Wooden Baseball Bats

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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There are strict regulations listed regarding wooden baseball bats in MLB's "Objectives of the Game" section of its official rules. Most importantly, all bats used in major league play must be made of "smooth, round wood" and cap out at 42 inches long. At the center of the sweet spot, the fattest part of the barrel, the diameter of the bat cannot exceed two-and-three-quarters inches. There may be indentations or grooves at the top of the bat (in order to reduce its weight and improve its aerodynamics), but these too must adhere to strict guidelines.

At lower levels of the game such as "pony" league play or high school ball, this same code does not apply. There are no rules banning colored bats as there are in major league baseball (which insists on uniform blond wood), nor are there the same rules regarding pine tar or other adhesives for bat handles. This may change from league to league, but in the pro ranks, at least, tar may only extend up to 18 inches from the end of the handle.

Buying Wooden Baseball Bats

One of the biggest perks of buying wooden baseball bats is their reduced cost. Sure, there are a few top-of-the-line wooden baseball bats that run as much as 100 bucks. For the most part, however, a good Louisville Slugger need only set you back 30 or 40 dollars. Commemorative bats and specialty memorabilia (such as signed wooden bats) often go for hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but only a fool would use one of these in an actual game.

In the old days, parents in search of bats would bundle their kids into the minivan, trek across town to the local sporting goods store, and spend an hour or so "taking cuts" (in a relatively "open" area of the store that's devoid of customers). Nowadays, however, bats are shipped directly from the factory through e-commerce sites set up by many of the major manufacturers. Provided a junior slugger knows his or her "charts" (that is, what size and weight bat corresponds to his or her own height, weigh, age, and skill level), that kid can buy directly from the factory or a registered outlet and save substantially.

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