Baseball Magazine

Bat Label up and Bat Label Down

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
This time of year, it's not unusual to hear a player say that his bat is feeling a bit heavier.  The drain of the long season is kicking in.  The heat and humidity take its toll as well.  Many hitters, even at the major league level, will experience this and may choose to change to a shorter/lighter bat later in the season.  

Bat label up and bat label down

Even though the bats are the same size, the one
on the right will appear longer because the
middle label is turned to face down.

However, there is a problem that many hitters run into when they do this.  Having grown accustomed to using a certain bat length all season, the player now notices immediately that his bat is shorter every time he picks it up to hit.  This can have a negative psychological effect on the batter who may feel less confident - possibly in his plate coverage - with the shorter bat.  However, he also knows that if he wants to lighten the bat a little, he will usually have to shorten the bat.  So what does he do?
There are a lot of things a player can do this time of year to keep up his energy but here is a small tip I learned from a former coach in the minor leagues.  
Use a slightly shorter/lighter bat but turn the label down.  
Most hitters hold the bat with the label facing them or "up."  This is important when using a wooden bat - in order to hit with the stronger side of the barrel - but many aluminum bat users do it as well just out of habit.  Turning the bat so the label is facing down or to the side creates an interesting effect for the hitter.  It actually makes the bat appear longer than if the label is facing you.  Try it!  Hold a bat "label up" in front of you.  Now turn the bat so the label faces down.  Does the bat appear to be a bit longer than before?  It usually does.  Note: Metal/Composite bats usually have labels on both sides of the barrel.  Turn the bat so the labels are on the sides of the bat and don't face up and down.
So if you feel the need to shorten the bat you use this time of year, apply this trick and maybe it will fool your eyes enough so you won't lose confidence about your ability to cover the plate.
In the words of another former coach of mine, "If it works, use it!"

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