The College Baseball Blog is committed to our readers by evaluating the latest Baseball technology. This continued last week as I was invited by Reebok to head down to their headquarters on Thursday to see the new Vector O-Bat that will be coming out in the beginning of November. This event was by invitation only for certain media across the country and the people at Reebok were nice enough to include us in the event.
We showed up at Reebok World Headquarters in Canton Massachusetts where we were greeted by the Corporate Communication Manager Daniel Sarro. He brought me down to the baseball department to see a presentation from Product Development Director John Loiars who developed the bat using his experiance in the industry. We also had a chance to talk with Chris Waldeck about his marketing plan for the next season.
The presentation on the bat was very interesting as the bat is the first in the industry to use three holes in the handle of the bat to help increase the bat speed thus making the ball go farther. Yes, you did read that
correctly, the bat has HOLES in it. (Check the picture on the right side) John Loiars stated “The holes in the bat actually make it stronger.” I really didn’t believe this to be true but I was convinced about this later in the day. The handle of the bat and the barrel is connected with some epoxy and an interlocking threaded system. I am no expert in the bat industry but the guys at Reebok consider this type of bond the strongest in the industry. They also tested the bat on how aerodynamic it is when compared to other bats in the industry and the results really stood out. It is substantially more aerodynamic then other bats in the industry as you can see in the graphic below.
We then headed over to the testing center on the Reebok campus. They went through how the NCAA certifies bats which Reebok actually has a machine which simulates the test. The test consists of shooting a baseball through an air cannon at 136 MPH at a stationary bat and measuring the exit speed. They do this in a controlled environment with the temperature of the facility at a standard rate and the balls must be kept at that same temperature to keep consistency.
The final part of the day was when they asked if I would be interested in going into their batting cage to test out the bat. After some brief encouragement, I was handed a brand new Vector O-Bat and got in the cage. They put the machine on a very slow 65 MPH which was plenty fast enough for a guy that hasn’t played organized baseball since his Little League days. Once I got down the timing we ended up bringing it up to 75 MPH. I was able to get into some pitches including hitting some of the balls in the sweet spot on the bat. The ones I hit in the sweet spot seemed to fly off the bat with major power. I am 5 foot 6 inches weighing in at 150 pounds so when I got into a few of these balls, I was totally shocked and impressed at the same time. My biggest impression of the bat was the lack of vibration running through my hands which I got from many other bats during my younger days. I even drilled a pitch off one of the holes on the bat and it didn’t seemed like I was jammed as bad as I was during my younger days.
They have done an outstanding job testing out these bats at some great youth tournaments this summer. They put out 200 bats at a test market and received zero defective bats when they got them back. This is a high quality bat for some serious baseball player. This bat is the first major step in the Baseball industry in the product development line and I think that this would be an excellent bat for any Collegiate or serious High School player in the country.
The bat is expected to be in stores at the beginning of November but Reebok has already secured many major universities with bat contracts. The biggest name school using the bat during their fall workouts is South Alabama out of the Sun Belt conference. The guys at Reebok brought the bat down there and the players fell in love with the bat. If your team is interested in getting this bat for fall workouts feel free to shoot me an email and I can put you in touch with someone at Reebok.
My staff is always willing to check out the latest technology coming into the baseball industry so if you have something that you would like for us to check out feel free to email me and we might be able to get one of my fine readers to your facility.