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New Standard Helps to Build a Better Baseball Bat

The quest for the perfect baseball bat is as old as the game itself. In the earliest days, players often made their own bats of widely varying sizes and shapes. The first rules concerning size date to 1859, but the actual shape of the bat was still largely up to its builder/ user until the early 20th century.

These days, much more clear-cut rules exist regarding the dimensions of baseball bats. A new ASTM standard, F 2398, Test Method for Measuring Moment of Inertia and Center of Percussion of a Baseball or Softball Bat, will provide sports governing bodies the means to further establish rules regarding the physical properties of bats. The purpose of this new standard, which is under the jurisdiction of Committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities, is to harmonize methods for measuring a baseball bat’s moment of inertia (MOI) and center of percussion (COP) that currently appear in three other ASTM standards — F 1881, Test Method for Measuring Baseball Bat Performance Factor; F 1890, Test Method for Measuring Softball Bat Performance Factor; and F 2219, Test Methods for Measuring High Speed Baseball Bat Performance Factor. MOI and COP tests from these three standards are now consolidated into F 2398, according to Rick Greenwald, president, Simbex LLC, and chair of Subcommittee F08.26 on Baseball and Softball Equipment and Facilities.

The test method offers a laboratory means to measure the inertial properties of bats, including weight and balance point, in addition to MOI and COP. “The measurements are important for characterizing bat performance,” says Greenwald. “Additionally, a bat’s MOI is used to calculate bat performance metrics in the various standards, and the COP is used to define test locations for testing bat performance.” The new standard was written and coordinated by the F08.26 Bat Task Force chaired by Dewey Chauvin of Easton Sports. Greenwald also notes that interested parties are invited to participate in future revisions of F 2398.

For further technical information, contact Rick Greenwald, Simbex LLC, Lebanon, N.H. (phone: 603/448-2367). Committee F08 meets Nov. 9-12 during the November Committee Week in Washington, D.C. For membership or meeting details, contact Jim Olshefsky, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9714). //

Copyright 2004, ASTM International