Nobody’s Asked Me What I Want For My Birthday… And A New Website Feature


…but this is probably it.

It occurs to me that somehow I’ve gotten through about five hundred posts on this site without really explaining the whole squid/Squidco/Calamarco/Kraken pseudo-mythology surrounding my life. I’ll get right on that for the none of you who care.

In the meantime, let’s try out the newest feature on this amazing website: polling!

About halfway down the right side of the page you’ll see that we have a test poll, asking you to choose my next softball bat. No, I’m not currently playing in a league, although I might play co-rec next year because hey, I’m not busy enough as it is. I thought about testing the polling system with a sure-fire response-getter like:

Black Lives: Do They Really Matter Like The Hashtag Says?

Mustang Or Camaro?

Should Hatred Be Directed At The Game Itself, Or The Player Of That Game?

but it seemed safer to start with a decision of little consequence. So. Which bat to buy: We have a few contenders:

The DeMarini Kraken: This is a new carbon-fiber limited-edition bat made in America, featuring a Kraken. Pros: features Kraken. Cons: $299, must be rotated between hits, may not be used for batting practice.


The Miken Freak 52: No longer in production and hard to find, but it’s built to the old specs of the ASA instead of the new USSSA specs, meaning it hits harder and farther. Made in the USA. Pros: lime green, cheater bat. Cons: might not be allowed to use it in games, expensive it I can find it.


Carl Rose Powercell: My existing softball bat is an old Worth Carl Rose, like the black-and-red one fourth from the top in the above photo. These bats are apparently legendary as “the hottest single-wall bats of 1994” or something like that. I bought it because somehow my Easton Ultra Lite disappeared when I moved back home from university. Wish I knew where that Ultra Lite was. The Carl Rose is very old and tired. Pros: already paid for it, back in what we’ll call the Bill Clinton Administration. No actual reason to replace it. Cons: not lime green, no carbon fiber content, features absolutely no line drawings of the mighty Kraken

Alright, would-be participants in this democratic process, for what are you waiting? Get the you-know-what out of your throat and go vote!

15 Replies to “Nobody’s Asked Me What I Want For My Birthday… And A New Website Feature”

  1. AvatarVolandoBajo

    I went with the DeMarini bat with the Kraken.

    Reasons: It’s lime green, a color you obviously like, and which I second.It has a Kraken on it, which will give you a psychological boost, adding to your performance. Your existing bat is sort of like saying “my life is so great and every day is a gift, so I don’t need no stinking birthday present” which may be true, but is also more like sour grapes if you don’t actually get the present you want. And the cheater bat with the older spec, which may be ruled illegal could end up being ruled illegal right at the crucial point of a crucial game, causing you to be the one who let down the side. This isn’t the racing association that runs Laguna Seca that you’re dealing with, where everyone kind of looks the other way in order to let people test out new equipment. I may have that reference confused with another one I read here somewhere, about where everyone knew the winner was running 1.5 liters in a 1.3 liter class, but you get the idea.

    The DeMarini Kraken is what you deserve…you work hard, you play hard, it might be a bit more coin than the other options, but you can afford it, and you will enjoy it.

    Remember the old chestnut about why it is better to spend a bit more for quality — long after the difference in price is forgotten, the difference in quality will still be obvious.

    I’m an old geezer at this point in my life, and while my life is not difficult, neither is it full of excess cash just laying around, so I doubt that I would send you enough on PayPal to make it worth the hassle of setting it up, though I suspect others very well might. But I do sincerely wish you a Happy Birthday, and hope that it is a day filled with good things and good friends. And maybe even a little birthday sugar from someone you have been lusting after. Like the bat, you might as well go for the gusto. And just for good measure, the same birthday wish in Spanish: Buena Navidad.

    Ignore the wishes of the masses, that is not who you are. Just go with your heart, and your heart is clearly with the Kraken bat. And be sure to post some adventures with it after you get it.

  2. AvatarVolandoBajo

    PS If you have enough time to play softball on top of all the other things you do, you have enough time to at least give us a short summary of the Kraken thing as it relates to your life.

    So let us have a look at it. And anyway, your count about how many people who want to hear it, exactly none, is incorrect, so you might as well get on it soon.

  3. Avatar-Nate


    Me , I keep an old wooden baseball bat around for , uh , ‘ security ‘ reasons as I was never worth spit on the field .


  4. Avatarjstyer

    Fuck the Kraken… Whip out some lime green krylon and a sharpie and get your old bat looking fly.

    You’re going to feel a thousand times better womping them with the cheap one than losing with the pricey one.

    It’s just like tool bags who show up to their first track day in a 458 and get demolished by the geezer in the spec miata… Nothing makes me smile more.

    Here’s a head start for you:

    Gloss Citrus Green, Color code 53570
    Go get em tiger.

    • AvatarDomestic Hearse

      Beat me to it. Rattle can lime green. Download a Kraken illustration, size it, cut it out as a template. Paint it on your old bat.

  5. AvatarAcd

    Like many Americanes do at election time even though I don’t know a thing about the subject I’m voting on I went ahead and voted anyhow, casting my vote for the Miken Freak 52. I voted for the green one because it reminds me of Jack’s long gone S5.

  6. AvatarHarry

    Anything but the Kraken, unless you get the Kraken and another bat with exactly the same weight/balance and air resistance characteristics (a big deal for ultra light oversized bats imo) for BP, have to practice with what you play with.

  7. AvatarVolandoBajo

    Why the prohibition on batting practice, and the need to rotate between hits?

    What does that mean, you have to rotate the bat in your hands before you make contact a second time (as opposed to between hits, as in a stroke scored as a hit, I’d suppose). And how the hell would the bat know if it was rotated and why would it care?

    I like the idea of that bat, but actually never fully grokked the meaning and need of those highly restrictive constraints that you mention.

    Why can’t you just wail away in BP and when batting in a game? Or at worst, just keep turning the bat a bit in your hand every time you get a cut of the ball with the bat?

    Just wondering. Three hundred is a lot for a bat, but so is a quarter of a million for a car, yet if you can afford it, the purchase of the Huracán is also not only justifiable, but desirable. And the DeMarini Kraken bat seems a bit like the softball equivalent of the new Lambo…finicky, but a tool above and beyond all ordinary tools.

    But please do explain the supposed special handling restrictions. As well as your fixation on the idea of the Kraken/Squid concept in general.

    We know that there is a story in there…don’t just tease us with it. Let us in on the deal….we are your faithful followers, even above and beyond TTAC and/or R&T, so if any group deserves to have a chance to relate to these, would idiosyncracies be a good word?…we should be the ones given a chance to try to fathom them.

    Please let “the rest of the story” a la Paul Harvey, be told.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author


      The modern composite bats are designed to have a big “trampoline” effect. But this means that every time you hit a ball you are causing some wear/damage to the bat. The balls thrown by batting-practice machines, being significantly harder than regular balls, accelerate that wear. So in the same way that you can’t let a Formula One car idle for too long, you can’t use a composite softball bat for anything but hitting regulation softballs. The index/rotation business is to spread out the wear all the way around the bat so it doesn’t break prematurely. Crazy, huh?

  8. AvatarWill

    A wood bat. Shows off your power and that you’re not a sissy who likes hear a ping. A true MAN’s bat. Maple of course for that extra juice.

  9. AvatarVolandoBajo

    Nate: “I know bupkis about baseball.”

    But I know who’s on first…

    And Jack, thanks for the explanation. I figured it had to be something like that, and decided to get off my rear and google it, which the DeMarini site promptly explained.

    But to the person who said that the maple bat was more manly and could probably perform better, the first half is debatable, but I believe the whole reason for making such a finicky bat is to get measurably better performance.

    As to the maple being better, I think it is more like it is more traditional but less hi tech performance…and it is more like saying “Composite? We don’t need no steenking composite! We’re real hitters!”

    Or as Monty Python would have said “It’s a MAN’S life, with a maple bat.”

    • AvatarWill

      I didn’t say it would perform better (the whole thing more tongue-in-cheek suggestion), just that it’d be better because it’s softball which is lame in general.

      Maple is the top choice for pro hitters.

  10. AvatarVolandoBajo

    Will said “it’s softball which is lame in general”.

    I will agree that a lot of weekend afternoon beer league softball games can be pretty lame.

    But I also used to live in Richmond (VA), where the used to, and probably still do, hold some kind of national championship softball tournament. And there were some pretty serious and pretty impressive amateur athletes wailing away at the balls. All fastpitch, and all very serious about the games…maybe some beer hammering in the evenings, but anything but trivial. And I couldn’t believe the speed the fastpitch pitchers could put on the ball.

    I think if you had to stand in the batter’s box and try to hit some of those guys, you might not think it was so lame. I’m also betting that if you had a go at pitching, you’d see a lot of high speed line drives coming right back at you.

    Like I said, beer leagues are one thing…serious softball is in many ways just as hardcore as hardball.

    I don’t think lame applies when played at that level. You are entitled to your opinion, but odds are you aren’t good enough to make either the best softball hitters or pitchers look like fools.


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