Corked Bat Makes Baseball Fly Farther

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Baseball Myths"
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: When you hear "cork" and "bat" in the same sentence, there's probably one guy who comes to mind. In 2003, the Chicago Cubs' star slugger, Sammy Sosa, swung for the rafters and cracked his bat wide open, revealing an embarrassing inner core of spongy cork. And he wasn't the first — professional ballplayers have been caught with tampered bats since the 1970s.

So does cork equal clout? Drilling out a bat's inner core and replacing it with cork is thought to have a trampoline-like effect, making it hit a baseball faster and farther. But the MythBusters discovered that while a corked bat does have less weight, as a result it also transfers less force when it hits a baseball. Plus, the cork absorbs some of the impact, sending the ball off more slowly.

This means that if you hit an 80-mph pitch, the ball will fly off at about half that speed and travel a shorter distance than it would if hit by a solid wood bat. Basically a corked bat, compared with a regulation bat, is more like a sponge than a spring.

The result? This myth gets tossed out of the park.

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