Production's Blog: What is a B-1 Bat?
One of the things that make B45 such a unique bat manufacturing company is that in addition to the dozens of the most popular models of baseball bats (like B271, B243c, MS12, for example), B45 also makes a wide variety of customized, or specialized bats, for our clients. It’s not surprising that many pro baseball players choose to customize their bats to fit their comfort level. After all, a craftsman is only as good as his tools. So what does customization of bats have to do with B-1 bats?
B-1 bats, or blem bats like we used to call them, are created when our yellow birch bat does not meet the exact qualifications of the client. That could happen a couple of different ways. First, the physical dimensions of the bat may not be the same as the client’s specifications.
For example, the flare in the knob is slightly bigger or smaller than the bat being ordered, or the circumference of the handle at 12 inches from the knob is supposed to be .93 inches, but measures .945. These may be small and less significant differences, but to the professional player, it makes all the difference.
The second and most common reason blem bats are created is due to Big Leagues’ ink dot requirements for bats made for professional players. For those unfamiliar, the Big Leagues require an ink dot to be placed between 11 and 13 inches from the knob of the bat.
The ink dot will highlight and measure the fibers within the wood, and each fibre has to be straight (within 3 degrees). Testing shows that when a batter hits the ball off the end of the bat or gets jammed, that area is where the bat is weakest and tends to break. A bat that passes the ink dot test is not immune to breakage, however. But the stronger the bat, the less chance of the bat splitting in two, with the bottom piece potentially flying into the stands and causing injury.
So, when a customized bat is made to exact specification, but the ink dot fibres measure 4 degrees instead of 3 (a very very small variance by the way), the bat fails. And since the bat is customized, and cannot be sold to another client because of the specifications, it becomes a B-1 bat.
B-1 models are not uniformly shaped. It’s not impossible to come across two B-1 bats with the same exact specifications, but your chances are pretty slim. They come in an assortment of shapes because each individual bat was made to different exact specifications. I would argue, however, that these bats offer the best value for clients because they are generally made from our premium quality wood and therefore are at or very near Big Leagues’ strict requirements, and at a fraction of the cost of premium pricing.
Goefrey Tomlinson is the Retail Operations Manager at B45. He played professionnal baseball for 13 seasons, including 4 seasons in the Kansas City organization. He reached the AAA level in 2000. He has 10+ years of experience as a bat maker.
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