The poet Lord Tennyson said spring is the time when “a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” In a way, he was right. Because for me, springtime is when I turn to my love of baseball. Even though I’m no longer a young man, this time of year suddenly strikes me with an urge to reconnect with the part of my lost youth spent on dusty diamonds.
Warstic Flagship Stic Store and Headquarters
Address: 2900 Main St.
Hours: Wed.-Fri., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. noon to 6 p.m.
It was in the spirit of scratching that hardball itch that I trekked over to Dallas recently to visit the Warstic baseball bats headquarters and retail shop, a destination I’d recommend to anyone who appreciates the great game, not to mention great aesthetic.
Located at 2900 Main Street in historic Deep Ellum, Warstic’s HQ is as much an art gallery as it is a sporting goods store. The bats on display hang like masterpieces, each one featuring clean, minimalist graphics and color schemes inspired by the American Southwest.
Warstic offers a range of baseball bats, from top-of-the-line alloy models, like their Bonesaber Hybrid BBCOR, to wood bats built to the specifications of big league ballplayers. Like most high-performance bats on the market, the bulk of Warstic’s lineup is made overseas, but they do handcraft small batches of wood bats onsite in Deep Ellum.
Beyond the products, the building Warstic occupies is something to behold. Stylized images of hawks, the brand’s unofficial mascot, adorn the ceilings and walls, both inside and out, and the dimly lit showroom with its full-size stuffed bison is part mountain lodge, part speakeasy, the latter vibe reflecting Warstic’s outsider status among baseball equipment manufacturers.
That look also reflects the sharp mind of company founder Ben Jenkins, a former collegiate and minor league baseball player with uncommon creative vision.
“I grew up in Dallas, went to Lake Highlands [High School], and played sports and made art,” Jenkins says. “I had two groups of friends—the jocks and the artists. This is kind of a continuation of that.”
The artists Jenkins runs with these days are high-class. Grammy-winning musician and producer Jack White (White Stripes, Raconteurs, the Dead Weather) is a business partner in Warstic; Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder is a customer and fan. While looking at a photo of Vedder wearing a Warstic T-shirt onstage, Jenkins marvels at the fact that he’s “text buddies” with the rock legend.
As far as jock pals go, Jenkins’s other business partner is Ian Kinsler, former Texas Rangers great and current special assistant to Rangers general manager Chris Young. Kinsler used Warstic bats in his last years as a player, and he turned several of his fellow pros onto the brand, including Detroit Tigers teammate Miguel Cabrera, a surefire future Hall of Famer.
Past the retail wing, visitors to Warstic’s Dallas home should check out “Battle Hall,” an indoor batting cage where you can try out the various bats Warstic offers before selecting a model of your own. But even if you’re like me and you hung up your baseball spikes long ago, there’s still plenty to enjoy.
First, there’s the coffee lounge that Jenkins and his crew recently set up next to Battle Hall, where they serve their signature DBLHAWK blends, and which they hope to open to the public as a full-service cafe in the coming months.
Next, there’s Warstic’s forays into things like fly rods, surfboards, skis, snowboards, pickleball paddles, and—soon—golf clubs. Even Jenkins, who has baseball in his blood, says he’s more apt to pick up a rod and reel or a snowboard these days than a bat, especially as he’s journeying across the western United States, where he finds inspiration for new Warstic products and designs.
If you’re in need of a baseball fix between trips to the ballpark, the Warstic shop and Battle Hall are open Wednesday through Sunday. It’s an experience unlike any other in the sport, and one that baseball fans will savor as much as the pop of a mitt and the crack of a bat.