McCann follows Chipper’s lead, switches to ash bat

For his first 10 ½ seasons in professional baseball, Brian McCann had sworn by maple bats. But something changed after he felt a little uncomfortable at the plate one night last week against the Giants and he picked up an ash bat, like the one Chipper Jones swears by.

The result was a game-tying two-run home run to the opposite field off Santiago Casilla. McCann was convinced.

“I’ll never go back,” he said.

He gave Jones an affable shove on his way into the dugout that night, acknowledging that Jones had been trying for years to get him to swing ash. McCann went on to hit three more home runs in his next seven games entering Saturday’s game against the Phillies.

“He’d been using maple for a long time and hasn’t been able to hit the ball out of the ballpark to left field and center field,” Jones said. “Now all of a sudden he’s doing it, since he made the switch. I’m sorry; I don’t think that’s a coincidence.”

Maple is a denser wood with a harder surface than ash. Ash is more porous, but Jones points out that it allows grooves to form in the wood after repeated compression, unlike maple which stays smooth. Jones compared it to a driver in golf, which has grooves to create better backspin.

“If you were to hit a golf ball with a driver that had no grooves on it, you wouldn’t hit it as far,” said Jones, whose game bat has grooves through the sweet spot that are obvious to the touch. “That’s why the faces of clubs have grooves on them, so it creates backspin. You have an opportunity with ash to be able to let those grooves work for you.”

25 comments Add your comment

VP

July 28th, 2012
8:13 pm

What ever works for you B-Mac. Just keep thinking every opponent is the Phillies and keep hit HR’s every time out.

bruce

July 28th, 2012
8:14 pm

Kick ash Mac!

VP

July 28th, 2012
8:16 pm

How can Chipper not be the hitting coach for this bunch? I hope he takes a year off and then settles into a coaching position.

bruce

July 28th, 2012
8:16 pm

so do they hit the ash bats with a hammer to “pre-groove” the bat?

Tampa Gator

July 28th, 2012
8:27 pm

Chipper has a nice ash!……..bat!

BravesfaninWis

July 28th, 2012
8:27 pm

Did I hear Tom Glavine correctly? Did he say that with the signing of Miguel Bautista that it diminishes the Braves chances of trading for a starting pitcher? I am trying recently to keep the optimism about this team, but if they are really counting on this scab Bautista to be the answer to the problems of this staff and don’t trade for a good pitcher, then they deserve to lose and not make the playoffs. They have enough problems of their own, why bring in a guy like Bautista who is a castoff to add to those problems?

Besides, I thought they already went down this road with Livan Hernandez? How did that work out again? Bautista is nothing more than another Hernandez. When it comes down to it, I just think the Braves are to damn cheap to get the help that they truly need. It’s a shame to, this team has the talent to do good things.

BravesfaninWis

July 28th, 2012
8:31 pm

Other than giving up another homerun, you are looking good Minor. Keep it up.

BravesfaninWis

July 28th, 2012
9:00 pm

Awesome outing Minor, keep it going next time. We need some consistency from this staff this second half.

jbird

July 28th, 2012
9:13 pm

Actually a driver without grooves goes farther than one with grooves….nobody has made drivers with grooves in years. Maybe Chipper needs new set of clubs as a retirement gift.

BravesfaninWis

July 28th, 2012
9:27 pm

Awesome. I love it when Chase Utley gets shown up. Can’t touch Kimbrel’s heat Chase, go home.

Slips

July 28th, 2012
9:30 pm

@bravesfan, glavine said the signing of Bautista makes moving Meds to the rotation make sense, as our bullpen would get deeper. And between Jurrjens and Bautista, I’m sure one of them can figure out how to pitch in a blowout when we don’t need to use our key arms. And B-Mac looks like he could hit with a toothpick right now…really locked in.

Carl Farvman

July 28th, 2012
9:49 pm

We should trade Mac, Chipper, and Heyward prior to he deadline.

jojo

July 28th, 2012
9:54 pm

oh yeah Chipper for hitting coach. and he DOES have a nice ash!

Road Dawg

July 28th, 2012
10:46 pm

Drivers don’t have grooves anymore b/c of advances in golf ball technology that make them fly straighter, so you no longer need the grooves to correct sidespin. In order to drive a baseball you need to hit ‘down’ on it to impart backspin and create lift. It’s why Jose Bautista all of a sudden went from being a good doubles hitter to the best power hitter in the MLB. He finally got a coach that got him to spin the ball. Until his wrist fell off…that is.

ColoradoBravesFan

July 28th, 2012
11:53 pm

Don’t know what you guys are talking about…I just looked at all the new drivers online and they all have some grooves. The grooves are small and not connected across the entire face.. but the new drivers have grooves.

IdahoBravesFan

July 29th, 2012
1:52 am

Maybe McCann can teach Uggla to kick some ash!!!

MikeY

July 29th, 2012
8:30 am

Amen Idaho, maybe Uggla needs to switch from his bat made of Swiss Cheese (with all the holes in it) to an ash bat.

jt

July 29th, 2012
12:21 pm

Uggla couldn’t hit his ash with a bat!!!

jt

July 29th, 2012
12:22 pm

Someone needs to kick Uggla’s ash! Ok enough!!!!

mossy

July 29th, 2012
12:26 pm

I think the Phillies just thought it was because Mac just wears them out!! Or a good Ash swing!!

MJ

July 29th, 2012
12:28 pm

Nice article. Another example of how much knowledge Chipper has, and how he can help other players. I was in the stands Friday night and just enjoyed seeing him at 3rd. My family and I have watched his entire career – its been pretty cool to watch a “first ballot” Hall of Famer play every year. Atlanta won’t see another Chipper, just as we won’t see another Hank Aaron. Every time #10 comes to the plate there still is an expectation that he is going to do something special. I’m glad the bashers are leaving him alone. He deserves nothing but positive comments and support for the balance of the season. #10 is going to be missed – every true Braves fan needs to appreciate his play in the field and each at bat.

Ralph

July 29th, 2012
12:49 pm

MikeY
July 29th, 2012
8:30 am

Amen Idaho, maybe Uggla needs to switch from his bat made of Swiss Cheese (with all the holes in it) to an ash bat.

Post of the Month!

IlliniBrave

July 29th, 2012
2:10 pm

Today’s drivers are engineered so as NOT to impart as much backspin as in decades past. Less backspin = longer distance. Irons, on the other hand, have grooves so as to create loft and minimize forward roll.

So Chipper just needed to be saying “five iron” instead of “driver” and the analogy would have worked.

Lee

July 30th, 2012
10:24 am

Ash bats don’t break as bad as maple, too!!!

[...] hit five home runs in his last 10 starts dating back to July 18 against the Giants, the night he switched to an ash bat. He finished July with a .296 batting average, nine home runs and 21 RBIs. This is after he [...]

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