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What’s Up WPW?

Just wanted to say hi since I’m the new guy, and hit you up with a quick little post since we had a morning game today and I’ve got the whole afternoon to kick it at home.  I’m Maxx Tissenbaum, I’m now a catcher with the Tampa Bay Rays Class A Florida State League affiliate the Charlotte Stone Crabs.  I was originally drafted by the Padres and spent two seasons with them before being traded over the off season…I’ve loved this site since my college ball days when I was at Stony Brook in New York, I always thought it was cool to get an inside look at what guys have cool gear in pro ball…So now I get to bring that to you, with a side order of some Tampa Bay Rays minor league rules which I’ll lay out here first so you’re not disappointed over the season

  1. We all have to wear our pants up, its not a choice…Until we make our Big League debut it’s high socks, which eliminates a LOT of cleat options since high tops and high socks is sort of iffy at best
  2. We have to wear black and white cleats, no colors…Even our shoe laces have to be black, so no crazy custom colorways like you see some of the Big League dudes wearing
Our locker room bat rack in the catchers room

Our  bat rack in the one of the four MiLB locker rooms at Spring Training

So, here goes…I was sitting at my locker one of the last days of Spring Training and I happened to be right across from one of the bat racks and I sort of half paying attention took a picture of it thinking it looked kind of cool with all the bats.  I didn’t really go back until a couple days later to sort of check in and see who’s swinging what, but I’ve got kind of a rough list of some guys from my Spring Training room and now the Stone Crabs lineup.

There’s a TON of dudes swinging Chandler Bats

Tommy Coyle, Pat Leonard, Josh Sale, Marty Gantt who normally hit 3-6 in our lineup all swing em, as well as Kean Wong, Colton Wong’s younger brother.  Kean swings a custom cut model made for his brother, but they each have his own signature on the barrel.

Tommy, Pat, Josh and Marty all swing standard models, 271/243/271/243 (in order by name).

I think the next most popular is Louisville Slugger, which is pretty much a pro ball standard given that each team gets hundreds of ash bats from them every year and each guy gets those for free…Kes Carter, a first round pick out of Western Kentucky swings an S318 in all black maple and has been absolutely ON FIRE lately.

I’m swinging Zingers this year, a 374 model which is similar in a lot of ways to the S318, but with a different handle and knob. I ordered my box split, 6 maple and 6 ash to try the different wood out…Maples are all natural handle with a mahogany barrel and the ash bats are flat black handle with flame tempered barrels (a SICK color combo) with my personal “model number” 416 on them…416 is my area code back home in Toronto so I figured it would be a solid model number for me

I’ll have a review of the Mine Bats that Dan wrote about also as I get to bust one out the next few days on the road, so stay tuned for that and more!

 

First Impressions of European Beech from MINE Wood Bats, the Italian Import

Prince Fielder swinging Mine European Beech Bats

Prince Fielder has swung the Mine Roma and Taormina European Beech Bats in 2014. via @minebats

BY DANIEL KLEIN

This week I had the chance to try out a bat from a new and innovative MLB-approved lumber company, MINE Bats. Ever since WPW posted our report on Maple vs. Birch vs. Ash, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of using Beech, which is said to be a denser wood than maple and flex as much or more than ash.

According to MINE Bats, Beech is…

“…denser and more elastic than other species commonly used to make bats, European Beech Wood is the perfect choice for engineering a premium wood bat. You will feel the beech wood difference when you make your first contact.”

When using the Como model from MINE I could feel the flex, but it was not overwhelming. I will say to not judge the bat based on hitting off the tee or front toss. It’s tough to get the full effect unless using the bat in BP or in the game. The ball jumps off the bat and has a similar feel to maple. The finish of the bat is slightly different, though. They use a finish that is used on high-end rifle stocks and has a smooth, soft feel to it. I’m looking forward to trying the bat some more, but after using it for a few rounds I am very impressed by the quality of the European Beech wood from MINE.

You can get your hands on European Beech from MINE here, and in case you were on the fence, MINE is offering a 10% discount to WPW readers—just use discount code WPW10 at checkout.  You can also connect with MINE on Twitter, too.

Curtis Granderson has a Crystal Clear Message for Jackie Robinson Written on his New Balance Cleats

Curtis Granderson is as classy as it gets in the Big Leagues.  He’s a tremendous leader on the field as well as off it, with a commitment to his community that many athletes feign, but few actually live by.  Granderson has always shown appreciation for Jackie Robinson and what he stands for, and this year Grandy wanted to show his graciousness loud and clear with his New Balance 4040v2s.

Curtis Granderson's Jackie Robinson Day New Balance 4040v2 Cleats

Where some guys use it as an excuse to add more flash, Granderson will take the field in Phoenix tonight with a relatively understated 4040v2 with a simple message: “Thank You Jackie.”

3 Curtis Granderson's Jackie Robinson Day New Balance 4040v2 Cleats