One of the coolest things about writing the reviews we do is bringing you new and unique products you haven't seen advertised at halftime of the super bowl, or on the end cap of every major sporting goods store. But sometimes, even more fun, is learning the stories and getting to know the individuals behind these products. We hear tale after tale of people combining the identification of a needed product, a great idea for a solution, good old-fashioned ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit all wrapped up in a love of sports. The story behind Glovemate fits this description to a T.
Glovemate was invented and patented by Tampa, Florida native Jeff Greenhalgh. Jeff played professional baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and had experienced first-hand, (pun intended), the effects of catching a hard baseball, especially in cold weather, on the pad of the index finger. The sorer that pad got, the more gun-shy the fielder awaiting a thrown or hit ball. A player who is anticipating pain is not going to play with confidence, and as that confidence erodes so to does his success.
As simple as it is brilliant, what Jeff developed is the ultimate in hand protection for catching baseballs and softballs. It attaches quickly, stays in place, does not hinder the mitt's flexibility. Because it is made from high-quality top grain leather and specially-designed memory foam, there is no “trampoline effect”, meaning you don't have to worry about a ball bouncing off the device and out of your glove. Once you put it on, you'll forget it's there.
It's sold in over 3000 locations and more than half a million have gone off the shelves and into the gloves of players from youth to professional levels. I can remember cold, early-spring days in high school having to get my arm loose with one our our team's pitchers and feeling that brutal sting every time the heat whistled in and hit the mitt. They sent us one to try and I'd have probably put a Glovemate on every finger if it had been invented. Fortunately for players nowadays, someone decided it shouldn't hurt to catch a baseball. And he went out and did something about it.
We use our phones for so much more than talking. And if you are lucky enough to have a smartphone and know how to type in MLB.com, you can watch a pretty cool simulation of any game that's on, no matter where you are.
For years, we've told you about MLB's great, free, real-time pitch-by-pitch desktop application that puts you, (virtually) in stadiums across the country and let's you watch a realistic avatar at the plate simulate what's really happening. You'll see where each pitch is thrown, the speed and movement. You get an up-to-the second readout on outs, balls, pitch count, who is up, on-deck and in the hole. You'll see the score, inning, batting average, ERA, men on base, essentially everything a fan needs to know right on your screen.
And the phone version is almost as robust as the desktop. You'll get all the same information, just in a smaller package. Even if you can't watch the game live you can know what's going on with your favorite team any time they're playing. And if you a cheapskate, er..frugal, like I am, you'll love that best of all, it's free.
Ahh, technology. As it becomes more and more ubiquitous, the line between human beings and their machines gets less and less distinct. We are connected. To our friends, to our phones, to our cars, our appliances and our...basketballs?
That's what an emerging company, 94Fifty wants to ensure. The developers of the world's first “smart” basketball believe that providing players and coaches with real-time feedback will make them better players.
The ball contains an electronic sensor that relays information via bluetooth to a computer. Data is analyzed and reports can be generated allowing players to gain information on their dribbling technique and shooting acumen. Now a player, who has a desire to improve and an aptitude for tech, can perform as if he's had the world's greatest coaches giving him individual lessons.
Technology has helped us cure disease, built us better products and dramatically improved our way of life. Now we have a chance to see if it can also turn an average player with a laptop into a scientifically-manufactured dribbling and shooting machine.
I have two sons playing baseball in college and one in high school. What does every high school and college player wish to see in the stands? His mom and dad? Hardly. They're hoping there are scouts in attendance. Those mysterious men representing college and pro teams who lurk in the shadows looking to offer lucky players chances to move onward and upward in their careers.
At first its not easy to pick them out of the crowd. They could just be any other dad. Sometimes the laptop bag gives them away. Other times they might be wearing a shirt or hat that identifies their team. But often, there is no demarcation – no way of knowing if today is the day I might be “seen.” You can't be certain...until the guns come out. That is, the JUGS Gun.
When the iconic JUGS Gun appears, that's when you know you it's no ordinary fan. I've been at games when over twenty of the guns were pointed at home plate to clock the pitcher. The serious scouts always pack a JUGS. And it makes sense when you look at all it offers.
It can be used in Trigger Mode, which means that speed remains on the radar gun for the amount of time set in the menu. In Continuous Mode, pull the trigger twice to read the speed of the pitch automatically, after which it clears itself to read the speed of the next pitch. It's guaranteed to have an accuracy of plus or minus 0.5 MPH. You can set it to FAST,LAST and FAST/LAST. FAST captures readings at the release point. LAST captures readings at the plate. FAST/LAST captures both. You also can view the last five pitches thrown with the recall feature. And it comes with a data port for transmitting to a display or computer, so those readings can be instantly downloaded onto the laptop and beamed from the field to higher-ups.
So with all the talk about gun control these days, if you're a baseball player, this is one gun you want to see more of. When the stands are full of strangers, pitchers hope they're throwing heat, and that some in the crowd are packing it.
Source: JUGS Sports
If you run a baseball program, from college down to youth league, you need these guys. Beam Clay's name makes you think of that stuff you hope all you players have on their uniforms after the game. But they do so much more. How much? Try just about everything you can think of...and more.
Need baseball, softball and sports turf surfaces? Infields, pitcher's mounds, home plate or batter's boxes? How about warning tracks, infield conditioners and drying agents; on-Deck circle, fungo circle, coaches box pads or dura-pads with logos. Or maybe you need infield grooming equipment; batting cages; portable pitching mounds; rain covers and water removal equipment and drainage systems. The list goes on and on.
But what makes them famous is their clay. Why is it so special?
All Beam Clay mixes are manufactured of natural materials that are blended, pulverized, and screened. Beam Clay weighs less, goes further, and does not separate, giving you just the right textures and colors for safe, professional quality baseball diamonds. Beam Clay is the brand of infield materials that have been recognized as the standard of excellence for baseball and softball infields for many years, designed for the non-turf areas on which the majority of the game of baseball is played:
They offer Infield Mix (firm yet soft) for the base paths, arc from 1st to 3rd, and home plate circle; Pitcher’s Mound Clay (extra firm) for pitcher’s mounds, and Home Plate Clay (medium firm) for batter’s and catcher’s boxes; and Warning Track Mix (firm yet crunchy) for warning tracks.
If you've always dreamed of making your facility major-league quality, you should get in touch with the folks at Beam Clay. They've got the products and know-how to make all of your field dreams come true.