With all the choices out there these days, deciding which baseballs and bats to buy can be an overwhelming task. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about these two very important pieces of baseball equipment.
Ever wonder what’s inside a baseball and what makes one baseball better than another? You’re not alone. To answer that question, you must become familiar with the four essential parts of a baseball:
There two types of baseball covers: leather and synthetic. Leather covers are the “traditional” choice and are used at higher levels of play. They offer a better grip and are generally more expensive. Synthetic covers are made from vinyl and are more resistant to water, dirt, and stains. Baseballs with synthetic covers are less costly than leather baseballs.
There are three main forms of baseball stitching. The first form is raised seams. This type of stitching is prominently raised and can benefit pitchers as the raised seams lead to greater ball movement. The second form is standard seams. This type of stitching is not as pronounced as the raised seams. It is also called “major league stitching” because it is the type of stitching used in the major leagues. The third form is flat seams. Flat seams are used for pitching machines or practices and are rarely used in games.
The baseball windings are found under the cover and are made of yarn and thread. The yarn is either made of pure wool or wool blends. Pure wool windings are offer the best compression and shape retention. Wool blend windings are more common. The wool purity and the tightness of the thread determine the quality of the windings.
The core of the baseball is found in the middle of the baseball windings. High quality baseballs have cushioned cork cores that consist of cork wrapped in rubber. Lower quality baseball cores are made of solid rubber or a cork and rubber composite.
Baseball bats are a hitter’s tool and must be chosen carefully. There are three primary types of bats to choose from: aluminum or aluminum alloys, composite, and wood.
Aluminum or Aluminum Alloy Bats
Aluminum or aluminum alloy bats have been the primary choice for most youth leagues for many years. Aluminum bats are light and durable. There are many different alloys or combinations of metals that are used in aluminum bats, each having their own unique set of properties. The most common alloy is 7046 but there are others that give the bat more durability and strength, such as CU31/7050, C405/7055, and C555. You can expect to pay slightly more for these stronger alloys.
In addition to the alloy of the aluminum bat, the construction of the bat is also a factor in the durability and performance. Double-layer aluminum bats offer increased power and durability. One type of metal treatment used is cryogenic treating. This method of metal treatment involves freezing then heating the metal to increase bintang 4d strength, power, and reduce vibration. Both of these types of aluminum bats will be more pricy as they offer better overall performance.
There has been a lot of controversy since the introduction of composite bats. Composite bats are simply bats made of lighter, stronger materials such as graphite or titanium. These materials are usually used as linings on thin walls of aluminum. They can reduce the wall thickness considerably thereby increasing overall bat speed and power. Other advantages are that composite bats typically have a larger “sweet spot” and vibration is reduced considerably from the standard aluminum bat.
Composite bats do have disadvantages. The first disadvantage is that composite bats cannot be used in cold weather or they are at risk of cracking. Also, composite bats typically have a “breaking-in” period whereby they need to be used for a period of time before they reach full performance levels.
Composite bats have been under fire in recent years due to studies that have indicated that the ball-exit-speed-ratio (BESR) for some brands of these bats is beyond the safe limits for use in regulation play. This argument is still being debated and has resulted in banning these types of bats in some organized leagues.
Nevertheless, composite bats are still a very popular choice for many high school and collegiate leagues. Always check the BESR rating for the bat versus your league rules before purchasing, and expect to pay considerably more for the added performance.
While wood bats were the only choice of baseball bats until the 1970s, the use of these bats in youth leagues has all but vanished. Wood bats these days are typically only used in professional leagues. Nevertheless, they are still a viable choice for anyone that is looking to purchase a bat.
Wood bats have three significant disadvantages. They splinter and break easily, they have a very small sweet spot, and they have much less hitting power than aluminum or composite materials.
When purchasing baseballs and bats, always consider your requirements versus the performance and price of the equipment. Use the above guidelines to help you determine the perfect equipment for your needs.