Have you ever seen someone put athletic tape on the barrel of their wood bat? I bet you’ve either wondered why they do that, or you’ve followed suit and wrapped your wood bat barrel in white athletic tape. Yes?
So, why is that a thing? Here’s the answer. MLB players would wrap their ASH wood bat barrels for batting practice to help prevent the grains from flaking/separating. Because of the grain structure of ASH, it was seen as a preventative measure to help the longevity of the wood bat. This was done for many years before Maple bats and Birch bats hit the scene.
Here’s the important point however. Maple bats and Birch bats are much different than Ash bats. Maple bats and Birch bats are a closed grain wood, and will NOT flake like Ash (an open pore wood). Therefore, the more you hit with a Maple bat or a Birch bat, the grains compress more and more, whereas the more contact with an Ash bat will result in “wearing out the wood”.
So do you need to wrap your wood bat barrel in athletic tape? What about a coaches fungo? The answer is no. It’s not necessary. But if you’re contemplating this, it’s really only going to benefit an Ash wood bat, and help prevent premature grain flaking and separation. Again, Maple bats and Birch bats aren’t going to flake like an Ash bat. It’s not going to hurt anything if you tape up the barrels of your Maple bat or Birch bat, but it’s not going to accomplish anything either. Some guys just like the look, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You gotta look the part, right?
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