We've tried lots of wood bats over the years. With three sons still playing baseball into their 20's, we go through a lot of them. Dozens, maybe as many as twenty companies have sent us bats to try. Ash, maple, bamboo, birch, hickory and more. All had their positive qualities, and all eventually broke, which is what wood bats do.
But if I were to ask my sons to give me the name of the company they'd most like to make their next bat, I am pretty sure all three would say, in unison, "Old Hickory". They love the balance and feel, the look and sound, the durability, in short, everything about the bats they've tried from this company in Tennessee.
My son who is playing pro ball recently received a couple of their maples and he hit with one the entire off-season in the cage. Even behind the L-screen, it was scary throwing BP with the balls coming off that bat. After months of hitting with it every day, sadly, it broke recently and he only has one to take to spring training. Yesterday was his first day of voluntary work-outs back in Florida and he told me that he hit several tape-measure bombs during batting practice. He was pretty amped. I didn't remind him that maybe it was because he had a secret weapon in his bag.
Spring is in the air for much of the country and, for the rest, it will be soon. That means baseball. And that means you need a wood bat. Old Hickory would like to make one for you, the likes of which you never held in your hands before. Most wood is good. Old Hickory is a little better.
Source: Old Hickory
Years ago, I traveled for business every week. To give you an idea how long ago, everyone wore ties back then, which were a pain to pack. They'd get smashed and wrinkled as other, bigger garments pushed them around like unwelcome visitors. Then my wife got me a tie holder. It was a small rectangular vinyl book-like apparatus which took those abused ties and stowed them away so that one could throw them into the suitcase without any fear of repercussions. The ties came out of any trip looking crisp and unbullied.
We've been made aware of a new product, that will provide the same level of comfort and shelter for your main wardrobe. The IamRunBox is a small, lightweight travel case that allows you to neatly fold and carry your day's business attire without the bulk of a full suitcase. This is perfect for the overnight traveler or, especially those of us who bike or jog to work.
It is not much bigger than a typical leather portfolio or notebook sleeve, so it will fit easily in a backpack or other bag. You want to look your best at work, fresh – not rumpled – and the IamRunBox is the superior way to make this happen.
In the past the world was made up of two types: Those who jogged or biked to work and looked like it, and those who didn't jog and bike to work because they didn't want to look like they did. Now there are no more excuses. Use that commute as part of your daily workout. You'll stay fit and look perfect doing it.
I saw it again as I was walking my dog through the park housing our local Little League fields. Some coaches were having their players hit off the tee into the school fencing surrounding the ball diamonds. You could see where the fence was becoming warped and bent outward from the repetitive force of the balls. Not more than three lengths of fence away was a clearly-posted sign prohibiting this practice.
I spent eight years on my local Little League board and one of the things we worked hard on during my tenure was to ingrain into our volunteer coaches the rules and importance of following them. Damaging school property was a sure way to lose our right to use these fields. It appears my successors on the board have not made this particular issue as much of a priority.
Therefore, even though it has been years since I've attended a Little League board meeting, it is in my DNA, so I stopped and nicely informed the coaches that they ought not be doing this, and why. They took the advice/suggestion/admonishment pretty well, though one of them provided the weak excuse that they did not own a net to hit into.
Well now they know about Rukket Sports. Rukket sent us one of their "Sock it!" Baseball nets to try and it is fantastic. The biggest aversion youth coaches have to portable nets is that many are cumbersome. They are difficult to transport, set up and break down. By the time they have wrestled with all of the parts, constructed the net and then disassembled it, much of practice is already over.
But the Sock It? Could not have been much easier. It only weighs 15 pounds and comes with a handy nylon carry bag so getting in in and out of a car would be no problem. And even easier is getting it up and ready to use. The first time, we did put the net on upside-down, but after we realized the Velcro belonged on the bottom, it was an easy fix. Had we guessed correctly the entire set-up time would have been three minutes. And taking it down and storing it away is just as quick and simple.
It boasts a hefty 7' x 7' frame that will ensure no errant hits fly into an area where kids are playing. It can be used for pitching as well. The net gets its name from the large sock or pouch that conveniently retrieves all balls. And we found that its not just for baseball. My daughter is a soccer player and she can use it as a backyard goal. And when we go down to the soccer field and practice her crosses, now I won't have to run thirty yards and chase each one. She'll be able to cross right into the Sock It again and again.
Rukket is a small, owner-operated business that takes great pride in workmanship and product quality. Just like with many products we've reviewed over the years, it looks like they've got a bright future. So if you need a net, (and you know who I'm referring to), there's no longer a good excuse. Rukket's made it so that next time I walk by your practice, I can keep on walking.
The folks at Bungeeclub asked us to look over their new swing training aid. We've reviewed other bungee training aids for baseball, so we know these devices work. The Bungeeclub is designed to fix multiple issues in a player's swing mechanics, most notably extension, connection and impact.
It may seem a little odd at first to hook the velcro collar around your neck, but heck, we know golfers don't care how they look as long as they look good on the scorecard. What this product promises to do is provide instant feedback on each swing so that you can feel the proper technique. Repetitive use will then reinforce these new, positive habits so that muscle-memory turns them into your natural performance. It is easy to use and works for all ages and body types. Think of it as having a golf pro you can strap on any time you'd like.
Every golfer knows that the key to practice is to get yourself into the proper impact position. This requires the hands, arms, shoulders, torso and hips to all work in concert beginning with your grip, stance and posture. The swing begins with the take-away and extension as you turn away from the ball. Next you'll need the proper extension at the top of your swing and transition back towards the ball. The Bungeeclub synchs everything up so that you know when you've hit it right and how to do it again and again. You'll correct flaws such as looking or straightening up, timing and rhything, casting and more.
If the idea of practicing with a club attached to a length of surgical tubing seems too peculiar, then how does the idea of ten or more yards on each swing grab you? We thought so. You'll do anything you can to get an edge. And that's exactly what you'll get when you jump into the Bungeeclub.
If your kids are like mine, their idea of being well-dressed is wearing a pullover sweatshirt with a team logo on the front. They don't feel comfortable in a nice sweater and will only wear one if we force them for some kind of special occasion.
We were approached by Soccerloco and asked if we'd like to try out one of their Nike performance soccer hoodies and they sent us the Flash Flood Full-Zip Hoody. We weren't expecting what we received.
The quality was immediately apparent. As was the styling. This garment is better described as “apparel” than “sportswear.” However, as classy as it looks, it still maintains an athletic appearance and feel. My son, a twenty-three year-old athlete now has a girlfriend and they go out occasionally. I doubt he ever had any self-awareness about his Tampa Rays pullover sweatshirt he wore everywhere. But maybe she teased him about still looking like a little kid in it, because he loves the Flash Flood and now wears it every time they have a date. And he looks good in it.
The French terry fabric is durable – thick enough to provide warmth when it's chilly, but with enough flexibility to move around freely and not feel bundled up. In really inclement weather you can zip up the chin region region. Maybe best of all, the jacket holds its shape. this is perfect for my son as I doubt he has hung it on a hanger once, but it never appears wrinkled or worn. It looks great with a pair of jeans and wouldn't be out of place on the sideline over sweat pants.
This is the perfect addition to the wardrobe of any coach or player who wants to dress sharp but athletic, regardless of their sport. There are a couple of pro football coaches you've seen on television famous for their pullover sweatshirts. Do you want to look like that? We dare you to slip into this one and see if you ever want to take it off.