For over 100 hundred years, there has been a consistent king in the wood bat world. This one hundred year plus period has included many of the games most dominating diamond legends to ever set foot inside a batter's box. Legends that include the likes of Ruth, Cobb, DiMaggio, Mantle and Mays, just accompany hundreds of additional baseball folk hero like figures. A century that has seen the game come to life, find its way, and blow winds of change that have altered the course of history in America. With every empire comes a fall, and some people feel the dominance of Ash bats in baseball is nearing an end. During the last ten years a new bat has emerged. Maple bats are now just as if not more popular than the traditional ash bat. While ash bats are flexible, they tend to break very easily and have not proven that they can withstand the test of time. On the contrary, maple is a very dense wood and has a longer life span. Recently, there has been an up-roar of controversy surrounding maple bats. A huge increase in multiple piece bat breaks have stirred up discussions of the safety risks and costs associated with Maple bats.
Enter; a new wood bat king.
Birch bats have started to become very popular among amateur and semi professional hitters. While birch bats can flex, they are still hard like maple and have flexible wood fibers similar to ash. Birch bats have proven to last longer than maple, and usually still manage to stay in a single piece when broken.
Some hitters say Birch is like their hybrid baseball bat. The golf world has seen the boom of hybrid golf clubs for the past few years. Birch is hitting the baseball scene looking like the culprit behind what looks to be a similar pattern.
This past year major league baseball has issued new standards for bat manufacturers producing dense woods such as maple and birch. Some see this as a step towards banning the use of maple bats throughout professional baseball. While birch bats must adhere to the same new standards that maple bats do, many baseball officials still consider Birch a safe and productive replacement for maple. Birch bats have also had a noticeably easier time adjusting to the new standards. Only time will tell what wood will come out on top, but like the history of the game has shown; a change is always right around third base.