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Discussion: Bat Care

Posted Discussion
Dec. 30, 2011
Jim4softball
21 posts
Bat Care
I keep reading on the Boards that Miken bats are fragile and I'm not agreeing with it. I think people are making some common mistakes that shorten the life span of their equipment.
A couple of suggestions:
1. If the weather is below 60 degrees - Don't use it! Pretty simple. Buy an ASA, USSSA, or wood bat to hit in inclement weather.
2. Keep the bat warm. Don't leave it in your vehicle at night - take it in and keep it warm.
3. Hit decent softballs in games and batting practice. We use 44 core 375 compression balls for Senior tournaments. Use the same for batting practice. If your using a bunch of old mix and match softballs for batting practice, toss them out and ONLY use softer core softballs.
4. Keep your practice softballs clean and dry. Once softballs get wet and grungy, they retain moisture and the added weight to the ball will damage your Senior bats.
5. Keep your softballs warm. If you keep your bats warm, then keep your softballs warm as well. The cold weather will make the softballs harder and amage your bats.
6, Keep your bat to yourslf. don't let friends and team mates use your bat. It;s very rare when a team mate admits to breaking your ba and replaces it.

Just a couple of suggestions - I usually get 2 years out of each of Mikens before they break. I have a lot invested in my bats, and cant afford to keep replacing them.
Dec. 30, 2011
ShaneV
Men's 55
382 posts
I agree, very common sense stuff. I've been through at least 5 Ultra II's in 6 years of senior ball but never knowingly broken one myself. #6 is key for me!

ShaneV
Dec. 30, 2011
17Black
Men's 50
222 posts
jim4softball all good points, and point #6 should be noted by all------I am fortunate to be able to afford new bats, but still don't want to spend $200 bucks everytime mine breaks.

much like ShaneV, I break at least one per season if not two.

I've played on teams where guys just don't want to spring for a bat-----I dln't get it because they buy a glove, and shoes and under armor or whatever else, but they won't buy a bat.

I've had guys go IN my bat bag where my hidden bat is when I'm not looking and take it out------I don't mind if a guy asks me, I'll usually oblige once in a while and let them take a swing or two if good reason, (like theirs just broke and they'll have a new one in a couple days).

We had a local pub buy us two bats this past season, they were clearly marked as TEAM BATS anybody could use, with a strip of yellow tape around the grip-------(a 28 and a 30 and they were excellent)--------BUT guys sitll going in my bag and pulling mine out---------WHY I ASK?

"Because we like yours better"!!!

^%$#@*&(
Dec. 31, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1995 posts
After breaking 8 U2's in 2 years, I am very careful to observe all of those rules. The ones that are difficult is the cold weather in a major tournament and the wet in the morning of a major tournament. I have decided to carry a second bat-not as lively, but more durable for those games. However, that only accounts for 3 of those bats going down. One went down in about 40 swings in 90 degree heat.The Reebok I had lasted very well, but I didn't like the way it swung for me.
Oh, well, even my Orange Crush broke yesterday at the batting cage, but it had been cracking for a long time.
Dec. 31, 2011
mad dog
Men's 65
3958 posts
17 black i feel ya,used to have that happen with the youngens till i finally put my foot down.i used to just bring ones that needed to be broke in,since they couldn't resist the shiny new object(LOL),then when it was broke in would pull it for another if i needed to.

now if ya want to keep from busting bats(here we go again)use the 52 ball,it will let you take all you want,without beating up your bats,and if ya find your self hitting these good than guess what will be happening when you go to hit the 44's.trump(anaconda sports) in conjunction with evil sports make a BP ball that is white and orange that will fit the bill also,and you can see the spin you get,or if it is knuckling b/c of the colors.

for my regular balls,i keep them in a net bag so if they do get damp or even wet(i rarely hit in the rain,or at tourney's,then not my balls....) they have a chance to dry out,go look for a soccer ball net bag,i can get about 60-70 balls in mine.also if it is damp out,try and hit first before the balls get real wet and heavy.......
Dec. 31, 2011
ju25
Men's 55
149 posts
All good points above, but for me it is the break-in process. I believe with a composite bat you need to start out slowly. First 25-50 swings should be at 1/2-3/4 swing speed while rotating bat after every swing. This allows the composite materials to expand without creating weak spots. I then swing at normal speed for 25-50 swings, or until I feel the ball is jumping off the bat. When I feel the bat is broken in I use it for games only. Nothing worse for me than blowing up a bat in bp. I have blown up some USSSA and ASA bats, but my senior sticks, Combat (Gray & Red) heading into 5th season, Geezer 3rd season, and U2 second season, are alive and hot. Make sure to rotate bat after every swing and stay away from hard or wet balls , and you should be rewarded with a longer bat life.

PS: Big strong hitters are going to destroy bats much faster than your average hitter. When it is below 60 a good USSSA bat will do the trick. Composites and a batting cage are not a good idea.
Dec. 31, 2011
ju25
Men's 55
149 posts
I agree with mad dog on the balls. If you use Classic M's(40/325) or Classic +(52/275) your bats will last longer and when you hit the good balls in games you will be pleasantly rewarded.
Dec. 31, 2011
mad dog
Men's 65
3958 posts
ju25,the classic m's in cold weather get hard as a rock,they do more damage than any other ball,now in weather over 75 degrees,they are good to go.

the C.O.R. rating of 40 makes it a hard ball,no bounce, the higher the C.O.R. the more bouncy it is,so a higher C.O.R. is softer.
Dec. 31, 2011
neck10
510 posts
I go a little further after every game I bring bats inside & clean them up with soap scrub all the bat marks & dirt off,I even leave a film of soap on the bats guy told me once it would help well it hasnt hurt.to get scuff marks off just take the plastic or other scrubber you have for the pans that are hard to get things off & gently take the scuff marks off then take a rag & dish soap & finish the job.
Dec. 31, 2011
ju25
Men's 55
149 posts
Compression is the measurement used for hardness of a ball. The compression of the ball gets harder with the colder weather. I have never heard anything about the cor changing with temperature. We hit Worth Classic M's in one league and Worth Hot Dots in another. The Hot Dots stay more consistant with weather changes while the Classic M's turn to mush at 75 and fly when temps get in the 60's.
Dec. 31, 2011
ju25
Men's 55
149 posts
neck10, I do that also. It allows me to check where I have been hitting the ball and if there has been any damage done to the bat.

Dec. 31, 2011
CallaVett
Men's 50
44 posts
I agree with ju25, I feel that proper break-in helps to extend bat life. My break-in method is similar to ju25; I take the first 50-75 swings at about half strength, rotating the bat after each swing. I use my tee for the initial break-in because I can better control the contact point on the barrel.

I broke three bats last year but to be fair one was a 4-year old Ultra II and another was a GBA (which broke on the 5th swing during break-in). The third, an ASA stamped Ultra II Ė NIW, I didnít break-in prior to using it in games. It broke within 150 game swings. My gamer is a Reebok Melee Legend EL that I took my time breaking-in and is still crack-free but extremely hot.

BTW Ė I spoke to Bill about the GBA and he said he would send me a CORE (when they are ready for release) to replace the GBA.
Dec. 31, 2011
mad dog
Men's 65
3958 posts
ju25,yes the comp of a ball is one factor in how hard it is,but the C.O.R. is also in the equation and yes it doesn't change from what i have seen.to get the C.O.R. of a ball,you shoot it out of a (for the lack of a better word)cannon at a plate and see how far it bounces back,harder the center for a ball less bounce,hence the lower C.O.R.aka 40,the 52's bounce way more and do less damage.in cold weather if you want to hit rockets use the 40-325's(classic M) but they do way more damage to your bat,but like you said,in warm weather not so good.
comp is tested by squeezing a ball down 1/4 inch to see how much it takes in compression to do so.

tattooball can explain this better as he is an engineer type and he invented the 52 ball.
Dec. 31, 2011
PJ3P
Men's 50
78 posts
Mad Dog is absolutely correct on this one, DO NOT HIT Classic M's with your senior bats. I would suggest the Classic Plus balls or just a plain 44-375 synthetic.
Happy New Year everyone!!!!
May your 2012 softball season be played with passion and integrity with lots of fun and friendship mixed in!
Dec. 31, 2011
tg69
315 posts
Ive found that when my son and I get a new bat that we take a permanent marker and mark 1-2-3-4 around the bat at the bottom of the barrel and rotate every swing that it helps extend bat life and helps you remember your last swing.LAST WORD
Dec. 31, 2011
5ToolsinOhio
Men's 50
160 posts
We never had to worry about bat care back in the day! I don't believe in today's equipment hahahahahaha!!!
Jan. 1, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1995 posts
My old 38 oz Louisville Slugger-the all brown one- and my 35 oz Steeles bat are still going strong. Let's go back to them and bring back the 52 cor blue dot.
Happy New Year!
Jan. 2, 2012
DCPete
243 posts
So if these Classic M's get hard as a rock in cool weather and break Senior bats and turn to mush in warm weather, why were they ever created in the 1st place?
Never used one, but it sounds like they don't serve any useful purpose???
Jan. 3, 2012
Cougar
11 posts
Here in S.E. Michigan, a bunch of guys and myself continue to play pick-up ball 4 days a week, well into the fall until the fields become unplayable due to snow.

To counter the cold factor, several of us have made solar bat warmers which will easily warm a bat into the 70 degree range on even the coldest days. Of course you need sun to make them work.
Jan. 3, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1995 posts
Cougar, you still have to have the balls warm or they can break bats, too.
DC I have hit the Classic M ball, it takes off ok, but 'floats' or loses momentum much faster when it reaches the outfield.Plus, I agree with your assessment-we sure can't play every tournament in 75 degree weather.
Jan. 3, 2012
ju25
Men's 55
149 posts
I play fall ball in Dearborn, Mi. and we hit the Worth Gold Dot Classic M's with temps in the upper 30's . The 2 bats that broke in our league were both shaved. I use my USSSA bats for bp in temps between 40-50 with Worth Classic M's and have had no problems, but when I hit Trump stotes(44/375) on a 53 degree day I broke 2 bats. Balls are kept in house before hitting.
Jan. 3, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Just wondering, why does anyone use more fragile bats in the fall for just a fall league? Especially in the North. I know things can happen at any time, but I wonder if it is worth the extra risk for something not all that important in the big picture.
Jan. 3, 2012
neck10
510 posts
callavett how did you break that asa stamped bat thats what i swing and havent broke one yet,I let anyone on the team use some of the older one's
Jan. 3, 2012
ju25
Men's 55
149 posts
Gary 19, with the youth around here it's all about ego. If you have 280' power you can now hit hr's. It can get scary playing 3rd base with the kids let alone being a pitcher.


Jan. 3, 2012
surf88
Men's 60
903 posts
Guys, Contact me about a Vector-O ASA/USSSA bat. Strong,cold weather friendly and has performance. Surf88
Jan. 3, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1995 posts
Hey, Ed, you may get a laugh over this. I just re-purchased my old Reebok Melee to use in colder weather this year. The friend that I sold it to had ACL surgery and will not be using it for a while. It sure has a lot of swings on it.
Jan. 9, 2012
surf88
Men's 60
903 posts
Cool Mark, Be careful though. You sometimes get cold temps in Albuquerque. Hey, are you guys open to having a guy come on board for the TOC? I'd like to play if you need me. Let me know at my email or phone. I think I'd be helpful.
Jan. 9, 2012
stick8
1324 posts
ju25 your just too strong for this game!! lol
How's your shoulder doing?
Jan. 10, 2012
Webbie25
Men's 60
1995 posts
Ed-pretty sure we have 17 or 18, but I will ask.
Jan. 10, 2012
CallaVett
Men's 50
44 posts
Neck10, I didnít do any of my normal break-in with the ASA Ultra II, I took off the wrapper and used it. I did limit the amount of BP, generally, 5-7 swings with the Ultra II during BP just to keep a feel for the bat. I donít remember any bad miss hits but the bat did seem to get hot really quick within the first 25 Ė 50 swings. I started using it around the end of May and it developed a crack in end of July, I was the only person using the bat. I was surprised it cracked that quick considering all the feedback about durability of the ASA stamped models. My Reebok Melee (which I did my normal break-in) definitely out lasted the Ultra II and I started using it around the same time. The Reebok saw a lot more BP and was used by myself and several team mates.
Jan. 10, 2012
Pricer
Men's 50
622 posts
DC Pete,
"why were they ever created in the 1st place?
Never used one, but it sounds like they don't serve any useful purpose???"

Are you asking about the bats or balls? Your statement could be used for either.
Jan. 10, 2012
mad dog
Men's 65
3958 posts
pricer i think he is talking about the classic M balls.

usssa wanted a supposedly safer ball and thought this was the way to go......
Jan. 10, 2012
neck10
510 posts
callavett still have never seen a ultra 2 with asa stamps break early but guess they are almost ten trs old now most were made in early 2000's & it is 2012 so I gues just age could be a factor , I sure like thos with asa stickers must have 10 at my office not counting the two still in the wrapper,but now that asa has gone to 1.21 standards can use them in our leauge so they will go faster.
Jan. 10, 2012
DCPete
243 posts
Pricer; yup, was asking about the Classic M ball since it sounds like it serves no useful purpose from the the board comments. I guess MD answered the question although it sounds like the ball didn't live up to its intent of being a safer U-trip ball?
Jan. 11, 2012
Pricer
Men's 50
622 posts
It sound like some folks are more careful with their bats than they are their automobiles! I just think it borders on the ridiculous we start worrying about temps, balls, foil sleeves or warmers for your bats.
Jan. 11, 2012
Jim4softball
21 posts
OK Guys - Since I started this thread - it's only fair to give an update. I knew better then to mess with my mojo, and now it bit me on my back side. On Sunday I broke my Miken Ultra during indoor BP. I purchased this bat at Rock n Reno in 2010.
Corky - I'm finally ready for a new bat.
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