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Hit a home run with Rawlings baseball equipment
When you shop products from a company that's the official baseball equipment supplier to the MLB, you know you're purchasing high-quality items you can trust. That's what you get with Rawlings, a sporting-equipment manufacturer that's been turning out expertly made gear since 1887. Whether you or your child are getting started playing in a local league or you have some experience playing America's favorite pastime, it's important to get baseball equipment that fits. Here's how to shop for some of Rawlings' most popular types of baseball gear.
Although classic baseballs might look the same with their traditional crisp white leather and cherry-red stitching, there are some key sizing and other differences to pay attention to. If you're playing in a league or division, you may need to purchase special baseballs designed with officially sanctioned components. Check with your coach to be sure.
- Little League Minor League baseballs are designed to be comfortable for kids between ages 5 and 9.
- Little League Major League baseballs are designed for Little League Baseball Division players and are sized for kids between ages 9 and 12.
- Babe Ruth League baseballs are designed for players ages 13 to 15.
- The Cal Ripken League is the division of Babe Ruth League baseball for kids ages 4 through 12, and various baseballs are sized to fit these players' hands.
- Pony League games separate kids by two- to five-year age increments instead of skill like Little League baseball does. Pony baseballs are designed differently for practice and competitions.
- General high school balls are appropriate for high school-level baseball and fast-pitch softball.
- Rawlings creates the official National College Athletic Association (NCAA) baseballs for universities with sports programs that the NCAA governs. These baseballs are suitable for official games.
- For all age groups, training balls are available that help players better judge their hits. Look for weighted training balls that change shape upon impact to show how and where you're hitting different types of pitches.
If you're shopping for kids, look for "Reduced Injury Factor" balls. These are designed with softer materials and reduced weights, so they're less likely to cause injuries. Kids can play more confidently knowing that they don't need to fear the impact of a harder baseball.
With the right bat, it's easier to make contact with the ball. And getting the right bat starts with finding the right size. You'll need to know your height to get started. For the following measurements, keep in mind that the more you weigh, the more comfortable the bats at the higher end of the length range will be for you to swing.
- Between 5 feet and 5 feet 4 inches tall: 30-, 31-, or 32-inch bat
- Between 5 feet 4 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall: 32- or 33-inch bat
- Between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall: 33- or 34-inch bat
- Over 6 feet tall: 34-inch bat
If you're shopping for a child, their age is generally a good guideline for choosing a bat length:
- Ages 5 to 7: 24-, 25-, or 26-inch bat
- Ages 8 to 10: 26-, 27-, 28-, or 29-inch bat
- Ages 11 to 14: 30-, 31, or 32-inch bat
- Age 15 and up: 32-, 33-, or 34-inch bat
As you shop, you'll also notice what look like negative numbers in the bats' product descriptions. These numbers are the "bat drop" weights. This represents the length of the bat in inches minus its weight in ounces, which is why it's usually a negative number. The bigger the bat drop number is, the lighter the bat is. If you already have a preferred bat drop, you can narrow your search results to show bats with that specific rating using the filter on the left side of the Rawlings bats page.
Your helmet is one of the most important pieces of safety gear to wear when you're at the plate. It's essential to get the right fit for the highest level of protection. To determine the right size, measure the circumference of your head in inches. Hold the measuring tape right above your ears. Rawlings helmets often use sizing numbers that are similar to typical hat sizing numbers, so you may need to check the sizing charts in the product descriptions to determine your proper fit.
When you get your helmet, try it on and shake your head. If the helmet moves, it's too large. You can purchase a smaller size, or you can opt for a padding kit that creates a snugger fit. The helmet should also sit about an inch above your eyebrows with the brim perpendicular to your forehead. If the brim tilts upward, the helmet is likely too small.
A baseball glove is the final key accessory you'll need to play the game. The right one helps you handle the ball properly—and quickly. First, keep in mind that if you're right-handed, you'll wear the glove on your left hand and vice versa. Baseball gloves come in a variety of materials, and that's one of your primary considerations aside from size when choosing. Synthetic leather is a player-preferred glove material for younger or new players because there's no break-in period to soften the glove. It's also lighter in weight than leather. Leather mitts like Rawlings' Heart of the Hide series are classic, but they're typically stiffer and heavier than synthetic gloves and require a lot of use to break in. Once your leather glove is broken in, though, it'll conform better to the exact shape of your hand.
Aside from choosing the material and looking for a particular style of glove that suits the position you play, you need a glove that fits your hand, well, like a glove. Most baseball mitts come in sizes ranging from 9 inches to 13 inches. To get the right fit, measure from the tip of your index finger down to your wrist, and choose a glove with that measurement.