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.
Our years of baseball experience, 4 years of full time selling oneBay, and other brilliant online resources (Get more reviews on baseball equipment HERE) 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):
Aluminum Bat (college),
Batting Weighted Donut,
Baseball Training Equipment,
Catching Equipment (if applicable).
*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? The best places to shop for the above items are: and Craigslist; the latter for used or exchanged goods. Just like with cars, you'll pay a premium for brand new just released models (because of high demand), but if you purchase 2-3 year brand new old stock items, then you can virtually get them at a steal.
Remember, it's NOT the bat, but the person swinging it that matters.
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 your favorite online/retail stores like Baseball Express or on the Amazon and Overstock.com websites.
I should know,
I made a living buying these overstocked brand new old stock (NOS) items in bulk to sell on eBay 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.
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.
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:
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.
What's the best way to transport all this HOT new tackle? 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.