Jon Shepherd: What led you to becoming a professional bat maker? What is the proper name for someone who makes bats?
JS: Interesting. By the way, what is the proper term for someone who makes bats? I'd hate to get this wrong.
AD: I have no idea what the proper term would be for a people who make bats, but I truly believe it is an art. Most people don't understand the craftsmanship that goes into producing a bat for someone. When people come visit our shop and watch us they really appreciate it afterwards.
JS: I have noticed that several players in the Orioles organization use bats you make. How have you been able to take a small business and rapidly make such gains in the market?
AD: It took a few things to really take our small business and make us grow this rapidly. First, the product itself has been amazing. We are extremely confident in the wood and the craftsmanship, and truly believe we make the best bats on the market. Not only the product, but it takes being approved for use in the major and minor leagues and also the relationships we have developed. Once we became approved, myself and our VP of Operations, Jared Smith, traveled down to spring training and went camp to camp to develop the relationships we have established today. Finally, it also takes flat out luck.
We got in touch with Nick Markakis through luck. Billy Rowell, one of our clients on the Bowie Baysox, ordered bats a few days before Bowie was in Harrisburg to play the Senators. When Richie delivered the bats, he brought a few extras and happened to run into Jeff Fiorentino who tried our bats and loved them. Jeff raved about our product, ordered from us, and then offered to contact his close friend Nick for us. Once we got bats to Nick, he was very happy with them also and has continued to work with us to this day. So as you can see, it definitely takes a great deal of skill and hard work, but it takes some luck also.
JS: Which players in the Orioles organization use your bats?
AD: We have bats in the hands of Nick Markakis, Jake Fox, Brandon Snyder, Robert Andino, Billy Rowell, Joe Mahoney, as well as a few others. I also have several other minor league players who have reached out to me to try our product as they have seen it at several levels.
AD: Our plans for the future have changed quite a bit over the past year because of how quickly we have grown. Right now I would say our plans for the future are to continue to build the clientele in the major and minor leagues through showing the great quality of our product and ability to give the client exactly what they are looking for. I think in turn, we will expand our amateur market drastically by showing the drastic rise in popularity of our product in the pro market. Again, we have grown so much so quickly, that our plans can change quickly, but ultimately we definitely want to make sure we entrench ourselves in the pro market.
In part II (which will be posted on Thursday), Allan and I discuss focus more on how bats are made. This will include some information on what players ask for when ordering a bat and even a little bit on issues with bats breaking into splinters.