Baseball announcers struggle to keep the narrative fresh, so that today’s game doesn’t sound exactly like last week’s. They have developed an arsenal of different ways of saying the same thing. When a hitter smacks one “in off the trademark,” it means he has managed to hit a pitch close to his chest, and frustrated the pitcher again. Any phrase with “the trademark” in it will resonate with anyone who played the game as a kid. Close-in hits are also called sawed-off, swarm-of-bees, and dozens of other things. Modern bats, by the way, have thin handles (some players even shave them further) to concentrate the weight in the barrel, and when they break, it’s usually below the fat part.
Bat makers, cooperating with Major League Baseball, are collecting all broken bats this year to find the causes of breaks. There’s a slew of new batmakers in recent years, some of them using maple instead of ash, Nonetheless, broken bats’ numbers continue to rise.
Top hitters order bats by the dozens, and they weigh them to cull the off-weight ones. They also select favorites according to closeness of grain and indefinable stuff. The rejects are sent to the minor leagues and charities.