A question often comes up: should I choose a bat with or without the ink dot?
Many believe that a bat with a good ink dot (Plus or minus 3 degrees of inclination on the tangential section of the wood) is better than a bat without an ink dot.
Before answering the question, let us try to understand why there is an ink dot on Big Leagues and affiliated baseball bats. The ink dot test was introduced by the Big Leagues in 2009 in association with a wood testing and certifications consultant.
Since 2001, the maple bat has become the weapon of choice for many players. The density of maple gives players the impression that there is more power in their bat than bats made of ash. The downside with maple is that it often shatters dangerously. Over the years, several players, coaches and fans were injured by a piece of maple bat flying onto the field. This is how the ink dot test came to life.
According to the studies, the most fragile point of a bat is located 12 inches from the end of the handle. By placing an ink dot on the fibers of the tangential section of the bat, and keeping all the other selection criteria, particularly the straightness of annual fibers and the absence of knots in the handle, we can see the angle of fibers that are more difficult to see with the naked eye. It is this fiber angle which must be measured, and must not exceed three degrees (plus or minus). The ink dot test is actually a safety measure above all. An angle of three degrees or less decreases the chances of a bat shattering into two or more pieces, thus avoiding the chances that a piece of wood will end up on a player, coach, umpire or even a fan. The measurement of three degrees is very important, especially in the case of maple, because beyond this limit, the fragility of the bat increases exponentially. These tests are carried out at a higher level of play (Big Leagues and affiliated baseball), where the fastballs are predominantly between 90 to 95 MPH and the bat speed also varies between 90 and 95 MPH. The bat then undergoes an impact between 180 and 190 MPH.
ABOVE: The ink dot is placed on the fibers of the tangential section of the bat.
BELOW: The view of the annual fibers of the bat.
If we go back to our original question: is a bat better with an ink dot? The answer is that the bat is more resistant at a professional level. The smaller the impact on the bat, the less relevant the ink dot.
In my opinion, for people playing in non-professional leagues, the ink dot will not impact the performance of the bat. The impact involving ball speed and bat speed is not great enough to compromise the strength of the bat. The ink dot is not synonymous with power of the bat and, I repeat, it is strictly a safety measure.
In addition, when the ink dot is placed on professional bats, the logo must be placed on the opposite side, on the annual fibers of the wood. The player, keeping the logo facing him, will then hit on the fibers of the tangential section of the wood. The bat will have approximately 12% fewer chance to break, but will tend to lose power. Without an ink dot, you can place the logo on the fibers of the tangential section and in the same way, by placing the logo in front of you,the player will hit on the annual fibers of the wood and have more power. And what we believe, is a hitter above all is looking for power. In addition, yellow birch is much stronger than other species, so it is the best of both worlds.
Hopefully we lighten you up on this topic and I wish you an excellent season!
The author Olivier Lépine is the Production Manager at B45 since the company's debut in 2004. If you have any question, please post a comment below and we will be glad to answer you.
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