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Buying Baseball Equipment

What Gear is Needed?

Baseball requires more protective equipment than many sports, excluding football. To play baseball, each team needs baseballs, bats, batting helmets, bases. Each player needs a glove.

Balls:

  • A regulation ball is 9 inches around and weighs approximately 5 ounces.
  • Many leagues use safety or "RIF" (reduced injury factor) baseballs, at least in T-ball and the lower "minor" leagues. Because safety baseballs are softer than regular youth baseballs, they don't hurt as much when they hit a player. A study by the Institute For Preventive Sports Medicine, headed by MomsTeam.com expert, Dr. David Janda, has shown that softer baseballs reduce the number and severity of head injuries, but another study by Dr. Janda shows that, contrary to the claims of some manufacturers, soft baseballs do not reduce the risk that a player struck in the chest by a ball will suffer commotio cordis, a potentially fatal cardiac injury. The use of soft baseballs will help players from developing a fear of the ball, which, once instilled, is difficult for a player to overcome.

Bats: Must be made completely from either wood or aluminum. Older, more competitive teams/leagues may not permit the use of aluminum but, until recently, this was fairly rare until the players reached the collegiate level.

Glove: Each player should have his or her own glove and should take the time to find one that is comfortable and fits well. Players, especially younger ones, should choose a smaller rather than larger glove, because a larger glove is more difficult to open and close quickly. T-Ball players might consider a vinyl glove, which are much softer and does not need to be broken in like a glove made of leather. Breaking-in a leather glove is a time consuming, but necessary task. Use softening oils or saddle soap, and tie a ball or two into the glove using rubber bands or string to form a well-defined pocket. Have your players repeatedly pound a ball into their glove while watching TV or, better yet, attending a high school, college or professional baseball game.

Apparel: Each player should have a shirt or jersey, knee-length or longer pants, baseball socks / stirrups, shoes with rubber cleats, and a hat to shield the hot summer sun from their face and eyes. The catcher will also have protective equipment, including a helmet, facemask, throat guard, chest-protector, protective cup (this is NOT optional) and shin guards. All other male players should consider wearing a protective cup, especially those in contact with the ball and sliding opponents often.

Bases: These may be supplied by your association or league, but regardless, be sure your league uses breakaway bases. If they don't, do your best to encourage their use, since a large percentage of baseball injuries occur during sliding.

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