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Why Do Players Cork Baseball Bats

Why Do Players Cork Baseball Bats

If you’ve been a fan or player of baseball for any duration of time, chances are good that you’ve heard about players using a corked baseball bat from time to time, but do you actually know what a corked bat is? 

What is a Corked Bat?

Corked wood bats are modified bats that are made by drilling a hole six inches deep and about a half inch in diameter into the end of a bat. It’s then filled with cork, or other light/less dense materials like sawdust or even bouncy balls, to make the bat lighter. Why cork a baseball bat? Simple. A lighter bat is easier to swing and allows players to swing them faster, in hopes of hitting balls harder and further. When corking a bat aftermarket, the structural integrity of the bat is compromised, which makes it easier to break, especially when colliding with something as hard as a baseball. 

Are There Advantages of Corked Wooden Bats?

While some of the claims that corked bats make players better have been debunked, there are still some benefits to using a corked bat, especially when practicing. Corked bats:

  • Have a softer collision because the cork absorbs some of the force from the impact of the ball
  • Have less mass, making them easier to swing
  • Have a faster swing speed

Corked Bats and Major League Baseball

The only bats that are allowed in MLB must be made from a solid singular piece of wood, thus making the use of corked bats prohibited in the major leagues. This is to give all players an even playing field and no unfair advantages, as corked bats aren’t regulated or consistent, and they end up being shorter than non-corked bats. In 2003, Sammy Sosa, playing for the Chicago Cubs, was famously ejected from a game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the first inning after his bat exploded upon impact with the ball. Sosa said that it was an innocent mistake, as he uses corked baseball bats in practice, but grabbed the wrong one in the game.

Corked Bats and Baseball Practice

While Sosa claiming the corked bat was just a practice bat might sound suspect to those who aren’t familiar with baseball and the ways that players practice, practicing with a corked baseball bat isn’t unheard of to those more familiar with the game. Practicing with a corked bat is actually a common exercise and can help players greatly improve. They allow players to practice building up their swing speed and improve their timing without taking on the stress that a non-corked bat can put on a body. In practice, players are repeating the same motions and movements in far greater numbers than they do during a game, and it’s easier to wear down the body that way. Specifically, shoulders and rotator cuffs.  Corked bats are also useful tools for coaches while practicing because they allow coaches to hit more balls without exerting as much energy. 

Corked bats lead to better practices overall, and better practices create better players and more winning games. 

If you’re interested in learning more about corked wooden bats, contact us at HB Sports today. And don’t forget to shop our collection of Fungo bats to find the perfect corked option for all your baseball practices.

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