Whenever someone asks about buying a bat, the only question they ask is, “What’s the hottest bat you sell?”
Everyone is looking for the highest performance they can find. For most people that means, the hottest legal bat you can buy.
Unfortunately, for others, it means crossing a dangerous line.
There’s a market for bats that have been altered to increase performance. This was predominantly a slow pitch phenomenon, but it has become an issue for the fastpitch community as well. If you look at the web you can find bats that are being marketed for the person who is looking for an edge.
How do you get an “edge”? There are two main ways of making your bat perform better: Rolling and shaving.
Rolling is a forced break in method that increases the bats performance. Shaving is the removal of material from the interior of the bat to make the bat stronger. Both are illegal in every sanctioning body I’m aware of. The challenge is that you can’t detect a rolled or shaved bat with the naked eye. Compression testing will show that a bat has been altered. Unfortunately, most tournaments don’t have the capability to do this testing before a bat is used.
Easton is taking a major step forward to try to stop the cheaters by adding a step in their production process which marks the interior walls of the bat with a warning that altering the bat is illegal. If a bat is shaved these markings would be destroyed. This seems like a great step in helping identify what a bat has been purposely altered.
There is a saying in NASCAR, “if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” The sad thing is that in our game, cheating can get someone badly hurt.
The hot bat puts defensive players in harm’s way, facing a weapon that launches the ball at them much faster than they should expect.
The next time you hear someone ask about the hottest bats on the market, ask them if they would still want that bat if their kid was the pitcher rather than the hitter?
Questions, comments or suggestions? Contact Fastpitch Prep at firstname.lastname@example.org