New to baseball or thinking of starting a baseball club? If so, it’s a good idea to find out exactly what you you need in the way of baseball equipment, sports uniforms, trophies and plaques, as well as bats, gloves, shoes, hats, and baseball pants.
Basics of Baseball Equipment
Anyone over the age of 10 should have equipment that is in line with major league specifications. It’s not essential to buy top quality equipment and accessories for beginners, but it’s sensible to stick with items that are licensed by reputable bodies like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Little League, or Major League Baseball. While you don’t have to spend vast amounts of money on baseball gear, a good rule of thumb is to spend what you can afford.
While the pros play with wooden bats, many non-professional players prefer cheaper aluminum bats that don’t break as easily as wooden bats. They also have a much longer “game life”.
Aluminum bats are light and hollow and have a greater “hitting mass” that wood. This makes it a lot easier to generate bat power and speed, which is a bonus for beginners. If you buy an aluminum bat, make sure it vibrates lightly or rings when you strike the barrel on something hard.
Professional wooden bats are made out of a single piece of solid wood no longer than 1.06 m (42 inches) or thicker than 7 cm (2¾ inches), and you need to choose a bat that you are able to swing comfortably with both speed and control. The best bats are made from white ash and are incredibly durable, particularly if you choose one that has a wide grain. This indicates it is made from mature wood, and the bat will be more resistant to chipping, denting and breaking.
Graphite and ceramic baseball bats are also available, but they are very expensive. Their advantage is that they are as durable as aluminum but have a similar weight/mass ratio as wooden baseball bats, so hitters don’t have an unfair advantage over pitchers.
Cheap balls don’t last, particularly when the inside of the ball hasn’t been properly wrapped or is made from inferior leather. Be sure to avoid balls that have fake leather wrapped around a hard plastic core.
The only company licensed by both the major leagues (the National League, NL and American League, AL) to manufacture “official” baseballs is Rawlings. These are the most expensive balls, but they are also the best.
Major league baseball gloves are made out of leather, but beginners can start out with cheaper vinyl gloves. Apart from the standards for gloves set by the major leagues, make sure they fit comfortably. Those with open webbings are useful as you can watch the ball until you catch it. However, it’s better for pitchers to wear gloves with closed webbing because open webbings don’t hide your pitches.
Hitters always wear batting gloves, though runners and fielders also wear them for hand protection. When worn for hitting it is important to wear a glove that won’t compromise your feel for the bat.
Generally, catchers wear mitts that are a lot wider than fielder’s gloves. Better padded than fielder’s gloves, catcher’s mitts are wider and the four fingers are connected in the glove.
Batting Helmets and Other Protection
Batting helmets are vital items of equipment because they protect the head from injury. The major leagues specify that hitters must wear batting helmets with at least one earflap protecting the side of the head that faces the pitcher. Ideally, buy a solid helmet that has earflaps on both sides. Your head is incredibly vulnerable; it’s really not worth risking a hit to the head.
A jockstrap with a cup pocket is another must-have to protect manliness. Women use a groin protector.
Non-professional baseball players don’t usually bother with special baseball shoes, and with good reason. Even the pros aren’t forced to wear standard shoes anymore. Nevertheless, a light shoe with metal spikes can help prevent slipping by giving you added traction on the field. If you don’t want spikes then it’s a good idea to opt for shoes that have rubber cleats to give you a bit of grip when you run.
What is important when it comes to baseball shoes is the fit of the shoes. They should also provide good support so that you don’t risk injury. Unlike running shoes that should always be a size larger than the shoes you normally wear, basketball shoes should fit snugly because they do tend to stretch with use.
Custom Sports Uniforms
Players, managers, and coaches all wear custom sports uniforms and matching caps that identify them with their team. Traditionally the home team will wear a predominantly white uniform that reflects the nicknames of team members. The visiting team generally wears a mainly gray uniform, though this is certainly not always the case. But whatever the choice, the idea of wearing a uniform does add a certain sense of pride.
Of course, your cap must fit snugly or it’s going to blow off or shift so that vision is blocked. All other clothing must be comfortable so that players can achieve the best they are capable of; sports uniforms must never restrict movement.
Specialist stores stock a wide range of custom sports uniforms including high school and college custom baseball uniforms, as well as youth and little league uniforms, from all the leading manufacturers. These include A4, Don Alleson, Easton, Mizuno, Rawlings, Russell Athletic, Under Armour, and Wilson.