When you take the baseball field, you should take along the best equipment available. You don’t need to spend vast sums to purchase top-quality accessories as long as you know what to look for and where to find it.
There are numerous first baseman gloves which are available in the stores today.
Unless you are under ten years old, buy equipment that meets all the major league specifications. Buying equipment that is licensed by a reputable body, such as Major League Baseball, the NCAA, or the Little League, offers you some quality assurances.
Baseballs that last
You don’t have to go to your local sporting goods store armed with a tape measure, scale, and scalpel to make sure you’re buying a baseball that conforms to major league standards. Rawlings is the only company licensed by both major leagues to manufacture their official baseballs. So if you buy one of their baseballs, you know you’re getting the genuine article.
A ball whose insides are poorly wrapped rapidly becomes misshapen with use. If your baseball is poorly stitched or constructed from inferior leather, it falls apart. Avoid balls made with synthetic leather wrapped around a core of hard plastic. This kind of ball makes a good toy or first ball for a toddler, but if you’re a young adult or older, you’ll tear its cover off in one good afternoon of batting practice.
Bats that really swing
Although pro players are required to use wooden bats, many people prefer the power that aluminum can offer. Here’s a breakdown of three styles of bat:
Choose a bat that you can swing comfortably with control and speed, but also look for one that will last. Bats made of white ash have greater durability than bats constructed from less dense woods. When you choose a bat, look for one with a wide grain, the mark of an aged wood. These bats are more resistant to breaking, denting, chipping, or flaking than bats made from less mature wood.
Powerful aluminum: Aluminum bats are currently popular in many levels of nonprofessional baseball. The choice of aluminum over wood is largely an economic one: Most nonpro leagues find that the cost of regularly replacing broken wooden bats can bust their budgets.
Hitters love aluminum bats because they are hollow and light yet they have more hitting mass than heavier wooden bats. This quality enables the hitter to generate greater bat speed and power. Balls that are routine outs when struck by a wooden bat are out of the park when launched by aluminum.
An aluminum bat’s sweet spot is twice the size of that found on a wooden bat. Aluminum bats have a longer game-life than wooden models, but they aren’t immortal. After 600 hits or so, metal fatigue becomes a factor.
If your league insists that you use an aluminum bat, buy one that rings or lightly vibrates when you strike its barrel on something hard. Bats that don’t ring have no hitting life left in them.
Other batting options: Ceramic and graphite bats are the new kids on the block. They have the durability of the aluminum bats but are closer in weight/mass ratio to wooden bats, so they don’t give hitters an unfair advantage over pitchers. Their price, however, can be prohibitive: Top-of-the-line models can cost as much as $220.