Finding yet another relatively unknown tour option in Central Ohio, we spent an hour visiting the Phoenix Bats in an industrial park in Plain City. Located northwest of Columbus, Ohio, Phoenix Bats has been in business for 20 years. It turns out if you have enough money to buy a high end lathe, the skill to choose the correct wood, marketing to convince up and coming players to sign on to use them, you too can become a Major League Baseball bat maker.
In the classic case of starting out in a garage the founder did exactly that, making bats for friends. They have been approved for use in the majors since 2000.
Arriving in the small light industrial park and parking outside, you arrive in a small showroom that was packed with a number of little league players and their parents and siblings the day we were there.
The tour starts in the office area where the tech showed us how he designs the bats using a CAD system. From there we proceeded out to the area around the lathe, which takes a ‘blank’ and cuts it down to the correct bat in 60 seconds, making a couple of passes. From there it is sent to the finishing area where the varnish and/or paint is applied.
It is great that a small niche company can make it in a business against the big guys, but also in that it is a long fly ball from home. Having always enjoyed baseball, and the smell of fresh cut wood, this place gives you both making it a great stop.