how Bahill and his colleagues arrived at these rules of thumb I would strongly recommend reading his book.[8](Note: For calculating bat weight from the formulas in the table, use height in inches, weight in pounds and age in years.)
 

Bat Weight, Swing Speed, and Batted Ball Velocity

01-13-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

Anyone who has swung a bat knows that it is easier to swing a lighter bat than it is to swing a heavier bat. More importantly, it is possible to swing a lighter bat faster than a heavier bat. Exactly how the bat swing speed is related to bat weight for a given player is a little harder to determine. Terry Bahill[2,7,8] and his colleague have extensively studied the relationship between bat swing speeds and bat weights for a wide variety of players. Bahill developed the Bat ChooserTM machine to measure bat swing speed, and uses the results to determine the Ideal Bat WeightTM for an individual player. This device has been successfully used by numerous players who have greatly increased their batting averages after correctly choosing an appropriate weight bat, as well as by several college teams who have gone on to win championships after finding their correct bat weights. His data shows definitively that players cannot swing heavy bats as quickly as they can lighter bats, and the details vary somewhat from player to player and vary more considerably depending on the technical playing ability of the individual.
 

Bat Swing Speed and Batted Ball Velocity

01-11-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »


A similar experiment (from the same 1980 high-school textbook Physics of Sports developed by Florida State University[6]) changed the bat swing speed while the the ball mass, pitch speed, and bat mass (30oz) were all kept constant. The data shows that a faster bat swing produces a faster batted ball speed. Doubling the swing speed of the bat results in an increase of almost 22mph. So, it would seem that swinging the same bat faster is more beneficial than swinging a heavier bat at a the same speed. Ideally, the best result would be to swing a heavier bat faster. But, as I already stated, it is harder to swing a heavier bat with the same speed, let alone swing a heavier bat faster.
 

Can Detroit keep its Big Three

01-07-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
In a city where the "Big Three" can mean different things to different people, Detroit has its eyes on a trio of elite starting pitchers. This project, inspired by the Atlanta Bravesof the 1990s, is two-thirds complete. ... But to get that third piece of the puzzle in place, American League Cy Young award winnerMax Scherzer, the Tigers will have to bridge a sea of dollar bills awaiting the righty after the 2014 season. And make no mistake, they will do whatever they can to extend Scherzer and further what the Braves cemented as the best model for long-term success. "They had a lot of changed pieces," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said in November. "But they had (Greg) Maddux and (John) Smoltz and (Tom) Glavine and Chipper Jones."
 

Bat Weight and Batted Ball Velocity

01-07-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »


To see the effects of bat weight and bat speed, here is a summary of an experiment that I found summarized in a 1980 high-school textbook, Physics of Sports developed by Florida State University.[6] For this experiment, the ball mass, pitch speed, and bat swing speed were all kept constant. Only the bat mass was changed.
 

Collisions and the Conservation of Momentum

01-03-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
The impact between bat and ball is a collision between two objects, and in its simplest analysis the collision may be taken to occur in one-dimension. In reality most collisions between bat and ball (especially the ones I am able to make) are glancing collisions which require a two-dimensional analysis. It turns out, in fact, that a glancing blow is necessary to impart spin to the ball which allows it to travel farther.[5] Maybe I'll write about this more interesting, but more difficult problem later, but for right now I'll keep things simple and look at the collision in one-dimension only. The ball, m1, and bat, m2, both have initial velocities before the collision (subscript "b"), with the ball's velocity being negative. After the collision (subscript "a") both bat and ball have positive velocities. The before and after velocities and the masses of bat and ball may be related to each other through the physical relationship known as the conservation of linear momentum. Linear momentum is the product of the mass and velocity of an object, p=mv. If the net force acting on a system of objects is zero then the total momentum of the system is constant. While the bat and ball are in contact the player is exerting a force on the bat; the force needed to swing the bat. So, in a completely correct analysis, momentum is not constant because of this force exerted by the player swinging the bat. However, the force on the bat by the player is very much smaller than the forces between bat and ball during the collision, and the contact time between ball and bat is very short (less than 1 millisecond). This allows us to ignore the force on the bat by the player during the collision between ball and bat without significantly affecting our results. If we ignore the force by the player on the bat, we can express the conservation of linear momentum by setting the total momentum before the collision equal to the total momentum after the collision.
 

Do Professional Players use Heavy or Light Bats?

01-01-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

The answer to that question is "both," though past players tend to have used heavier bats than do today's players. Baseball's "king of swat" Babe Ruth reportedly began his hitting career using a 54 ounce (1.5 kg) hickory bat, and is known to have used a 40oz bat in 1927 when he hit his 60 home runs.[1] Ty Cobb and Joe Di Maggio both played with 42oz bats and Rogers Hornsby used a 50oz piece of lumber. George Sisler, playing for the St. Louis Browns in the 1920's, made his bat heavier by hammering Victrola needles into the barrel of his bat.[2] In the 1950's Cincinnati Reds' Ted Kluszeski hammered tenpenny nails into his bat to make it heavier.

Other great hitters including Ted Williams, Rod Carew and Stan Musial used much lighter bats: 31-33oz.[1] Roger Maris used a 33oz bat to hit his 61 home runs in 1961. Many players have tried to make their bats lighter by drilling a hole in the barrel and filling it with cork. Detroit Tigers' Norm Cash admitted to using a corked bat in 1961 when he won the batting title with a .361 average (though he slumped to .243 the next year with the same corked bat).[2]

 

Bat Weight, Swing Speed and Ball Velocity

12-27-2013  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
A Little League player is looking for a new bat. Having decided on a certain length the player discovers that in addition to the choices of materials (wood, aluminum, or composite), and the various technologies (Vibration Reduction System, Nitrogen bladders, piezoelectric shock absorbers, double walled barrels, composite materials) there is also a wide selection of bat weights. Consider the following list of 30inch Little League bats which I currently have in the Acoustics Laboratory at Kettering University. Some of these bat models are older, and may be no longer be available, but the distribution of materials and weights are of interest.
 

Thin Handled Softball Bat

12-24-2013  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

Our softball bats come in 10 different models. Per ASA rules, all softball bats are identical from the transition through the 2 1/4" barrel. The differences are in the handle thicknesses and knob styles.

Our Model ASA 59 and Softball 59 both have thin 7/8" handles and would be good ones to consider.  The ASA Spec model has a straight handle all the way to the knob. The Softball 59 handle tapers to the knob.

 

New High School and College Bat Regulations

12-16-2013  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

With the new BBCOR aluminum and composite bats mandated for high school and professional play, players are finding that high quality professional grade wood bats are now outperforming the BBCOR bats.

BBCOR stands for "Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution" and it focuses on how much of a trampoline effect the barrel of a bat has on a ball. Bat manufacturers now have to, in effect, "deaden" the trampoline bounce that pitched balls experience when a batter makes contact. Basically, aluminum bats will theoretically be the same as wooden bats.

Beginning in 2012, all High School baseball bats will follow in the same way, that is, they will all need at BBCOR stamp on each metal/aluminum/composite bat.

What a player now gets for his $400. is one choice of bat shape from EVERY different manufacturer, one handle style from EVERY different manufacturer, one handle thickness from EVERY different manufacturer, only three length choices and one weight choice. WOW! The monopoly is dead! Players now have a say in the equipment that suits their size, strength and game.