In baseball, there are a lot of ways that you can alter your equipment to better fit you and your body. Equipment like bats are also sometimes tampered with. This is questioned by a lot of officials and players alike; in this guide we will debunk some of the rumors around bat shaving, what it is and even the ways that it works. The most important thing to note is that bat shaving is illegal.
What is bat shaving anyway?
If you are completely new to the concept of bat shaving, this will clear up some common misconceptions of what bat shaving is. Essentially, bat shaving will thin the wall on the inside part of the bat’s barrel. This allows for a much farther hit on the ball. Bat shaving removes some of the weight and bulk of the bat meaning that it performs a lot smoother and has a more effective hit.
How is bat shaving done?
Using a lathe, which is a machine that will spin an object and a blade will gradually cut into the object in order to shave off some of the material. In this case, the baseball bat is the object on the lathe, and the material being shaved off will affect the overall weight and size of the bat. A lathe works by having some measurements inputted into the mechanics, and the blade will cut accordingly. So, shaving is normally done by a professional service. Even if the job is professionally done, bat shaving is still illegal and frowned upon by officials heavily.
How does all of that make a difference?
Bat shaving will thin the barrel of the bat from the inside so that it is not as noticeable. But the thinning of the barrel works in a way to make the baseball bat more flexible. This is ideal for hitting a ball farther than you could have previously with an unshaved bat. The barrel of the bat will act more like a trampoline when the ball hits the surface. This means that the ball is able to travel further thanks to the flexible surface of the bat’s barrel. This is the main reason that some professional and non-professional players have taken to bat shaving in their baseball careers. Obviously, there are risks involved in doing this, since bat shaving is illegal in all baseball and softball games.
Is bat shaving really illegal?
Yes. Bat shaving is illegal in baseball and softball alike. There are strict rules in place that limit a bat to a certain ratio that includes the weight and the size of the bat itself. When you shave a bat from the inside wall, you are tampering with this ratio in order to have a better performing bat. This is cheating and therefore is illegal. The very fact that the shaving of the bat occurs in a place where it is not immediately visible, means that it is breaking the rules.
So, how can you tell if a bat is shaved?
If you are a baseball coach, or even a player that is a little suspicious of another player’s bat, you may want to know how to tell if a bat is shaved. The most obvious way to tell if a bat has been shaved is to open the top end cap and look inside. This is because a bat will be shaved along the inside wall of the barrel and the only way to tell if this has happened is to look on the inside of the bat. If it is not obvious if the bat has been shaved just by looking at it, there are other ways that you can check if a bat has been shaved.
Using a barrel compression tester will show you the stiffness of the barrel. Since shaving a bat makes it more flexible than a regular bat, the compression tester will be able to show you if the bat has been shaved and has resultingly altered in stiffness. However, this way is not always a completely definite way to see if a bat has been shaved.
Another way to see if a bat has been shaved is to compare it to another bat that you know has definitely not been shaved. In order to do this, you need to hit a ball at the same speed and use the same stance and swing as much as you can. If the bat in question hits the ball significantly further than the bat that is definitely not shaved, then the bat is more than likely a shaved one.
Shaving a bat requires a lathe to access the inside of the bat’s barrel and shave away some of the material on the inside wall. This results in a more flexible bat that has more of a trampoline effect when the ball hits the barrel. Bat shaving can cause a ball to travel a lot further after being hit, thanks to the bat’s new flexibility. But according to the ratio regulation in both baseball and softball, bat shaving is illegal.
The best way to see if a bat has been shaved is to use a combination of the following methods:
- Take the end cap off and check the inside wall for any obvious signs of shaving.
- Use a barrel compression tester to check the measurement of stiffness in the bat’s barrel.
- Compare it to other bats that you know are definitely not shaved. Hit a ball with both of the bats and compare how far they go.
Using just one of these methods alone probably won’t give you a definitive answer as to whether a bat is shaved, but using two or three of the methods will give you the answer you need.