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The Iconic Baseball Bat Gets Redesigned

Posted October 27, 2016 10:51 AM by HUSH
Pathfinder Tags: baseball bat BBCOR redesign

The baseball world is on the precipice of history.

Not because of the ongoing World Series, which features the two MLB clubs with the longest championship droughts: the Chicago Cubs (107 years) and the Cleveland Indians (67 years).

Rather, it’s because the iconic wooden baseball bat—the instrument of choice for Babe Ruth, stereotypical mobsters, and new Walking Dead villains—has received a redesign that promises a more efficient swing. The new baseball bat could make hitters better, produce more home runs, and make baseball more exciting than when McGwire, Sosa, and steroids combined for a bajillion homers back in 1998.

The manufacturers of Axe Bat have reshaped the handle of the bat to produce more leverage from the hands, as with an axe. The elliptic, angled knob on the bat reduces the potential for calluses, blisters, and hamate bone injuries, while also being more comfortable and easier to grip. Conventional round knobs also aren’t very stable as hitters swing, because they create a gap between the palm of the lower hand and bat. The Axe Bat intends to rectify this, allowing players to transfer more energy to a batted ball. Lastly, traditional bats are meant to be hit “against the grain,” resulting in two hitting faces. Because of the handle, the Axe Bat only has one hitting face, which allowed engineers to focus on improving the resilience of one face instead of two. Axe Bat believes this results in a more durable and better tuned bat.

The Axe Bat is notable because baseball bats are highly standardized, even more so in amateur leagues. The threat of pitchers getting hit with a batted ball is well-documented. In lower-skilled leagues, safety has a greater emphasis, as players may not have the talent or experience to avoid baseballs hit in excess of 100 mph. Many of these leagues have reverted back to wood to reduce the energy imparted on the ball from the bat and ball elastic collision.

Leagues that still allow metal bats closely keep track of the batted ball coefficient of restitution, and they typically prohibit bats with a BBCOR greater than 0.5, which is just a tad higher than the BBCOR of typical wood bats. BBCOR values peaked around .95 in 2009.

BBCOR is calculated by hurling a 145 g baseball at 136 mph at no more than 10 rpm. Bat and ball contact is to be 6 in. from the end of the bat barrel. Then, applying the equations:

In the major leagues safety is still important (what with the millions of dollars on the line), but it is accepted that elite ballplayers have the talent and training to protect themselves when a ball rockets toward them. Bat standards in MLB are in place to protect competition, more than the players. These bats cannot be more than 2.61 in. in diameter or weigh more than 42 oz (.pdf). Bats are commonly manufactured with a cup-like recess at the end of the barrel, which cannot be more than 1.25 in. deep and must have a diameter between 1 and 2 in. Lastly, it must be made of a single piece of wood, with manufacturers opting for ash, maple, hickory, or bamboo.

There is not mention about how a bat handle is to be shaped, or if multiple hitting faces are required. Some of the major leaguers who switched enjoyed an excellent year (2016) of “eating at the plate.”

Ballplayers are incredibly superstitious and baseball is a traditional game. So even if the Axe Bat is an improvement on typical baseball bats, it might not catch on. But it goes to show that engineering is changing America’s pastime, season by season. And it can’t be weirder than previous redesigns, such as the banana bat, pictured below.

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#1

Re: The Iconic Baseball Bat Gets Redesigned

10/27/2016 12:55 PM

Nevermind all that. Does it make a satisfying 'crack' sound when a homerun is hit with it? If not, then forget it. The 'ping' sound that aluminum bats make is lamentable.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: The Iconic Baseball Bat Gets Redesigned

10/27/2016 4:43 PM

Some sort of bat addon then to make a better boise, like a percussion-triggered shotgun blank round?

Add some smart electronics and a speaker and it can make a "<Swosh>....Wah waaah waaaaaah" sound when the swing misses.

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#5
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Re: The Iconic Baseball Bat Gets Redesigned

10/28/2016 2:27 PM

Rather, it’s because the iconic wooden baseball bat—the instrument of choice for Babe Ruth, stereotypical mobsters,...

Yeah, mobsters prefer the "whack" sound also. It's just not the same thing saying they're going to "ping" somebody.

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#6
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Re: The Iconic Baseball Bat Gets Redesigned

10/28/2016 9:59 PM

what about golf!?

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#3

Re: The Iconic Baseball Bat Gets Redesigned

10/28/2016 8:09 AM

I worry that bat will come flying out of a batters hands. It's been my understanding that it's best to bat with a medium grip. Grip too tight and it's tough to make the minor adjustments mid-swing to hit a ball that has movement and all pitches have some movement in the major leagues. I don't doubt that the bat would generate more power, but I think it's trading off bat control to get it.

http://www.beabetterhitter.com/the-grip-it-starts-with-the-hands/

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#4

Re: The Iconic Baseball Bat Gets Redesigned

10/28/2016 10:16 AM

It's the "Specialized Tool" folks at it again. You'll need a bat for fastballs, one for curves, one for sliders, one for cutters, one for the change up etc.. You have to change the bat every swing depending on what you think the pitcher will throw, I can see the game extending by a good hour with this logic. As a pitcher, I couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. So it really didn't matter what bat I used. I know the good hitters are very particular about their "wood". For me, on the mound, it was the sound that told me where to and how hard a ball had been hit. Very important since in my follow through I couldn't easily see the plate.

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#7

Re: The Iconic Baseball Bat Gets Redesigned

10/28/2016 11:45 PM

Those of us who have had somewhat of a difficult time hitting home runs with a typical bat, appreciated the introduction of the Whiffle Bat.

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#8

Re: The Iconic Baseball Bat Gets Redesigned

10/29/2016 4:50 AM

Whatever next?

Reinventing the wheel?

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#9
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Re: The Iconic Baseball Bat Gets Redesigned

10/30/2016 9:19 AM

Good traction.

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#10

Re: The Iconic Baseball Bat Gets Redesigned

02/27/2017 5:36 AM

There are very few sports where the proper equipment does not give you an edge in performance. This is true when it comes to the sport of baseball too. Many people think that you can just pick up any old bat to use and play the game well. In truth, there are certain bats that can take your game to a whole new level. That is why most bat brands try change their design often . They always try produce best and different bat for baseball family . This is very awesome event for baseball lovers .

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