A bat and a ball, that’s all you really need to start a game of baseball. But have you ever considered what goes into making them?
Baseball players will each use a different kind of bat suited to their swing. Some prefer longer bats, while some prefer skinny handles and large barrels, meaning that bats are not a universal piece of equipment.
Jared Greenberg started Prairie Sticks, a custom bat manufacturing company in Lacombe, Alta., in 2003 in response to Baseball Canada’s mandate for the senior division to swing wood bats.
Greenberg is a former college baseball player who grew up playing in Red Deer before heading down south to spend time at both Indian Hills Community College in Iowa and Minot State University in North Dakota.
As Alberta’s most well-known bat making company, Greenberg says that most of Prairie Sticks’ sales come from western Canada, but they also have a consistent market in eastern Canada, Sweden, and Australia.
Wood bats can be made into different models, with different types of wood, and into different lengths to influence a player’s success on the field.
“Right away [when I first used a wood bat] I knew it was important to figure out what was right for me. I think I [initially] chose a bat that was definitely too big and too heavy, and I wasn’t able to swing,” says Drew Miller, former professional baseball player and current University of Calgary baseball coach.
Wood bats are starting to be used by age groups as young as 13 in Alberta, so the emphasis on finding which model a player swings best with is only going to start popping up more and more in the baseball community.
- By Zachary Worden