Time To Play…Outdoors! with Better Batter Baseball

by Shannan on May 1, 2009

espn_better_batterOn Friday, May 1, Time To Play is having a TimeToPlay…Outdoors! SiteWarming Party on Twitter at 9pm EST, hosted by ResourcefulMom. Join in the fun as @jimsilver and @thetoyguy offer their suggestions and ideas for great summer fun! Be sure to swing by ResourcefulMommy to enter to win some fabulous prizes, as well! They’re even giving away a PowerWheels A.T.Rex! Plus you could also win the same ESPN Better Batter Baseball Trainer, reviewed here!

Time To Play has many other great suggestions for great outdoor toys to enjoy with your children this summer. You can find loads of ideas in their Top Toys for Summer and the Outdoors feature article, written by toy expert Jim Silver. 

I grew up in a baseball family. Summer and playing outside always meant baseball for us.  Once the weather turned warm, several evenings a week, you could find at least one person from my family at the Little League park, either playing in or watching a game of baseball. Well, except for me — I generally went for the social aspects. I wasn’t much of an athlete and still have tendencies toward less physical activities, but I digress. 

Last year, we took K and D to their first Minor League baseball game for a promotion where Dora the Explorer was doing a meet and greet. They had a great time meeting Dora, but the real surprise of the evening was K’s reaction to watching his first game of baseball. He was just 2 1/2 at the time and he was completely mesmerized.  I have to admit, I got the warm fuzzies when I went to take this pic while he was watching the teams warm up. 



That reaction to the sport made my father, a former Little League board member and coach, beam with pride!

So when Time To Play asked me to review ESPN Better Batter Baseball Trainer by Fisher-Price ($45 MSRP), I couldn’t deny K that pleasure. We haven’t yet had the opportunity to take it outside and see it in real action, but our indoor tests are giving it a thumbs up so far. 

Better Batter baseball is a great alternative to T-ball that gives kids a better idea of how to actually hit the ball. My dad was always an advocate of using a pitching machine for younger kids, to teach them to watch the ball and not the tee. While this won’t show what a “real pitch” looks like, it takes the tee out of play and makes them look at the ball to hit it. 

Add to this the ESPN theme song and fun sound effects that are played when the ball is set, little ones can feel like the next Manny Ramirez when they step up to the plate. K is having a great time learning to swing at the ball and gets so excited when he makes contact. 

The only con that I have found so far is the same thing that has kept me from taking the toy outside. The balls are held to the arm by a velcro system, so if they get too dirty or wet, they may not stick well. Our yard is a bit muddy at the moment, so for the sake of the game, I’m keeping it inside until things dry out a bit more. 

Overall, I think Better Batter Baseball is going to get lots of action around here and will help us to teach K the mechanics of hitting, giving him an advantage when he’s old enough for “real” baseball!

Product was provided by sponsor for this review.

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