With the Big Leagues’ regulations for bats made for professional players, many people are a bit confused about what side of the bat to hit on. In the old days, everyone knew to adjust their bat at the plate to make sure that the bat makes contact with the ball on the grain side of the barrel.
The grain side of the bat is the side with the vertical lines, or ‘grains’. Bat companies put their logos on the face side of the bat. But with Big Leagues’ rules, companies are required to put their logos on the grain side, encouraging hitters at the pro level to hit with their bats making contact with ball on the face side.
Two questions: Why did the Big Leagues set this new rule, and why does it matter which side I hit on?
The answer to the second question is simple. For amateur players, it doesn’t matter which side of the bat makes contact with the ball. The rules have not changed for non-professional players, so they are free to hit on whichever side they prefer. Bats made for players at the amateur level still have company logos placed on the face side of the bat. Most players, like me, are accustomed to hitting against the grain side of the wood, and it feels a bit strange to hit on the face side.
So what’s the reason for Big Leagues’ new regulations on which side of the bat to place a company’s logo?
The answer is a bit complex, but it has something to do with Big Leagues’ desire to reduce the number of bats that splinter into multi pieces when they break. Studies done by the league have found that the fibres in bats, at the point of breakage (between 11 and 13 inches from the knob of the bat), were 12 percent stronger on the face side of the bat as opposed to the grain side.
They wanted to encourage players to hit on the stronger side of the wood, the face side, so they instructed bat manufacturers to place their company logos on the grain side.
In the end, it’s a question of preference. At the professional level, pitchers throw harder and hitters swing harder. The combination of the two causes bats to break, and bats that are weaker sometimes break into multiple pieces and can cause harm to players and fans.
There are no laws, either at the professional or amateur level, on which side to the bat to hit. They would simple like to encourage players to hit on the side least likely to break. Furthermore, there are no indications that hitting on one side or the other (face or grain side), will result in more pop.
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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