Essentials for Your Baseball Bag
So the time has come for your first baseball game. Stepping onto the diamond for the first time can be nerve-wracking, regardless of whether you’re 7 or 47 years old. You need to be able to maintain focus on the field, so it’s extremely important that you’re completely prepared for the game.
This means making sure you bring everything you need for a day at the ballpark. Like most sports, baseball requires quite a bit of gear and equipment. If you’re throwing your bag together as you run out the door, chances are you might forget something. Take a few minutes to read this guide and make sure your bag is fully stocked so that when game time comes, you’ll be able to play your best.
First and foremost, you want to make sure you have a baseball bag that can fit everything you need. There are a lot of different types of bags on the market. The best one for you will depend on how much gear you have, and to some extent, what position you play.
If you own a bat, you’ll need a bag that’s long enough to store it. There are numerous styles of bags that feature pockets specifically designed to hold bats.
If you own catcher’s gear, you’ll need a much larger bag than most others. The extra pads and helmet take up a lot of space, so catchers often lug around the biggest and heaviest bags.
If you don’t own catcher’s gear or a bat, a standard duffel bag should suffice. Essentially, you just want to find something that is durable and has room for all your equipment. You’ll need to choose one that you don’t mind getting dirty, too.
Equipment & Gear
Hot Tip: Bring a Back-up
If you have the means, it’s a great idea to bring a back-up glove with you to the baseball field. You never know when you might damage your glove or break a string; and you don’t want to rely on teammates for a loaner. Most players simply use their old gloves as back-ups.
There are few worse feelings on a baseball field than walking into the dugout, opening up your bag, and realizing that you forgot your glove. Depending on your age and level of play, you may have quite a few pieces of equipment to remember each time you pack for a game. Here’s a checklist of standard items to remember:
- Batting gloves
- Catcher’s gear (helmet, chest protector, shin guards)
Clothing & Accessories
Your uniform is the most important item to remember, but it’s far from the only clothing you’ll need for a baseball game. Furthermore, the baseball uniform usually consists of several pieces of clothing and accessories. Your pants aren’t very useful without a belt, and your spikes won’t do much good if you forget your socks! Make sure you wear or pack the following items:
- Team jersey
- Undershirt and/or long sleeves
- Baseball pants
- Socks and/or stirrups
- Jock strap or sliding/compression shorts
- Baseball cap
- Athletic supporter/cup
Make sure you pack a jacket or pullover with you, as well. If the weather is cold or you happen to be playing a night game, you’ll be glad to have something to keep you warm between innings and after the game. Even if the conditions are more pleasant, the weather can change over the course of a game. Bring something warm to protect yourself from the elements and keep your muscles from stiffening after a long ballgame.
You should also have a pair of shoes with you, in addition to your baseball spikes. In order to protect them, you should wear your cleats only on the field. This means you’ll need something else — baseball turfs, athletic sneakers, or even sandals — to wear to and from the field.
Finally, it’s a good idea to bring a pair of sunglasses. This is more optional, and some players prefer not to use them, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you find yourself playing in the field, squinting to track the ball as the sun sets behind home plate, you’ll be glad you brought some shades with you.
Health & Nutrition
Baseball games tend to be pretty long. And if you happen to be involved in a tournament or doubleheader, you may find yourself spending an entire day at the field. While this might be heaven on earth for some, a long day of baseball still requires special preparation. Specifically, you want to take care of your body so you can perform at your best.
It’s vital that you stay hydrated during the game. Many fields have water fountains available, but you should never rely solely on that. Make sure you bring at least one water bottle that can be re-filled. Baseball can be deceiving in that you may not realize you’re dehydrated. You could spend the majority of your time on the field standing in one place, and if it’s not particularly hot, you might not sweat very much. Nonetheless, your body uses those fluids quickly. Be diligent and drink water every inning.
Hot Tip: Salt Intake
Many baseball players like to eat sunflower seeds during games. This is fine, but keep in mind that sunflower seeds are extremely salty. Putting too much salt in your body can dehydrate you at a more rapid rate. So if you plan on spitting seeds, make sure you’re extra careful to drink plenty of fluids!
Similarly, you should never play baseball on an empty stomach. Despite the lack of constant movement, baseball still causes athletes to burn calories rapidly. Approximately two to three hours before each game, you should eat a healthy meal that is rich in carbohydrates and lean protein. This will provide ample energy to last you through the final inning. Even if you’re playing early in the day, it’s vital that you eat something for breakfast. It’s also a good idea to bring a snack to eat during the game. Fruit, granola, energy bars, and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches are popular choices among ballplayers.
Finally, a few hours on the diamond under the beating sun can leave your face and neck beet-red. Apply sunscreen to any exposed skin areas before the game, and re-apply throughout the day as necessary. Ballplayers spend a lot of time in the sun, and if you forget your sunscreen one time, it can cause you several days of discomfort.
It’s in the Bag
Baseball games are often time-consuming and mentally taxing. If you’re not properly prepared for a game, your focus and concentration might be elsewhere, which can affect your play between the foul lines. Feeling well-prepared instills confidence — a confidence that you can take to the field. Use this guide to make sure your baseball bag is stocked with everything you might need for a day at the ballpark, and then nothing can keep you from playing your best!