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Bat Physics. The "Sweet Spot"

05-13-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
A baseball bat has three "sweet spots"; one of them is called its "center of percussion" (COP). That's physicist talk for the point where the ball's impact causes the smallest shock to your hands. If you hit a baseball closer to the bat's handle than to the center of percussion, you'll feel a slight force pushing the handle back into the palm of your top hand. If you hit the ball farther out than the COP, you'll feel a slight push on your fingers in the opposite direction, trying to open up your grip. But if you hit the ball right on the COP, you won't feel any force on the handle. To find the COP on a bat, try this simple activity.
 

The Physics of Baseball

05-01-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

To hit a ball the maximum possible distance, the trajectory off the bat should have a 35-degree angle.

A line drive travels 100 yards in 4 seconds. A fly to the outfield travels 98 yards in 4.3 seconds.

An average head wind (10 mph) can turn a 400-foot home run into a 370-foot routine out.

A curveball that seems to break over 14 inches never actually deviates from a straight line more than 3 1/2 inches. Part of the ball's deviation from a straight line is governed by the equation:
 

The Composite Bat

04-28-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
For more than forty years since the advent of the aluminum bat, rules committees have been dealing with the daunting task of balancing advances in bat composition and manufacturing techniques against the integrity of the game as well as potential safety hazards. Now, to further complicate the problem, there is one more type of bat: the composite.Starting in 2011, BESR was out, BBCOR is in and ABI testing is an interesting question mark for future years. There are legal composites, illegal composites, composites that look like wood bats, composites that look like aluminum bats, half and half bats and God knows what else will appear in the coming years. Another chapter is currently being written in the evolution of the baseball bat.
 

Bat + Ball = Excitement

04-24-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

Ever since the first recorded game, June 19, 1846 at Elysian Field in Hoboken, New Jersey, the spirit of baseball has swept America off its feet. Although changes have altered the sport throughout the years, the foundation upon which baseball was built still remains the same. That foundation is the classic conflict between the pitcher and batter. It is this conflict that continues to amaze the older fans and attract the new ones.

 

The 'Clank' of the Bat

04-22-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

Amateur baseball players use aluminum baseball bats most commonly and the bats are here to stay. These bats, however, at first were not without problems. Some were not strong enough and would bend when hit with a baseball. At times, it was found that the rubber plug at the end of the bat would pop off. Replacement of the plug was necessary. For the most part, these problems have now been corrected.
 

Brett's Pine Tar Bat

04-17-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

George Brett of the Kansas City Royals caused quite a stir with his Hillerich and Bradsby pine tar bat in 1983. On July 24th, Brett hit a home run off Yankee reliever Goose Gossage in the ninth inning to give the Royals a 5-4 lead. Because the bat had pine tar beyond the legal limit of 18 inches, measuring from the bat handle, the home plate umpire disallowed the round-tripper. As a matter of fact, I recall that Brett had pine tar halfway into the Louisville Slugger trademark. However, this decision was later reversed and the pine tar home run did count. Kansas City ultimately defeated the Yankees, 5-4.


 

Warm-up Bats

04-11-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

Weighted on deck warm-up bats and other devices should be used with extreme caution. The five foot on-deck circle gives the next batter an opportunity to prepare for his turn at bat. It is located 13 feet behind home plate and 37 feet to the right or left.

The Bratt on-deck bat is shaped like a regular bottle bat. It has a red plastic coating from the trademark to the end of the 2 5/8 barrel. This bat weighs 4 pounds 1 ounce, and is 34 inches long. It is manufactured in Lynn, Massachusetts.

 

The Trademark Legend and Boning the Bat

04-03-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

It was easy to realize that millions of baseball bats with a brand trademark are manufactured each year. Why are these trademarks so vital? The philosophy of Hillerich and Bradsby on the trademark states that "the strongest part of a wood bat is the grain. We brand our bats with the grain of the wood exactly ninety degrees either side of it. Therefore, if you keep the trademark up, the grain will be facing the pitcher, whether you are a right or left handed batter." It is important to remember that the turn of the batters' wrist may vary. This will determine the proper position of the trademark in order to hit the ball on top the grain.
 

Minor League Sluggers

03-27-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

Who is the Home Run King of Professional Baseball in the USA? Prior to Barry Bonds' feat in 2001, it was Joe Bauman. In 1954 he hit 72 home runs in just 138 games. This 6 foot 5 inch, 245 pound first baseman played for the Roswell (New Mexico) Rockets in the Class C Longhorn League.

I spoke with Joe, who still lives in Roswell, for the purposes of this article.  He said that he used a Louisville Slugger, 35 inches in length and weighing 34 ounces, a Model S-2 Vern Stephens bat. Bauman, often called "Joltin' Joe", was 32 years old when he hit his record breaking 72 home runs. Until then, the Minor League record was 69 home runs, set in 1933 by Joe Hauser of the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association. Hauser's record was tied in 1948 by Bob Crues of the Amarillo Gold Sox.

 

The Most Popular Model

03-24-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »


Hillerich and Bradsby have over 300 Pro models on record today. They also have 20,000 specification cards in the Pro model file.  For example, both Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron used similar model bats. However, Ruth's bat weighed 42 ounces and Aaron's weighed 33 ounces. The model bat most popular today is that of Eddie Malone of the Chicago White Sox, for whom the bat Model M I 10 is named. Bats also have nicknames such as Timber, Lumber, Willow, Black Death, Black Betsy and Stick. Give Hillerich and Bradsby credit for manufacturing millions of baseball bats for more than 115 years. Their bats were, and still are, made in America.
 

More Baseball, More Trees

03-23-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
At this point in history, it was evident that baseball was here to stay. The challenge of every play and the excitement of the fans increased attendance every year. Bat manufacturers realized the importance of continued research in order to supply the best quality wood for their products. Hillerich and Bradsby began manufacturing baseball bats as a small concern at the turn of the century. By comparison, in today's bat industry, it takes thousands of trees each year to supply the bat demand.
 

Stripes for Goose

03-10-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
The word special can be appropriately applied to the Leon "Goose"" Goslin stripped Louisville baseball bat. While playing left field for the St. Louis Browns, Goose came up with a phenomenal idea. Before the 1932 baseball season, Willis Johnson, the secretary of the Browns, developed this idea and devised the "War Club". As I recall, most of the bats at that time had a natural finish and were of one color.. Goslin's bats had twelve green longitudinal stripes that started at the knob and widened along the face and over the barrel end. His bats were always 34 inches long and weighed at least 37 ounces. 
 

Hanna Bats

03-06-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
The Hanna Manufacturing Company originated in Athens, Georgia in 1911. They were known for making handles for shovels, hand tools and farm implements. In 1926, Hanna started making toy bats for department stores and a short time later the company was making bats for sporting goods stores, colleges and the Major Leagues. They manufactured bats until going out of business in 1976.
 

Pay for an Autograph

02-25-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
As the years progressed, J.F. Hillerich and Son introduced still another innovative idea involving their bats and Honus Wagner. In 1905, Wagner, the shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, became the first player ever to sign a contract with Hillerich to have his autograph burned into the wood of the barrel of his Louisville Slugger. Tyrus Cobb, centerfielder for the Detroit Tigers, was another player who also began his illustrious reign in baseball with a Louisville Slugger in his hand. Often called "The Georgia Peach", Cobb was one of baseballs' greatest players. He was a fierce competitor with a lifetime batting average of .367. Honus Wagner, one of the greatest all-around players, broke into the Majors hitting .344. Called "The Flying Dutchman" , Wagner was considered the best shortstop ever to play that position. Did you know that these two great players used the same style bat? Both bats had a large barrel with tapered, thick handle. Cobb was one of the last players to use the once popular split-handed grip. He also taught this special technique to Tris Speaker and to Heinie Manush of the Detroit Tigers..
 

Spalding's Mushroom

02-16-2014  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
Spalding stamped the word Mushroom above their small trademark. They emphasized quality, balance and the knob arrangement at the end of the bat. This combination enabled the batter to get a better distribution of weight over the entire length of the bat. This advantage was not possible to achieve under the old construction. Spalding felt as though the Mushroom bat with the round knob was the perfect bat. The Mushroom Model M, plain or special finish, and Model MT, taped handle, each sold for $1.

The Spalding Gold Medal Bat, according to their advertisements, was made of the best quality white ash. When purchased, this bat was inspected and registered with the model, weight, length and timber. It was available with gold or plain finish, taped and carried a diamond-shaped guarantee card. If any part of the bat proved defective during the season in which it was purchased, it could be returned with the guarantee card to any retailer or dealer that carried Spalding bats.
 

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 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.
 

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.
 

A Note about Wood Softball Bats

12-09-2013  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »


There have been lots of questions from players switching from aluminum to wood softball bats as to what weight to order. Most try to get a –5 since they think the bat speed is important. They are accustomed to swinging the lightest aluminum bat possible since weight and mass behind the ball does not matter with aluminum bat barrels which provide all the pop by virtue of the material used and the thin walls.
 

Baseball bat weight vs. swing weight

12-02-2013  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »


What many new players don't seem to grasp is the concept of bat weight vs. swing weight. If you take a 34 inch, 32 ounce thin handled, big barreled bat and hold it by the handle, it feels very heavy because the weight is all at the end of the bat where the wood is. If you pick the same bat up and hold it by the barrel, it suddenly feels very light. You didn't change the weight of the bat, you changed the balance. Aluminum bats feel light because the barrels are hollow and the weight is in the handle. To get the swing weight feel of an aluminum bat in a wood bat, the wood bat would need to be a -8.
 

Light Bat Weights v Light Bats

11-24-2013  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »


The reason we make some models in -2 rather than -3 (and the truth is that no maple bats should be made as light as -3 period) is that we understand after getting feedback on tens of thousands of bats what parameters a bat model needs to both perform and hold up. Maple is a heavy, dense wood and thus far, the best performing wood for bats. However, when bats are made with billets that are too light, they perform more like ash and break more readily than ash. Maple is a less flexible wood than ash so light maple does not have the performance advantage over ash and breaks easier than ash due to it's stiffness. This is why the maple backlash in MLB has come about. Too many bat makers  are making light bats they have no business making. We refuse those orders from players but other bat makers do not. We have over 300 MLB players for a reason. We know what will work for them and what won't. We won't compromise our brand and reputation to make something we know won't perform and hold up.
 

Picking the right X Bat Youth Bat

11-24-2013  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
We find the most important thing with young players switching from metal bats to wood is to find a bat that has great balance.

Here's a little exercise to help demonstrate the concept.

Pickup any adult wood bat and hold it out with one hand. It feels heavy because you can feel the weight at the end of the bat because the weight is concentrated in the barrel. 

Now hold it by the barrel end. It feels much lighter. You didn't change the weight, though, you just changed the balance.
 

Wood, wood, wood……

11-19-2013  |  By: X Bats |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
After more than five years of testing many kinds of woods for baseball and softball bats, we are adding some additional categories from which our customers can choose. We are adding Yellow Birch, a wood that fits between maple and ash for performance, feel and longevity. We found a hickory wood that makes what we feel is a “superbat”, harder and stronger than maple with better performance and more resistance to breakage. This can really change the playing field for wood bat performance and is unique to X Bats. After testing bamboo bats for years with mixed results, we have created a bamboo bat that lives up to the promise of durability that many players seek. Lastly, we have developed a composite bat that performs better than the composite choices on the market and it has all of the durable qualities players seek in a composite wood bat without sacrificing all the performance.
 

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