Affordable Gifts for the Baseball and Softball Players on Your List

Baseball giftsAs anyone who has purchased sporting goods and training tools for their kids can attest to, it can become an expensive ordeal. When the holidays come around, it allows you the chance to get your kids those tools that will help them get better and succeed and put something under the Christmas tree for them.

There are numerous affordable deals out there for parents looking to get some last minute shopping done, but what are the best?

Cannonball Warm Up Softball

One of the best things any baseball or softball player can do in the off season is continue to work on their arm strength. One of the affordable tools that will allow you to do this is the Cannonball Warm Up Softball. This ball can be used off a wall, eliminating the need to have another person present to play catch. Using this before playing catch with a baseball or softball will also make those balls feel lighter and allow you to get more zip on each throw.

Mizano Organizer BackpackMizuno Organizer 3 Backpack

When you look in the trunk of the athlete in your family, you will often be afraid of what you will find. From dirty socks and underwear to all their essential gear, everything will usually just be scattered around and hard to find. The Mizuno Organizer 3 Backpack is the solution to that problem. It has enough room to store all the essentials to compete and has room for other non-essential personal items.

Rawlings 5-Tool Foam Quick Hands Trainer

RAWLINGS 5-TOOL FOAM QUICK HANDS TRAINERWhen you watch players like Robinson Cano and Andrelton Simmons make amazing players with such ease on a nightly basis, the reason why they are able to do so is because they have soft hands. When you hear that expression, it doesn’t mean their hands are smooth, it means that their hands are quick and soft enough to absorb the ball whether it is an easy hop, or a nasty one.

There are too many baseball and softball tools and gear to even list here, but if you are looking to grab an item for the athlete in your family, these are all solid places to start.

Who Makes the Best Baseballs? Diamond or Rawlings or Wilson?

Sports can lead to many interesting creations. When one company develops a new tool, other companies try to keep up the competition and develop their own version of these tools. One of the most important tools in the sport of baseball is the actual baseballs. Many companies are now producing their own version of baseballs, but not all are made the same.

If you want to order baseballs for your next pickup baseball game, which brand should you look into? Who makes the best baseballs?

Diamond

Diamond SportsDiamond has been around for years and has been putting out quality baseballs for players of all ages. When Diamond-Sports construct their baseballs, they use the best materials available to them. Their “Professional League” ball is one of the most popular used in college baseball. It has a cushioned cork center with a premium leather cover. While other companies get more recognition, Diamond has dozens of models available to choose from.

Rawlings

RawlingsThe most recognizable name in baseball equipment is Rawlings. They are responsible for constructing baseballs for numerous leagues, events and organizations around the world, including Major League Baseball. Among the custom balls Rawlings has produced over the years include the “RLLB,” which is tournament grade for little league baseball; USSSA Tournament sanctioned balls and the “RSLL1” Senior Little League ball.  Another quality ball that Rawlings manufactures is the R1NCAA. This is the official ball of the NCAA championship. This ball was made with patented super stitch technology and full grain leather, which increases its lifetime and durability.

Wilson

Wilson Sporting GoodsWilson is another company that constructs different balls for different leagues. The Wilson A1075BPL1 is a ball that has incredible durability with raised seams that are 20 percent higher than flat seam baseballs. This allows for pitchers and fielders to get a better grip on the ball with each throw. The inside of the ball is grey wool and has a cushioned cork that gives the ball more energy during the contact of the bat and the ball.

With so many companies producing baseballs, Diamond, Rawlings and Wilson, are three of the best. They are the three most popular baseball manufacturers and produce the best quality balls every time.

 

Wilson A2000 Gloves – Why They Rule

Wilson A2000 Glove

Wilson A2000 Gloves

One of the biggest mistakes made by baseball players is thinking they don’t need to have one of the best fielding gloves to be successful. At an early age, players need to be reminded that to be a complete player, they need to be able to hit and field well.

With the large line of Wilson A2000 gloves for fielding, players will be able to have the necessary tool to be able to field at any position. The Wilson A2000 glove is also used by many of the most popular players in Major League Baseball. If the professional players we all watch and admire on television can use these gloves, then that should be enough to make you want to wear them.

Material

Wilson A2000 fielding gloves are all constructed using the same Pro Stock Select Leather from American steer hides that have incredible durability and have the greatest feel of any other models on the market. Over the years, Wilson has taken the input and advice from some of the best players in the sport including Greg Maddux and Evan Longoria and has improved the product greatly.

Various Models Available

WTA2403_PudgebackThe entire line of Wilson A2000 fielding gloves consists of more than 40 models ranging from third baseman and outfielders gloves to those made for pitchers and catchers. Among the various models you can get include the A2000 A2403 Pudge catcher’s mitt made for former MLB star, Ivan Rodriguez. Those that idolize Longoria can also get his signature 11.75″ glove.

The Wilson A2000 line of fielding gloves isn’t only for baseball players. The company has also produced gloves in the line for fastpitch softball players including regular fielding gloves and those for fastpitch catchers.

Overall, the Wilson A2000 line of fielding gloves is one of the best available for baseball and fastpitch softball players. The gloves have a great feel to them that allow the ball to be “sucked in” each time.

When you wear one of these gloves, it becomes extremely easy to have the soft touch needed to be an excellent fielder.

Off Season Baseball Training Aid Reviews

Off Season Training AidsThe off season is one of the most difficult times of the year for most athletes, amateur or professional. But it is the work you do in the off season that will either help you advance your talent level to a place it had never been before, regress, or stay the same.

One of the best ways to ensure that your skill level never decreases is to constantly work at your sport, whether it is in season or not. For softball and baseball players, there are numerous training aids you can use to help you stay in playing shape throughout the winter.

Bownet Big Mouth Screen

This big mouth screen is something that is ideally used outside in the summer, but in rooms that have enough height/length, can be used by pitchers to work on their strike zone and batters to get the mechanics of their swing down perfectly. The screen is something that is easy to assemble and requires only about two minutes to construct and can easily be taken down in less that time. In the box, this screen is just 14 pounds and requires no tools to setup, making it easy to transport. Here is a view of the Brownet Big Mouth Screen.

Diamond Fielding Trainer

For those that have access to an indoor facility with turf in the cold winter months, this fielding trainer from Diamond would make a great tool. This tool has infielder’s padding in a flat shape, forcing you to work on using both hands when making a play. This tool goes with the old training technique of using a pot holder during infield practice, but just in an expanded form. When you use this Diamond Fielding Trainer, it gives you a more natural feel because there are slots for your fingers instead of large open area in a pot holder.

Rawlings Pro Resistance Ball 5-Tool Trainer

When it comes to using the best technique to make a throw, this trainer is what you need to have in the off season. The baseball attached to the end of the 58″ resistance band has a real-ball feel and provides you advanced resistance levels that aren’t easy to attain otherwise. The Rawlings Pro Resistance Ball 5-Tool Trainer comes with instructions and numerous drills that will help you improve your skills.

It’s in the Bag – Why You Want a Custom Baseball Bat Bag

When you step into the bench area of your baseball or softball field, there are few things that will set you apart from the rest of the competitors. Among those variables you can create to separate yourself from everyone else is a custom bat bag. Plenty of teams spare no expense in get matching gear from hats and pants to sleeves and baseball bat bags, but if you aren’t a part of that type of team, here are a few companies that will allow you the change to change things up a bit with your own bag.

DeMarini Baseball Bat BagDeMarini Bat Bag

DeMarini is one of the premiere softball and baseball bat manufacturers in the world and with that popularity and success, have also become a premiere source for equipment bags. There are many factors that help DeMarini equipment bags stand out. Among them is the fact that they offer rolling bags, as well as backpacks. Their line of Vendetta rolling bags feature room for a few of your most favorite bats, as well as a large center section that can hold your cleats, gloves, pine tar and whatever other gear and accessories you need. The Vexxum line of backpacks feature slots for two bats, as well as plenty of storage space for your on-field essentials and pockets for your off-field personal items.

Louisville Slugger Baseball Bat Bag

Louisville Slugger bat bagLouisville Slugger is one of the most respected baseball gear manufacturers in the history of the sport and continues to evolve their product to fit the changing market. Among those markets in which they have changed their product is with their large line of baseball bat bags. The company saw the need to make their bags bigger to accommodate those with large numbers of bats. They have bags that can fit anywhere from one to four bats. These bat bags can be customized and much like with DeMarini, come in rolling bag models, as well as backpack versions.

A baseball bat bag isn’t just something you put your baseball and softball gear in. During the busy season when players are competing hundreds of times, these bags are where you will keep a lot of the supplies and essentials needed to keep your sanity.

All Star Manufacturer’s Spotlight

All StarAll Star is there when you need to be protected on the field. In fact, they are one of the best sporting goods companies you can get your equipment from for baseball. The company produces products for baseball, fast pitch and slow pitch softball and even for umpires. In recent years, their line of products for football players has grown more popular and All Star is now one of the top overall sports equipment company in the world.

All Star has a large selection of products already designed and ready to be purchased, and their website also offers a “Custom Design Lab” where adults and youth can customize their own catcher’s equipment. The design lab is also available to fast pitch softball catchers that are looking to match their gear to their uniform.

All Star offers everything baseball players need to be successful and protected on the field including the complete series of catcher’s gear, fielding gloves, baseballs and field accessories like bases and plates. The company also offers a wide selection of baseballs and softballs. And for those taking the field at the local softball field, you will also be able to get all the equipment necessary to be safe.

All Star’s wide selection of products also includes masks, chest protectors, shin guards and other accessories needed for umpires to be successful and safe. For those looking for football gear, the company has an extensive catalog featuring helmets, pads and gloves.

Any Questions about All Star products? Drop a comment on our blog!

Tuff Sleeve Bat Protector

Tuff Sleeve Bat ProtectorTuff Sleeve helps baseball and softball players around the world, do the most important thing they can do in the offseason and in between games during the season. protect their equipment. This includes keeping your fielding glove conditioned and prepared for its next use. It also includes making sure your bat is protected from getting scratches in your trunk and bat bag, and save it from unnecessary force during batting practice and more. The best way to protect your bat is to use the newly re-designed Tuff Sleeve.

Tuff Sleeves can be used for bats made from aluminum or wood and for softball or baseball bats. These protectors slide right on and off the bat without having to fight with it. It is a tapered tube that is made with a rubber exterior and a cotton fabric interior. It is that material that makes the Tuff Sleeve go on with ease.

Tuff Sleeve most important feauture is that it can be used during batting practice. You can protect the life of your bat during batting practice by 25 percent when you keep the Tuff Sleeve on it. When you keep the Tuff Sleeve on your bat during batting practice, the sleeve will sit on the sweet spot of the bat. This will allow you to see where contact should be made to get optimal flight on the ball. By protecting your bat in non-game situations that would normally harm your bat and lessen its life expectancy, you are getting more for your money than ever before.

Using Tuff Sleeve on your bat, protects it from getting scratches and dents, while also maintaining its aesthetic appearance. It slides on and off with ease and reduces vibration that could develop when the barrel gets too cold.in the fall months. When you are new to the sport and use it during batting practice, you will get a better idea of where contact needs to be made.

Special thanks to Mike at Cheapbats.com for this video on Tuff Sleeve.

Under Armour – Manufacturer Spotlight

Under Armour Baseball GearUnder Armour was founded in 1996, and the sports apparel business changed forever. The company was founded by a former captain for the University of Maryland special teams unit, Kevin Plank. Plank started Under Armour in his grandmother’s basement and now the company has grown to the point where they had revenue of more than $1.8 billion in 2012. The initial inspiration for the creation of Under Armour for Plank came when he was tired of his undershirts always being drenched in sweat after practice, while his compression shorts stayed dry.

It wasn’t until after Plank graduated did he create a prototype of his undershirt. He then provided it to former teammates that had since moved onto the National Football League and the popularity of the undershirt grew from there. The company quickly grew from making $17,000 in 1996 to $100,000 in 1997 before inking major deals with schools starting with Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and Arizona State University.

Under Armour continued to grow slowly, garnering attention from being in the films Any Given Sunday with Jamie Foxx and The Replacements with Keanu Reeves. Due to all the attention Under Armour got in the Foxx movie, Plank purchased ad space in ESPN The Magazine and business took off from there.  The company also got a lot more attention from being the official uniform provider for the Xtreme Football League, the brain child of professional wrestling promoter, Vince McMahon.

As the popularity of the Under Armour brand has continued to rise, they have begun sponsoring athletes from different sports including UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, undefeated boxing superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Super Bowl champions Tom Brady and Ray Lewis and American Olympic champions Michael Phelps and Lindsey Vonn. The company also provides the soccer jerseys of several popular clubs around the world including Tottenham Hotspur.

As time has gone on, other companies have attempted to invade the Under Armour market, but Plank has been successful in holding his market share. With the addition of a line of protective gear, catchers masks, chest and leg protectors, the line continues to grow.

Drop us a comment if you want more information about Under Armour protective gear.


Bownet Big Mouth Review – Baseball and Softball Hitting Net

Over the past few years, while driving past almost any baseball or softball field in America, you may have seen an orange net being used. The Training Aid you saw is most likely the Bownet Big Mouth.

Bownet Big Mouth Baseball and Softball Hitting Net

Bownet Big Mouth Baseball and Softball Hitting Net

We recently were given a Big Mouth to use for one of the travel teams we work with.

In the past, we have used Jugs nets, but they always tip over. We wanted to try and review something new, and since everyone seems to have one of these orange Bownets these days, we figured we would jump on board and give you one of the best Bownet Big Mouth reviews online.

ASSEMBLY

The Bownets are EXTREMELY easy to build. Okay, so the first time we built it we put the two base poles facing the wrong way, but that was a one time thing. Now that we know which direction the bottom poles are supposed to face, we can easily build the Big Mouth in the 90 second claimed set up time. Once the poles are in place, the net is placed on the unit almost effortlessly.

PERFORMANCE

Once we had figured out how to build our Bownet Big Mouth, the first thing we used the net for was hitting some baseballs into it. As expected the net worked flawlessly and was sturdy as can be. Next, we attached our Bownet Strike Zone teaching add on, and had our pitchers throw at the net, instead of a catcher. This, above all the other potential uses for a girls fastpitch team or a baseball team, impressed me the most. With a $20 accessory, this hitting net had turned into a pitching net in a matter of about 30 seconds.

SIZE

The Bownet Big Mouth comes in a black carrying bag (48 inches by 12 inches) similar to what you might have to carry a tent, you should not have a problem fitting the Bownet into your trunk or across the back seat/floorboard of a car. The Big Mouth weighs about 18 pounds and is relatively light weight for what will turn out to be such a large baseball/softball net. When assembled, the 7 foot by 7 foot Big Mouth was larger than expected, and plenty big for hitting into, pitching into, and general protection anywhere on the baseball/softball field. Despite being so big, the 18 pound Big Mouth is easily carried with two people. One person could carry it, but it is big and awkwardly shaped, making it a little more difficult.

BREAK DOWN

Taking down the Bownet was even easier than building it. The loops that hold the net on simply pop off the top, then the poles are removed and separated, then placed into the carrying case.

SUMMARY

What we liked:

  • Lightweight. Easily carried
  • Quick, easy assembly
  • Can be used for pretty much anything you can think of on the diamond
  • Easy to pack up and take home

Overall, we highly suggest the Big Mouth Bownet if you are looking for a hitting screen or pitching screen. You will not be disappointed with the build quality and the endless uses of the Bownet.