Editor’s Note: Needed to have Jay’s input on the best products for ballplayers this year. Follow him @picklethebeast417 on IG and you’ll quickly see why. Jay’s also written great articles for us including “12 Gloves I Need to See Immediately” and “Gloves from Last Night.”
Whether you’re a 10-year old All-American or a 38 year-old father of two with a bad ankle and a wrist that clicks when it’s cold, the holiday season means one thing: Baseball (or Softball) Gear. This year I compiled a non-exhaustive list of ideas for your annual letter to Santa Claus, but if you ask for a new tee and net, don’t be surprised if you get a baseball-sized lump of coal next year since Saint Nick has to drag that sucker from the North Pole.
Under the Tree
Wilson has done an exceptional job with their exclusive releases over the last few years, and has continued to roll out new features into their A2000 series in 2020. The Country Pride Series that released on 12/2 integrates the flag colors of eight countries and Puerto Rico into an 11.5” 1786 pattern that features their new bold Wilson logos and the Comfort Pro Fit which includes their ProLux leather handslot and Comfort Sleeve which conceals the wrist binding into the back shell. These gloves won’t last forever, so pick one up on www.wilson.com before it’s too late.
The winter months means grind time for most ballplayers, and that means reps off the tee to keep your swing mechanics honed. In order to prevent destroying everything in your garage or letting a draft in by shattering a window, you should probably hit into a net. Bownet makes one of the best on the market, and right now they’re offering excellent discounts on their high quality training nets. With setup in as little as 60 seconds and a heavy gauge steel base, the Big Mouth X ensures that you won’t end up on Santa’s Naughty List next year for denting the siding of Mr. Litchfield’s house. Sorry, neighbor.
There are a lot of great wood bat companies out there, but custom wood timelines may be a little tight since it’s already December. If you’re looking for a wood bat that is built to last, provide excellent balance, and deliver that satisfyingly loud crack every single time, there’s nobody better than Baum. If you are new to using a wood bat, want to save money over a stable of eventual kindling, or both, Baum’s new AAA Pro Maple composite is a true -3 or -5 that is BBCOR certified and ready to rake in almost every league imaginable.
I’m not advising against doing a few more squats and pushups this offseason, but what if I told you that you could improve your power just by wearing a pair of batting gloves? Jax’s patented Pro Grip Web technology provides the ideal top hand grip and keeps the bat where it should be (in your fingertips) which creates more barrel control and increases bat speed while eliminating sting. Their new Jax Pro gloves are great for hitters of all ages, and as a washed up baseball player, I’ll take any advantage I can get in the box.
These 1-lb balls can do it all: Build strength through the hitting zone, give instant feedback on quality contact, warm you up, cool you down, or help you break in your new glove. They’re built to take a beating, and are the perfect piece of versatile training gear you didn’t know you needed.
Let’s face it, we could all use a break from reality right about now. And if you have an Oculus Quest or a Quest 2 VR headset, you have a perfectly good reason to join Paul Goldschmidt and enter WIN Reality’s virtual world: To develop your timing in the comfort of your living room. For as little as $24 a month, a WIN Reality subscription gives you access to an unlimited number of opportunities a day to dial in your pitch recognition, identify release points, and time up both high velocity and off-speed pitching. In only 15 minutes, you can see up to 100 pitches, meaning you can drastically improve your game in the time it takes to bake those chocolate chip cookies for Santa.
In the winter, it’s easy to blame Earth’s axial tilt for your rusty throwing arm. But that’s just another excuse. Enter Spark Catch, the world’s first LED baseball. The Spark Catch ball is the same size, weight, and specs of an MLB baseball, and even has real stitching and leather. It contains four powerful LEDs that comes in four colors, allowing you to get your throwing in while your rivals stare longingly out the window, waiting for brighter days.
In the Stocking
Who wants Tic Tacs and underwear when you can have your stocking stuffed with practical baseball items that fit any budget? Whether it’s gameday necessities or comfy postgame lounging shirts, check out the gear below and tell me which one is better than a new pair of white tube socks. Spoiler alert: All of them.
Unlike other thumb guards, the silicone Thumb-per is designed to stay locked in to place with its saddle shape and kill sting with its silicone construction. If you love your current BGs and want to reduce sting and increase bat speed, take a look at Thumb-per Thumb Guards. Royals SS Nicky Lopez is a fan, too (skip to 6:48 in the above video).
Even though they’re self-explanatory, you have to admit this is something you didn’t know you needed until you realize it exists. I’ll take a dozen, please and thank you.
The off-season is the perfect (ahem, mandatory) time to keep your glove in game-ready shape or break in a new one. Clean, soften, and maintain your gamer with all natural ingredients with two of my favorites: Pelican Glove Rub and Ball Player’s Balm
Link, Pelican: https://www.baseballexpress.com/pelican-glove-rub
Half of living the baseball lifestyle is wearing gear that tells people you’re living it.
Whether you go with the Routine “We Love Baseball” long-sleeve, the Baseball Lifestyle 101 Ghost Windbreaker, or the Hit Factory Athletics “Legends Never Die” t-shirt, you’re sending a clear message that there is no off-season.
Link, Routine: https://www.routine.com/
If you made it to the bottom of this post, you may have scrolled through the pictures and said, ‘Wow Jay, you sure are amazing, but I’m looking for something…different.” Well, one gift I have always cherished for its uniqueness was a handmade baseball based on the design of the mid-19th century lemon peel “base ball” by Leather Head Sports out of Glen Rock, New Jersey. Comprised of four hand-stitched panels and made with world-famous Horween Chromexcel leather, this ball hits different. No seriously, it hits different because it’s a bit smaller and lighter than a modern baseball, and has a softer core instead of a cushioned cork center. Buy one and find out.