Former MN town baller building his American dream

Posted on March 16, 2015 by CJ Siewert

From an office cubicle to his home garage, a former Minnesota town ball player is starting to build his American dream.

Marcus Zahn, a former Maple Lake Laker, has decided to make a career out of his love for the game by creating a baseball bat business.

“Like so many MBA players, I love baseball – that’s the driver,” Zahn said. “And life is short. I was tired of working in a cubicle and was hoping to make a career in baseball.”

Meridian Baseball is Zahn’s newly founded company, which has recently launched production of its bats. Meridian bats exclusively uses maple splits.

“Splits produce the most reliably straight-grained end product out there, but it costs more,” Zahn said. “A lot of producers will use sawn or b-grade lumber where it is virtually impossible to maintain consistently straight grain.”

Zahn said he has no prior experience creating baseball bats, but hasn’t cut any corners while becoming familiar with the process. He spent several days on location of his production machine’s manufacturer to train as well as learn the programming software.

“I produced several bats while I was there, with wood sourced from my supplier, and have since tested them,” Zahn said. “They are a legitimately good stick – a feeling echoed by several Lakers who helped me test them.”

Meridian Baseball may be the youngest bat producer out there, but its owner lacks no confidence in his approach to perfecting the fine art of making a piece of lumber. Zahn spent eight years in finance and has now switched to entrepreneurship, both of which he majored in while attending the University of Minnesota. To help strengthen his knowledge in producing baseball bats, Zahn has studied Maple wood with a consultant at the University’s Department of Forest Resources.

And all of this knowledge is being applied in the friendly confines of Zahn’s garage. Although Meridian’s production line operates out of a garage, its equipment is state of the art.

“We aren’t turning bats by hand, or even via a copy-lathe,” Zahn said. “Our machine is CNC and produces a precision piece, every time. There will be no variation between models as every single coordinate in our software is specific to the ten-thousandth of an inch. Finally, our bat blanks are stored in a climate controlled environment to prevent fluctuation in the lumber due to variation in relative humidity.”

Having such a sophisticated piece of machinery running inside a garage is also something Meridian prides itself on when it comes to the care and quality put into the bat. A large assembly line may be good for profit margins, but Zahn argues that quality then becomes a major concern.

“Wood is an organic material – every tree, and every baseball bat blank it produces is inherently different,” he said. “Since every piece of wood is different, every piece deserves unique attention… We are a product of amateur baseball, and we will never offload a bat on a town team player that we couldn’t sell to a pro.”

The last piece Meridian hopes to make a positive impression with is its customer service. For a minimum order, Meridian will make you a bat to your exact specifications and desires, and store your model in their system. 

“We are ready to sit down with players and go over their current bat and modify it to better fit their needs,” Zahn said. “For one more bat in that minimum order, we’ll apply state of the art Zepp technology (www.zepp.com/baseball) to your swing. We will meet the player at the cages, take at least 30 swings which in turn processes some 90,000 swing data points. The sensor will tell us bat speed, whether you are long to the ball, or if you have a hitch in your swing.”

Meridian has reserved the Shed Sports Complex in Buffalo on March 21 (3-5 p.m.) and March 22 (9-11 a.m.) to showcase its products to Minnesota amateur players.

How to order Meridian Baseball Bats:

“Meridian’s primary means of sale is e-commerce. That said, early on we will come visit amateur teams across the state to help them try our bats and we can accommodate on-location sales as well. Our website will be published when production has officially begun.

“Lastly, we will offer volume discounts as well as a standard coupon code for MBA players so they can get a standard discount off our retail price. We aren’t going to forget our roots. And since our process is so discerning, we will produce a lot of bats that while structurally sound, aren’t up to our exacting standards. We’ll be happy to offer these “x-outs” as BP bats for MBA teams at a healthy discount.”

Learn more about Meridian by contacting Marcus via email at marcus.zahn@meridianbats.com  

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