Five Things You Should Know About the Return of Baseball

Five Things You Should Know About the Return of Baseball

The very first thing you need to know about America’s Pastime is – it’s back. Professional baseball is set to return on July 23, with no fans, when New York plays Washington in what the league is calling an “Opening Night” ceremony. But, with the obvious obstacles of playing games amid a global pandemic, this season will look much different. Beyond the regulations put in place to keep players healthy and safe, baseball has changed its game fundamentally to adhere to this unusual, shortened season.

60-game schedule: With almost two-thirds of the baseball season cut, each game will matter so much more. The most talented pitchers will be called upon more frequently, and teams will be more aggressive with their strategies as the margin for error minimizes during this condensed schedule. Every team will play 10 games against each of the other four teams within their division. The remaining 20 games will be played against teams in their corresponding interleague division (East vs. East, West vs. West, etc.) in hopes to make travel safer and more manageable.

Universal DH: For the first time in league history, no pitcher will step up to the batter’s box during the 2020 season. Every team will use a Designated Hitter, and it’s believed that this rule could carry over into the 2021 season and beyond. A change that some fans have pushing for years.

Extra inning = Extra runner: In hopes to speed up the game and lessen the time players spend in the ballpark, all extra innings will now start with a runner on second until one team wins. This rule was adopted in the minor leagues two years ago and has been successful in shortening extra inning games.

Bring your own everything: In addition to the banning of traditional high-fives, fist bumps, and other miscellaneous team-oriented celebrations, players will be responsible for taking care of their own personal equipment. That means batters will have to bring their own pine-tar rags and bat donuts to and from the on-deck circle, and pitchers will now have to bring their own rosin bag to the mound and only use their own baseballs when throwing a bullpen session. Baseballs used in batting practice will be washed, sanitized, and stored for at least five days before they can be used again.

Suspended games: Remember the good old days when games could get rained out for the fifth inning and they would be replayed? Those days are long gone, well for this season at least. Any game that’s started and subsequently stopped because of weather will be picked back up right where they left off on a different day, no matter what inning the game was originally called in. The reasoning behind this new rule is to avoid long weather delays and get players out of the ballpark as quickly as possible.

Illustrations by @floppyaction on Instagram 

How to Find the Best Baseball Glove

How to Find the Best Baseball Glove

The right baseball glove can make all the difference but choosing the right glove for you can be a daunting task. To help simplify things, we created a guide that takes you through the steps to find the perfect glove for your position and needs.

First off, you need to know the basic anatomy of a baseball glove. There are five main parts that make up a traditional glove, starting with the webbing. The web of a glove sits between your thumb and pointer finger, creating a deep pocket to help secure the ball on catch. Next is the lacing that connects the finger pockets together. Check the material of the laces and make sure it matches up with the overall material of your glove, so both will break-in and form to your hand during the same timeframe. The hinge of a glove is also very important when breaking in your new glove. The hinge is usually found near the base of you little finger pad and is the flexible part that helps you open and close the glove quickly. Located next to the hinge is the heel of the glove. The heel is the very bottom portion of the glove that provides padding to protect your wrist when fielding nasty grounders. Lastly, you have the palm of the glove, which, you guessed it, protects the palm of you hand when securing a ball that you couldn’t quite snag in the webbing of your pocket.

Another confusing aspect of buying a baseball glove is what materials you want your glove to be made from. Baseball gloves come in a variety of different leathers that all sound similar but provide different benefits. For example, most gloves are made from some sort of leather, but depending on the type and cut, gloves will take more or less time to break-in and reach peak performance. The baseline material for gloves is cowhide. Cowhide is great for younger players who are just starting out, because it offers a quicker break-in, but also wears out faster than higher-quality leather gloves. A step above cowhide leather is steerhide. Steerhide is a bit stronger, stiffer, and heavier than cowhide, offering a tougher break-in, but better performance once broken in. Finally, most professional glove models use premium, full-grain leather. This type of leather will be more expensive and will take the longest to break-in but it provides extreme durability and its trusted at the highest level of the game.

After you select your glove material, you should take a look at the webbing options your glove has to offer. A glove’s web is very beneficial based on your position and style of play. Below we’ve outlined the different types of webs available and the advantages to using each.

Fielders

Cross: The cross web is simple, yet effective. Utilized by infielders and outfielders alike, this web features one vertical leather strip and two horizontal strips, creating a flexible feel. Also known as the Single Post web, it creates maximum visibility when catching the ball.

H-Web: True to it’s name, the strips of leather in this web form the shape of an “H”. The H-Web is used by outfielders and infielders alike because of the sturdier base and unmatched visibility. Some brands also refer to this style as a Dual Post Web.

I-Web: As an iteration of the cross web, the I-webbing features a large leather post in the shape of an “I”. This pattern is used exclusively by infielders and helps snag grounders without catching a bunch of dirt and debris with the ball. Some brands also refer to this webbing style as an H-Web, but is predominately called an I-Web. 

Modified Trap: The modified trap web is usually used by pitchers and infielders because of its deep pocket combined with a small section of leather to add stability for ground balls.

Trapeze: This webbing is great for outfielders who spend a lot of time catching fly balls. The thin leather strap features interlaced lacing on both sides, allowing for a deeper pocket.

Two-piece: The two-piece web is a great option for pitchers because it allows them to conceal the ball from the batter. The solid pocket creates a heavier feel but its extremely durable, preventing wear and tear.

Catchers

Half Moon: The half moon catcher’s web is designed for flexibility. The pattern uses two large leather pieces that are laced together to create a secure pocket and easier close.

One-piece: The traditional one-piece catcher’s web uses lacing around the edges to create a tight pocket that’s shallow enough for a quick transfer and release of the ball.

First Basemen

Modified H-Web: The modified H-Web is made for first basemen because of its extra leather strip on the top of the glove that helps expands catch radius for easier scoops and fielding at first base.

Single Post Double Bar: Much like the infielders’ cross pattern, the single post double bar pattern creates more visibility for catching throws at first base.

Now that you’ve done your research and are ready to find the perfect mitt, check out our selection of top-tier baseball gloves at eastbay.com!

How to Find The Best Baseball Bat

How to Find The Best Baseball Bat

Would a tennis player step onto the court with a hockey stick? Would a basketball player try to shoot a bowling ball? Would a football player take the field in a Speedo and shaved legs? Of course not. Having the right gear and equipment is crucial to every athlete’s success. However, for baseball players, finding the right gear can be tricky. For bats there are seemingly infinite options, sizes, and colors to choose from, which is why we’ve created a guide to find your perfect bat.

When looking at bats, it’s helpful to understand their anatomy. There are five main components that make up a bat. There’s the grip where you hold your hands, and the knob, which keeps your hands in place when you swing. Extending up from the grip is the taper, the extremely skinny portion of the barrel. The barrel is the sweet spot of the bat, the place where dingers are born, and doubles are made. Finally, the bat is topped off with an end cap, which can help increase control and limit weight.

When it comes to picking the perfect bat, there are two main things to focus on: length and weight. Finding the perfect combination of these two will ensure you can step to the plate with confidence.

Length

Bats are measured in inches from the knob to the end cap with the standard range of bat lengths being 24 to 34 inches. Length is all about covering the strike zone – the longer the bat the easier it is to hit pitches on the outer part of the plate. That doesn’t mean you should just grab a 34” bat and hit the cages though. The longer the bat, the heavier it is which can mess up your swing and cause you to be late and struggle against inside pitches. The length of bat you use typically correlates with your height. The taller you are, the bigger the strike zone, thus the longer the bat needs to be. Check out our handy guide below to see how you can find the perfect length for you.

The bat should run from your fingertips to the middle of your chest.
You should be able to grab just above the taper when you stick the bat to your chest.
The bat’s knob should hit your palm when on the ground

Weight

When looking at a bat’s weight, you might come across the term “weight drop” which is closely related. A bat’s weight is measured in ounces and weight drop refers to the length of the bat minus its weight in ounces. For example, if a bat is 31” and has a weight of 28 ounces, then it has a weight drop of -3. There are regulations governing how much weight drop you can have on a bat, so make sure to talk to your coach about which bats are allowed. League rules vary by age and state, but general rules are as follows: ages 4-6 use a tee ball bat, 7-13 use a USA or USSSA certified bats, and 14-18 uses BBCOR bats.

Below is a chart that can give you a starting point for finding the right bat based on your height and weight. Remember, the best way to tell how well you like a bat is to practice with it against live pitching.

Find where your weight and height meet. That’s the recommended length for your bat.

Construction

You’ll also want to consider bat construction and material. For example, one-piece bats are a singular piece of metal molded into a bat. They generally have a stiff feel that barely flexes when contact is made resulting in more power. Bigger, stronger players who have a faster bat speed make the best use of these bats. A two-piece bat is built by bonding a handle and barrel together. This process allows the bat to flex more which is perfect for contact hitters who are looking for a little more power in their game.

A two-piece bat combines two separate pieces to give you more flex.
A one-piece bat is a single piece of material shaped into form.

Material

The aluminum vs composite choice is a little simpler. Composite bats are made using layered material which results in a larger sweet spot but requires a longer break-in period. The process for making this type of bat is more complex which leads it to be more expensive. Aluminum bats have been around longer than composite bats and, though they have a smaller sweet spot, there is no break-in period and they tend to be more durable.

When shopping for your perfect bat make sure to check out Eastbay. Our large selection ensures that no matter what length, weight, piece, or material you decide on we will have a bat for you. Head to eastbay.com now to start browsing.

New Catcher’s Gear Required for the Upcoming Baseball Season

New Catcher’s Gear Required for the Upcoming Baseball Season

Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, high school and college baseball players are required to wear a NOCSAE certified chest protector, designed to reduce the risk of commotio cordis. So, what does this mean for you? Below we’ve outlined a couple of frequently asked questions about the new standards, who they effect, and which chest protectors to buy moving forward.

What is Commotio Cordis?

Commotio Cordis is a rare and usually deadly disruption of heart rhythm that occurs when a baseball hits someone’s chest with enough force. Although Commotio Cordis cases are pretty infrequent, survival is very unlikely without immediate medical attention. It’s recommended that baseball players of all ages wear a NOCASE certified chest protector and make sure there’s an emergency defibrillator somewhere near the sports complex in order to prevent Commotio Cordis.

Who do these new rules effect?

Right now, only the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have adopted this rule, but it’s assumed that most youth organizations will follow suit in the near future.

How do you tell if a chest protector is NOCSAE certified?

All certified chest protectors are required to use the NOCSAE Baseball Standard patch. For your convenience, we compiled a list of the brands and models we sell that are NOCSAE certified for the 2020 season. Check it out below and pick up your new chest protector today!

Easton Pro X

Easton Elite X

Rawlings Velo 2.0

All Star System 7 Axis

Best Gifts for Fastpitch Players

Best Gifts for Fastpitch Players

Give the gift of greatness this holiday season! Browse through our Best Gifts for Fastpitch Players guide below to find all of our latest and greatest equipment and apparel.

Nike Softball Therma Hoodie

Stay warm in the dugout or on the practice field with the Nike Softball Therma Hoodie. Nike Therma fabrics helps manage your body’s natural heat to keep your performance high when temperatures are low.

Nike Zoom Hyperdiamond 3 Elite

Reach hyperspeed in the Nike Zoom Hyperdiamond 3 Elite. Built for a lightweight feel and tailored for comfort, this cleat provides responsive cushioning that helps you be quick off the plate and down the base path.

New Balance FuseV2 Turf

The New Balance FuseV2 is the perfect indoor fastpitch trainer. It’s unique lightweight upper features perforations to help with air flow, while the full-length REVlite midsole sits above a grippy outsole to help you play your best.

DeMarini 2019 D-Lab Prism Bat

Designed and perfected in DeMarini’s D-Lab, this bat is engineered to give hitters the ultimate combination of consistency and feel. With a continuous fiber barrel, divergence gapped barrel technology, and a 3Fusion handle system – this bat maximizes every swing whether you’re a free-swinger or a slapper.

Rawlings Liberty Advanced Color Sync 2.0 Glove

The Rawlings Liberty Advanced Color Sync 2.0 glove is the perfect way to upgrade your game, giving you a diamond-ready feel and a double-laced basket web that provides a deep pocket.

Nike Dri-Fit Raspberry Club Short-Sleeve Crew

Showcase your toughness with the stylish and comfortable Nike Dri-Fit Raspberry Club Short-Sleeve Crew. The Dri-Fit technology helps you stay dry and the “Raspberry Club” graphics represent the sacrifices you’re willing to make for the game. (Coming soon)

Shopping for other sports or styles? Check out our full list of gift guides here.

Best Gifts for Baseball Players

Best Gifts for Baseball Players

Load up your shopping cart with gifts that help you load the bases this spring. Browse through our Best Gifts for Baseball Players guide below to find this holiday’s home run present.

Under Armour Harper 4 Low

Under Armour Harper 4 Low

A signature cleat from the league’s signature slugger. The Under Armour Harper 4 Low utilizes a unique 3-3-4 hybrid cleat plate, featuring metal spikes up front for speed, power, and traction and molded back cleats for lightweight comfort. Eastbay also carries Harper 4 colorways that you can’t get anywhere else, so make sure to browse the full collection.

New Balance 4040v5 Metal Low

The New Balance 4040v5 Metal Low is a data-driven cleat for the game’s dynamic players. Equipped with finely tuned Kinetic Stitch, this cleat provides stability in high-stress zones without sacrificing flexibility.

Franklin CFX Pro Batting Gloves

Franklin CFX Pro Batting Gloves

Feel the power in your hands. The Franklin CFX Pro Batting Gloves are a favorite for many professional players thanks to their unmatched grip and flexible material.

Demarini CF Zen BBCOR Baseball Bat

Demarini CF Zen BBCOR Baseball Bat

Swing for the fences with the Demarini CF Zen BBCOR Baseball Bat. Developed to deliver a massive sweet spot and maximum barrel control, this bat features the most consistently high-performing barrel in the game.

New Balance Asymmetrical 2.0 Right 3/4 -Sleeve Baseball Top

Designed specifically for right-handed players, the New Balance Asymmetrical 2.0 Right 3/4-Sleeve Baseball Top features an extended underarm hem to help reduce distractions as you throw.

Easton Mako 2 Piped Baseball Pants

Easton Mako 2 Piped Baseball Pants

Slide into success with Easton’s Mako 2 Piped Baseball Pants. Featuring Scotchgard stain release to reduce stains and wick moisture, these are the perfect baseball pants to get dirty in.

Nike Force Zoom Trout 6 Turf

Nike Force Zoom Trout 6 Turf

Built for the five-tool player, the Nike Force Zoom Trout 6 Turf trainer utilizes an all-new midfoot strap to keep your foot securely in place while providing optimal comfort.

Nike Huarache Elite Batting Gloves

Nike Huarache Elite Batting Gloves

Grip it and rip it. The Nike Huarache Elite Batting Gloves were designed for minimizing distractions while maximizing feel and comfort.

Rawlings Heart of the Hide Fielder’s Glove

Rawlings Heart of the Hide Fielder's Glove

The Rawlings Heart of the Hide Fielder’s Glove is made with premium leather for a quick break-in process and fielding-specific performance. This glove also features 100% wool padding that aids in pocket formation and shape retention.

Nike Baseball Hoodie

Nike Baseball Hoodie

From the dugout to the gym, the Nike Baseball Hoodie combines breathable mesh and a standard fit for a relaxed, comfortable feel.

Shopping for other sports or styles? Check out our full list of gift guides here.