Wilson played three years of baseball at . State, going as far as skipping spring practice after his redshirt sophomore season to focus on baseball. He never had as much success on the diamond as he did on the gridiron. In baseball, he was a second baseman/outfielder who mainly played against lefthanders. He hit .296/.351/.457 as a freshman, .236/.333/.292 as a sophomore and .306/.443/.490 as a junior. The Rockies were intrigued enough to draft him in the fourth round of the 2009 draft and paid him $200,000 with the understanding that he could still play college football.
That leaves the stick. The wood used in bats isn’t totally solid, Karakolis says. It crumples, ever so slightly, when it’s swung and comes into contact with a ball hurdling through the air, which is why are usually dents in a well-used bat. Some of the swing’s kinetic energy can be lost here, too—which is why players may resort to something called “bat boning” to make them even harder. There are fancy ways to do this with vacuums, but it can also be done by rubbing really hard objects, like animal bones, on the bat. In theory, rubbing harder objects on the bat makes the bat harder by pre-condensing the wood, so the ball doesn’t do so when it’s hit.