For those of you that are baseball fans you’ve probably heard the term, “Corked Bat“, or “Corking the Bat“. Yep, this is a term that is not very respected among professionals or amateurs for that matter. But the question is, does corking a baseball bat really help the hitter in some way?
For those of you that are not baseball fans or may not be familiar with all the terminology and rules, first we need to go over exactly what a corked baseball bat is.
What is Corking a Baseball Bat?
Well, a corked baseball bat is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. The normal process in corking a baseball bat will start with hollowing out what’s known as the “sweet spot”. This is done by drilling out the big end of the bat. Then the player may fill in the hole with wine corks or possibly a custom made cork that will fit in the void. Once the cork is in place a combo of saw dust and tar or glue is then added on top of the cork to seal it up.
This will cause the baseball bat to be a bit lighter in weight than what it is supposed to be. Even though the bat is lighter weight, it will still be just as long and thick as it was before. Now keep in mind, now that the bat is lighter weight, it may allow the hitter to swing the bat a bit faster.
Let me give you an example… If the hitters bat were to be reduced in weight by a mere 1.5 ounces, this would allow the batter an extra five-thousandths of a second to focus on the ball and make the hit. This is because it wouldn’t take quite as long for him to get the bat swinging through the air.
Is there Really an Advantage to Corking a Baseball Bat?
Now that we’ve gone over the theory of all this bat corking, let’s go into a little bit about whether it really helps the hitter, or if it’s all in the mind.
Having a lighter weight bat could possibly allow the hitter to make contact with the ball just a pinch faster, but it may actually reduce the probability that he will hit a long drive. Let’s take a look at the math involved in this.
There is an equation used to calculate the distance of a hit ball and it is p=mv. The p stands for momentum, m is the mass and v stands for velocity. So according to the formula, the balls momentum is equal to mass multiplied by volume. So taking the lighter weight bat into consideration, it will travel at a faster speed than a heavier one, but it being lighter weight will decrease its mass. This means a hitter that swings consistently will see less distance with a corked bat than with a solid one.
The last time I checked, all batters hope for a home run or “knocking one out of the park”. So to me it seems a corked bat would only lessen your chances of accomplishing this feat. Seeing how distance seems to be the goal, I would have to say there really is no advantage to having a corked bat.
There is another side to this coin though. For a hitter that specializes in short hits and single base hits, a corked bat could be advantageous. If their primary goal is to get a hit, rather than hitting a home run or a long drive, then maybe a corked bat could increase their batting average. But we all know that everyone wants to be the hero or the game winner. But there also is a certain amount of strategy involved in this game, so everyone can not play that part.
The Conclusion in Corking a Baseball Bat
Many people say that corked bats are nothing more than a placebo bat. Meaning it only works if they believe it works. So for a struggling hitter, a corked bat may help them to believe they will do better, which could give them the strive to make that happen.
The fact is, corked bats are notorious for splintering, and officials know this. So the chances of getting away with a corked bat are not that great in a professional setting. Many players will actually choose a lighter weight bat rather than going with a corked bat. And the funny thing is, the official rules of the game do not limit the weight for baseball bats. There are specific rules concerning the length and diameter of the bat, which I believe is 42 inches in length and 2.75 inches in diameter. But as far as the weight is concerned, during the mid to late 1800’s batters normally would use a bat around 45-48 ounces, and by today’s standards they will use something around the 30-33 ounce range. So I think the real lesson here is to play your best and keep everything equal. The real winners will come out on top without the help of cheating.
Are you a baseball fan, or do you have anything to add to this discussion, please help us all learn by leaving a comment below…