Originally written on Bush League Chronicle  |  Last updated 4/1/13

Louisville Slugger, the 129-year-old company famously known for manufacturing quality bats, is making some changes just in time for Major League Baseball's Opening Day.The first change involves increasing the hardness of the wood to help strengthen the surface of the bats and to reduce splintering or breaking. MLB has had a problem with bats shattering during games in recent years. Louisville Slugger is hoping to change that.The new bats, which are made of ash or maple, now undergo more strenuous selection, drying, and processing methods, which in combination leads to a much harder piece of lumber than previous models.“The crack of the bat is just so much different because of the drying process,” said Bobby Hillerich, director of Wood Bat Manufacturing for Louisville Slugger.This is the biggest change Louisville Slugger has made to its hardware since unveiling cup-ended bats in 1972.Now, the updated logo has Louisville in smaller letter font over the word Slugger, which is reverse of what the old logo looked like. The words remain inside the traditional oval with an interlocking “LS” added to the top.The company is making the changes in an effort to stay relevant in the sporting goods supply market and to also help attract young players to its products."Changing such an iconic logo can come with risks, particularly if the alterations are dramatic enough to cause customers to not recognize the brand identity," said Michael Barone, a professor of marketing at the University of Louisville."When you've been in the market that long, consumers may start to think you are not as contemporary or relevant as you really are," Barone said. "A logo could signal something new. It helps get attention back to a mature brand."Via Boston Herald

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