Bangup Baseball Equipment

baseball

Get the the latest trends in baseball equipment.

  • What baseball equipment is needed to compete at the highest level?
  • Where is the best economical place to shop for accessories online?
  • Which manufacturer develops the most bang-for-your-buck products, especially catching equipment? And,
  • What’s the best way to transport all this HOT new gear?

These are the questions we’ll answer along with so many more, such as about aluminum & wood bats, and the best baseball training equipment to choose for peak performance conditioning, that’ll make even Michael Jordan raise an eyebrow.

For parents who’ve been out of the loop for awhile, or have never been considered “in the loop,” we’re going to shed light on the baseball equipment buying dilemma. Nobody wants to make the wrong purchase, so we’ll help to find where bargain products can be found, and from what quality manufacturers.

God knows I’ve fallen for the ol’ Eskimo selling ice in the dead of winter trick. Important note: spend a little more for the right gadgets, and think of them as an investment, which will

  • Endure the hardships of any season, AND
  • Keep your players safe,

…so your kid infrequently visits the rehab training room, and not to mention showing your pocketbook some mercy over the course of a season. In other words, spend smarter up front, resulting in less over the long haul.

 

What’s more…

Our years of baseball experience, 4 years of full time selling oneBay, and other brilliant online resources  will reduce paying the “Dumb Tax,” and guarantee you’re getting more for what you dish out for. We’ll explore manufacturers’ strengths and who to avoid, so sit tight, grab a cup of Joe, and let’s get started…

What baseball equipment is needed to compete at the highest level?
Here’s a checklist (excluding clothing):

*Some team have their own helmets, but if they don’t, then you may need to add this to your supply of useful baseball equipment.

Where are the best economical places to shop for baseball accessories online?
GO HERE to find the best deals on line.

 

Most every time, retailers have an overstock after the season ends, and in one or two years, you can get once highly sought after baseball gear for less. Also, hit up the bargain bins, blowouts, clearance, overstocked sections of  Amazon

I should know,

I made a living buying these overstocked brand new old stock (NOS) items in bulk to sell  for the last few years, so they’re out there. Is it smarter to buy a snowboard during winter, or at the beginning of summer? Retail/Online sporting good companies need to clear out their NOS to make room for the new “in-seasons.” The bottom line isn’t reached with lazy items collecting dust on cozy store shelves.

Craigslist is great for bartering goods or services and finding used items with life still left in them at unbeatable prices. The late economic conditions have opened the door to more of a service/goods bartering system…for example, an attorney friend of mine is trading her law services in exchange for rehabbing her injured knee, so see what you can offer someone other than throwing the naughty piece of plastic at them.

What’s more…

In searching online for baseball equipment, watch out for companies claiming to be wholesalers. Unfortunately for you, they’re falsely representing themselves, baiting and switching you to think you’re getting extremely low prices, but what they don’t tell you is you have to buy a minimum of the newest 100 aluminum Louisville TPX bats to get the $250/bat price, and unless you’re yearning to compete in the same watered down online baseball selling market, then run the opposite direction.

Also, don’t expect to find unbiased review information on products searching Google, sorry to get your hopes down. What you’ll find are a lot of retailers fighting for your eyeballs. Instead, try looking in Google Groups and their Blog Search…also, learn to discriminate people’s opinions in forums and discussion groups, if they’re ONLY oozing positives about a product, chances are they’re most likely staged company spammers. baseball

Apple, Inc. strategically did this with much success before releasing their first iPod to build buzz and feel the pulse of the market consumer.

Which manufacturer develops the most bang for your buck products, especially catching equipment?
My all time favorite manufacturer of baseball equipment is Mizuno, I particularly used their wood bats, cleats, and batting gloves before Fresno State started buying us Louisville and Easton.

Did you know Chipper Jones has been using Mizuno for years? What an outstanding role mold to model yourself after.

Here’s a great niche site taking an angle to cleats from a medical perspective; which cleats have the best functionality to your feet? Most cleats are produced without the player’s feet in mind, Cleats Info dot com debunks all that.

It’s really about preference, aside from Mizuno, all companies have their strengths: Easton and Louisville are good at making aluminum and wood bats, All Star is good at developing catcher’s equipment, Nike does well with their dri-fit clothing, and Rawlings makes great fielding gloves.

In respect to catcher’s baseball equipment, researching online and from guys I played with, they put together a mosaic of iron plating; although very loyal to their pieced out brand of equipment, they don’t outfit themselves with one company:

catchers' equipment

If you’re concerned with performance and protection, then stick with the PRO models (as opposed to the retail version), they’re more padded, protective, and the straps are more durable. Remember, you get what you pay for, so don’t be a hording dragon money myzer when it comes to performance.

In addition, if you’re like me and have to put your fingers in the wounds of Christ to have faith, then ask your coach, fellow/competing players, see what your favorite Major Leaguers are wearing, and who’s sponsoring elite college baseball programs to make a good educated decision.

But let me warn you though, too much information will cause paralysis, and you’ll most likely NOT buy anything.

And lastly,

What’s the best way to transport all this HOT new baseball gear?
What you transport baseball equipment in is very important, whether by plane, train, or automobile…it needs to be durable, not flashy, and applicable to your storage needs…

Going through multiple airport baggage handling transfers and claims can take its toll on your baseball equipment bag, you don’t want a red neon sign saying, “open me up to see what’s inside,” and obviously a catcher will have more paraphernalia than would an outfielder, so bag sizes will differ.

I would stick with companies like Mizuno, Rawlings, and Wilson to store your most cherished supplies, and preferably a bag with wheels for easier transport through terminals.

All in all, instead of just throwing money at a brand new modeled item, try to be more creative in your search…great deals are out there, so be persistent.

Courtesy of swingsmarter.com

Baseball Gloves

Every sport has its signature equipment, but no athletic gear quite measures up to the mystique of the baseball glove. The smell of the leather, the feeling of slipping it on for the first time and the painstaking process of breaking it in just right – it give the baseball glove an allure all it’s own. It also makes buying a baseball glove an unparalleled experience!

A new baseball glove is a new opportunity to tell your story. A story forged through backyard games of catch with your dad and diving catches in the outfield grass. It will be tossed in your locker, jammed in your backpack and used as a pillow during long rain delays. You’ll take pictures of it, condition it with the right oils and break it in when you’re home at night. And when you relay the tale of how you saved the game with a leaping catch at the fence, you won’t say you felt the ball fall into the rich, soft leather of your Wilson A2K – you’ll say you could feel the ball in your glove and that’s when you knew you’d won the game.

courtesy of sportsunlimited.com

 

Baseball Bats

Hitting baseballs consistently well is arguably one of the hardest things to do in any sport. If we can mark consistency off our checklist (not many can), then hitting with power opens a whole other can of worms.

 

Over the past 6 months I’ve been chatting on the phone and/or in person with guys like Jaime Cevallos, Jack Clark, Jim Rothford (Giants org in 70’s), and countless other Division 1 college, minor, & major league guys I played alongside, am fellow Fresno State alumni with, or competed against at the Div. 1 College level about what it means in hitting baseballs consistently well with power, and one thing becomes very clear…

It doesn’t matter what level of play, how long, or how much media attention any of the aforementioned guys gets. One single person doesn’t have “it” all figured out. Myself included. It’s sifting through all the “Hitter Geek Speak,” and finding the most effective common ground.

This is where the hitting baseballs effectively well “truth” is, and we collectively make a mighty fine argument for the Holy Grail of baseball swings; the marrying of Power + Consistency. These two unicorns of the ultimate hack are abundantly found in the old timers of our day: the Babe’s, the Mick’s, the Splendid Splinter’s, the Hammer’s, and the Samurai’s (Sadaharu Oh)…surprisingly, NOT many in the game today have this skill.

Spending $25 million/year on a guy who hits 40-50 HR’s a season, but hits only .250 and strikes out over 200 times a season is ludicrous to me (i.e. Ryan Howard). With these stats, the Cardinals should be paying Albert Pujols over $50 million/year. Albert is considered retro when compared to vintage swings, and an anomaly to today’s standards.

And yes, this C+P skill can be taught or conditioned.

Here’s a true confession about me

I’m NOT very creative when it comes to inventing something never seen before, BUT I am very good at innovation. I can blend different disciplines or trains of thought into a winning combo.

I’m also first to declare I don’t know it all, and will give credit where it’s due. I’m more interested in standing on the shoulders of giants because no matter who you are, there’s always someone smarter.

Herein lies the essence of hitting baseballs effectively well and the Swing Smarter Challenge Co-Op…

It’s a TEAM EFFORT, and I couldn’t do it without my mentors and you guys. I’m now opening up the floor to a select few and announcing the biggest baseball research & development call to arms (more on this later) on the net. It’s a movement I’ve dubbed: The Swing Smarter Co-Op…it’s discovering the legendary combination of Consistency & Power, and what instruction or baseball hitting aids will create the yellow brick road to the promised land through community!

You know what a cool hobby would be? Being a part of a team where one can contribute, in a dignified way, to finding the most efficient hitting baseballs path to the Swing Holy Grail and get feedback from like-minded individuals? A Baseball Band of Brotherhood, if you will.

Some guys find passion golfing in their spare/work time…instead, I love to hit. I do it when I’m stuck writing or need a break from work. And I’m sure there are many of you out there waiting, like me, with the same passion and enthusiasm in architecting the swing.

I’m issuing a Swing Smarter Challenge to the NEW and improved Newsletter, who’s content will resemble supermodel Petra Nemcova in a bathing suit on the beach to the true hitting aficionado.

What’s more…

Piggy backing on this idea of a collective wisdom, since the summer of 2008, I’ve wanted to create an experimental testing group for baseball training aids where we could raise objections about specific gadgets and decide whether they’re effective in architecting the Holy Grail of swings. Kind of sounds like the Oprah’s Book of the Month Club for men huh?!

Unfortunately, there are a ton of self-proclaimed hitting baseballs “insanely well” gadgets out there, and I have only so much time to dissect the hundreds. So, I’m looking to stand on the shoulders of giants here, and recruit like-minded hairy-backed Baseball Hitting Knuckle-Draggers.

Together, we can put our collective wits together and find truth in all the muck! We’ll call this group, The Baseball Band of Brotherhood.

Which leads me too a BIG change to the Swing Smarter format,

The rebirth of The Dugout eZine into The Swing Architect Newsletter. The NEW name is a play on words for the ultimate pursuit of the perfect swing through hitting gadgets and technique teaching.

In summary…

To get things straight up to this point:

  • Cause: The Swing Smarter Co-Op Challenge,
  • New Name of Newsletter: The Swing Architect,
  • What you’ll be a part of: The Baseball Band of Brotherhood (This is the Secret Society from the post title).
  • What you’ll become by subscribing to The Swing Architect Newsletter: a hairy-backed Baseball Hitting Knuckle-Dragger!

courtesy of swingsmarter.com

Baseball Shoes

Whether you’re diving toward a line drive or taking off down the baseline, you need a pair of baseball cleats that are going to dig in and give you the lift off, traction, and speed you need to get the job done! But their job doesn’t end there. Great baseball or softball cleats cushion your feet and stabilize your ankles with soft insoles and durable uppers.

For incredible, all-around performance, look for cleats with synthetic or natural leather construction.  These cleats hold up longer. They provide great structure to keep your feet and ankles stable and moving in all the right way. Inside, an EVA foam foot bed is a great feature, and cushions your foot on every impact, so your feet aren’t killing you after every inning. Finally, make sure your cleats have the right outsole and traction for your game. If you need pro-level traction for everything from batting to fielding, make sure your cleats have at least a 9-Spike configuration.

You spend a lifetime honing your skills, breaking in a glove, timing your swing, and finding a rhythm on the diamond. But players so often forget that they spend 9 innings on their feet. Don’t neglect them. Get a great pair of baseball shoes and see your entire game improve immediately!

 

Baseball Apparel

Baseball Pants

Since sliding on sometimes very hard and abrasive infields is required pants are a must to any baseball uniform. Technology has come a long way from my playing days in what kinds of material are available in baseball pants.

When I was playing we had hot and itchy pants. I don’t remember what they were made of but on a 100+ degree day they were really unpleasant.

Now pants have materials in them that help pull moisture away from your skin. They actually breathe to help keep an athlete cooler. Recalling my experiences as a player, I can’t help being a little jealous of the players now with these comfortable options available.

Styles have changed too. When I was playing our pants went to maybe our middle calf, at best; being tall I just wanted the darn things to stay below my knees. Some players still use this style showing their socks or stirrups. However,many elect to wear pants that go all of the way to their shoe tops. Some styles even have the pant legs long enough to go over your shoes so they can get caught on the back of your cleats. The first time I saw this I thought it was a design flaw but I later realized this was on purpose. Call me old fashioned but I don’t get buying pants just so you can use your cleats to rip the bottom of them up.

Prices on pants can vary from $15 to $50 a pair and even higher; don’t think you have to get the most expensive pair of pants that you can find. With sliding being a part of the game your pants can take a real beating.

We usually get our son pants in the $25 – $30 range. We have found that these pants will make it through a season before they start to get too torn up in the knee area. The damaged pants then get retired to practice duty for the next season.

Sliding Shorts

Sliding shorts are kind of like boxer shorts that a player can wear under their pants. They are not a required piece of equipment. However, an extra layer between your body and a hard infield can be beneficial if you want to avoid getting scratched up.

We got our son a pair a few years ago but it wasn’t for protection. Our Little League’s All-Star uniform had pants that were thin, very thin. If we didn’t get him the sliding shorts he would have been advertising what kind of underwear he was wearing. We couldn’t have that.

Athletic Supporter

The higher that boys get into the sport the more important an athletic supporter becomes. I remember being a young teenager and playing in tournaments.  The home plate umpire checked you before the game to make sure you were properly equipped. I don’t believe that this happens anymore but a jockstrap is still something that the guys need to wear, especially as they get older; it isn’t needed in tee ball for example.

I played for over ten years growing up and I never wore a cup. I was either at first base or pitching so I wasn’t a high risk to get hit below the belt. If you plan on catching getting a cup is a must, no exceptions and it cannot be up for debate.

I have coached for many years and I have had guys want to catch in games. I always ask if they are wearing a cup. If they didn’t have one they don’t go behind the plate, ever. They are teenage guys so they think they are invincible. One foul ball hitting you without a cup will bring any guy to his knees, literally.

A quick warning to any player not familiar with wearing a cup. They can be a bit uncomfortable at first so get used to it before you step on the field. Having you mentally distracted fussing with a cup will be a hindrance on the field. It will also probably embarrass your parents because you keep messing with the cup.

Baseball Undershirt

Even though baseball is usually a summer sport, and it can be hot or humid. An under shirt can be considered a part of many uniforms. Jersey’s get just as itchy as these old pants I was describing earlier. The logo or stitching used for the team name and/or uniform number can really aggravate a person’s skin. Even a thin short sleeve shirt can help eliminate these issues.

If you play in colder areas or participate in winter ball, a long sleeve under shirt will help keep you warm. Pitchers also like to wear long sleeves to help keep their arms warm. Some shirts are also available with just one arm being long sleeve to keep your throwing arm warm.

New Baseball Hats

What would a baseball uniform be without the hats? Hats have been a part of the game for longer than most of us can imagine. They have become one of the most common ways for fans to support their favorite teams. They are even so popular that many NFL quarterbacks wear a baseball hat when they take their helmets off; maybe they are a bit envious of baseball players wearing the much lighter hats versus those bulky helmets?

I guess it could be because they usually have a terrible case of helmet hair but I’m sticking with jealousy and maybe a bit of envy.

courtesy of howtheyplay.com

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