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POLL: Are Kids Getting Priced Out of Baseball and Softball?

A NY Times article explores the era of the $250 baseball bat

Have you bought a baseball glove for your Little Leaguer lately? Did you pay more than $100 for it?

How about a $250 bat?

New York Times story headlined "Big Price Tags Attached to Even the Littlest Leagues," looks at the big business of equipping youngsters for participation in youth baseball and softball leagues, quoting those costs and more.

"A batting helmet protects tiny heads for $39.99," the Times reports. "A pair of Nike Jordan Black Cat cleats will make your child fast and fashionable at $51.99 until he or she outgrows them."

So what do you think? Has the cost of bats and gloves taken our kids too far from the simpler days of sandlot and playground ballgames? Or have you had better luck finding more modestly-priced equipment for them?

Robert P. April 26, 2012 at 12:39 AM
with the popularity of baseball going the way of boxing and horse racing. I can't blame the equipment companies making their last push, before they can't give it away.
Ryan April 26, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Baseball and softball are losing popularity to other sports which hold children's attention more- lacrosse is one of the biggest recipients of the overflow. Children nowadays find baseball to be boring. A lot of standing around and waiting as opposed to the speed and movement they find in hockey. Add into this, the early age that other sports have started offering 'travel' teams now, kids are sticking with single sport like soccer year round. Baseball used to be the recipient of overflow/cross training kids who play football then swim then baseball in the spring...now(unfortunately) you pick a single sport and play year round. There are more boys playing lacrosse in Rumson's rec program than children playing baseball and softball combined in Rumson.
Robert P. April 26, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Agree, Seems like the only kids that want to play baseball/solftball have parents that are directly/indirectly pushing them into the sport. These parents will have no problem spending the extra money on equipment. The equpment companies know this, and making up in loss of volume sales. In this quicker society, baseball is dead as a passtime.
Ryan April 27, 2012 at 12:27 PM
I think a lot of kids like to play lacrosse specifically because their parents DIDN'T play and don't know much about the game. It takes a lot of the parental 'stage parent' issues away.
bmo May 10, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I have coached multiple years of baseball and softball and these prices are off base. A decent youth glove runs about $35 (Louisville Slugger, Mizuno) and you can find serviceable gloves for around $25 (Wilson). IMO the best youth gloves are in the $60-$70 range (Rawlings, Slugger, Mizuno, Wilson) and should last multiple seasons. Youth Cleats are $20 to $35 for (Nike, Mizuno, NB, Under Armour). Helmets are provided by the league but you should have your own as they cost about $25 to $35 on the high end. The reason is a helmet is on par with a Rid lice treatment kit. The biggest mistake people make is buying bats which start at about $15. Cheap bats are typically too heavy for young players, to get a bat light enough you need to spend $40 to $60. The best bats are really only around $100 & you can always borrow a teammates. It really started with composite bats and a few aluminum a few years ago that had tremendous velocity and became illegal immediately. The major youth leagues have much tighter controls on the rebound rates of bats so there is more parity of performance that has nothing to do with price. So a youth glove $35 & $25 helmet that will last a player 3-4 years and $25 cleats(1 year) and a $40 bat (2 Years) is an outlay of $125 plus league fees of $50-60. Your kid should get more at least 50 hours of practice and playing time in their first season for that price. If they stick with it past 4th grade, you will be glad to invest in more equipment.

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