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Baseball

  • Softball gloves are manufactured in a variety of sizes, designs, and types. They can be made for a specific position of for a certain level you play. You can find gloves for under $20 or over $200. For young players just starting out, there is no need to spend anywhere near $100. A good, basic glove can be purchased for around $30 or $40 that will allow the young player to properly learn the game. However, if you are an advanced player, you will most likely want a glove that is made of top-quality leather and offers innovative features. These gloves will cost you quite a bit more.When buying a glove, the first thing yo should do is determine the level of play – beginner or advanced, beer league or competitive travel team. Next, you can look for gloves that are specific to the type of softball – fastpitch or slowpitch – but these gloves are really interchangeable and can be used for both if needed. Your next consideration is budget. How much can you afford to spend? Even if you are playing on a competitive team, you still want to stay within your budget. Forcing your family to go without food for a week so you can have a top-of the-line glove is not worth it! Many good gloves can be found in the $75- $125 range.After determining your budget, figure out what position you will usually play. Gloves can be different for infielders and outfielders, and first basemen and catchers have their own specific gloves (though slowpitch catchers do not really need a catchers mitt). Then you can decide what style you want. Styles include, closed or open back, deep or shallow pocket, a variety of web styles, and different type of wrist adjustments. These are generally a matter of personal preference – so know what you like before you buy.Once you have your new glove, make sure to break it in properly. Use some good glove oil, play catch for a few days before you use in a game, and treat your glove with loving care at all times. It is your best friend in the field. Now that you know how to buy a new glove, check out our lists for some great information on the best gloves on the market today.
    February 05, 2016
  • Bats, bats, bats everywhere! There are so many different bats on the market, it can be very confusing trying to figure out which is the right one to purchase. Finding the right bat can be like finding the right needle amongst thousands of needles in the haystack!There are wood bats, aluminum bats, one-piece bats, composite bats, Little League bats, youth bats, Senior League bats, BBCOR bats, and more. Here are the determinants that will help you select the correct bat:* Level of play and Regulations: There are bats for each level of play and different regulations for these levels. Purchasing the right bat for the level of play that meets regulations is the first step.* The size of the bat: Getting a bat that is the right size for you or your kid is one of the most important factors in a player’s success. In general, taller players should use a longer bat and stronger players should use a heavier bat. However, you do not want a bat that is too heavy or too long, as that will greatly influence the quality of a player’s swing.* The drop: Baseball bats are measured by their drop number - their length to weight ratio, a negative number that represents how many ounces a bat weighs when compared to it's length in inches. For example, a 31 inch bat that weighs 26 ounces has a -5 drop.* Price: Bats can be very expensive. More expensive is sometimes better, but the most expensive is not always the best for you or your kid. More serious players do need better bats, but that doesn’t mean you have to get the highest priced model. Players just beginning or who don’t exhibit a passion for the game don’t need expensive bats - buy a lower-priced model and move up the money scale if they become more serious.If you consider these factors and spend a little time doing research, you will be sure to get the right bat for you or the young player in your family.
    February 05, 2016
  • Looking for a new bat for your next softball season? Whether you play fatspitch or slowpitch, youth or adult, competitive or beer league; you still want to get the best value for your money. Whether you spend $400 or $100, you want to get the most performance for the price.There are many factors to consider when purchasing a bat. Not all softball bats are created equal. There are many different types of bats, from composite to one-piece, from balanced to end-loaded, from basic aluminum alloy to space-age materials. One $400 bat is not necessarily better than the other $400 bat, nor is a $400 bat always the right choice over a $100 bat. It is a fact that a $400 bat is built with more innovative materials and is a higher performance bat, but you may not want or need all that performance. Or, you may not be able to afford the price unless you pilfer the kids' college funds. If you play in a highly competitive league, whether youth or adult, most players will have bats costing over $200, with many having $400 bats. If you play in a Wednesday night beer league, most of that $400 would better be spent on, well, beer.When choosing a bat, the first thing to do is to decide on your budget. If you are loaded and the dreadful economy hasn't gutted your bank account, by all means go ahead and spend the big bucks on a bat. However, if you have to choose between food on the table or a high-priced bat, go ahead and choose one in the $100 - $150 range. There are still decent bats in this price range. You can find many good bats in the $199 - $299 range and this is often the most popular price range as you get a good performing bad for an affordable price. Most bats in the $100 range are made with basic aluminum alloy, and though they are solid bats, don't offer the performance or durability as higher priced bats. Generally, the best bats are found online. Your local sporting goods store usually doesn't stock too many high-end bats.The second thing you need to do is to figure out what level league in which you play. If you play competitive softball, you will probably want to spend as much as you can afford. Most players in competitive leagues take their bats seriously and spend money accordingly. If a budget is of no concern, then get the highest priced bat on the market. However, if you are like most of us and money doesn't grow on trees, then doing your research to find the right type bat for you at the right price is mandatory.The third thing you need to do is make sure the bat you want is approved for play in your league. There are approximately 20 different governing bodies in the softball world, but there are five main ones – Amateur Softball Association (ASA), United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), National Softball Association (NSA), Independent Softball Association (ISA), and the International Softball Federation (ISF). Though the rules of these governing bodies are similar, there are differences, and though many bats are approved for play in all leagues, some are not. It is important to check to see if the bat you want is approved for play in your league.To help you with your purchase, we have compiled a few lists of the bests softball bats on the market. Figure out what you want, check out the lists, buy your bat, and start swinging for the fences.
    February 03, 2016
  • With the extremely large selection of baseball gloves available today, it can be time-consuming and a bit confusing when trying to purchase the right glove for you or your kid. Here’s a quick guide to help you find the right baseball glove: * Position: There has been specialized gloves for catchers and first basemen, but today that specialization goes much further. In addition to catchers and first basemen, you can buy gloves for middle infielders, pitchers, third basemen, and outfielders. For the casual youth player, one basic infield glove will do the trick, but as you move up in play, you will probably need a glove specific to your position. Some players may need two or more gloves, depending on how many potential positions they may play. * Size: Smaller gloves are preferred by infielders and larger gloves are preferred by outfielders. The size of the glove also depends on the players size. Getting the most comfortable size is the most important consideration. * Open back versus closed back: This is merely a matter of personal taste and feel, though open back gloves may be a bit cooler in hot weather. * Web design: This is also a matter of personal preference as there are many different designs to choose from. * Quality: This depends on the level of play, the seriousness of the player, and the size of your wallet! Cheap gloves can be uncomfortable and difficult to break in. You should expect to pay over $50 for a quality glove. Serious players and high school athletes will be spending close to $200 or more to get good quality for their level of play. Get the best glove you can afford if you are a serious player - gloves do make a difference in the field.
    November 23, 2015
  • Without a doubt, catching is the toughest position in baseball. Foul balls, wild pitches, and collisions at the plate with charging runners make catching hazardous duty. For this hazardous position, you need the best in protective gear. Hockey-style helmets, padded chest protectors, and full coverage leg guards are all required tools of the trade and will help keep you safe behind the plate. Catcher's gear is now more technologically advanced than ever with leading manufacturers using innovative designs and materials to make catcher equipment stronger, more comfortable, and more functional, and more durable. Make sure to do research on various products and to test the gear for proper fit before purchasing. Though baseball equipment can get expensive, it is better to save a little on a bat than to scrimp on protective equipment. A good hitter can usually hit just as good with a $200 bat than he can with a $300 bat. However, you will not be as protected nor as comfortable with a $40 chest protector as you would be with a $140 chest protector. Protection and comfort count! Whether you are youth player, high school star, or an adult league player, you will want to choose quality, well-reviewed protects when you purchase catcher’s gear.
    September 05, 2014
  • Baseball is known as America’s pastime, and though baseball has lost some of its popularity to the NFL and the NBA, it is still a popular spectator sport and still enjoyed by millions of kids across the country. To play baseball, you need a baseball! Though all baseballs look fairly similar, there are many differences. They are made with either leather or synthetic covers, have raised or rolled seams, and are made with different cores (cushioned, cork, rubber, combination). There are also safety and reduced injury factor (RIF) balls for younger players. The best balls are made with a long-lasting leather cover because they offer consistent performance and durability. They are also made with a cushioned cork core, which consists of a cork center wrapped in a thin layer of premium rubber, and wound in wool and cotton thread. Major League Baseballs require windings of at least 85% wool. Wool windings help the ball return to shape after impact and increase the longevity and durability of the baseball. Safety balls are great for beginning players because they are soft and generally “sting-free.” Reduced injury factor (RIF) ball are a relatively new innovation that serve as a bridge between safety balls and regulation balls.. They are made with polyurethane cores and will not hit as hard nor hurt as much as regular baseballs. They are rated from level 1 to level 10 (1 is the softest while 10 plays almost like a real ball). The great thing about RIF balls is that they play like a real ball with true bounces and a similar feel. As a coach or a dad, one of the best things you can do for kids is to teach them to love the game of baseball. Selecting the right ball for the level of play and age is an important factor in a young player’s enjoyment of the game.
    September 02, 2014
  • Baseball Equipment Bags are becoming a vital piece of equipment for baseball players, both young and old. It used to be you could fill a backpack with a glove, cleats and carry your bat, but those days are long gone. Now with braces, uniforms and other baseball paraphernalia, a good baseball bag is essential. These best baseball equipment bags are large enough to accommodate a number of items while also able to keep everything organized. These bags are also reasonably priced as well as sharp to look at.
    August 20, 2014
  • A batting helmet is the protective headgear worn by both baseball and softball players. It's primary function is to protect the head of the batter from wild pitches from the pitcher. Without a helmet, depending on the speed and impact of the ball, injuries could be as serious as death. While it’s not a rule to wear a helmet that covers both ears (just the one that faces the pitcher), it's not uncommon to see players (especially younger ones) wearing a helmet protecting both ears. When safety is the priority, there's no reason to cut corners.These best batting helmets came down to a few key factors. The durability of these helmets is important, since you don't want it ever letting up and allowing you to be injured. Their comfort is also important, as they keep your head cool while maintaining functionality. And of course, their cost plays a factor as well because one doesn't want to break the bank just to avoid breaking their head.
    August 19, 2014
  • Swinging a baseball bat is surprisingly taxing on the hands: Especially among new hitters and wood bat swingers that have not yet developed the upper-palm callouses that naturally occur through repetitious batting practice. As a result, swinging could cause painful blisters to emerge that could force the hitter to miss some time to heal. The idea of the batting glove is to prevent these hand injuries that occur from excessive batting practice.Over the years, the standard batting glove has evolved to meet the demands of the competitive hitter. Increased grip, innovative straps and varying thickness are all varying styles of batting gloves that cater to a specific market niche.As an self dubbed expert rater, I will be assessing and ranking the best batting gloves with the following characteristics in mind. Comfort, durability, protection, and grip will serve as the primary assessment criteria. Exclusive advantageous traits will also factor in the decision. Ultimately, price point will break any quality rating ties.
    March 25, 2014
  • A great pitching machine will help you become a better hitter by helping to improve your bat speed and coordination through repetition. There are many different types of machines available, including machines that throw real baseballs, practice balls, whiffle balls. Some machines can be adjusted for defensive drills, while others can throw a variety of pitches - fastballs, curveballs, and sliders, among other pitches, reaching speeds as high as 100 MPH. Most pitching machines use regular AC power (you plug it in), and many also come with a battery pack for easy portability and use. The criteria for the best machine will be determined based on its ability to improve your skills as a baseball player. Effectiveness of the machines primary purpose (pitching) will be assessed. Under this criterion, pitching velocity, and versatility of pitch ability will be assessed. Second, overall machine versatility will be taken into account. Third, ease of practical use will factor into the decision. Finally, price of product will break any ties associated with quality.
    March 24, 2014
  • All softballs may seem similar to the untrained eye, but there are differences that you should know about before you buy some for your team or league. Size, COR, and compression are the main things to be concerned with. Size is the first measurement to consider. Size will depend on the rules of your league. Softballs come in different sizes. In fastpitch, the standard size is 12”, but younger youth leagues may use an 11” or even a 10” ball. In slowpitch softball, either an 11” or 12” ball is used. If you are from Chicago, you may know that the game was first played in the Windy City, and that 16” softballs were used. They were perfect for small neighborhood parks as the ball did not travel as far. In Chicago, the game is still played with 16 inch balls and no gloves. The COR measurement tells how bouncy a softball is. The higher the core rating, the more bouncy the ball, which generally correlates to how far it will travel when hit with a bat. Here is what the measurement means: If a softball is thrown at a wall at 60 miles per hour and it bounces off that wall at 30 miles per hour, its experienced a 50% reduction in speed. The COR would be measured at .50. Most leagues use a ball around .44 or .47 COR. A change from a Cor of .44 to a COR of .47 would result in a 6% performance increase. This means that a 240-foot out with a .44 COR ball would turn into a 254-foot home run with a .47 COR ball. The last measurement to be concerned with is compression. This is basically a measure of how hard the ball is. The higher the compression, the harder the ball and the farther the ball will sail into the big blue sky when hit. Compression measures how many pounds of force is required to squeeze two sides of the softball in by one-quarter of an inch. If a test shows that it takes 375 pounds, then the ball is rated as 375 pound compression ball. Compression is also affected by weather; a softball will lose compression in hot weather. A wet ball will initially experience an increase in compression, but as more moisture is absorbed, compression will decrease. Once you know what ball you need for your team or league, go online and look for the best prices. Balls are often sold by the dozen or by the bucket. To help you make your decision, check out these lists of the best softballs on the market today.
    May 24, 2012