Baseball Equipment 101
Baseball Equipment 101
A glove, a bat and ball, and a warm summer day: memories are made of such simple ingredients. Baseball is a game that almost anyone can enjoy, and selecting your equipment is almost as much fun as playing. Who can resist the smell of a new leather glove? When shared with a parent, brother or sister, a trip to the store to get equipped for a new season is a sweet and cherished ritual. Nothing brings a sense of renewal like a fresh, white baseball straight out of the box or a gleaming bat ready for that first swing.
Types of Baseball Equipment
Think of your baseball glove as an extension of your body. It has to feel natural on your hand to give you the confidence to catch the ball and make plays. Major league players are notorious for the attention they devote to their gloves. Some are even known to use the same glove year after year. The quality of the leather determines the durability and flexibility of the glove, and a good one can last a lifetime. There is a different style of baseball glove for almost every position on the field.
Baseball bats come in various lengths and weights to suit batters of all sizes. At one time, bats were made exclusively of wood, but aluminum and composite bats have become the norm at every level except the majors. These bats are stronger and lighter than wood bats. From a performance standpoint, their strength allows for a thinner handle and a wider barrel to create a bigger “sweet spot” for better contact with the baseball. Children’s leagues may use foam or plastic bats.
While baseball gloves and bats have evolved over the years to incorporate new technology, baseballs used for official game play remain virtually unchanged. A baseball is still a leather-wrapped sphere with a cushioned-cork or rubber centre wound in yarn or string. It's made to a circumference of nine to nine-and-a-quarter inches and a weight of between five and five-and-a-quarter ounces. While unofficial baseballs may conform to a standard size and weight, the cover can be synthetic or rubber to withstand heavy use. A lightweight, padded baseball is a safe choice for children.
An officially approved batting helmet is mandatory at every level of organized baseball. Batting gloves prevent blisters and enhance grip. Most players also wear a protective cup. Concern for impact injuries at the youth level has created a market for cushioned undergarments, with thin but dense padding over the vulnerable chest and rib areas. Catchers require a full set of protective gear, including chest protector, shin guards, face mask, helmet and throat guard. Optional items include a mouthguard, knee pads and padded wristbands for infielders.
There are plenty of training devices to help you fine-tune every aspect of your game. A batting tee or pitching machine and practice net can help you perfect your swing right in your own backyard. Practice balls are lightweight, safe and can be used almost anywhere. A swing trainer helps to improve timing and hand-eye coordination. A field trainer enables you to practice both your throwing and fielding for those times when you don’t have a training partner. Gauge the speed of your pitch just like the pros do with a speed tracker. Baseball equipment bags have a special bat compartment to help keep everything tidy and organized.
You can think of softball as a scaled-down version of baseball with a bigger ball and slightly different rules. The field is smaller and the bases and pitcher are closer to home plate. The ball itself, known as a softball, is about two to three inches larger and several ounces heavier than a baseball, and pitches are thrown with an underhand delivery. This makes it a great game for players of all sizes and ages. Variations of softball include slow-pitch, fastball, and fast-pitch. Softball gloves are bigger with deeper pockets and softball bats are made of wood, aluminum or composite materials.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.