One by one, Monday morning, Hunter Pence emptied nearly two dozen bats from his locker in preparation for the trip north to Philadelphia.

Pence would slide a bat off the shelf atop his locker, hold it to his ear and give it a knock. The sound that reverberates through the wood gives him an idea of quality of the product.

He'd wrap his hands around the handle, hold the bat aloft, flex his fingers and ponder the grip.