San Francisco

Peninsula Baseball Bat Maker Gets a Shot in ‘The Show'

From the basement of their house to a deal with Major League Baseball, Birdman Bats has come a long way.

The company's warehouse, which opened in June 2016, is filled with wood as the six San Francisco guys who comprise Birdman Bats get ready for the 2018 season.

Major League Baseball accepted their application, making Birdman one of 25 or so bat companies officially licensed by MLB. And that's just a start.

"We have a good amount of wood right now," founder Gary Malec said. "We just ordered like $80,000 more of wood. So we're going to have twice this amount in the next month to be ready for the season.

"And we're also submitting for the World Baseball/Softball Council," he added. "It gets us in the World Baseball Classic, the Olympics, all the pro leagues in like Japan and Korea."

Birdman has progressed to this stage for a combination of reasons. Increased funding through an investor certainly helped, as did the friendship Malec formed last year with one Manny Ramirez.

"He says a lot of companies don't do this right." Malec said of Ramirez. "The bat is consistent. He loves the light-heartedness of it. He's like all day, every day, he's wearing a Birdman shirt."

Ramirez's endorsement coupled with a new CNC machine, has Birdman flying high.

While a lot has changed for the guys in the past year and a half, some things never will, including the hands-on finishing touch to each bat.

"That hard work comes in; that blood, sweat and tears," bat builder Tim Cusick said. "We always make the joke: you look at our hands and there are just scars everywhere from, you know, bumping into it or getting cut. But it's all part of it you know?"

The next leg of Birdman's journey?

"Spring training," Malec said.

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