A Quick Note on the Trademark, Ink-dot, and Swing Orientation
The ink-dot and trademark placement on all Meridian bats have a very specific purpose, with each very deliberately located. While some of our competitors muddle the message of what should be where, and why, we wanted to make sure this is crystal clear for our customers.
So let’s start with our bats. We use only hand-split maple, which helps ensure incredibly straight grain versus competitors who use sawn lumber. You can see this in the ink-dot on all of our bats (you can read more about the ink-dot here). Indeed, Major League Baseball mandates that all maple bats receive the ink-dot test to ensure straight grain which helps lower the possibility of dangerous two-piece bat breaks. We follow all MLB structural regulations on every single bat we make, so suffice it to say that you know you are getting pro-grade wood with Meridian, every time.
The ink-dot, for maple, is always located on the face grain. The face grain is the wider grain structure you see on your bat, the edge grain is the tightly structured grains that look as though they are stacked on top of one another. And just to reiterate, make sure you see that your ink-dot bleeds north-south with the bat – an angled ink-dot indicates crooked grain, which you want to avoid.
The trademark, on maple, should be located on the edge grain, and thus you should strike the ball opposite the trademark, on the face grain. The old adage that you should avoid striking the ball with the trademark remains true today – whether you use ash, maple, or birch – and your bat provider should already make your bats with the trademark oriented to accommodate this rule-of-thumb.
That being said, it’s a bit more complicated. For years, the trademark was placed on the face grain as it was thought that the edge grain was the strongest regardless of wood species. This makes intuitive sense, right? The edge grain is where the tighter grain structure is so it should follow that it is harder. Today, however, after a multitude of studies and exhaustive research, it has been shown that maple is strongest on the face grain. As such, the trademark on all maple bats is to be located on the edge grain, not the face grain as was traditionally the case. This way, you should be striking the ball on the face grain, where maple is at its strongest. For what it’s worth, the trademark on ash continues to be located on the face grain, meaning with ash you should strike the ball on the edge grain where that species is strongest.
All this aside, your bats should always come with the trademark appropriately located so you can swing away – whether it is ash or maple. For Meridian, as we only offer split-maple, know that your trademark is always located on the edge grain, and your ink-dot on the face grain. In other words, with Meridian, you should be swinging with the trademark either up facing you, or down facing the ground. Conversely, the ink-dot should be oriented toward the pitcher, or the catcher.
One Final Note
While there is certainly a lot of science behind this, it is important to know that you’re still swinging a product made from an organic material; no two trees or pieces of lumber are exactly the same. So with that being said, it is entirely possible for one to hit with the edge grain on maple a thousand times without ever having a problem, and have a break the first time using the face grain (Delmon Young probably strikes the ball with a different part of the bat every swing the way he spins his bat before his ABs). But generally speaking, you’re best using the face grain side to make contact when using maple, and the edge grain when using ash, where research has shown each species to be at its strongest.
Thanks for taking a look! As always, shoot us an email if you have any questions!