A “Big Hit” for the Future of Baseball?

March Madness. We love it. We live it. We breathe it. We drive our families and friends crazy with talk of brackets and upsets. For three weeks in March, it’s the ONLY thing that matters, until it’s over. At that point, the annual, “Oh no, what now?” feeling kicks in.

What’s next is baseball. Spring training is already in full swing. Opening day of the regular baseball season is just two weeks away and it’s time to start planning your fantasy league and dreaming of that breakout offensive season that no one else picked.

This year, there might be a LOT of increased offensive production if what I’m hearing about a new baseball bat is true. Baden Sports–you may be more familiar with their basketballs–has recently introduced a new baseball bat called the Axe. This is the first major change to the shape of a bat in over a century.

I spoke with the company and one of the first things they told me was that Ted Williams says in his book, “The Science of Hitting,” that swinging a baseball bat is like swinging an axe. Apparently, an axe handle guides your hand into a proper position that fits flush at the bottom and increases leverage through the swing–something that a traditional baseball bat doesn’t do.

Baden says: “The Axe bat promotes an ergonomically correct grip, a better fit, a less restricted swing and greater bat speed through the hitting zone.”

Who’s using it and what are the results?

Rollins hit a deep solo home run over the left field fence with the new Axe baseball bat from Baden. (AP/Kathy Willens)

Since this is such a new bat, big league players are just being introduced to it. It’s been approved for use in MLB games in 2012, so the company is currently working with players at spring training. They can’t “name names,” but they will say that players from every club are taking at least practice swings and becoming familiar with the bat.

Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies hit a monster home run–his first of the season—on March 12 against the Pirates with the Axe bat. He’d been practicing with it, and his first time to the plate with the Axe someone from the dugout yelled, “Let loose with that bat, Jimmy!” He did, and hit it DEEP over the left field wall.

That was the first “official” home run, but I’ve done some digging and found a reliable report that among others, Oakland As first baseman Brandon Allen enjoyed his first outing with the Axe. On opening day of spring training, Allen hit a grand slam, a two-run double and drove in the go-ahead run in the 9th … all with the Axe. 7 RBIs. Not bad.

So maybe there’s something to this new Axe baseball bat. Time will tell, but since my basketball team didn’t even make March Madness this year, my tears are close to drying and I’m getting a jump start on putting a miserable basketball season behind me.

Baseball will fill my sports cravings over the next 6 months, and I’m paying close attention to what’s happening with the Axe bat.

Luke Warm Linkage

The absolute worst way to terrorize the populace? Explosive underwear.

Do you really want to blow THAT up first? Seriously?




New York, New York

The best kind of tall order is definitely a large, ice cold beer. The worst kind might be the one the Phillies are facing in their return to New York. They need to win two games on the road to win the World Series. There is no room for error. And no chance that Lee will be rested enough to pitch Game 7 (pray for a few days of rain?).

The series so far has been fascinating. Much like we expected, the starting pitchers have been fantastic early, tiring in the middle innings, the relievers have give up lots of runs, and the games have been a mixture of incredible pitching along with some terrific offensive performances. And there’s been the shameful beaning of A-Rod every time he bats. At least if he gets seriously injured, he’s probablly stashed away a few dollars and should be ok for life.

The amazing thing is that despite the commanding 3-2 lead with two straight home games, this one is far from over.

The Yankees made some big mistakes. The biggest, playing Burnett in Game 5 against Lee. So, with two to go, let’s see how this breaks down.

Game 6

Pedro Martinez (5-1 regular season, 0-1 post season) vs. Andy Pettitte (14-8 regular season, 3-0 post season)

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World Series CV

That’s a latin numeral (105), not a latin abbreviation (curriculum vitae). Pretty much the only disappointed people were the 10 million who insist on living in a desert along the southwest Pacific Coast. So, this is the best possible match-up for 96.7% of America. Guess what, that same percentage of people doesn’t want to share our water with you desert dwellers. At least this time we got our way.

For baseball fans this is as exciting as it gets. The 105th World Series kicks off Wednesday night. For baseball haters, the 6 week stretch when nobody plays baseball will start sometime between November 1st and November 5th.

And clearly, front and center here will be the fans. In New York, the fans will pay approximately $500,000 for a single ticket. In Philly, the fans only get in if there is some residual blood on the ticket spilled from the child they had to beat up to get it. That’s right, it’s the bandwagon vs the overly passionate. The best history vs the most recent history.

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Reasons to hate the remaining baseball teams

Here we are, America. Tonight is the start of the National League Championship Series. Tomorrow, the American League Championship Series starts.

This is the exciting part of baseball. At most, we get 21 games that mean something. If you take the 20 from the first round of the playoffs – the entire baseball season comes down to 41 games that mean something.

Winning the world series will make you super gay.

Winning the world series will make you super gay.

And, while baseball will be over about the same time Halloween gets here, don’t worry. Spring training starts around the new year.

The important thing is that the 2009 season is winding down. We’re in the final four. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Angels. That’s right folks. Two teams from Los Angeles. And they think you won’t notice it’s all fixed.

You can find a better summation of these two series on other sites, but what you can’t find is the information you really care about. Sports, after all, is all about hate. So, here are the teams that are left and some great reasons to hate them:

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