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Monday, August 18, 2014

Wired—Baseball Bat With an Axe Handle Brings More Power, Fewer Injuries

The Axe Bat is more than a Frankenstein-style meshing of an axe handle and a baseball bat barrel. The key lies in the bat’s final few inches near the handle. That’s where the design gracefully curves from the standard round shape to a asymmetrical oval before tapering to an angled knob at the end.

The results, as reported in a recent study (PDF) by UCLA engineering professor Dr. Vijay Gupta, show that the Axe Bat is more comfortable, delivers more power and speed, and reduces injuries when compared with traditional bats.

Zach Posted: August 18, 2014 at 03:26 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bats, general

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   1. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 18, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4773992)
But is it within MLB regulations?
   2. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 18, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4774003)
Me likey. Me maybe buyey.
   3. jacjacatk Posted: August 18, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4774043)
That's some "study". Most of the conclusions are essentially assertions about improvements without any empirical evidence to back them up. Given that it should be fairly trivial to demonstrate at least the claimed performance improvements, you have to wonder why nothing along those lines is mentioned. The potential for reducing injures might be more complicated to explore.
   4. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 18, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4774044)
If it really does reduce injuries, it would be a great excuse for the MLB to allow it, given the current offensive environment.

But if it does work, the most likely result is that it's used everywhere but the MLB. Thank you dumb traditionalism.
   5. deputydrew Posted: August 18, 2014 at 07:03 PM (#4774076)
I was at an amateur game yesterday and noticed quite a few guys using the axe-handled bats. They were aluminum and any improved performance was hard to detect, given the low quality of play.
   6. bobm Posted: August 18, 2014 at 07:22 PM (#4774089)
Given that it should be fairly trivial to demonstrate at least the claimed performance improvements, you have to wonder why nothing along those lines is mentioned.

Because nobody axed. :)
   7. boteman Posted: August 18, 2014 at 07:54 PM (#4774110)
If it improves offensive performance, MLB will automatically oppose its use.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: August 18, 2014 at 09:40 PM (#4774151)
How many people get injured swinging a bat? In what way does it reduce injury? What type of injury?

I assume the claim would be that it allows for a more "natural" swing motion, putting less stress on muscles, joints. But that's not a major source of injury is it?

Now if you can show that pitchers throwing axes instead of baseballs would reduce injury ... would certainly have an interesting effect on batters crowding the plate.
   9. McCoy Posted: August 18, 2014 at 10:05 PM (#4774182)
Was it Cust or Durazo who had to have his hamate bone removed?
   10. theboyqueen Posted: August 18, 2014 at 10:37 PM (#4774208)
This is not a study, it's a marketing document. Studies are not typically copyrighted by industry (though many of them probably should be).
   11. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 18, 2014 at 11:35 PM (#4774231)
#3 and #8

The full article does contain this..

Fractures there have sent dozens of major leaguers, including Ryan Zimmerman, Gordon Beckham, and Pablo Sandoval (twice — once on each hand), to the disabled list.


So maybe it is an injury thing? I'm only regurgitating this info, however if there have been "dozens" of major leaguers with these injuries due to the bat shape, then maybe there is something in it to be explored.
   12. bjhanke Posted: August 19, 2014 at 01:46 AM (#4774280)
My memory of the following is not clear, because it happened maybe 20 years ago, more or less, and didn't stick around. My memory is that this type of bat has been tried, along with hammers that had that axe-style curving handle. In both cases, you got more power and more control at the same time, and there were studies that verified this, although I obviously don't remember any exact numbers or sources. When this was going on, I remembered from my one Mechanics course in college (1966), that this type of curve provided extra leverage, which would explain the extra power but not the control. The hammers had a fad, although they seem to have gone away - I don't know why, or even if they are still in use in the world of professional carpenters or somebody. I THINK that the axe handle is illegal on a bat, and that the old experiments with bats were done at the college level. But I could be way off for that. The only reason for making this post is that someone may remember more about the old fad than I do, or may find a quick source about it that I haven't found yet. Or may know something SERIOUS about the mechanics involved. - Brock Hanke
   13. Squash Posted: August 19, 2014 at 02:40 AM (#4774283)
I could see it helping. When you swing there's a small gap that opens up along the bottom side of your palm when you release (i.e. running along the meat down from your pinky) that opens up because the grip isn't snug. The bat can vibrate or bash around in there and cause injury there and to the back of the hand because of it if you try to overcompensate by rolling your grip. At least it did for me. I could definitely see the leverage thing Brock brings up as well.
   14. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: August 19, 2014 at 04:43 AM (#4774289)
Can't be long before protective armour for pitchers comes into play - little more than 100 years after catchers wimped out.

I mean, no more dead pitchers!
   15. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 19, 2014 at 09:19 AM (#4774328)
An axe handle is far more comfortable to swing than a regular bat, I can attest to that at least.

#12 - I have a nice Stanley hammer with that style of handle, and its my favourite. You can concentrate less on simply gripping the handle and more on all the more important aspects of the swing.

Axes have been around far longer than bats, so one would assume that centuries of trial and error have produced the most efficient design.
   16. Bug Selig Posted: August 19, 2014 at 07:23 PM (#4774905)
Between this and ionic necklaces, it's a wonder anybody ever makes an out.
   17. Greg K Posted: August 19, 2014 at 07:32 PM (#4774910)
Between this and ionic necklaces, it's a wonder anybody ever makes an out.

You're forgetting pitchers get to use ionic necklaces and axe handled balls too, so it all evens out.
   18. Bunny Vincennes Posted: August 19, 2014 at 09:09 PM (#4774973)
valuearbitrageur Posted: August 18, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4774044)
If it really does reduce injuries, it would be a great excuse for the MLB to allow it, given the current offensive environment.


I really hope you were ######## about the scoring levels steroid era too.

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