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I had no idea dudes swung the bat with the knob in the palm of their hands

May 24, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

yoenis cespedes getty wid Getty Images

From Oakland, we learn that Yoenis Cespedes is trying out a new grip when he returns:

Céspedes said Wednesday morning that he no longer will grip the bat with the knob nestled in the palm of his hand. There is thought that holding the knob in the palm might have contributed to the strained hand muscle that put him on the DL this month.

Through interpreter Ariel Prieto, Céspedes said he does not know if gripping the bat that way caused his injury. He always has held the bat with the knob in his palm.

And apparently Pablo Sandoval did too, which some believe is what has contributed to his injuries.

I just find it really weird that anyone swings the bat like that.  Seriously, if you have a wooden bat around, try it. It hurts! And I presume people like you and me generate one eight billionth of the force and speed with our swings that a major leaguer can. The palm has to hurt, as does the top wrist, which is taking more of the brunt of things.

Oh well. Learn something new about this game every day.

  1. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 24, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Perhaps they should stop it. My fantasy team needs them both back soon.

  2. beanz33 - May 24, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Abreu has his hand off the end of the bat and overlaps his fingers like a golf grip. I think you get more cast or backspin on the ball.

    • The Baseball Idiot - May 24, 2012 at 11:42 AM

      Backspin would cause the ball to carry back towards the infield on either a flyball or groundball. Players want topspin so that the ball carries away from the infield when it bounces.

      • pkers - May 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM

        Backspin on a flyball would cause it to have more lift, and therefore carry further (farther?) in distance. If you play tennis, you’ll notice that slicing or undercutting the ball, giving it backspin, causes it to carry to the baseline, while giving the ball topsin causes it to dive down quicker. Yes, once the ball hits the ground, the backspin will make the ball “die” topspin will make it scoot, but in the air, it’s different.

      • marshmallowsnake - May 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM

        Proving that you chose a great handle Baseball Idiot.

      • The Baseball Idiot - May 24, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        Shit, I screwed this one up. I was completely wrong. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking, because I should defintely know better. So go ahead and give me your best shot guys. I deserve it.

        I would just like to add, however, than even Jesus didn’t go 12 for 12 in picking his disciples.

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - May 24, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    You can read that entire snippet and not be aware that they’re talking about a baseball bat.

  4. steviep23 - May 24, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    I’ve seen a lot of hitters put the bottom half of their hand over the knob. I doubt he was actually clinching the knob full palm.

  5. florida76 - May 24, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Yes, this unusual method of gripping the bat has been going on for decades. It’s the type of nuance about the game which doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but helps to understand the game.

  6. riverace19 - May 24, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Moises Alou. No gloves either.

    • koufaxmitzvah - May 24, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      No need for gloves when urine will do.

  7. drmonkeyarmy - May 24, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    I’ll never understand the compulsion to do so either. I mean, why swing your bat with the knob in your palm? I mean, this guys are professional ball players….I’m sure there are a bunch of women hanging out around the hotel .

    • drmonkeyarmy - May 24, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      What the hell is that? Why did my phrase “the hotel” come up underlined in blue on my screen? I clicked on it and it linked to advertisements. Anybody else have this issue or did somebody do something, somewhere on my laptop?

      • The Baseball Idiot - May 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM

        The idea behind it is to ‘lengthen’ the bat. It gives a couple of extra inches to help cover the outside, while still lettting the player set up far enough off the plate to still extend on an inside pitch.

      • drmonkeyarmy - May 24, 2012 at 11:47 AM

        I’m not sure you were trying to reply to me or not….but, I was making a “johnson” reference. Not anything baseball related at all.

      • mississippimusicman - May 24, 2012 at 11:56 AM

        Possible virus. Some of the less destructive, but more annoying, viruses these days just modify your web pages to generate ad revenue for whoever wrote them. I had one last year that replaced every Google ad with an ad for a mail-order pharmacy.

      • jwbiii - May 24, 2012 at 1:13 PM

        I had one a few years ago that replaced Google banner ads with ads for a “male enhancement product.” The look on that young lady’s face was priceless.

    • purnellmeagrejr - May 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      perhaps they’re employing a new filter that highlights obvious non sequiturs.

    • chadjones27 - May 24, 2012 at 11:49 AM

      It’s a personal preference. And it’s also based in science. By gripping the knob of the bat, you can generate a greater angular momentum, meaning more force when contacting the ball. It requires greater strength though. Similar, but opposite, to people choking up on the bat. Watch the at-bats from now on. A lot of the bigger guys gripping the knob, or at least have a pinky wrapped around it.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        Apologies for making the assumption, but I assume you are a guy. Think back to when you were 15, then reread his comment.

        You’re welcome.

    • Utley's Hair - May 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      Maybe self-knob palming is a better option than the “ladies” hanging out in the lobby.

  8. juicejuicer - May 24, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    A large number of players do that. Pros and amateurs. I swing the bat like that for baseball. For softball I also interlock my index fingers like I do a golf club. I find that gripping the knob gives my bottom wrist more range of motion. Allows me to get the bat around more quickly.

  9. rastaraider - May 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Wow obviously ur stupid and don’t know anything about baseball

  10. hpt150 - May 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Backspin is what causes the ball to carry and leave the yard. As for holding the knob of the bat in your hand, it gives you additional leverage and bat speed. (How has the author never seen this/tried it himself at some point?)

    • hpt150 - May 24, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      Ah yes, thumbs down for physics. Well done.

      • clydeserra - May 24, 2012 at 4:08 PM

        I think the thumbs down are for the parenthetical

  11. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - May 24, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Oh well. Learn something new about this game every day.

    This isn’t totally accurate. There was one day — September 12, 1988 — on which I did not learn a new thing about this game.

  12. cur68 - May 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    I’ve heard tell that some old school guys just sawed the knob right off the bat: not shortening it, but smoothing out the knob. Kelly Gruber used to do it when he played for the Beaver Men in ’93. Of course he was notorious for losing the bat on a swing and miss, too. As far as I’m aware, the “knob-in-palm” method is common.

  13. APBA Guy - May 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Based on the A’s standing as the # 28 offense in MLB, they need Cespedes back as well as getting whatever Manny has left in the tank. The higher angular momentum thing on a swing with knob-in-palm is correct from a physics perspective, but by the time guys reach the majors, there are also the habit and comfort level considerations that any change would engender. So while it may seem like a small thing, when you are facing 95 mph or sharp breaking stuff (think King Felix) you can’t be at the plate with a “my hands feel weird” thought in your head. Cespedes will either have to work on the change while on the DL or break it in gradually.

  14. hiltonandastoria - May 24, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    I must say Im shocked Craig.
    You never mimicked hitters with a baseball bat as a kid?
    I mean Mark McGwire kept his pinky under the knob of the bat for years with the A’s
    As a kid, it was damn hard to do with small hands

    • hiltonandastoria - May 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      Pinky, below knob

  15. joewilliesshnoz - May 24, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Freddie Patek couldn’t have used that grip .

  16. hushbrother - May 24, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Julio Franco gripped the knob of his bat with his middle and index fingers. And he did it til he was like 50! Bet his hand looks all gnarled and disfigured.

  17. odj810 - May 24, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    I have the exact same grip. Oh wait wiffleball doesn’t count? its like the same thing right?

  18. koufaxmitzvah - May 24, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Just got done with a Roberto Clemente biography. It mentioned he used a knobless bat.

  19. gosport474 - May 24, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Maybe he should start swing the axe.

  20. bobulated - May 24, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    I started using this grip in college ball as taught to me by my coach and then throughout MSBL/MABL. Not only does it give you a little more reach but it also allows a looser grip to free up the swing; the tighter a bat is held the less power comes through the wrists and forearms and the swing then has to become longer to compensate.

  21. Jack Marshall - May 24, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Babe Ruth, according to at least one source I read, swung his bat with the knob in his hand.

  22. Walk - May 24, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Watch chipper too craig it looks like he grips the bat low on the end as well. He bruised his hand a few years ago and missed a game or two from doing it i believe.

  23. vanrossum1 - May 24, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    As I’ve said before, I don’t think Craig has ever played baseball.

  24. denny65 - May 25, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    I think it’s time to bring back the bottle bat, a la Heinie Groh.

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