A number of sports around the world are known for their particular equipment, such as tennis racquets, hockey sticks, or most of all, baseball bats and gloves. The popular sport of baseball is played across the United States and Japan, and players both amateur and professional alike will need the right gear. Wooden baseball bats and metal bats alike are widely available, and variants such as softball bats are ready for play, too. But while these bats are ready to use right away, some players would rather use rolled slowpitch softball bats or shaved slowpitch softball bats. Shaved bats and rolled softball bats perform differently than the regular versions, and a softball bat shaving and rolling service can alter any bat that a customer brings along. Why might someone opt for rolled slowpitch softball bats? And where are rolled slowpitch softball bats allowed to be used?
Modifying Wooden Baseball Bats
Many baseball bats are made from wood, the traditional material (often ash wood in particular). These bats, being made of natural wood, will require some breaking in once they are bought in fresh, new condition. As the bat strikes balls in practice, the fibers of the wooden bat will bend and break, and after enough of this, the bat will become more flexible, or broken in. A fully broken in bat will strike balls further than a fresh new bat, and this is to be desired. A baseball player may have a few prized broken-in bats in their collection for games.
But wooden bats always run the risk of getting damaged or broken during practice, so to prevent that, a player may use rolled slowpitch softball bats as a proxy during practice. These rolled bats are modified to perform like broken-in wooden bats, without needing a lot of time to be broken in normally. But these rolled bats are doctored items, and thus are not allowed in sanctioned baseball or softball games. Rather, they are ideal for practice and for casual games where official rules might not be enforced.
As for the method, a wooden bat will be brought to a bat rolling service, and it will then be passed through a number of pressurized rollers that will distress the bat’s fibers. All of that work will simulate a bat being used in games, and result in a bat with altered fibers. Care should be taken so that the bat is not pressurized too much and damaged during this process, and player should note that experts might be able to identify rolled bats on sight during a game.
Shaving Baseball Bats
While wood is the traditional material for baseball bats, plenty of such bats are made of metal, being hollow bats with padding on the inside to reinforce them during use. These metal bats cannot be rolled like wooden ones can, since they don’t have wooden fibers, but doctoring them is still possible. A shaved metal bat will perform better than a regular one, and send a ball further. But as with rolled bats, these shaved bats are not tournament legal, and should only be used for casual games or for practice sessions if desired.
A metal bat may be brought to a shaving and rolling service, and there, the metal bat’s end cap will be removed to expose the hollow interior. Next, this metal bat will be placed on a lathe table and secured on an assembly, and slowly fed into a rotating grinder surface. That grinder will scrape away a few ounces of the metal bat’s padded interior, and then the bat is removed and the end cap is put back in place. With the correct amount of material removed, the bat is more flexible and can send balls further during gameplay, as intended. But care should be taken when doing this, since removing too much material may make the bat too fragile, and it may shatter during use. And no material should be removed from the handle at all, for a similar reason. Lastly, players should make a point of not using these shaved bats in temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.