As we mostly sit around and wait for the little league world series (and the barrage of baseball bat releases that come right after that) we find our selves with a bit of time on our hands to show you some stuff we used this year but never got a chance to actually talk about it.
As we wrote about in some previous reviews (here and here), Boombah is a direct to consumer sport apparel and equipment manufacturer whose goal is to make high quality stuff but with direct to consumer prices. We think they succeeded in that goal in their bat and bag market. We also had a chance to use their youth catcher’s gear (Direct for $220) and have a hard time saying it isn’t the best youth catcher’s gear for the money.
Looks and design are clearly a personal taste but based on the number of comments we received from players, coaches and parents the Boombah look far outpaced any other catcher’s gear. In fact, the royal blue gear we had made our catcher look like a transformer and, as a result, we often called him megatron behind the plate.
Boombah youth catcher’s gear also has plenty of color options in Red, Royal Blue, Navy Blue and black. A feature we didn’t find in other gear we tried to check out.
It would hard to say that one catcher’s gear preformed better when compared to another. Both, in the end, protected the player and were adjustable enough to just about any size of little league player. However, Boombah’s direct to consumer model does make their entire set a bit more affordable which gives them the edge in the ‘function’ of keeping my bank account more full.
There isn’t much to say about catchers gear outside of it worked and it looks great. Boombah clearly makes a quality set of youth gear comparable to anything we saw on the market this year. The helmet looks great, comes off easy and is as good looking as any helmet we saw.
Boombah (and Easton Youth Gear) both held up well. Straps stayed in place and the knee savers were a must and fit on both sets. Here is a picture of a our dirty set of Boombah gear after a year of use. Those aren’t scratch or paint wears, that is just dirt. It would clean right off.
Best (and only) place to purchase Boombah gear is right on their website.
JustBats started a bat knob contest that could land you $200 and some notoriety. We thought it cool enough to share here.
The 3 Steps to Enter
1. Create a custom bat knob here.
2. Post it to FaceBook with the tag #MyDesignMyBat. (You can also email it to JustBats).
3. Then, if JustBats decides its in the top 4 of submissions each month, you vote for it here.
If you win the voting you get a $200 gift card to Just Bats AND other JustBats customers can put your design on their bat.
Of course you can still design a custom one on their site (read about that below).
Here is Just Bats custom knob write up.
Here are some designs our kids came up with
Custom Bat Knob Design
We had a chance to put a custom knob on a purchased baseball bat from Justbats.com. Below is a basic tutorial walking you through the process. It is a quite simple. And, for most, we suggest you simply click around on the “Personalize Your Bat!” section until you figure it out. It is hard to mess up. Still, though, below is how we did it.
Custom DeMarini Bats
- Only some bats (granted, most of them), with certain types of knobs, are available for customization. See the full list. Looking for the best bat to put your logo on? Then check our best baseball bats section.
- This customization does NOT effect the bats warranty
- The Customization does NOT effect the speed at which the bat is shipped to you
- The customization does a cost, but can be added on checkout. We show you those steps below.
On any given bat, choose the personalize your bat option in the right hand margin (on desktop). On mobile it will be found below the bat.
A pop up will ask you to accept the terms and conditions. Do so by choosing the tick box and then clicking Start Now!
You have three options that are otherwise simple enough to understand. Text, Image or a symbol. On the image you are restricted as to not use trademarked images. So, don’t think you can put that Yankees logo on the end knob. But, any other type of image, like of your girlfriend or grandma (assuming those are different people), can go there.
Use your computer’s file system to select the logo you want. Note that white space around the image will be helpful as this is, ultimately, a circular image.
Use the image tools on this next screen to scale and move the image. If you want to start over press the X, if you want to choose a different image choose the pencil. Once finished, select “preview”.
Wait while the image generates.
Once the image is done generating, and you like it, press the I’m Done Save It button. If you don’t like you can select the edit pencil and it will take you to the previous image editing screen.
Once complete, you will see your custom knob in the tag your bat section. If you see it there then you know it worked.
Check out by adding the bat to your cart and clicking
You are all done.
Running a baseball and softball bat site brings with it a few perks, not the least of which is speaking with ancillary baseball products. Chinook Seedery is one of our more recent finds. They make, as you can guess, large sunflower seeds in a handful of unique flavors. They hooked us up with a few bags and we’ve been pounding them ever since. Here is a little diddy on our experience and favorites.
Chinook Seedery Flavors Table
|Flavor||Goodness||Buy on Amazon|
|Parmesan & Pepper||5/5||$|
|Hatch Green Chile||5/5||$|
|Smoke House BBQ||4.5/5||$|
Chinook Seedery Table of Contents
The best place to look is directly on the Chinook Seedery site. There you’ll find more information on their process and customer commitment. Buying from them directly, instead of through the Amazon links above, is the less expensive way to go. We realize, however, people’s familiarity with Amazon is often enough of a selling point.
We do have a “best sunflower seeds” page. When we originally created it, we did not include Chinook in the voting simply because we didn’t know they existed. They are now added and we will see how they do.
Chinook Seedery Overview
Chinook produces six types of sunflower seeds. They are, in no particular order, Smokehouse BBQ, Hatch Green Chile, Dill Pickle, Parmesan and Pepper, Cinnamon Toast and Original. With the exception of the Dill Pickle (because we didn’t get any), we’ve snacked on each in copious amounts. The seeds are larger than we are used to in traditional David and Spitz brands. Chinook prides itself as a huge seed maker. According to their website these seeds are organic and GMO-free.
In terms of what we liked most, the order goes like this:
- Parmesan & Pepper is our favorite. These may be the best sunflower seed we have ever had.
- Smokehouse BBQ seeds are also really good.
- Originals probably come in third, although original seed lovers will feel at home with these.
- Hatch Green Chile’s are very good, too.
- Cinnamon Toast were not our favorites, but we found ourselves eating them nonetheless.
The jury is still out on Dill Pickle because we have yet to try them. But, we suspect we would like them a lot.
Parmesan & Pepper
The Parmesan & Pepper Chinook Seedery seeds are not just our favorite of the entire Chinook Seedery line, but may be our favorite seeds ever. We submit we know what we are talking about as we have destroyed pounds and pounds of seeds in our day. And the Parmesan & Pepper are easily on the top shelf of our seed need pile.
These could be our second most favorite seeds in the line. Real simple BBQ taste with monster seeds might convince you it is an occasional bite of steak. Throw in some Hatch Green Chile seeds with your handful of Smokehouse BBQ, and it’s like eating a fajita.
At first glance, a Cinnamon Toast sunflower seed sounds a bit odd, and that pretty well describes our experience. These were not our favorites. We are sure there are people that will like the sweet seed flavor for munching at a baseball game, but not us. Nothing about these taste bad, it just doesn’t line up with what we want out of a seed.
We did not get a chance to try the Dill Pickle. We would expect them to be pretty good considering it is one of our favorite flavors in other brands. Chinook’s larger seed type might make the experience even better.
The Hatch Green Chile seeds are very good. It recreates the branded Hatch Green Chile flavor very well and the spice is a good touch. Not too overbearing in its flavoring, we could pound these all days.
The Original Chinook Seedery seeds are just what you would expect from the original flavor. A very traditional salty taste and extra large seeds make these seeds an original lover’s go-to bag of spitters. As a kid, we loved the original flavor. Now, as more flavors have entered the market, we prefer something with a different taste than just salt. But, these Originals add volume and zing to any other bag in the Chinook line, and there is no shame in mixing and matching.
Looking to buy a baseball bat cross necklace? You’ve got plenty of choices. They are actually more popular, in terms of search volume, then BBCOR bats. The necklace usually consists of three bats formed into a cross. Two are the cross bar and the other is the height. These represent the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
You might also like our Swingrail review.
If you are looking for the original baseball bat cross necklace then look no further than the All In Faith versions. These are, in large measure, the same cross necklaces that many major league baseball players have.
Pricing in the all in Faith versions range from the just under $50 to over $500 and upwards. The expensive ones are gold or silver and can be made custom. They take their baseball cross necklaces serious.
The All In Faith made our gifts for baseball players.
HZMAN cross necklaces are inexpensive but come with a cool design and in a few different colors. This is not an actual baseball BAT cross necklace. But, instead, a baseball necklace. It is durable considering it’s cheap.
The best rated baseball bat cross necklace is the Men’s S925. This is a basic, unbranded, 3 bat cross necklace that comes in at a fraction of the cost of the All In Faith. It’s built well and, although inexpensive, is far from cheap. It is unpretentious and straight forward. We are huge fans and this comes highly recommended by us.
Although not an actual cross made out of bats, the Athlete’s Cross necklace is a pendant with an engraved baseball and cross insignia. On the back of this pendent is the scripture on Luke 1:37: With God All Things are Possible. It runs affordable and, if you want something a bit different and don’t like the full on bat cross this will do you some good.
RMOYI is a foreign company that makes a type of stainless steel into a black three bat cross design. Most reviews think the neckalce is a great steal. Simple and without much fanfare. This is an imported produce that will fit the tight budget of a sibling or teammate gift.
MLB Player’s Cross Necklace
Javier Baez is likely the most popular baseball bat cross necklace wearer. Although there are several more. He wears, as far as we can tell, the All In Faith version. These are generally the most expensive, most well known and some of the better quality we have seen.
Baseball Bat Cross Necklace Recommendations
If you are looking to save a few dollars on your baseball bat cross necklace, we recommend a 316L stainless steel cross necklace from a major retailer who accepts returns, like here.
As of the writing of this article, over fifty major league players and countless more minor leaguers are showcasing two very important parts of their lives: baseball and their faith.
The cross itself is formed from the union of three crossed baseball bats. These three bats symbolize God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This Trinity lies at the center of every Christian athlete’s core beliefs. This pendant allows baseball players and fans alike to showcase these beliefs on and off the field.
Other Baseball Bat Cross Necklaces
There are a number of off brands producing inexpensive baseball bat cross necklaces. You can find the vast majority of these with a search like this one on Amazon. These range from just a few dollars to closer to $50.
Our experience with these types of products is you generally get what you pay for. Cheap chains, necklaces and pendants don’t appear to last very long. If we were to buy one on a budget, then we recommend finding one in a 316L Stainless steel.
If you are willing to afford more, then take a look at the Five Tool baseball bat cross necklaces below.
Five Tool Branded Necklaces by Allinfaith.com
All in Faith, , is now the parent company of the “Original FiveTool Necklace”. They are the original cross necklace makers and produce a more expensive, and higher quality product than is found on places like Amazon and eBay. Generally, Five Tool cross necklaces are the necklaces you see around MLB players’ necks.
All in Faith comes from very humble beginnings, going from only offering a single cross to eleven different styles of necklaces in gold, silver, and for the high roller, one a 14k diamond studded version. Below we will give the specs, along with prices of their top five necklaces sold.
All in Faith Details
All in Faith hand makes all of their necklaces out of .925 sterling silver, 10k or 14k gold. Necklaces are available with or without a stainless steel chain or solid gold rope chain. Handmade items can take up to 6 days for delivery.
Five Tools Product Offerings
- FiveTool’s standard silver pendent is 1.5 in long by 0.9 in wide with optional chains ranging from 18 to 24 inches. The price point for the standard silver is $64.99 to $69.99
- Standard 2.0 silver pendent is 1.5 in long by 0.95 in wide with optional chains ranging from 18 to 24 price point for the standard 2.0 is $69.99 to $74.99. The main difference in this model is that at the top of the center bat is a baseball that the chain runs through instead of the standard closed hook on the original.
- Youth silver pendent is slightly smaller at 1.207 in long by 0.761 in wide with optional chains ranging from 16 to 24 inches. The price point for the youth is $59.99 to $64.99
- Custom number pendent is 1.4 in long by 0.85 in wide with optional chains ranging from 18 to 24 inches. The price point for the custom plate pendent is $84.99 regardless of chain length. This necklace includes a homeplate in the center of the cross with your selection of number from 0-99.
- FiveTool also has a pendent with a batter who is carrying a cross instead of a bat. It measures 1.07 in long by 0.55 in wide with optional chains ranging from 18 to 24 inches. The price point for the standard silver is $64.90 to $84.90
- FiveTool also has gold varieties of the above necklaces ranging from the 10k gold standard at $285 to the 10k XL standard with a 24 in gold chain at $2055.
We put VukGripz on a bat and hit with it among several different hitters to write this review. In short, the VukGripz feel is different than any grip on the market. Small microfibers pointing outwards on the grip give your hands a floating feel. That loose grip encourages quicker hands and a faster bat speed.
As well, the bat grip works well wet. The VukGripz tackiness is derived from its unique fiber structure not from the materials tackiness. This means the grip will (1) work in all weather and (2) last a lot longer than other traditional rubber/synthetic type grips.
Do we like it? Well, read below for more details. But, as a hint, it did make our gift guide for baseball players.
Where to Buy VukGripz
For bat speed, we weren’t able to measure any differences with our Garmin Impact sensor. But, we don’t think that, or any swing speed analyzer, accurate enough to measure small differences in swing speed.
Loose hands do increase bat speed. And an encouragement or reminder from your grip to keep your hands loose is useful. Our general sentiment is a more confident bat grip will give them a faster swing than any actual tech in the grip, but that’s just a guess.
On the whole, our hitters liked the feel. The comments were:
- “Weird, but good”
- “It feels super slick when you rub it, but there is a ton of traction when you grip it.”
All Weather Grip
What might be the grip’s most unique feature is it’s lack of response to weather. That is, a wet VukGripz feels the same as a dry VukGripz. Wet doesn’t effect it like the Lizard Skins of the world–which keep their grip based on the materials tackiness. But, the VukGripz brilliance is centered in the grips unique structure. The small fibers pointing outwards on the grip are not effected by wet. As such, the grip delivers consistent traction in any condition.
On the whole, the grip is recommendable. Those who play in a lot of wet weather should give it a try. As well, those looking for something different will really like it. It really is like no grip you’ve tried before. As well, if you hate how your grip, even the nice ones, loose their tackiness overtime then we think you’ll fall in love with the VukGripz.
We did struggle to put the grip on an asymmetrical knob. Not just an Axe bat, but even a wood at with a big tapered knob. We think the lack of stretch in the grip didn’t allow us to compensate for the fact the handle wasn’t a perfect cylinder. For bat’s with a perfect cylinder along the handle (most aluminum and composite bats) the grip went as easy as any other grip.
The Pocket Radar Ball Coach has been on our holiday gift guide for 2 years running. It might be run off the list this year. Not because we stopped liking it (we use it all the time), but because Pocket Radar released a Smart Coach version. This new version has a number of functions that are made possible by a Bluetooth connection within the radar. This tech, coupled with an app on your smart phone, make tracking ball speeds remarkably simple and smooth. The Smart Coach is the Ball Coach on steroids.
Pocket Radar Options
|Price||App Pairing||Plug In & Battery Option|
See below for more differences.
Smart Coach Recommendations
We talk about the functionality and accuracy of the Ball Coach in our Pocket Radar Ball Coach Review. In short, it works. As long as you are able to stay inline with the ball (either behind a backstop or directly behind the pitcher) you’ll get accurate readings. (We tested ours against a Stalker Sports 2 Gun—which we ended up selling because the Ball Coach filled all our needs). That radar technology, which we like so much in our Ball Coach, is also in the Smart Coach.
Smart Coach vs Ball Coach
The Smart and Ball Coach both have a hands free operation option, memory recall, accurate inline readings and a 120 foot range. As well, if you buy it from the right place, you get a 2 year warranty too.
The real magic in the Smart Coach, and why it prices out about $100 more, is the Bluetooth functionality. The Smart Coach connects to your smart phone’s app without wires. This allows the speed readings to manipulate a Pocket Radar app that tracks exit speeds and repetitions as well as syncing that information with video and providing a history.
This connection gives you several more features not available on the Ball Coach. Those include:
- Uploading Video’s to Other Apps
- Data Export to .csv Files
- Speed Embedded in Video via the App
- Audio Speed Call Outs via the App
- Wireless Display on a Mobile Device
- Remote Control of the Radar via the App
- Connects to the Pocket Radar Smart Display
- Plug In Power as well as a Battery Option
If all you need is the simple exit speeds on an occasional pitch or two—or an exit speed on a hit ball—then the Ball Coach should serve you well. However, if you’re looking for more data tracking and a smoother ability to create video with speed readings then the Smart Coach will serve you perfectly.
Note, as well, the Smart Coach comes with the possible of working by plug as well as using batteries. The Ball Coach is only a battery device.
Smart Coach Feature Highlights
Obviously, the Smart Coach from Pocket Radar offers exit speeds. This can be set on either a continuous mode or a single push mode that only reads when you have your thumb or finger on the trigger. The single push mode uses less battery than the continuous mode.
The exit speeds are as accurate as we have ever needed them to be. It does not do multi-directional radar—so hitting live pitching is a bit difficult to track and requires patience. But, tee work as well as pitching and any other type of sport where there is a predictable ball path will be easily tracked. It works up to 120 feet.
Because it is a radar it does not differentiate between baseballs, softalls, tennis balls, cricket or any other number of options that are moving. You could use this for soccer or just about any other sport that uses some sort of moving object (even bowling).
Both the Smart Coach and Ball Coach could work for any sport. But, again, the app functionality is only available in the Smart Coach version.
Video Capture with Emended Speeds
What might be the most unique feature, the Smart Coach can overlay speeds on the video. See our demonstration of this in the video above. We are not aware of any other device that delivers that feature.
The app also gives you the ability to control the radar from the app like a remote. So, as it is sitting across the field you can turn it on and get readings without ever needing to go to the device (assuming it is paired already).
We like the Rapsodo we use. It has multi-directional ability and a great interface for multiple hitters and spray charts. But, the Rapsodo is very difficult to set up compared to the Smart Coach. The Smart Coach requires a spare hand at a minimum. If you want to be exciting you can get a tripod and attach it to the Smart Coach via a clip Pocket Radar has.
Consider this too: the price on the Rapsodo is ten times that of the Smart Coach. Unless you need multi directional hitting metrics (like we often do for our exit speed tests) then you’ll find the Smart Coach to serve a ton of functionality in your baseball and softball coaching bag.
We used the Garmin Impact Bat Sensor for several weeks among several different hitters on several different bats. In short, we like it and believe it our favorite bat sensor on the market. Others might have a more robust system for tracking players and team management. But, in terms of a seamless plug and play type sensor to give immediate feedback, the Garmin Impact Sensor is everything you’d expect from Garmin and comes highly recommended by us.
Another great thing about a Garmin product is they know distribution. And, more importantly, they know Amazon. At the time of this writing the best price was directly on Amazon. We couldn’t find a better price for the Sensor even directly on the Garmin website.
Garmin Impact Sensor vs Blast Motion
Blast Motion has done a great job, both technically and legally, in the bat sensor market. They’ve produced a robust baseball system that includes team management and a set of coaching tips and instructions only beat by now defunct Zepp (who lost a patent suit to Blast Motion). They also have some golf functionality which the Garmin does not have. If you want indepth coaching and feedback on your swing and/or the ability to attach it to your golf clubs then the Blast is you answer.
Garmin Impact vs Blast Motion Bat Sensor
|Garmin Impact||Blast Motion|
On Sensor Screen
Cloud Team Management
Swing Plane Visual
|Spray Charts/Robust Charts||✔|
The thing that sets the Garmin Impact sensor apart, and makes it our favorite bat sensor, is the built in screen on the actual device. It is remarkably useful. We’d bet most, in a side by side comparison, would choose the Garmin. The immediate feedback and bat switching without using your phone or waiting for it to pair is remarkable.
Do note, there is also a Garmin Impact app too. On the app it aggregates your results by bat and by player.
Although Garmin is new to the bat sensor market, they are not new to the gadget sensor market. It’s not hard to see why the Garmin Impact is very well made.
Garmin Impact Sensor Recommendations
Unless you are running this for a full team, or also need the golf sensing abilities of the Blast Motion, we’d recommend the Garmin above the others (including the DK Sensor). Garmin’s proven ability in the wearable gadget market, their sense for immediate and useful feedback as well as their ease of use make it the most useful swing sensor on the market. (The odds of this making our baseball gift guide are HIGH).
The question you need an answer to is how useful is are the metrics this, or any swing sensor, device offers. Are things like swing speed, attack angle and swing repetitions useful? Our general experience with swing trackers are they find some use in the short run. But, after you find your swing speed and a few other metrics you don’t find it worth the time.
That said, if any device overcomes that with, the Garmin Impact—with its immediately available feedback interface, takes the cake.
Garmin Impact Sensor How We Tested
Testing the gadget is simple enough. We took it to a few different players, added a number of different bats via the app, and started swinging. We watched how players looked at their bat and hand speed consitently. Way more then they had if they had the Blast Motion.
In terms of accuracy it would be impossible for us to tell. The general sense we had was it was consistent. Fast swings by us stayed in the same ball park as each other. And swings that felt considerably slower than others stayed in the same vein too.
We used all the functionality on both the Blast and the Impact. We looked at the video recording options, the coaching tips, hand speed and bat speed. All looked and felt useful.
Again, the major advantage of the Garmin Impact, and its compelling feature, is the on sensor screen. It makes the others feel pretty useless when they don’t have that feature.
Easton’s Jaw Guard was made popular during the LLWS due to its visibility. And, turns out, it likely saved a kids teeth from very serious injury. We recorded that video, which went viral, and put it on our facebook page. The Easton Jaw Guard was new for the series and will be available in September of 2018. Some are available here: 2019 Easton helmets as well as the Z5 line.
Easton Jaw Guard
|2019 Helmets||$$ – $$$$|
Video of Easton C Flap Saving a Life
C Flap vs Jaw Guard
The C-Flap is a brand name of the Markwort Jaw Guard. The Markwort has been around the longest but is not sold with a helmet. Markwort doesn’t make helmets. Instead, it is sold as the flap and then you attach it to any helmet. In most cases you’ll need to drill holes in the helmet. Much hullaboo has been made about how this makes a helmet technically illegal. This is the C-Flap most MLB players use.
Easton’s version is called the Easton Extended Jaw Guard. C-Flap is trademarked by Markwort, but the idea is the same. However, Easton’s jaw guard has the right certifications to be legal on THEIR helmets in leagues that enforce dumb rules like Nazi prison guards. (We aren’t very impressed with the red tape here, as you might imagine).
Easton C Flap Competitors
In terms of “legal” helmets (excluding the Markwort above) Easton competes with a Rawlings MACH EXT helmet as well as a Boombah Face Guard. Both these guards are intended to be used on their helmets and are not technically legal on other helmets. However, these flaps all use a three screw design and therefore fit, “illegally”, on just about any helmet with three screws holes.
For some, you might need to modify it by moving a hole. Of course the rule nazi’s will come out of the woodwork here. They don’t want to be sued for sure. Neither do we, so do this at your own risk. But, for what it’s worth, this is how we do it. You can see this video here in terms moving a hole.
Also, expect EvoShield to release a jaw guard in the next few months too.
We discuss a number of options on our Jaw Guard Article.
Easton Jaw Guard Recommendations
We’ve seen, up close, each of the jaw guards on the market today. Frankly, we can’t tell a difference between any of them.
The Markwort comes with the screws/holes to be put on any helmet. Granted, as we state above, this might make your helmet illegal in some leagues. Also, to be clear, the Rawlings flap is not “legal” on the Easton helmet or Boombah helmet or vice versa.
When in doubt, we say go with the guard that is built for the helmet. Easton’s extended jaw guard on an Easton Helmet makes perfect sense.
Should I Use a Jaw Guard?
In short, yes.
Further, why not?
If you’ve had one on then you know it doesn’t restrict your vision. If it does then you’ve installed it wrong or your helmet is not fitting right. We look forward to the day when leagues require the Jaw Guard.
Can you imagine the type of blow back Little League would have received if that Hawaii kid’s face was destroyed because they didn’t have any jaw guards available? It is a remarkable turn of events that saved a huge controversy.
If you have seen any MLB games this season you’ve seen a new piece of face guard protection for players. Guys like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper have a new thing on their helmet. It seems like at least half of all hitters are wearing a baseball helmet face guard.
There are, roughly, three of these on the market today.
More Jaw Guards are on the way. Little League had many manufacturers point out that their helmets aren’t “safe” with a Markwort C-Flap. The USA Today pointed out how dumb this stuff was. Safety gear is not safe because, uh, we can’t sell it to you.
Some might argue that MLB or even college level hitters need more protection because they routinely face 95+ mph heaters. This is true. But, they also have the benefit of years of experience, faster reaction times, and pitchers that are throwing from further away. (You may also like our conversation on youth pitcher head protection).
Drilling holes in a batting helmet to attach the C-Flap from Markwort will remove the warranty and the batting helmet’s NOCSAE certification. This means, at least in some circles, if an injury occurs due to a helmet failure with a C-Flap attached then there would be no recourse for liability on the company that produced the helmet.
By extension, some have claimed that Little League makes helmets with an installed C-Flap ILLEGAL for play. Decertified (ie modified) helmets should probably not be certified. But, the irony is noteworthy considering MLB players use this exact C-Flap on their Rawlings helmets. Yet Little Leaguers are would be breaking the rules and leagues be susceptible to lawsuits…
Boombah’s face guard does not have this problem as the face guard uses the pre-drilled holes in the helmet.
Other companies are working on producing a jaw protection on their youth helmets that are certified. But, as of this writing, there is nothing on the market aside from Boombah.
Want to see the Markwort in Action?
We’d love to see the email from Little League to this kid and his family explaining why his helmet is illegal…
See Kris Bryant Just About Die
|Rawlings||Mach Ext||Pre Installed||$$$|
Do younger players need jaw and face helmet protection?
While our young players may not be facing Aroldis Chapman fastballs, if you asked them, it sometimes feels like it.
(See what’s on his thumb?)
As parents and coaches we enjoy watching our players play and get better. Nothing affects their progress more than a fear of the ball. One easy way to set young minds a little more at ease is to provide them with every available protective tool. The Markwort’s C-Flap does just that and at minimal cost, with easy setup.
Does the C-Flap fit on my existing Rawlings, DeMarini, etc. helmet?
Boombah claims theirs works best on their Boombah Helmets. On other helmets the certification doesn’t exist.
Markwort claims theirs works on most helmets. See our conversation on installing the C-Flap below.
Rawlings, Schutt, DeMarini, Slugger and and a host of over serious batting helmets work with the Markwort C-flap. Although Boombah does not suggest it is recommended, we found the Boombah Face Guard to work on a DeMarini helmet with the three screws provided. We use our Boombah version on a Boombah helmet.
What is a Markwort C-Flap?
The Markwort C-Flap is a piece of padded plastic that attaches to the batting helmet on only 1 side, the side that faces the pitcher when batting.
Pro Tip: You’ll need a differently designed one for a left or right handed batter.
The C-Flap is an ingenious little piece of equipment. It may be just enough to turn that hesitant hitter into a more confident one. Or, make that anxiety ridden mom a little more relaxed about her little ballplayer—and the money invested in their dental work. The C-Flap is a:
- lightweight piece of Lexan plastic (harder than most helmets)
- attaches below the ear hole on the batting helmet
- hangs out over the jaw.
Markwort makes no promises that its C-Flap will protect against all facial injuries. But, if worn and used properly should help prevent the majority of facial injuries. Once installed it doesn’t leave enough of a gap for the ball to get between it and the bill of the helmet. Thereby, it also protects the eye without impeding the hitter’s vision.
Player Face Guard Testing
Our test player has used it for 2 practices and 4 games with no complaints. It did not obstruct vision or bothered him. It made him atleast a little more confident at the plate. His teammates thought it was cool.
The C-Flap is fairly inexpensive at a cost of about $20 per flap. It is available for both right and left handed hitters. If your player is a switch hitter you could get it for the side he makes the most plate appearances on. Or, install one on 2 different helmets (if that’s an option). Or, possibly, install one on each side of his helmet.
Does it Work?
We can’t guarantee the last option would work but it does seem that both would fit without impeding vision or the ability to put the helmet on their head. The C-Flap also comes in about 10 different colors which should coordinate with most uniform options. We opted for the clear version since the helmet we installed it on is a Carolina blue and our player did not want white and none of the other colors matched up well. On the clear version you can see the pad that is attached to the lower portion of the C-flap but doesn’t look bad at all.
Installating the Baseball Helmet Face Guard
Unless your player has access to a staff of clubhouse attendants like the MLB players, you are probably wondering about installation of the C-Flap. Not to worry, we aren’t exactly experts or handy when it comes to fixing or installing things but this took less than five minutes and only one scraped knuckle.
The C-Flap comes with a handy little template you attach to the helmet with tape (our junk drawer swallowed our tape so we just held it in place by hand while we marked the holes).
Using the template, you:
- Mark 3 spots that you will drill out with a 7/16″ drill bit.
- Before you drill you will have to peel back the liner from the helmet and reattach later with double sided tape or something similar.
- If their is a snap for a chin strap you will most likely have to remove that too, but that proved to be no obstacle for our do-it-yourself prowess (ok, maybe a little, hence the scraped knuckle).
- Once the liner is peeled back and the 3 holes are drilled it’s as simple as placing the brackets on the inside and attaching the flathead screws from the outside.
- Their is also tape installed on the flap to help keep it in place and tight to the helmet.
Is It Worth It?
The whole process of installation honestly went much smoother than we were anticipating. All necessary hardware is included with the C-Flap. The C-Flap fits most brands of helmets including ABC, Adams, All-Star, Rawlings, Schutt, and more. Ours is a Schutt model with a slightly different shaped ear hole. We covered the ear hole a little. But, it still seems to offer the protection needed and not restrict hearing or air flow.
Markwort’s C-Flap is definitely worth the small investment of time and money. The piece of mind of your player and yourself have, and looking like the pros, is plenty worth it.
The backspin tee is a hitting device that hangs a baseball over the plate to reveal the part of the baseball that should be hit. The pro model also puts the ball at an angle like it would if it were being pitched. These are advantages over traditional tees which hold the ball over the plate and, at least some, cover the part of the ball which should be struck.
Contact with the bottom of the ball AND the right swing path create optimally struck balls. This is why the Backspin tee has won awards, gets great reviews and is at the practice fields many MLB and College teams.
See the best traditional batting tees.
Where to buy the Backspin Tee?
As Backspin increases their distribution, the best place we found to buy the device is on Amazon here. You can also check out the Backspin Tee’s website. Looks like pricing is the same in both places. Our experience with smaller vendors is the deals will more likely be found on their site than on Amazon who, of course, takes their cut.
Does the Backspin Tee Really Work?
Generally, we think the question does the backspin tee really work likely misunderstands the point of the backspin tee. You can hit a ball off a traditional tee with the same angle and spin that you could with a backspin tee.
But, the point of the backspin tee is to present the ball more replicable of a real pitch that requires a successful swing plane. The backspin tee suspends the ball at the angle of a pitch and exposes the part of the ball that should be hit for success. While traditional tee replicates a perfectly flat pitch (which never happens) and holds on to the ball about right where contact should occur.
In that sense, the Backspin Tee works perfectly. It is a revolution for a product that most never dreamed could be improved.
Q&A With Backspin Tee
We spent some time exchanging emails with the folks at Backspin tee. These are the questions we honestly had, and their answers are candid and useful.
Why Does This Work?
The benefit of an upside down tee is probably one that is not common knowledge. A suspended ball in the air being held in any fashion has no benefit over each other. Its what is being covered and where the rubber is placed is where the benefit really shines.
When you a batter hits the top half of the ball on a normal tee, they hit all ball, and hit a ground ball. In a cage, they might think this is a good result. Off our tee, if you hit the top half of the ball (the part of the ball the pitcher wants you to hit) you hit our rubber cone and get immediate negative feedback to change.
On the flip side, if you hit the bottom half of the ball on our tee you hit nothing but the ball with positive feedback. Of course, on a normal tee you might be hitting the rubber on bottom half of the ball hits and then getting a negative feel.
Also, for good hitters consistently hitting the bottom half of the ball you will wear out the rubber possibly quicker on normal tees meaning you will have to financially replace the cones in the future.
Our Lifetime Warranty will never put this as an issue for our customers.
How does the ball stick in the tee?
The ball holds in the cone with surface tension. You simply turn the ball into the rubber cone allowing the rubber to physically squeeze down onto the ball. The only people that have issues with this are the ones trying to push and jam the ball up into the rubber. Its a very simple and easy loading process. Our customers are very pleased with this function.
Baseball or Softball?
We use different size cones for both baseball and softball cones, but they are very easy to transition between when needed.
Backspin Tee Focus
The Back–Spin Tee’s focus is to produce an on plane swing path, and hitting the correct part of the ball with that swing path. When you hit the bottom half of the ball with a good swing plane, you automatically will produce a desired line drive launch angle (yes, that means in the air) and it will result in having the proper amount of backspin. Remember, backspin is a result of where you hit on the ball, not something you can add more or less of on command.
Do tradition tees produce more topspin?
A traditional tee does not produce more topspin because their rubber is under the ball. However, exposing the part of the ball that you don’t want to hit could and has caused hitters trouble when trying to hit what they are aiming at. Ex. “Staying on top of the ball”.
Our Pro Model is infinitely adjustable by the millimeter. It weighs 18lbs, and is very easy to break down into its three parts. It also comes with a Launch Angle Chart, and a laser cut carrying handle.
The Youth/Pre Game Model breaks down into 2 pieces, weighs 10lbs, and is not adjustable. It is set to hold the ball 26″ above the ground.
This tee is designed for any serious ball player that wants to be more perfect in their training. You won’t mis-hit on our tees and enjoy it. You are challenged to swing fast, and precise. Having said that we have tee sales from ages of 7 year olds to the Major Leagues.
Pro or College Teams Usage
There are tees in 29 of the 30 MLB Teams that we are aware of, and hundreds of colleges in both baseball and softball.
Bat Seats, What?
Our Bat Seats are for sale on our website, and our customers love them! Very practical, and user friendly on their bats.