With the holidays just around the corner, finding a perfect baseball gift for a family member or friend can be difficult. There are so many products on the market, which can make it challenging to find equipment that not only improves their game but also checks off something they might need on their list. M^Powered has compiled a holiday gift guide highlighting perfect stocking stuffers of essential baseball accessories for Little League to high school ballplayers. Check out our list of gift ideas down below.
Every ballplayer knows, having a strong grip on their bat is crucial. With our M^Powered Xcellsior bat wrap made out of our dura soft poly material, we can guarantee that bat isn’t going anywhere but knocking the ball out of the park. Shop Bat Wrap
Compression sleeves help circulate nutrient-rich blood to injured areas—meaning quicker recoveries and less time on the bench. This product is perfect for preventing and coping with muscle wear. Shop Sleeves
When the going gets tough, they have to get tougher. With flex tape, quick bandages over wrist, elbow, ankle and other injuries, assure they stay on the field, not the sidelines. Shop Tape
Old School Bat Weight
The classic donut shape we all know and love is just what they need for improving arm strength and swing speed. Pre-game practice with this model will help send the ball flying. Shop Bat Weights
Cotton Wrist/Sweat Bands
Don’t sweat the sweat—this is the easiest solution to one of the biggest grievances during game time. It’s lightweight and highly absorbent, guaranteeing easy use and effectiveness. Shop Sweat Bands
Pelican or TIGER STICK Grip Stick
This hand-crafted resin improves bat grip. It not only has an easy application process but also provides unmatched tack in comparison to other products on the market. Shop Grips
Pine Tar Rag
This handy, easily portable pine tar rag provides added tack to your bat with no mess at all. Shop Here
With continued use, baseball caps can quickly get worn down with sweat. Gift a new one to a friend or family member so they can keep the sun out of their face and their eyes on the prize. Shop Caps
When it comes to holiday baseball gifts, get something that will change their play. With this list, one or more of these products can make a difference between making contact and a strike. Shop all of these products and more on our online store.
CUPPED-END VS. NO-CUP BATS
If you look around today, most hitters prefer their bats have a cup, a small area at the end of the barrel, where the manufacturer has removed some of the wood. The conventional wisdom is that it balances the end and reduces the weight of the bat. However, it only removes a fraction of its heaviness. Prior to the mid 1980’s, cupped bats were not in style.
There are many benefits to not cupping a bat. First, if you take a shot off the end of a non-cupped bat, it will live to bat another day, whereas a cupped one will most likely break. A bashed bat can be rendered “illegal” in the process. Second, conventional wisdom also says that a non-cupped bat stands the test of time. Dry, arid climates subject cupped bats to splits inside the cup, while wet, humid climates alter the weight of your bat over time.
When it comes game time, it’s player choice that matters most. Scroll around our bats section, browse our cupped and non-cupped bats, and choose a side.
THE TRUTH ABOUT FALSE CLAIMS
Competitors often make claims about having the hardest, best or even the most durable wood. All ball players have heard the claims. The truth of the matter is when it comes to wood species and wood raw material for baseball bats, there are a few things every player should recognize.
Most players use maple. Some players like birch and ash. Species like beech, hickory and others are limited and come with issues. Hickory is typically heavy but potent. It was the wood of choice back in the day during the dead-ball era (our website has these in limited stock). Beech tends to be a quality species and approved by MLB, but the material is difficult to dry and tends to be very temperamental. It does have the elastic properties like ash and birch with the hardness of maple (our website has these in stock).
With regards to the claims by our competitors about the hardest, best or most durable wood, here’s our warning: think twice. Most of the raw material in the business comes from three or four states and from a limited number of suppliers. The bottom line—most serious bat makers are getting their raw material from the same place. There are different grades of wood, and they drive the price of a bat. In the end, a $200 wood bat will be an equal opportunity breaker, just like a $99 bat. The right bat usage is what defines its value, not a claim by a company. Sanding, finishing and craftsmanship make a quality bat, but it is the correct usage that determines its life span.
Stay on your toes for bats made by companies that pretend they’re unique. There’s only one level of wood that can have that claim, and we’ll highlight that in our next blog. In the meantime, swing on over to our other blogs for all things baseball.
WEIGHT AND DROP VS BALANCE AND FEEL
I’m often asked about the drop of our wood bats. The term “drop” refers to the difference between the length and weight of a bat. So, for example, a 32” bat weighing 29oz equals a drop of three.
In reality, the drop is only somewhat important. I could make twelve bats of the same model, from the same weighted billets, and you might think they’ll feel the same.
Although they all weigh the same, the balance point of each bat is different, thus feeling different in your hands. The key is to have your bat maker provide you with a feel you’re most comfortable with. The common preferences are end loaded, balanced, or a feel that has a degree of heaviness, but is evenly distributed throughout.
At M^Powered, we build relationships with our players, so their bats are completely unique to them. Join #TeamMpower and see how a bat with personality can elevate your game.
Most players that swing wood bats are familiar with the brands and models that flood the industry. And every once in a while, one of those brands gets bought out by another company at a price that allows the buyer to pass along incredible savings.
That’s how our Red Label Program was born. We purchased the assets of a former MLB approved bat supplier, which overstocked the M^Powered warehouse. It led to our best bat value to date. You tell us your size and we select from a wide range of pro maple, birch, beech, and ash models.
Grab a 3-pack of Red Label bats for $219 with free shipping! (The other guys sold them for $169.99 each.)
It’s crucial for hitters to stay loose in between their at-bats. Because of this, it’s routine to add weight to the bat in the on-deck circle. Batters equip the classic “donut” weight, which is simply a circular piece of metal wrapped in a rubber/plastic compound, by sliding it down the handle of the bat to the midsection of the barrel. The extra weight also improves swing speed, a key to hitting dingers.
M^Powered Bat Weights
Due to the recent popularity of “sleeve” weights, the “donut” has been labeled old-school. At M^Powered Baseball, we like keeping some things old-school. Our full line of “donut” weights is available in many colors and sizes.
Wood bats are typically made from nine MLB approved species. A vast majority of today’s players use maple, ash, birch, hickory, or beech. Other wood species are not readily available in billet form or squares; thus, bat makers do not use them. Up until the 1990’s, ash was the material of choice. Once Barry Bonds shattered the all-time home run record with a maple bat, maple became the wood of choice.
One of the more complicated subjects on wooden bats is their grain structure. It seems that everyone wants to be a “Professor of Woodology” these days. Here are the facts.
Maple – It’s a very hard, rigid wood that mainly grows in Pennsylvania, New York, New England, and Canada. The early maple bat models were breaking way too often, causing flying shards to strike fans, coaches, and players. The MLB hired a consultancy group to study maple. They came up with various weight and grain requirements, along with the “ink dot test” for closed grain woods. It’s a tool used for evaluating the slope of a grain to determine if the wood is “pro-grade.” The ink dot isn’t the only way to evaluate maple quality. You should also examine the wood itself. If there are strange curly grain lines, it’s a sign of poor-quality wood. You want to see a clean, uniform grain with a crisp, white color. Dark or browning areas may not be a bad thing, that simply means the piece of wood came from the area closer to the interior heartwood of the bat or from the very outside of the tree and may have some superficial bark streaks. If you see chunks of brown area, stay away – that’s most likely embedded bark. Also, always check the handle for unwanted knots. All of these factors can be attributed to birch and beech too, since they are also closed grain woods.
Ash – Make sure the grain lines run perfectly straight from the knob through end of the barrel, with no turn off or deviation. This is a key for ash bats. Another factor is the number of grain lines. In my opinion, the fewer lines the better. I’ve learned that a 7 or 8 grain ash bat will be tougher and more effective than a 15+ grain line bat. The great Tony Quinn would spend days sorting ash billets at the Louisville Slugger wood supplier looking for 6 to 9 grain ash bats – that’s all he swung. In summary, straight lines and fewer grains make for a superior ash bat.
Hickory – It’s the purest, most old-school bat material and was used during the dead-ball era. Hickory is considered to be the densest wood approved for use. It’s an open grain wood that has a tight and consistent structure. Due to its density, try to find a hickory bat that has a manageable weight.
Many of our wood bat models are available in multiple species, so hitters can choose which type of wood is right for their game.
BREAKING IN A GLOVE – M^POWERED STYLE
As a longtime player and owner of a baseball company, I’ve heard numerous “best ways” to break in a new glove. You may not believe some of these, but here’s a list of the most creative techniques I’ve heard over the decades – run it over a few times with your car, soak it in vegetable oil or pig fat, microwave it, pound it with a hammer. From the ridiculous to the sublime, the list goes on and on. Here’s the M^Powered method.
First, shape the inside of the glove with your hands. Always shape it from the top down, never from side to side. This stops early onset floppy glove syndrome from occurring. Plus, top down manipulation will conform the leather to your hand to create a better bond between you and your mitt.
Next, play catch. Use the glove early and often – it’s the best way for it to take shape naturally and develop a perfect pocket. Playing catch is crucial for glove conditioning. After all, a glove is simply a tool to catch and transfer the ball to your throwing hand as fast as possible.
Lastly, we recommend to never oversaturate your glove with creams, oils or any other substances that will add weight to the mitt. We do recommend using a small amount of Pelican Glove Rub to treat the pores of the leather a few times year; preferably a month before the season and right after season’s end.
That’s how it’s done.
Baseball vs Cricket? Reasons Why Baseball Wins
It is obvious that both baseball and cricket belong to a family of games that involve the use of bat and balls. However, despite glaring similarities, there are a couple of differences between the two as well. Then there is also the debate of which is more popular, baseball or cricket? Let’s try to get some more insights.
Brief History of Baseball and Cricket
By most accounts of cricket and baseball history, the games may have originated somewhere in Europe and developed by Pilgrim Fathers who eventually brought the game to the Americas. This means that both cricket and baseball may have come from the same game.
When you look at some baseball facts, it is not difficult to discern that it has become a working man’s game enjoyed by a vast majority of people, while cricket has remained a preference of those in the upper society of countries that have been influenced by French or English cultures.
So despite mutating from the same game, baseball’s evolution has transformed it into a less delicate and extremely exciting sport enjoyed not only by a huge portion of the middle to lower class American population, but even those in the upper levels of society as well.
Comparison between Baseball and Cricket
When we look at cricket and baseball similarities, it can go beyond both sports using a ball and a bat. Both in fact are played on a field. But, these seeming similarities can also be the point of difference between the two sports.
The field used by baseball for example relies on a quadrant residing between foul lines. The baseball diamond has a fair territory of at least 100 thousand square feet although many Major League Baseball parks go up to 120 thousand square feet. For cricket, the shape is not really fixed. The size of the test grounds can vary from 175 thousand to 270 thousand square feet.
The issue of cricket vs baseball difficulty can also be pegged at the pitching distance of the sports. For cricket, it is about 22 yards. The pitcher’s mound in baseball is about 60.5 feet away from the rear of the home plate. What is interesting here is that before the pitcher’s mound was used, pitching in baseball was done from a rectangular box resembling that of cricket.
The level of difficulty also extends the manner of hitting. For cricket accumulating large runs and placement of balls is considered as excellent strategies. This is quite different in baseball where power hitting to produce runs or multiple bases is often used as winning strategy.
There is a huge debate on baseball vs cricket popularity considering that baseball is enjoyed mostly in the United States, the Caribbean, and some parts of Asia. Cricket on the other hand commands a following in Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Australia, and some parts of Africa. This means that the 500 million worldwide fans of baseball can be easily dwarfed by the 2.5 billion fans of cricket.
However, as far as popularity is concerned, fan following may not be the only metric. Some contend that when it comes to baseball vs cricket, the experience that baseball brings would be a thousand times greater. This is presumably because of the tension and excitement that baseball delivers as the game goes through its innings not only through home runs and base hits, but also in the form of outs and double plays; some fans say something that a leisurely game of cricket cannot provide.
Equipment of Baseball and Cricket Use
There are some glaring differences between the equipment used for both sports. Even if you have the same basic things like gloves, bats, and balls, baseball equipment and cricket equipment may not be completely the same.
Bats – where baseball bats are thin and rounded, the one used for cricket has a thicker, flatter face, and is about four inches shorter.
Gloves–the ones for cricket are designed for hand protection and catching similar to hockey gloves unlike those in baseball. In cricket only the wicket keeper and batsmen wear gloves.
Pads – for baseball only the catcher wears pads as compared to cricket where leg and arm pads are fairly common sight.
You may have the talent and skills to play the game, but, without the proper equipment and gear, you will never improve your level of play.
Head on down to M^Powered Baseball and get high quality gear to play the game in virtually all levels today!
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