Archive for January, 2011

Softball: Fielding Face Masks Should Be Mandatory

The need for protective equipment has evolved and will continue to evolve. There was a time when players went on the field in nothing more than matching street clothes. We’ve come to realize that the threat of injury is real. It is also more probable than possible.

In baseball and softball, catchers wear full body protection. Batters wear helmets. Shin guards, elbow pads, gloves, shoulder pads and other protective gear have become commonplace. Any athlete playing a sport (baseball, softball, hockey, lacrosse, football, soccer, etc.), where the chance of injury is high, should wear the proper protection. Age, level of play and position are not important. Gender doesn’t matter. You only get one body… one face… one head. You need to protect yourself.

It seems like common sense to most of us these days to cover our heads when a 90 MPH fast ball is being thrown at you. It seems unreal that batting helmets were not made mandatory in Major League Baseball until 1971! Despite the death of Ray Chapman in 1920 and countless head injuries that resulted in hospitalization, batting helmets were fairly uncommon in the major leagues until 1952, with the Pittsburgh Pirates the first major league team to permanently require their use.

So, today’s batters are protected in every league. Now, let’s take a minute to consider the needs of the fielders. A hit ball can return to the field at a speed of 80-110 MPH. With nothing more than a baseball cap protecting the fielders, it’s a wonder nobody has required the use of defensive face guards in both baseball and softball. Football players wear helmets with cages (as well they should) and they don’t have a missile being hit back at them! Designed properly, face guards offer protection without limiting the player’s range of vision.

Baseball and Softball have each become more and more competitive. Pitching is harder and faster and added strength training allows players to throw and hit the ball farther, faster and with more accuracy. With this comes the need to protect yourself with the latest and greatest equipment. While we have yet to see a nationwide push toward defensive face guards, the time will come soon. But why wait for a mandate?

Each year we hear of players being hit in the face or head. Facial injuries can be devastating and life altering. Injuries to the mouth, teeth and eyes can cause expensive problems… both financially and emotionally. The orbital bones surrounding the eyes are thin and fragile… one hard hit can shatter those brittle bones and cause serious damage to the sinus cavities and/or loss of vision. A broken nose from a bad hop on a grounder, front teeth being knocked out, surgeries, stitches, missed games, pain, recovery and the emotional toll of an injury… We cringe at the videos, we sympathize with the stories and yet we keep hoping it won’t be our child. It may never be, but why take the chance?

Need a Fielding Face Guard or other protective equipment? Check out our On Field Accessories.

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Hockey: Required Hockey Equipment

Ice Hockey is a pretty rough sport that consists of twelve players fighting over a little 3″ puck that can be launched like a missile. Add skates and big sticks and you have the potential for injury. Playing over ice also increases the risk as ice can cause both shock and serious internal injuries.

The following specialized ice hockey equipment pieces are required for this game.

1. Ice Skates: The first thing that you must understand is that there are 2 different types of skates – those for figure skating and those for ice hockey. Player’s skates have a smooth edge from the front of the blade to the rear. Goalie skates are nearer to ground for better balance and are designed for the side to side movement. Be sure to check for ankle stability. Choose a skate that has extra features to support your ankles.

2. Helmet with Cage and Mouth-guard: One of the most important equipment purchases you will make is the helmet. Most helmets function the same but look very different. The biggest difference is the type of face mask it includes. Whether plastic or wire, most masks do not block your vision during play. Find what works best for you. There is no right or wrong type of cage.

3. Hockey Stick: Originally made of wood (ash, birch and willow), sticks are now primarily made of carbon fibers and graphite. These materials provide added flexibility and durability. When you’re standing in shoes, your stick should come at least to your nose. Always be ready with two sticks as hockey sticks sometimes break.

4. Ice Hockey Pants: These specially designed pants provide cushioning for the thighs and legs and include stiff plastic inserts for impact protection. Most models also provide kidney protection and are somewhat loose fitting for freedom of movement.

5. Hockey Gloves: These provide protection to the outer part of the hands. The palm area is thin for better grip on the stick. Goalie gloves are different and are not interchangeable.

6. Shoulder Pads: For protecting upper torso, chest, shoulder blade, collar bones and rib cage. Be sure to check for the right combination of padding and range of motion.

7. Elbow Pads: Equipped with adjustable Velcro straps, these pads cover the forearm, elbows and triceps and help avoid injury from falls and pucks. As with most protective equipment, elbow pads are required in most every league. Available in Junior, Intermediate and Adult sizes.

8. Shin Guard: Knees are the most vulnerable since the risk of falls are great. Protecting your knee caps and frontal bones with the shin guard is absolutely essential. To fit shin guards, bend your knee at a 90-degree angle so the blade of the skate is flat on the floor. Start measuring at the center of the kneecap, all the way down to the top of the skate boot. The measurement in inches should match the length measurement of the shin guard.

9. Neck Guard: Serious neck injury can be prevented with a Neck Guard. An errant flying puck or opponent’s skates and sticks can result in season-ending injuries.

10. Jockstrap (men) or Pelvic protector (women): This piece of protective equipment is quite self-explanatory. Let’s keep ourselves properly protected.

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Experience Mobile Monkey For Your Next Event!

Do you have an upcoming baseball or softball tournament, opening day or other special event? Make it better with the Mobile Monkey Experience.

Mobile Monkey will show up to your event with a 45 foot truck and trailer. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will guide you through the open trailer complete with a DeMarini baseball and softball glove wall, bat wall and equipment wall.

We’ll set up a portable 50 foot batting cage that will provide hours of entertainment for adults and kids alike! With music playing in the background, this event is sure to be loads of fun for the entire family!

Contact us today to book the Mobile Monkey experience.


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Customized Team Uniforms & Jerseys From!!!

Did you know that™ can customize your team uniforms and jerseys?

Need Heat Pressing, Sublimation, ScreenPrinting, Embroidery, Tackle Twill… Custom Logos?

Check out all the other cool stuff our trained specialists have produced custom work for:

NHL & Minor League Quality Jerseys and Bags:
The Anaheim Ducks
The Ontario Reign
The Washington Capitals
The Columbus Blue Jackets

Hollywood Productions:
“The Office” TV Show (Feb 10, 2011 Episode)
“The Tooth Fairy” starring The Rock

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What is Embroidery?

Embroidery is the art of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. The basic techniques or stitches of the earliest work—chain stitch, buttonhole or blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch—remain the fundamental techniques of hand embroidery today.

Machine embroidery mimics hand embroidery, especially in the use of chain stitches, but the “satin stitch” and hemming stitches of machine work rely on the use of multiple threads and resemble hand work in their appearance, not their construction.

Advantages of Embroidery:
Embroidered designs are a great way to add excellence and creativity to your uniform or jersey. Embroidery generally has a longer lead time than other types of customization, but the effect is quite nice.

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What Is Screen Printing?

Screen printing (or Screenprinting) is a process in which a “screen” is made of a piece of porous, finely woven fabric called mesh stretched over a frame of aluminium or wood. Areas of the screen are blocked off with a non-permeable material to form a stencil, which is a negative of the image to be printed. The open spaces are where the ink will appear.

The screen is placed on top of the material and ink is placed on top of the screen to fill the mesh openings with ink. Using a fill bar, the mesh openings are filled with ink. Screen printing is most commonly used on t-shirts (many of us have seen this done in the mall), although a wide variety of items are now able to undergo the process.

Advantages of Screen Printing:
When it comes to creating many copies of a certain design (as with team uniforms or jerseys), screen printing is an economical way to go. Screen printing is also quicker than many other methods of customization. The colors tend to dry very quickly. Screen prints are also tough and sturdy. In spite of exposing the screen printed fabrics to harsh conditions, the colors do not appear weary and dull.

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What is Heat Pressing?

Heat Pressing imprints a design or graphic directly onto the material, such as a jersey or t-shirt, using transfer paper and a heat press machine.This process uses the application of heat and pressure to ensure a proper transfer. The pattern is printed in sublimating ink on sublimating paper which allows the pattern to transfer.

Basically, a garment is placed in the machine and transfer paper with the design is placed face-down over the shirt. The heating unit is brought down over them for a prescribed time to print the image on the garment.

Advantages of Heat Pressing:
Heat pressing can often work on a wide range of surfaces, such as clothing, mugs or tiles. Excellent durability and a professional look.
The biggest advantage is time. Generally, garments can be created in mass very quickly.



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What is Tackle Twill?

Still not sure about what type of customization is right for your team? Have you thought about Tackle Twill?

Tackle Twill, or applique, involves sewing down a number or letter made by cutting pieces of one material and applying them to the surface of another material usually with a nylon twill. Basically, tackle twill begins with a “patch” of sorts that is applied to the jersey, shirt, hat or other garment that is then sewn to the material for a more rugged finish.

Tackle Twill is the most popular for both professional sports teams and school athletic organizations. Look closely at your favorite football, baseball, or hockey player’s jersey. Also look at many of the jerseys fans wear when watching the game. These jerseys have most likely been decorated with tackle twill names and numbers.

Advantages of Tackle Twill:
This type of applique offers a bold look to your uniform or jersey, but the stitching count is lower than embroidery, thus is more affordable while creating a three-dimensional work of art.

Tackle Twill design using zig zag stitch

Tackle Twill design using zig zag stitch

Tackle Twill Applique

Tackle Twill Applique

Jersey decorated with tackle twill names and numbers

Jersey with tackle twill names and numbers

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What is Sublimation?

So, you’re ready to order uniforms, but you’re not quite sure which type of customization you want? Between Sublimation, Tackle Twill, Heat Pressing, ScreenPrinting and Embroidery, it can get pretty confusing. In this next series, we will detail the differences between each type of customization to make your decision easier.

You may be asking… What exactly IS Sublimation? Sublimation is a traditional printing method in which a computer printer uses heat to transfer dye directly into the desired medium (jersey, shirt, hat…). Rather than weaving, embroidering or screen printing a design, sublimation applies the pigment directly into fabric in a vibrant and colorfast way.

The sublimation process begins by printing the design on paper using sublimation inks. The inks vaporize when they are heated and applied to the material. Sublimation is the easiest way to create a truly unique product by submitting your custom created label design. Most dye-sublimation printers use CMYO (cyan, magenta, yellow and overcoating) colors, which differs from the more recognized CMYK colors since the black dye is eliminated in favor of a clear overcoating. This overcoating protects the print from discoloration from UV light and the air, while also rendering the print water-resistant.

Advantages of Sublimation:
Sublimation is the easiest way to completely customize your uniforms or other garments and makes a lasting impression as the prints will not fade or chip off.

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