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Evoshield to Release 2nd Run of EvoScopes Sunglasses

evoshield evoscopes

Quick FYI, Evoshield let us know that they’ll be re-loading on the sold-out EvoScopes sunglasses that we discussed a couple weeks ago.  They’ll be available tomorrow, August 1st (around noon eastern) at $99.99.  Get them here.

SHOP EVOSHIELD SUNGLASSES HERE.

Lizard Skin Grip Reviews: A New Category of Baseball

Lizard Skin Grip Review

 By Brian Duryea

To understand Lizard Skin grips in baseball you need to understand their history. Nearly 20 years ago a start-up Utah company began supplying polymer grips and bar tapes to high end road bike, mountain bike and BMX racers. The grips needed to perform in all types of weather while providing the spectrum of comfort and feel depending on the discipline and preference of the rider. No company was providing that type of offering in their handle and grip space at the time so Lizard Skin, the name of that start-up, saw the need and filled it. Today they are known worldwide for an array of quality built grip and handlebar tape on any line of bike you can imagine.

Lizard Skin Grip Review

It is actually surprising it took nearly 18 years  after their foray into the bike grip space for Lizard Skin to get into the baseball space. But some fortune arose when John Buck, a Mariner’s Catcher, made some friends at Lizard Skin and, as they say, the rest is history.

They’ve made the climb in baseball for much the same reason they are a worldwide brand in bike grips: recognition that different players use different bats and each bat needs its own type of grip. Further, each hitter has his own preference when finding the right feel and look. With 18 years of experience in perfecting different grips for competitive bike racers, the transition to producing grips for competitive baseball players was pretty straight forward: options, success in all types of weather, and a great feel.

Considering just over two years ago Lizard Skin had yet to produce and sell a single baseball grip, their ascent into the baseball psyche has been nothing short of remarkable: big names in baseball now use lizard skins religiously–Robinson Cano, David Ortiz and Hunter Pence to name a few; Lizard Skin just inked a deal with Combat Bats to supply Lizard Skin grips out of the factory on their metal Portent line; it appears, if I’m reading the twitter-leaves correctly, they are soon to do a similar deal with Louisville Slugger in the wood bat line; among the little league ranks Lizard Skin grips is common place and well respected as a major success in form and function.

Options

Lizard Skin for baseball bats come in three degrees of thickness: 1.8mm, 1.1mm and 0.5mm.

Most using wood bats use the 0.5mm thickness which keeps the feel of the lumber yet provides exceptional grip without the mess of pine tar. Considering how many bats have been thrown into stands recently due to poor grip, I expect we see a greater demand for these. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day the MLB required synthetic and permanent grip on bats.

Little leaguers looking for the most cushion and feel usually prefer the 1.8mm which gives the greatest sting dampening and confidence to swing hard at the plate.

Lizard Skin Grip Review

The middle ground is the 1.1mm for those in the transition phase to wood bats or those with wood bats looking for a bit more cushion.

But all sizes work on all bats and each player to his own. The catalog of colors and designs appears endless: simple, black, camo, neon and striped in all colors of the rainbow (and then some if that’s possible).

Application

I recently re-wrapped three bats for each one of my sons with Lizard Skin grip. The 1.8mm seemed most appropriate considering they all are under the age of 13 and the bats are metal. We have some older composite bats which needed some new grips and happen to be their favorites in the leagues where they can use them (and are the best bats ever made). I have never wrapped a bat in my life. I watched a video of how to do it. I suspect with practice I could have done better and I felt like the third bat I wrapped was definitely better than the first.

Lizard Skin Grip Review

They all turned out very acceptable and my sons were very excited about the new grip on their old bats. There were a couple of very tiny kinks in the wrap as I tried to force the wrap to go at the correct angle. I found that by the next morning many of those small creases worked themselves out and they are, to my critical eye, pretty much unnoticeable now.

Lizard Skin Grip Review

Combat B1, B2 and Portent G3 with Lizard Skins. The G3 comes with the Skin straight from Combat.

Overall the experience was pretty simple and clearly added both form and function to the bats. The grips feel good. My son was surprised at how ‘grippy’ and comfortable they were. We put some water on one to see how it would respond and while it can be slippery when wet we learned that the water doesn’t soak into the wrap but, instead, wipes right off for an even stickier feel. They look much improved and ‘sick’ as my sons pointed out. Choosing the right color scheme on a bat makes a lot of the difference.

Lizard Skin Grip Review

Conclusion

In a sport that has been around nearly as long as America itself Lizard Skin somehow created an entirely new category: customized baseball bat grips for any player, anytime, anywhere. In that space they’ve made a significant run with all signs pointing to open field ahead.

And probably the greatest validation to Lizard Skin Baseball grips? Big name conglomerate companies are now scrambling to the space with knock-offs of their own. With a two-year head start, a very fair price point and already great traction in the MLB, I suspect those copy-cats will learn pretty quickly that it’s hard to catch someone who first learned to run on a bike.

Brian Duryea, the author, is the owner of justbatreviews.com and is a regular contributor to whatproswear. He can be reached at admin@justbatreviews.com or .

Bryce Harper’s Profile Updated

Bryce Harper's Under Armour Deception DT Hybrid Cleats

Bryce’s locker has been refreshed for the second half. Check out the updates here.

Adidas EQT Glove Gets Called to the Pros

Adidas EQT Glove Review

BY BRIAN DURYEA

As adidas is making a serious run at the metal bat space with the EQT X1 and EQT X2, it might not come as much of a surprise to learn they’ve also released a line of premium leather baseball gloves under the EQT franchise.  A pitcher, infield and outfield handcrafted glove with Pro K3 leather may grace some MLB fields this year as Oscar Mercado (@Osc_merc), Tyrell Jenkins (@TyrellJenkins14), Ender Inciarte (@Enderdavid18) and  Angelo Gumbs (#twitterless) all take to the professional ranks.

Adidas EQT Glove

I’m a fan of the gray with the blue lettering. The ‘Damascus Steel’ look of the wrist patch to match the X1 and X2 bats is a nice touch and growing on me. An Adidas logo in the palm of a baseball glove might take a while to get used to, but the glove, yet to be broken in by me and played with, feels as good as any new glove I’ve put on. A medium depth pocket and open webbing on the infield glove feels right.

adidas eqt lx3 baseball glove

adidas eqt lx3 baseball glove

You can see more pictures of the glove here or purchase it here.

Brian Duryea, the author, is the owner of justbatreviews.com and is a regular contributor to whatproswear. He can be reached at admin@justbatreviews.com or .

New Balance Area Code Games Uniforms Might Make You Jealous

mike trout harper area code

The 2014 Area Code Games, an elite high school tournament which boasts 11 number one overall picks in its 28-year existence, start in a week.  This is an MLB scout-driven exhibition of the best young talent in the country, and MLB scouts have a pretty good eye for that kind of thing.  Little names like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, Jacoby Ellsbury, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Dustin Pedroia, David Wright, Giancarlo Stanton, CC Sabathia and Troy Tulowitzki all played in the Area Code Games before launching into super stardom.

New Balance has the honors to outfit all eight squads this year, all of which are hand-picked by scouts from a specific MLB team.

Below you’ll see each tourney team’s uni, the White Sox, A’s, Reds, Brewers, Yankees, Nationals, Royals, and Rangers…

…which are just excruciatingly fresh.  The detailing on the pants is making me jealous.  I want.

For those not lucky enough to be invited, lets at least pretend.  Which scheme would you want to rock in front of a bevy of scouts from all 30 MLB teams and just about any college that matters?

Hanley Ramirez’ New Balance 4040v2 “Hanleywood”

 

That is the absolute definition of “Hanleywood” right there.

Whether you love it or hate it, Giants need a W tonight to avoid getting steamrolled by, in my view, the best team on paper in baseball.  You’re crazy if you don’t shudder looking at that 3-man rotation of Kershaw, Greinke, and Ryu.  And then as a pitcher you’re staring down a 2-3-4 of Puig-Gonzalez-Hanley that, if Dee Gordon finds a way on base, you’re living my nightmare.

We all know his history, so Hanley’s looking to reduce the pounding on his joints over the stretch run by mixing in a TPU (plastic) 4040v2 from New Balance, who is now at a point where they’ve got the best palette in baseball and they’re having fun with it.  These cleats look good in every color.  This one looks like its got a reptilian treatment to compliment Hanley’s overall opulence.

Hanley had a brief stint with Carl Crawford’s Jordan 12s early in the season, but he’s come right back to his NB “Hanleywood” cleats that he’d been in since last year.  These are obviously player exclusive, but there is plenty to choose from with the 4040v2.  Shop them here.

See Hanley’s full WPW profile here.

Kyle Schwarber’s Undercover Bat: Adidas EQT Outed

AR-140619483

BY BRIAN DURYEA

If just a few weeks ago you told me that several NCAA baseball players were swinging Adidas-made metal baseball bats in 2014 NCAA Division I baseball, I would have assumed you were dangerously stupid. Anyone who knows anything knows that Adidas don’t make no bats. Cricket Bats, maybe, but BBCOR baseball bats that an actual legitimate Division I College player would take into the box on purpose? Eh-eh.

Now come back with me to a few weeks ago. There I was, staring at a picture of Kyle Schwarber, the 4th pick in the MLB draft, wondering what metal bat the first non-pitcher draftee and Indiana player (who happens to NOT be tied to an exclusive bat contract) had chosen to swing in college. With the BBCOR world as his oyster, what pearl would this highly touted catcher from Big X country be gripping and ripping?

There, in the picture of the Cubs’ first round draft pick hitting a baseball, a couple things were clear: good form; contact made in front; good weight distribution at contact. All things you’d suspect in a prospect of Kyle Schwarber’s caliber. But what wasn’t clear was what exactly was he holding in his hands. Sure, it was a completely black bat but for three simple stripes in its middle, but why had I never seen it before?

I was pretty sure I could name every BBCOR bat in existence since the regulation’s inception. I’d seen them all, probably swung them all: Easton, Rawlings, DeMarini, Combat, Nike, etc. etc. But for the life of me, the bat Schwarber had did not look familiar. Maybe a custom-made DeMarini? Maybe Schwarber was trying to make a statement with a wood bat? Maybe the sun didn’t let me get a good look at the graphics on the bat? So I found a couple other shots:

images (2)Adidas EQT Review

Not any more helpful, although there is clearly some writing on the bat. If I could only get a better look. I tried another search, and this:

Adidas EQT Review

Was it my imagination or was that an Adidas three stripe symbol and triangle logo? But it couldn’t be Adidas because anyone who knows anything knows that Adidas don’t make no bats.

I called out to my wife, “Am I having a mini-stroke? It seems like this guy is swinging a bat that doesn’t exist.”

She looked at me diligently studying baseball bats of young twenty something men on the internet–

Ok, dumb question–back to the picture and the problem.  Kyle Schwarber was swinging a bat that had an Adidas logo, and anyone who knows anything knows that Adidas don’t make no bats. So I reached out to a friend who knew a guy who had a friend that worked at Adidas and found out, if you can freaking believe it, Adidas has been quietly testing out new BBCOR bats in the NCAA during the 2014 season. And, if you can fetching believe it further, a few big name NCAA guys with great swings chose this mysterious Adidas bat over any other bat on the market. No flipping way.

But, I cried, the marketing hype? The Countdown Clocks? The twitterings? The banners on every side bar of every site about bats I visited? Why had I seen nothing touting how much further this covert Adidas bat would hit it when compared to the other guy’s $300 flex-tech-tri-tip-bomb-stomping-alloy? How could the metal bat world let me down so? Where was the hype machine?

‘Well,’ explained the Adidas guy in not so many words when I asked him this on the phone, ‘we just thought it would make more sense to get the bats in the hands of folks who could choose to swing it at elite levels of baseball. And, as it turns out, many of them did.’

A marketing strategy in the metal bat space that actually depends on the usefulness of the hardware? Sounds like someone at Adidas had a mini-stroke — a mini-stroke of genius that is.

Yet there is more! Adidas took these prototypes used by elite college players and gave them a spruced up blue stripe with a Japanese metal sword type look. Further, and of note to those writing wikipedia articles, about 6 weeks ago two versions of this covert BBCOR bat went to market and Adidas had officially set sail into the sea of selling metal bats (which you are allowed to try and say swiftly six times). Those two bats, the EQT X1 and EQT X2, became the Adam and Eve of Adidas’ metal baseball bats.

Adidas EQT Bat Review

The EQT X1 is a one piece alloy design with a balanced swing weight, smooth like butter swing, recessed end cap and huge barrel face for maximum contact. The EQT X2 also has the recessed thermoplastic end cap, a smooth swing, balanced feel and big barrel face but is a two piece hybrid design. A proprietary connection technology in the X2 welds the composite handle and the aluminum barrel. Both are smooth bats with good feel (especially the X1) and a big barrel face.

(If you are looking for more details and pictures on the Adidas EQT Bats, try this 2015 Adidas EQT Review.)

Of course questions remain. Is Adidas coming out with a youth and senior league line? Probably is my guess. Can we expect a two piece composite bat? Probably not anytime soon. Will future iterations keep the understated look? Hopefully. How will a bat from a company known better for soccer shoes be received in a highly competitive metal baseball bat market? My guess is surprisingly well. Is Adidas committed to the long haul in the metal bat space? Sounds like it. Will they ride the EQT name into the next several generations as the company finds ways to improve it? We can pray for it.

There is definitely much to be determined, but this much we know: Adidas, it turns out, now makes metal bats. And anyone who knows anything knows that.

Brian Duryea, the author, is the owner of justbatreviews.com and is a regular contributor to whatproswear. He can be reached at admin@justbatreviews.com or