60-Second Science

Shock Absorber Dampens Baseball Bat Stings

A shock absorber in a baseball bat's knob tuned to cancel out certain vibration frequencies can reduce the painful sting that comes when the ball makes contact away from the "sweet spot." Gretchen Cuda Kroen reports

When Pablo “Panda” Sandoval made history with three home runs in game one of the World Series, his head was probably buzzing. But when batters in chilly Detroit hit the ball not quite right the next couple of nights, it’ll be their hands that are buzzing.

Those hurting hands are caused by vibrations in the bat after it makes contact with the ball. And when captured on high speed video, they can actually see the player’s hands losing contact with the bat as it bends back and forth at a speed of 600-to-700 times a second. Ouch!

But Penn State’s Daniel Russell has a solution: a shock absorber in the bat’s knob that is tuned to cancel out the vibration frequencies that cause the most painful stings. He presented an analysis of this new shock absorber on October 22nd at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. [Daniel A. Russell, Vibration damping mechanisms for the reduction of sting in baseball bats]

And thanks to a collaboration with baseball bat maker Marucci Sports, even if you can’t hit the ball on the sweet spot like the Panda, your hands may remain unstung.

—Gretchen Cuda Kroen

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]


Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Give a Gift &
Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription
as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now! >


Email this Article