When Jeremy Mitchell started Mitchell Bat Co. he wasn’t absolutely abiding how he was activity to cull off the affiance of hand-painting customized designs on bats. But Mitchell ample it out bound afterwards ablution in 2013 and now comes as a key assistant for brands and individuals attractive to adore custom-designed, hand-painted bats.
Coming off a MLB All-Star Bold accord with Louisville Slugger, Mitchell said he’s consistently accommodating with altered brands beyond the country, anybody from Jack Daniels to Admiration and Ebbets Field Flannels to Ralph Lauren. He has a New Era accord in the works appropriate now.
For Mitchell, the acceleration of his aggregation happened quickly. A beheld artist alive for 15 years at announcement agencies in agenda design, Mitchell acquainted an crawling to actualize article with his hands. While alive on a activity in his hometown of Nashville that brought him into a boutique area skateboards were handmade, he accomplished his adulation of baseball could construe into design.
He started with sketches. Then Instagram posts. Soon, though, strangers were allurement how to buy bats and during the seventh-inning amplitude of Bold 6 of the 2013 World Series, Mitchell bought his URL and crafted a quick website.
As admirers affiliated announcement photos from the d at Fenway Park, Mitchell started commenting on photos and cogent bodies about his Mitchell Bat Co. designs. He had two orders aural the aboriginal few canicule and the orders kept coming—from Australia, the West Coast and Canada.
Two weeks later, ESPN capital to affection Mitchell in a anniversary allowance guide.
“I had no abstraction how I was activity to do it. I wasn’t accessible to alpha bearing these things,” he said. “It gave me no choice.”
Later, Ralph Lauren accomplished out and capital bats for a bounce attic set (someone had bought Ralph’s son a Mitchell bat).
Mitchell affiliated with a bat banker who sells professional-grade copse bats and Mitchell has ashore with him anytime since. Then came the balloon and absurdity of painting bats. Now, though, he has three painters on staff.
“I acrylic a little bit still,” he said. “That was my aboriginal adulation of this, application my easily and painting and the accomplished process. A lot of my accompany accept approved to admonition out and it takes a appropriate blow to accomplish it area the stripes are straight. I authority the acrylic job to a actual aerial standard.”
Making those stripes absolute charcoal the trickiest allotment of the process. First, Mitchell tapes a bat and spins it to watch for any wobble.
“It is such a slow, annoying process,” he said. “But it is a fun process, it is that aforementioned array of accomplishment of creating beeline curve aback acid grass. I apperceive what it is activity to attending like aback it is finished.”
Mitchell’s adulation of stripes comes from his childhood. It was in the backward 1980s that his mom brought home boxes of cards from Topps, which was one of her clients. Jeremy said he would abstraction the uniforms, attractive at the art of the stripes. Those stripes affect his architecture style. To pay admiration to that history, he includes a backpack of 1988 Topps cards in every bat he ships.
While some sandlot leagues that bless adorning bats agitation for a Mitchell design, he said that best orders appear as association attending to affectation a bat or accord a gift. The change of his customization has alone helped with that. Early on he was “stubborn,” abnegation to put a logo on a bat, but afterwards Jack Daniels asked, he knew he couldn’t say no.
“That was the aboriginal one we anytime did,” he said. “It was a accurate activity and we acquaint pictures and now it is the majority of what we do.”
For the Jack Daniels project, he decrepit bats with whiskey and lit them on blaze to actor the whiskey-making action (he additionally abstruse that while he loves maple for the bland wood, if you are activity to flame-char a bat, you charge the backbone of ash).
Whether 100 bats at a time with a accumulated logo or one-off ability for accompany and colleagues, Mitchell has formed with a array of folks. He additionally hasn’t shied abroad from collaborations, whether Topps, the Cincinnati Reds, Louisville Slugger, Steel City or Ebbets Field Flannels, area the two accept a new accord accessible that will pay admiration to Negro Leagues.
All those access accelerate Mitchell. And a allocation of every one of his sales supports under-served accouchement through MLB’s RBI program.
“When I started this affair aback in 2013 I had a account of bodies I capital to ability out to, brands I admired,” he said. “They all accomplished out to me afore I could ability out to them. Word advance fast.”
He’s developed a accord with the owners of Ebbets, assimilation in admonition from the 30-year-old company. Alive with Louisville Slugger for the MLB All-Star Bold was an accomplishment he relishes.
“They had bigger and bigger affairs than I could accept anytime imagined,” he said. “That was a accurate activity to assignment on. Playing baseball as a kid and growing up in Nashville, with Louisville aloof three hours abroad … Babe Ruth swung that. It was an account to assignment with them and allotment that (All-Star) stage.”
Still mainly application maple, except for the casual use of ash for the character of the grains, Mitchell has abstruse absolutely a bit about the action over the years. From char-flaming bats to alive that red is consistently the final blush you put on (he abstruse the adamantine way that red can about-face to blush in a bustle if muddied), Mitchell continues to actualize custom designs. He does it by hand. One band at a time.
Tim Newcomb covers accessory and business for Baseball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.
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