During this Father's Day weekend, there will be lots of us looking to celebrate Father's Day by getting outside, throwing a ball around and perhaps batting a few innings with good ol' Dad...
Armando Galarraga’s perfect game...
Ever wondered where that bat Dad got you for your last birthday came from? Or maybe, now that it' Father's Day, that new bat you're going to get HIM - one that's fun and eco-friendly...?!
...9 out of 10 wooden bats are made from the wood of the White Ash, a tree that can grow 80 feet tall with a trunk 2 feet across. The remaining bats most likely come from Sugar Maple trees.
From Seedling to Stadium
Jack Norton knows a lot about baseball bats. His company supplies the wood that will become a Louisville Slugger, a very famous brand of bat that has been around almost as long as baseball itself.
His company owns and protects 10,000 acres of timberland in New York and Pennsylvania, in a region called the "ash belt." Most of the world's baseball bats come from this one spot!
He says that the first - and maybe most important step - in making baseball bats is taking care of the trees they come from.
9 out of 10 wooden bats are made from White Ash.
A White Ash tree will grow for at least 75 years before being cut down to make baseball bats. About 40 bats will be made from an average tree.
To ensure a good and lasting supply, the trees are carefully managed. They are only cut down in ways that don't harm the environment and which allow new White Ash trees to grow and replace the old ones. This is called sustainable harvesting, which simply means doing things in a way to make sure there will always be White Ash trees in the future.
Cut and Dried After the trees are logged, they are split into pieces of wood around 40 inches long and 3 inches across. That's just a little bit bigger than a bat, but this wood isn't ready to become a bat just yet!
The longest part of making a bat is the drying, or curing, of the wood, which can take several months. Wood contains a lot of moisture, and before bats can be made from it, the wood needs to slowly dry the right amount.
Wood for baseball bats used to be dried in a kiln, which is like a big oven. This required a lot of energy and would make a lot of smoke. Instead, the wood today is dried in climate controlled chambers that use fresh air and very little energy.
These billets soon will become baseball bats.
Wishing All Dads a Happy Eco Father's Day!