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Batting Gloves Now and Then

Batting Gloves

Batting gloves have been a staple at all levels of baseball for upwards of 60 to 70 years. The reasons behind wearing gloves varies.  Some wear them to keep a firm grip on the bat or to prevent blisters.  In addition, other players wear them for added warmth.  Batting Gloves also offer a reduction of shock to the hands on a mishit ball.

Who used them first?

The origins of the first hitters to use batting gloves isn’t exactly clear. There have been some factoids saying players wore gloves as early as the 1900s. Other reports showing a couple players donning them in the 1930s. Some say  Bobby Thompson was the first to wear batting gloves. Bobby is famous for hitting the “shot heard round the world”. The New York Giants won the pennant in 1951 due to Bobby’s big hit. Some reports show he arrived to spring training in 1949 sporting some golf gloves to protect his hands. Others reminisce of Ted Williams returning from his service in Korea wearing golf gloves in 1953. Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, long time White Sox TV color guy, claims he was the first major leaguer to sport a version of batting gloves in an MLB game.  After golfing 36 holes with teammates before a game against the Yankees he developed some blisters during batting practice.  He remembered he had a red golf glove in his jeans pocked and later used it during the game.

The majority of MLB ballplayers today wear batting gloves. There are other variations we have seen throughout the course of time. Hunter Pence has been known to wear a single glove on his bottom hand. Rod Carew was famous for wearing a single red glove on his top hand. Current player Wil Myers chooses not to wear gloves at all.  These players are few and far between.

 

PREDATOR II BATTING GLOVE

MaxBat offers some of the best batting gloves available to the everyday player and in the MLB like Baltimore centerfielder Cedric Mullins. The MaxBat Predator 2 batting glove series offers today’s player the ultimate combination of comfort, moisture management, and breathability. Improved designs feature world renowned Pittards leather that has been specifically engineered with an advanced textured pattern to provide ultimate grip and bat control in all weather conditions. Water resistant properties also give enhanced protection against the effect of perspiration to ensure that the MaxBat Predator batting gloves retain their exceptional feel over the course of a demanding season. Gloves sold in pairs and available in both Youth and Adult sizes.
Predator 2 Batting Gloves

Origins of the Batting Glove from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batting_glove

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Offseason Hitting Drills

Offseason hitting drills

The offseason is where the work gets done to prepare us for game play. Once the grass starts to green up in Minnesota, we know that baseball season is just around the corner. In order to get ready for opening day, us northerners use a variety of offseason hitting drills to prepare. These drills can be done on our own, or with a teammate or two.  You can also seek specialized coaching from one of MN’s great training facilities. Let’s focus today on some drills that you can do on your own, with limited space, and that require limited resources.

Tee Work

As we all know, baseball is a game of repetition. The best hitters in the game didn’t get that way over night or by watching a “how-to video”. At its purest form, baseball is one of the most mechanical and fundamental sports. The more repetition, the more success you may find. A Batting Tee is a small tool that applies to all abilities of players. There is benefit for your “tee ball” players up to your Major Leaguer.  A batting tee allows you to breakdown your swing to the most miniscule of details. It focuses on areas of weakness, and allows you to get many swings in a short amount of time. A tee is portable! You can do it in your basement when it is 20 below zero. Also works fine in your garage with a small net! The ideal spot would be a batting cage, as it allows for instant feedback letting you know exactly where you hit the ball and if you hit it properly.  Check out the Tanner Tee, best in the business.  Tee work is one of the best offseason hitting drills you can do!

Basics- Ball placement on the Batting Tee

 Try and place the ball on the batting tee with purpose. The saying “keep your eye on the ball” is an important focus of tee work. Hitting different spots on the baseball will create different outcomes.

Figure 1. Hitting downward on the top seam will create backspin that will make the ball go further.

Figure 2. Hitting the inside seam (right hand hitter) will create a better path to the baseball while also creating backspin to drive the ball further.

Hitting downward on the top seam will create backspin that will make the ball go further.Hitting the inside seam (right hand hitter) will create a better path to the baseball while also creating backspin to drive the ball further.

Basic Batting Tee Work

Basic Batting Tee work consists of moving the tee around the plate to focus on hitting pitches in different locations. Keep your typical batting stance and set-up when attacking these locations. By hitting the outside pitch, it allows for the ball to travel deeper through the hitting zone with the same swing. Up the middle contact should be somewhere between your stomach and your front foot after stride. Attacking the inside pitch, you will want to make contact earlier and out front so your wood bat barrel can make contact without compromising your hands or your stride.

Tee placement for ideal contact

Top Hand/Bottom Hand Drills

 The purpose of one hand drills is to isolate weaknesses in your swing, discovering limitations by being dominate with your top or bottom hand, and creating balance. By isolating one hand, it will help to create power as well as finding your ideal swing path.

Top Hand only- by letting the elbow lead through the zone, it will help by getting the wood bat barrel on plane with the pitch more quickly while developing bat control and balance.

Bottom Hand only- the bottom hand, even though most will be top hand dominant, will truly help you understand your swing path as a whole. Your lead hand will start the motion of pulling towards the baseball. Once you can control hitting line drives with one hand, the easier it will be with two. A couple training aids most popularly used are our one-handed trainer and the Hammer!

High Batting Tee Drill

We all have been in that funk where we start popping balls up and dropping our back shoulder. Here is a solution that will help you by driving down on the ball and generating that backspin with more line drives. By elevating the batting tee to somewhere between your eyes and your chest, it will create a bat path forcing you to stay on top of the ball through the zone while not allowing you to drop your backside shoulder. By setting your batting tee on a chair or bucket, it will allow you to achieve that ideal height for the tee. The ideal location to hit the ball is right back up the middle at head height. The focus is to square up the ball, where our Hand/Eye Trainer is ideal for hitting that sweet spot with immediate feedback.

Step Through Drill

Bat speed and Launch Angle are commonplace terminology within baseball and its developing at younger ages. This drill focuses on that as well as using our legs to generate power. The Step Through will also aid in keeping your hands back while we stride and get our front foot down first. While doing this you need to keep the bat back in the zone longer to swing at better pitches. The set-up will include starting at the back of the batter’s box facing straight towards the pitcher. The first step is taken with your right foot if you are a right-handed hitter towards the tee set-up in the front-middle portion of the plate. The left leg follows through as your stride leg into your hitting position.  After the swing the step through is the back leg finishing off on the ground or on your back toe. This is all controlled movement as to prevent “squashing the bug” as we are looking to generate back spin and more power!

Why Train with a wood bat?

Offseason hitting drills pared with a wood bat will really help you improve your game.  Swinging a wood bat has many benefits for the young player.  Wood bats give instant feedback. You will feel it if you don’t square one up on the barrel. If you hit one off the end or off the handle, the hands will feel the vibration off the bat. Simply swinging a wood bat can really help hitters develop faster. First off, wooden bats tend to be weighted differently than aluminum / metal bats.  This doesn’t always mean that a wood bat is heavier.  It means that because the barrel of wood bat is solid (instead of hollow like an aluminum bat), the weight distribution is going to be/feel different. This difference alone helps hitters develop the muscles they use to swing.  It really builds bat speed faster than just working with aluminum. Plate discipline and learning to swing at better quality pitches will essentially make you focus on hitting the sweet spot of the wood barrel and make your wood bat last longer. Wood is the bat for players looking to play at the next level!

Categories: Baseball Bats, Baseball Training, Bat Swing Speed, Wood Baseball Bats, Wood Bat, Wood bat company, Wood Bats

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TownBall Parks Of MN

With over 300 amateur baseball teams in Minnesota, the opportunity to play at some of the nicest “TownBall Parks of MN” seems to be more and more of a routine occurrence. The time and money dedicated to these baseball diamonds is spent on the playing surfaces themselves. A great deal of effort is also put into the amenities. The great play and amenities make it a welcoming event for the purest of fans and the fans just looking for a burger and a beer on a Sunday afternoon.

The bar is set high, as hosting a state tournament is the pinnacle spectacle for your facility. In 2020, the state tournament was held outstate of the metro area in the small towns of Springfield and Milroy. The playing surfaces were pristine, the grass perfectly striped, with beautiful grandstands and party decks accommodating 48 different teams in 3 weekends.

SpringField                                                                     Milroy       
SpringField Baseball Field - TownBall Fields of MNMilroy Baseball Field - TownBall Fields of MN

Ranking the Top Parks

The state is home to many of these “Sistine Chapels”. Most recently, for those of you on Twitter, Bob Greeley (@bob_greeley76) took the time to rank the top 100 ballparks in amateur baseball in MN. The criteria was based on: playing surfaces, grandstands, dugouts, concession stands and the overall ambience created for the total fan experience. These sanctuaries have been featured in multiple state tournament host sites and many featured on state news tours with Fox9. They host high school, legion and amateur games. The top 10 on Bob’s list is nothing short of ballparks any fan in MN must see, or take the opportunity to play at.

Top Ten TownBall Parks of MN:

10. Chanhassen
Chanhassen Baseball Field  - TownBall Fields of MN

9. Dundas
Dundas Baseball Field - TownBall Fields of MN

8. Chaska
Chaska Baseball Field  - TownBall Fields of MN
7. New Ulm
New Ulm Baseball Field  - TownBall Fields of MN

6. Cold Spring
Cold Spring Baseball Field  - TownBall Fields of MN

5. Shakopee
Shakopee Baseball Field  - TownBall Fields of MN

4. Jordan
Jordan Baseball Field  - TownBall Fields of MN

3. Dassel
Dassel Baseball Field  - TownBall Fields of MN

2. Miesville
Miesville Baseball Field  - TownBall Fields of MN

1. Delano
Delano Baseball Field  - TownBall Fields of MN

In Conclusion

As you can see,  TownBall Parks Of MN all have the same things in common. Time and dedication are the key ingredients along with some dedicated volunteers it takes to keep their holy grails in immaculate condition. And they do it because baseball is a passion inside of us all and the success of this game for the future generations continues to grow. Over the course of time, the caretakers have changed, the equipment has been upgraded, and the technology has advanced. But one thing will always remain the same, amateur baseball players and teams take pride in their hometown diamonds.

https://twitter.com/bob_greeley76?lang=en

Categories: Baseball Bats, Maple Bats, ProXR, Wood Baseball Bats, Wood Bat, Wood bat manufacturer

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MN Amateur Baseball

MN Amateur Baseball

Minnesota is home to over 300+ amateur baseball teams across the state. This is governed by the MN Baseball Association over 3 classes. Class A is primarily the Twin Cities metro area. Larger suburban cities make up Class B. Class C consists of many towns, villages, and townships that include a bar, a church, and a ball field. Teams are a part of leagues, which advance to region tournaments.  The season culminate to their respective State Tournaments.

Class C is where everyone knows amateur baseball by “town ball”. These teams consist of players anywhere from 15-16 years old to the Dads of those boys. These players may have played high school baseball, college, and even ex-minor league and professional players occasionally show up on a roster. But they all do it for one reason-the competition level and the camaraderie that follows on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon. They don’t do it for the money (there is none) as they go back to their regular jobs on Monday.

SCL

One local league to MaxBat is the Stearns County League. The SCL is rich in history, folklore, and family. Generations of grandfathers, uncles, dads, cousins, and sons have come through a lineage of town ball players dating back to the 1930s that worked on the farm and played ball on Sundays after church. Often, the local SCL clubs would have multiple sons and other relation in the starting lineups. Traditions and rivalries run deep for 9 innings at a time, but the post game celebrations seem to always include both teams as the friendships and family come together. Sundays in the SCL matter, but the real tournament in August is the Region 15C tournament.

Regions

Region 15C is one of the most storied playoff tournaments in MN amateur baseball. Win/loss records are thrown out the window over the course of 2 weekends, as games are played in towns of a couple hundred people and mini family reunions gather at the diamond. Attendance records have been calculated of upwards of 3500 people partaking in the cheering, banter, and letting the umpire know he missed a call in those special 2 weekends leading up to the State Tournament. Everybody knows everybody here. Out of towners come to “Regions” to get a taste of what they get to experience every year, as a result it truly is a mini state tournament.

State

For 3 weekends at the end of August and into Labor Day Monday, 48 teams in Minnesota qualify for the Class C State Tournament. The location is shared year to year across the state at some of the finest ball fields that mirror minor league surfaces. Single day attendance records show numbers over 7,000 people and in 3 weekends, ascending up to 13,000-16,000 fans current day.

In conclusion, MN Amateur Baseball is special. This tourney is special. The quality of baseball is special. But the lasting relationships of this game in Minnesota are what make it truly special. This roughly 4 month season keeps everyone that is involved saying “there is always next year”.  http://mnbaseball.org/

MN Amateur Baseball

MN Amateur Baseball

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wood bat barrels vs aluminum bat barrels

WOOD BAT BARRELS VS. ALUMINUM BAT BARRELS

We want to shed some light on a common debate…”Wood bat barrels vs. aluminum bat barrels.” Please keep in mind that wood bat barrels and aluminum bat barrels are completely different animals. Because aluminum bats have a hollow barrel, those barrels can be designed larger.  Aluminum bats have hollow barrels. So that typically makes them swing lighter than a wood bat barrel.  And because the aluminum barrel compresses when making contact with the baseball, a trampoline effect helps propel the baseball. Wood bat barrels on the other hand have a solid barrel, and the baseball will compress (instead of the barrel) when making solid barrel contact. Because there is no trampoline effect from wood bats, we need to think of ways to help give the player more lift and carry when hitting a baseball. The way to do that is to put more backspin on the ball, and you don’t need to be a seasoned professional in order to do this.

This brings us back to the “big barrel vs. small barrel” argument and the “wood bat barrels vs. aluminum bat barrels”. Which is better? Well, because the diameter of the smaller barrel has greater curvatures than the bigger barrel, you’re able to put more backspin on a baseball with your natural swing. This gives the ball more lift and carry, which translates to more distance.  The smaller wood bat barrel also forces the player to be a more disciplined hitter.  If you swing at bad pitches you will sting your hands or break your bat when swinging wood.  By nature you will have better plate discipline and and strike zone awareness.  Whereas hitting a ball squarely with a large barreled bat can often result in the baseball “knuckling” off the barrel, limiting its’ distance.  Every level of professional baseball is played with a wood bat.  So if you’re serious about baseball, swing wood!  Check out MaxBat pro series wood bats:  https://www.maxbats.com/shop/bats/baseball/?pro-series

 

Ball compression on a wood bat barrel

Ball compression on a wood bat barrel

Categories: Baseball Bats, Maple Bats, Metal bats, Wood Baseball Bats, Wood Bat

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