So, you recently purchased a new baseball bat. Now, you need to know how to take care of it. What are the best practices to protect your investment? How do you keep it clean?
We’ll look at the best ways to care for your bat, whether it is aluminum or wooden.
Aluminum bats require a special attention to detail to truly take care of it. The most obvious way of caring for your bat is to use it in recommended weather conditions.
It is suggested that a bat not be used in temperatures that are below 16° C. When the temperature dips below 16°, the baseball becomes denser. A denser baseball increases the chances of your bat getting dented.
Another pretty obvious way of caring for your bat is to make it your bat. That is to say, don’t share your bat with the rest of your team.
If you swing the bat 8-10 times per game, it will have a lot more life than allowing the team to swing the bat 25-30 swings per game.
Hypothetically, if a bat can handle 1,000 hits, a “personal” bat would last about 100 games. A “team” bat would only last about 30.
That’s a pretty significant difference when you consider the cost of investment.
Temperature is a significant concern when caring for your aluminum bat. Not only is the temperature at game time a concern, but storage temperatures are significant.
You cannot store your bat in a trunk or a garage that is not insulated. Improper storage of an aluminum bat can cause the end cap of your bat to expand or contract.
If this happens, the end cap can fail or crack during a game. This means that the bat is no longer usable.
Many companies have a strict warranty about the product and it can become a tedious process if it is obvious that you didn’t properly care for the bat.
Another significant concern that is often forgotten is trying to evenly disperse the wear on the bat. Ideally, this is done by rotating the bat after every swing.
In an ideal world, the hitter rotates the bat by ¼ turn or 1/8 each time he makes contact with the ball.
Let’s be honest, when in the middle of a game, most players don’t think about this; they’re far more concerned with what the next pitch is, or where they can hit the ball.
Some companies have come to realize this and, in an attempt to help, they’ve created a specialized numbering system to help the hitter better care for their bat.
The DeMarini CF6 is the perfect example of this. The end of the bat is number 1-8. This is significant because if a hitter only uses one side of the bat, the impact is more likely to dent the bat sooner than someone who is evenly distributing the stress.
When practicing, it is important to only hit leather balls or practice balls that are softer than a standard baseball.
Most batting cage balls are significantly more dense than a baseball, meaning they’re significantly more likely to dent a bat.
The best way to avoid this is to find a discounted bat that you can use for practice. Obviously, you’d like to find a bat that is as similar as possible to the bat that you use.
But, I’d avoid using your “primary” aluminum bat in cages whenever possible.
Maintaining cleanliness with your bat is surprisingly simple. Many people use soap and water, but that’s always worried me.
Mild soap isn’t unsafe (it’s actually suggested by most companies), but it’s something that I’ve never felt comfortable with.
I’ve found that using a magic eraser or similar product works perfectly.
Wooden bats are entirely different from aluminum bats. For starters, storage is the most significant component in caring for your wooden bat.
This is because improper storage can degrade the stability of the bat. If your wood bat is not stable, it can break on any pitch.
This is a significant concern that you don’t, typically, run into when using aluminum bats. The risk of a wood bat breaking is significantly higher.
When storing a wooden bat, it is vital to find a dry, temperate area that is safe for your bat. If you wouldn’t want to live in the area your bat is stored, it’s not the right area.
Personally, I keep my bats in my bedroom. This ensures that the area is dry enough.
Finally, you should store the batt with the handle pointing directly into the air, standing as straight as possible.
When attempting to ensure the best quality wood bat experience, it’s important to maintain the surface of your bat.
While hitting, a wooden bat naturally dents from the impact of the ball. To maintain the surface of the bat, it is important to rub the bat with another hard object.
Typically, this is done with a smooth piece of bone or another wood bat. This will essentially buff out the dented spots on your bat.
You should also clean the surface itself with a multi-purpose cleaner. This can be done by spraying the cleaner on a cloth then wiping the bat down.
This will eliminate some of the impurities from the bat hitting the ground.
In summary, the most important concern in caring for your bats are storage is the top priority in caring for your bat. If you treat your bat kindly, it will treat you kindly.