By Brian Duryea
When thinking of things from Italy, baseball equipment is far from the top of the list. In fact, I am not sure it makes the list at all. On that list is leather, some great food, fancy cars and gelato. I’m drawing a blank on any connection to sports that I’ve ever made to Italy with the exception of bocce.
Which makes it all the more remarkable when I found myself, just a few days ago, looking at a “Made In Italy” knob pin on the bottom of a sleek black youth baseball bat. My first thought, a perfectly snobbish American concentric baseball one which I apologize to our Italian readers for, was how impressed I was that folks in Italy actually knew the shape of a baseball bat.
Second, was to question the bat’s material. If you can remember the first time you held a MINE Wood bat you will know my dilemma. The prime versions of these bats are sleek black with a finish that feels like the dashboard of a Ferrari. It’s not overly glossy, but to be convinced the material is wood takes some, well, convincing. Turns out the wood is a European Beech wood with a proprietary finish which, according to some T-Shirts MINE makes, kicks maple’s ash.
These unique European beech wood bats have been discussed before on WPW both here and here so I won’t walk you through the details of the bat. What I was most interested in were the newer youth versions of the bat that have swing weights and lengths similar to metal youth bats. The issue with wood bats for little league has always been their durability when the weight drop got too substantial.
Most wood bats with more than a drop 5 struggle to stay intact. Yet MINE bats makes both a drop 7 and drop 10. The claim is the European Beech can do this because of its durability. As a result MINE makes, quite proudly, a drop 10 and drop 7 wood youth version of the bat.
MINE Bats controls the swing weight of the youth wood bats by boring a pretty substantial hole down the center of the bat. We took the bat out for some serious testing and you can read the more comprehensive full review and recommendations of the best youth wood bat here.
Overall we found the durability to be very good. Of course we haven’t had the time to put these through a season of work, but a good 300+ 65mph blasts on these bats have so far proven their claim. I suspect that sort of beating would hold up for just about any little leaguer in the country who would like to swing a wood bat yet needs a swing weight more in their wheelhouse.
As the demand for little league wood bats increases it will be interesting to see how consistently these bats start making their way to the plate around the country.
And after all that work in the cage this morning with Italian made craftmanship, you can bet that later tonight I’ll be taking a swing at some gelato.