Talk:Corked bat

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Corked bats[edit]

What's this I hear about corked bats? Of course baseball bats have quarks-- they matter! Do they expect the players to use massless bats made only of leptons? This wouldn't be happening if Major League Baseball employed some real scientists--

Emily, they're talking about corked bats, not corked bats.

Oh! That's very different. Never mind.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Loren Rosen (talkcontribs) 03:00, 11 June 2003.

Why is it an advantage?[edit]

On a more serious note, why is using a corked bat (or pine tar) an advantage? What's the physical explanation? Details?—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 21:55, 16 September 2003.

Supposedly, a corked bat is supposed to have more give than a regular bat. Most of the time, though, it gives too much, and breaks, leading the player to get caught.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 06:51, 25 June 2004.

Bad physics[edit]

The benefits of a corked bat described here must be slightly wrong. I wouldn't want to argue whether a corked bat makes the ball travel further or not (I don't play baseball and this sounds like the sort of thing players have debated for years). However the phrase;

As a result, the ball may travel faster, reducing the likelihood of the ball being caught by a defender. However, since the bat is lighter, the ball does not necessarily travel as far as with a heavier bat, but usually only by a few feet at most.

has to be wrong. If the hit ball travels faster, it will go further - assuming the same range of angles leaving the bat.

From ballistics, once the ball has left the bat, the only things that can affect the distance travelled are

  1. the speed of the ball
  2. the initial angle of elevation (45° from ground is best)
  3. spin of the ball - much smaller effect but can influence stability of flight, drag and even lift.

I suspect the real issue is that the lighter bat is faster to swing, helping reaction times and improving the odds of connecting with the ball. However, it carries less momentum so doesn't necessarily transfer as much energy to the ball. The ball would then be moving slower and travel less far.

On the other hand it is also possible that the lighter bat can be swung sufficiently fast that it compensates for its lower mass and does carry more momentum when it strikes the ball. In which case the ball will be faster, harder to catch and travel further.

Either way the issue is about how fast the bat moves.

More complex secondary effects would come in if the corked bat deforms more on contact or otherwise absorbs energy during the strike. These would mostly imply the ball moves slower. -- Solipsist 07:39, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think Solipsist is absolutely right. This article should be corrected. -- BTW, I think the possible advantage of a corked bat depends a lot on the pitcher's physical condition: If he is heavy then a lighter bat won't help him to get more momentum; the mass of his arms and upper body will set the limit. A lighter pitcher might benefit from a lighter bat, which will allow him to put more drive (= speed) into his pitch, at the same energy. Given that the ball's mass is much less than the bat's the latter is not decelerated a lot when hitting the ball, nearly regardless of the mass ratio. -- Please excuse my broken English. -- Umberto—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 21:03, 8 April 2005.
User:Furrykef has now deleted the phrase that the ball travels faster. Just to clarify, I was suggesting that either a) the ball travels faster and further, or b) the ball travels slower and less far, but that c) the ball travels faster and less far wasn't an option. Since I don't know whether a) or b) is true, I couldn't make the correction.
It may be possible for a corked bat to carry more momentum if the batter can swing it faster to compensate for the lack of weight, but as Umberto says this is not so likely. So, I suspect User:Furrykef is right and the trade off is that a lighter, corked bat, carries less momentum, so the ball travels slightly slower and less far, but the batter has better control and is able to connect more often. -- Solipsist 11:04, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Larger Sweet Spot?[edit]

A corked bat is effectively perimeter-weighted. Perimeter weighting is great in golf and tennis as it increases the sweet spot. Any evidence that corking a bat increases its sweet spot?—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 19:35, 27 March 2006.

Cork is an elastic material[edit]

The hitter's advantage through use of a corked bat comes from the fact that cork is an elastic material which transfers additional energy into a batted ball (thus causing it to fly faster & farther). The original premise that cork is used to reduce the bat's weight is ridiculous (Major League Baseball permits the use of bats without any minimum weight so long as they conform to other specific physical dimensions, and professional players use bats comprising a wide range of different weights; see [section 1.10] of MLB's Official Rules). Mike 07:21, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

This would be very strange physics indeed. An elastic material doesn't transfer additional energy unless it's been sprinkled with magic pixie dust. Seriously, though, this really is physically impossible. Plus, the reality is that the cork will act as an energy absorber. Even if it does rebound sufficiently quickly, which it most certainly wouldn't, it simply cannot transfer more energy back to the ball than the ball transfered to the bat in the first place.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 20:22, 9 August 2007.

Mythbusters. In summary, or it's own section[edit]

I came here to see if there was any mention of the results on Mythbusters a couple of weeks back. There was, and I have added a citation for the episode itself. But looking at it, I'm wondering if it really belongs where it is. I'm wondering if it would not be more appropriate to give it it's own small section just above the current Notes section. For one thing, another point brought up in the show was that there may be a phychological part to corked bats. If a player *thinks* he has an advantage, he may create a self-fulfilling situation by subconsciously upping his performance. A mention of this would work if the Mythbusters mention was in it's own section, but IMHO really does not fit in with the current header. Anyone else have thoughts on this? - TexasAndroid 17:17, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

It probably should be in its own section. I'm a fan of the show but missed this particular episode, but I've read comments saying the show's cast didn't seem all that knowledgeable about the game to begin with, and went about some of their tests in the wrong manner, including the corked bat one. So some of the science they concluded behind the concept may have some flaws in it, but not knowing enough about it myself, it's hard to comment either way. It should still be mentioned, but I suppose the MythBusters episode should be taken with a grain of salt, since even they've gone back and revisited myths from previous shows after fans voiced their displeasure in their methods. Km9000 05:03, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

I saw the episode too, and the conclusion raised quite a few red flags. 1. If the ball comes off the corked ball at half the speed, nobody would be able to hit a home run with it. 2. Are you telling me that players who are good enough to play in the majors cannot tell that their hits are coming off the corked bat at half the speed? 3. It is obvious that they did not account for various factors, such as the grip, the hitting angle etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:50, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Although I really expect that this will end up being another one that Mythbusters revisits at some point, I'm not sure what you mean by the grip and angle factors. The rig that was used was designed to eliminate as much as possible any other factor that could influence the difference in speed. If grip effects the speed a ball is hit, then if you are not testing for grip, you would want to make the grip as close to the same for both bats, and they did that. Similar with angle. The rig hit the ball the same angle every time, eliminating that as a factor in the difference in the results.
Anyway, I've restored the Mythbuster reference that was deleted without explanation by an anon, but have moved it to it's own section toward the bottom of the article, instead of it's original place in the introduction. It's an interesting, and IMHO relevant sideline to the article, but really not introduction material. - TexasAndroid 13:51, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Grip: If the vise does not clamp onto the bat securely, most of the energy would be lost through the "grip" of the vise. From what I saw in the episode, I don't know if both setup had the same grip. Hitting angle: I concede that they did adjust the angles so the balls SEEM to come off the bat at the same angle. The truth of the matter is, this kind of setup is never precise, you need to alternate the test a few times. Uncorked Bat -> Corked Bat -> Uncorked Bat -> Corked Bat etc. to ensure your result is consistent. They didn't do that and the result is suspect.
The most damning of all, they reduced the power supplied to the corked bat to compensate for its lighter weight. That's like replacing Sammy Sosa with David Eckstein. That's not a fair test.
"In addition, because corked bats are lighter, they have less mass to transfer force into the ball." Here you are assuming the bat speed stay the same. E=(mv^2)/2. Notice velocity is a bigger part of the equation.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:06, 5 October 2007

The fact is truly with refraction time. If you want to hit a ball further you use an aluminium or loaded not corked bat. If you want to punch someone harder you would not fill your hand with feathers, or cork but with a role of quarters. The refrecation time during a batted ball swing is around 1/10000 of a second. Cork does not react fast enough. Lead, steel, or any of the denser more solid metals will effect the velocity or the ball. Any9one that believes cork will effect the distance a ball travels in a poositive matter has to ask why aluminium bats are illegal but a bat made out of the cork tree I am sure is completely legal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:57, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

It should be made more obvious that the Mythbusters testing is not very authoratative.. they have downright terrible scientific method sometimes, I remember that one in particular made me wince.

Removing material from the end of the bat decreases the mass (reducing momentum for the same swing speed) but the decrease in mass moment of inertia would increase the swing speed and decrease the swing time. When I had a leaf through the literature a while ago I didn't find anything that definitively convinced me either way, except they did indicate that vibrational response was the predominant factor.

Anyway, peer reviewed articles > Mythbusters. (talk) 12:06, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Unsubstantiated/pointless claim at end of article[edit]

RE: "However, contrary to the last note in the episode, the reason players 'cork' a bat is to keep it as long as a heavier bat, but make it lighter; which cannot be done without some kind of non-wood filler in the sweet spot of the bat."

I find this last comment pretty pointless and unsubstantiated. So what, players cork their bats not because they want the ball to go farther, but just because it's easier to carry a lighter bat around? I don't get the purpose of this statement. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:54, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

I am a little concerned about that list little line as well. Seems like purely speculation without necessarily knowing the length of the bat. Despite people's concerns about the authority of Mythbusters, they are many times more transparent about their points of comparison than this last statement. Darter9000 (talk) 00:46, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

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