The New Bat on the Block: Bamboo Bats
The Asian influence is definitely being felt on the Baseball industry of America. Bamboo bats are becoming very popular with amateur and youth players in the United States and other countries around the world. Since bamboo has yet to be officially approved by Major League Baseball, for the moment its popularity has been limited but is this likely to change?
Many people have questioned why bamboo has yet to receive approval but this is mainly due to certain MLB rules. This specifically includes rule 1.10 which states that a bat should be smooth and round no more than forty two inches long and a maximum of twenty four inches in diameter at the widest point.
Most importantly regarding bamboo bats, it should be made from a solid and single piece of wood. This restricts the use of experimental or laminated bats in professional games until the design and manufacturing process has been analyzed and approved by the rules committee.
Since bamboo bats are made from laminating bamboo strips together into a large chunk, which is then turned into a bat, this is a clear violation of the rule. A bamboo bat is still remarkably durable and hard to break, but until this rule is changed or modified, they may never receive approval for the MLB.
Many experts site this rule as to why bamboo bats have not received MLB approval, but some consider them to be manufactured in a similar way to composite bats. Composite bats are also prohibited in the MLB. Therefore unless the MLB changes the rules to approve all composite bats, it seems unlikely that bamboo bats will be granted an amnesty.
So, where do bamboo bats fit into the sport? Well since they have an excellent rate of strength and durability, many teams and players are using them for batting cage practice. This can be an excellent way to build technique even if the league rules call for aluminum bats to be used during official play. Many coaches and players are seeing the benefit of training with a strong and durable wooden bat. Research has shown that hitting a ball with a wooden bat forces the batter to swing with the correct technique and proper mechanics. This can improve the results of play, even if heavier or metal bats are used during games.
Although hard wood bats provide more power to the batter, none of the hardwood materials have the durability of a bamboo bat. This makes it an excellent choice for batting cage practice. The team or player can enjoy all the benefits of training with a wooden bat, without the expense of needing to continually replace the bats due to overuse. This new philosophy is at least partially responsible for the increase in popularity and demand for bamboo. The material is fuelling a revival for wooden bats within the United States, making wood stay at the forefront of baseball and ensuring it maintains a constant feature in an ever changing game.
As with any new sporting equipment, you should check the league rules regarding any size, weight or material restrictions for official play. However, even if bamboo is not permitted in official games, it does make an excellent choice for a practice bat to improve technique without worrying about damaging the bat. This can improve your performance and confidence when it comes time to play with the official bat and create a winning spirit.
Quality Bamboo Bats
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