Many sports around the world today are recognizable because of the equipment that player use during gameplay. Tennis is known for a court, racquets, and a net, and hockey is played on skates and the players strike a puck with hockey sticks. Meanwhile, baseball and softball are massively popular in North America and Japan, and this sport is known for involving baseballs, wooden or metal baseball bats, and leather catcher’s mitts. Whether a player is a professional or a casual athlete, they will need the right gear for the job. Sports goods stores will have plenty of baseball bats and softball bats available. But what about shaved and rolled softball bats? What are shaved and rolled softball bats, anyway? These shaved and rolled softball bats are doctored bats that are modified for enhanced performance in a game. While shaved and rolled softball bats are not allowed in sanctioned and official games, they can be helpful in casual games or practice sessions. A person can buy them already modified, or have their current bat altered at the hands of experts.
Why might someone roll a bat? This is a process that can alter a wooden baseball bat. Ash wood is the traditional material of baseball bats, and these bats have fibers that bend and break as they are used in games. This is to be desired, since enough strikes to the fibers result in a broken-in bat that is fully flexible and can strike balls further than a fresh wooden bat can. Meanwhile, bat rolling services can artificially create a broken-in bat.
If a person does not buy a rolled bat, they can get a fresh wooden bat and take it to a rolling service for doctoring. The wooden bat will be passed through a series of pressurized rollers that will distress the wooden bat, bending and breaking the fibers. Care should be taken, though, so the bat is not damaged this way. If done correctly, the end result will be a wooden bat that can perform like a fully broken-in bat, but without the time and effort needed to break it in normally. These bats can be identified on sight, though, and players are discouraged from trying to use them at official games.
Instead, rolled wooden bats are a fine option for casual games where league rules are not enforced, or for practice. A player may not want to risk damaging their prized wooden bats during practice, so they can use rolled bats that will closely imitate the performance of a fully broken-in wooden bat. A player may have several rolled bats on hand for this very purpose.
Shaving Metal Bats
Some baseball bats and softball bats are made not of wood, but out of metal, with a hollow interior. These metal bats do not have fibers, but they can still be doctored for enhanced performance. And as with rolled wooden bats, these doctored bats are not allowed at official games, but they are a fine option for casual games. To shave a metal bat, a person may bring their bat to a shaving service, where its end cap will be removed to expose the hollow interior. Now, that bat is placed on a lathe table, and slowly fed to a rotating grinder surface. That grinder will shave away a few ounces of the padding inside the metal bat, and once that is finished, the bat is removed and its end cap is replaced.
The shaving service will be careful to not shave away too much material, since doing so may make the bat too fragile to use, and it may shatter when it strikes a baseball. For similar reasons, no material should be shaved from the handle. Players should also refrain from using shaved metal bats in temperatures below 65 degrees. But if a player is careful about using shaved bats, they can enjoy enhanced performance during gameplay, since a shaved bat is more flexible than a non-doctored bat. These shaved bats can strike balls further than regular ones can.