Today I received in the mail our team’s new softball bat. It’s the Miken Freak 98 which is ASA approved. Bats are no longer just wooden or aluminum and they don’t just run $50 anymore. This Freak 98 is a composite bat which ran me a mere $190. And it looks pretty cool too.
When we started playing softball 3 years ago we basically showed up with cheapo bats that you could buy for $35 at Sport’s Authority. In one game we had a former major league player on our team. Using our bats he could not hit a ball over the 300 foot left field fence. This is a guy that had homeruns in the majors and he couldn’t go yard in our park league. That’s when I knew we had to get the big bats. After all, the other team’s little guys were crushing the balls with their cool composite bats.
So I got a composite bat about a month later and we’ve been using it since. However, last week I and the team felt like the thump was running out on the bat. That’s why I got this new bat today.
Those who don’t play softball or haven’t played since they were a kid may not know that the technology of bats have changed alot. You may be wondering how a bat loses its pop. Well these new composite bats are wussy bats. You have to baby them, take care of them to get them to perform.
First, you have to break in the bat. There are many ways to do this such as batting practice, hitting it with a mallet, swing at a tree trunk. Alot of these bats don’t come alive until a couple hundred hits.
Second, you can’t use the bat in under 70 degrees (at least you shouldn’t). We don’t worry about that too much in Arizona, but during the winter night games it probably gets down to the 60’s.
Third, they have a short lifespan. Since we play in Arizona all year round, 4 seasons a year, the bats probably won’t last that long time wise.
Now I’m not going to go into the detail of how these bats work, but they are basically made of thin composite materials that are stiff and flexible. When the ball hits the bat, the composite material flexs in and then out, sort of like a trampoline, which causes the ball to pop off the bat. When the bat is new, the composite is stiff so as it gets more and more hits the composite becomes more flexible thus becoming better. Then after many many hits, eventually the composite gets worn from the repeated flexing. When its cold the composite is becomes stiff and rigid and have been known to shatter on impact.
You might wonder why I’m writing about a bat today. Well, its because I was tired writing about my India developers and I got a shiny new bat today. Plus, I think that technology is cool and am constantly amazed at its progress, even in the tiniest of fields. It seems like every time I go to make a purchase of anything, I have to understand exactly how it works. But that’s just me.