Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20050194335 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/071,627
Publication dateSep 8, 2005
Filing dateMar 3, 2005
Priority dateMar 3, 2004
Publication number071627, 11071627, US 2005/0194335 A1, US 2005/194335 A1, US 20050194335 A1, US 20050194335A1, US 2005194335 A1, US 2005194335A1, US-A1-20050194335, US-A1-2005194335, US2005/0194335A1, US2005/194335A1, US20050194335 A1, US20050194335A1, US2005194335 A1, US2005194335A1
InventorsCharles Hibner
Original AssigneeCharles Hibner
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sports equipment organizer
US 20050194335 A1
Abstract
Disclosed is a device for organizing and maintaining a baseball or softball player's equipment (batting helmet, batting gloves, sweats, sweatshirts, hats, water bottle, fielder's mitt or glove, catcher's chest protector, catcher's mask, catcher's shin protectors, and sliders). The device is easily fastened and unfastened to any standard chain link fence, and when properly fastened does not swing or sag when equipment is hung or removed. The device may also be permanently mounted in dugouts or other areas. The device is easily stored in a standard equipment bag and can serve as a form for the fielder's glove or mitt while in storage. This is also true of the catcher's configuration, which includes storage cylinders. These cylinders can be removed from the device and continue to hold the chest protector and shin guards while stored in the catcher's equipment bag.
Images(6)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(19)
1. An equipment organizing device, comprising:
a central vertically longitudinal portion;
a first hanger extending horizontally from a first side the central portion;
a support slat extending vertically parallel with and horizontally spaced apart from the central longitudinal portion,
where the support slat is attached to an upper end of the central longitudinal portion on a second opposite side of the central longitudinal portion.
2. The device of claim 1, further comprising a ball-shaped attachment mounted to an upper surface of the first hanger, where the ball-shaped attachment is sized to have a diameter similar to a baseball or a softball.
3. The device of claim 2, further comprising a second hanger extending horizontally from the first side of the central portion at a position lower than the first hanger.
4. The device of claim 3, in which the second hanger includes a hook portion extending vertically from an end of the second hanger distal from the central portion, where the hook portion is sized to receive and support a batting helmet or a catcher's helmet.
5. The device of claim 1, in which the slat is sized and shaped to fit through an opening in a chain-link fence.
6. The device of claim 1, further comprising at least one generally cylindrically shaped horizontal sleeve mounted on the first side of the central portion at a position lower than the first hanger, where the at least one generally cylindrically shaped horizontal sleeve has an inner diameter sized to receive a rolled up chest protector or leg protectors worn by a catcher.
7. The device of claim 1, further comprising a generally half-circularly shaped strap extending horizontally from the first face of the central portion at a position above the first hanger, where the half-circularly shaped strap is sized and shaped to receive and provide lateral support to a water bottle placed on the first hanger.
8. The device of claim 1, further comprising a holding material mounted to a vertical surface of the central portion.
9. The device of claim 8, in which the holding material mounted to a vertical surface of the central portion includes a hook material mounted to a first vertical surface of the central portion and a loop material mounted to a second vertical surface of the central portion.
10. An equipment organizing device, comprising:
a hanger adapted to receive and support sports equipment; and
a device support hanger adapted to provide stable support when the device is removably attached to a chain-link fence when sports equipment is received on the hanger.
11. The device of claim 10, in which the hanger adapted to receive and support sports equipment includes an attachment adapted to receive and support a fielder's glove or mitt.
12. The device of claim 11, further comprising a second hanger having a hook adapted to support a batting helmet or a catcher's helmet.
13. The device of claim 11, further comprising at least one sleeve adapted to store a rolled chest protector or leg protectors worn by a catcher.
14. The device of claim 11, in which the attachment adapted to receive and support a fielder's glove or mitt includes a ball-shaped attachment, where the ball-shaped attachment is sized to the same diameter as a baseball or a softball.
15. The device of claim 10, in which the hanger adapted to receive and support sports equipment is adapted to receive and support a water bottle.
16. The device of claim 10, in which the device is sized to fit in a standard equipment bag.
17. The device of claim 10, in which the device support hanger includes a slat spaced apart from a main portion of the device, where the slat is sized and shaped to fit through an open portion of the chain-link fence.
18. The device of claim 10, further comprising a holding material mounted to a surface of the device.
19. The device of claim 18, in which the holding material is one of a hook and loop material.
Description
RELATED APPLICATION DATA

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/550,508, filed Mar. 3, 2004, the contents of which are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This disclosure is directed toward an equipment organizer device, and, more specifically, to a device that is particularly effective to help organize baseball or softball equipment.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

Baseball or softball players spend approximately 1/2 of the game playing defense and 1/2 of the game playing offense. While playing defense, the player is on the field using equipment such as their fielder's mitt or glove, hat, and possibly sweatshirt or jacket. A catcher will typically have additional equipment such as chest and shin protectors, a catcher's mask and a catcher's helmet. While playing offense, a player may use equipment such as a batting helmet, batting gloves, bat, and slider (leg protector). Typically, one hitter from the team is “up” to bat and up to three additional players may be base runners. The remaining players typically wait in a dugout for their turn at bat. There is a minimum of nine players per team.

A ball field normally has two dugouts, one on each side of the field. Each competing team is assigned a respective dugout that they use for the entire game. Dugouts are generally enclosed by a fence, except for a field access gate, and include a bench for players and coaches to sit on.

Typically, any player's equipment not currently being used is kept in the team dugout area. Each player will have a similar list of equipment. During a given game (or practice) unused equipment is typically left by players intermixed with other player's equipment, laying on or under the benches, on the ground or floor of a dugout, or buried under other equipment. This can be a problem, as well as frustrating to the players, coaches, and officials, when a player is attempting to quickly transition from offense to defense or vice-versa and cannot find his or her equipment. This can also cause damage to the equipment as it is often kicked, sat on, squashed, or stepped on.

Embodiments of the invention address these and other limitations of the prior art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating the equipment-organizing device according to embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the equipment-organizing device of FIG. 1 suspended from a fence.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the equipment-organizing device of FIG. 1 suspended from a fence with equipment attached.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an equipment-organizing device according to other embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an equipment-organizing device according to other embodiments of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of the invention provide a neat, fast, and effective way to organize sports equipment, and in particular baseball and softball equipment. Such equipment may include a batting helmet, batting gloves, sweats, sweatshirts, hats, fielder's mitt or glove, catcher's chest protector, catcher's mask, catcher's shin protectors, water bottle, and sliders, for example. By attaching an equipment organizer to a suitable device, such as a dugout fence, the stored equipment is maintained off the ground and is thereby protected from being stepped on or otherwise damaged. These embodiments also give the players easy and fast access to their equipment. In the portable version, the player can take the equipment organizer with them to the next playing location.

FIG. 1 illustrates an equipment-organizing device, or “organizer” 10 according to embodiments of the invention. The organizer is generally constructed of a frame 12 and includes a lower hanger 20 and an upper hanger 30. The hangers 20, 30 may be of the same unitary construction as the frame 12, or may be separately attached to the frame. The frame 12 may be formed of metal, plastic, wood, or other sturdy, rigid material. The sizes shown in FIG. 1 are illustrative only; the organizer 10 may have other dimensions.

In the illustrated embodiment, the lower hanger 20 includes a hook portion 22 that can be used to hold a batting helmet 90 (see FIG. 3), clothing, or other items. The lower hanger 20 may extend approximately 2-4″ from the frame 12, for example.

Similarly, the upper hanger 30 may include an attachment 32 for holding a fielder's mitt. In one embodiment, the attachment 32 can be baseball or softball sized such that the mitt 92 can be placed, inverted, directly on the attachment 32 for temporary storage (see FIG. 3). In some embodiments, the attachment 32 may be an actual baseball or softball mounted directly to the upper hanger 30. In other embodiments the attachment 32 may be formed of another material. The upper hanger 30 may extend horizontally approximately 4-6″ from the frame 12, or have another appropriate length.

The attachment 32 may also be used to help the fielder's glove or mitt 92 retain its pocket and reduce the breakdown that can happen when a glove is stored without a ball or form in it. The entire organizer 10 can be easily stored in a standard equipment bag with the attachment 32 resting in the stored glove or mitt 92. Any number of hooks 22, attachments 32, or other hangers 20, 30 may be attached to the frame 12.

A hanger 40 is attached to the frame 12 of the organizer 10. Referring to FIG. 2, the hanger 40 allows the organizer 10 to be relatively easily slipped into a fence 70. Such fences are typically found in dugouts, the main operating environment of the organizer 10. In an example embodiment, the hanger 40 may be in the shape of a slat and be from approximately 3 to 9 inches long, more preferably between 6 and 8 inches, and approximately 1 inch wide, or have other suitable dimensions. The hanger 40 is preferably sized and shaped so that it can be slipped through open portions of a chain link fence such that the hanger 40 is on a first side of the fence and the frame 12 is on another. Such an arrangement provides a stable, firm mounting for the organizer 10, while still allowing the organizer 10 to be easily removed from the fence. Additionally, this configuration provides a very stable hanging device that will not swing or sag as equipment is added or removed from the device. The hanger 40 may be made of metal or plastic, and preferably is somewhat rigid though flexible. The hanger 40 may be mounted directly to the frame 12 in any conventional manner, such as by screws, rivets, or glue, for instance, or may be an integrated part of the frame 12.

Additionally, the frame 12 may not include a hanger 40 at all, and may attach to a wall or other suitable structure in another way. For instance, a post or other holder may be permanently mounted to a solid wall and the frame 12 have a receiver structured to accept the post to hold the organizer in a stable relationship. Alternatively, a dozen or more organizers 10 may be permanently mounted in a dugout such that the players would not have to carry them to the field. Use of the organizer 10 is the same regardless of how the frame 12 is attached.

FIG. 2 illustrates the organizer 10 in FIG. 1 removably attached to a chain link fence 70. This figure shows the hanger 40 laced through openings in the fence, thereby providing stability and security to the device 10.

Referring again to FIG. 1, a holding material 50, such as hook and loop, for instance VELCRO hook and loop material, may be attached to areas of the frame 12 of the organizer 10. Illustrated in FIG. 1, the holding material 50 is attached to sides of the frame 12. Many small items, such as batting gloves and sliders, include their own hook and loop material. By including the holding material 50 as a part of the organizer 10, the small items may be directly attached to the holding material using their own hook and loop material. In operation, the player simply presses the hook and loop material from the batting glove, or other equipment to the appropriate portion of the holding material 50. In some embodiments, both hook and loop portions of the holding material 50 may be attached on the same surface, such as illustrated in FIG. 1. In other embodiments, hook portions of the holding material 50 may be attached on one side of the frame 12, while loop portions of the holding material 50 are attached to another side.

FIG. 3 illustrates the organizer 10 of FIG. 1 hanging with batting helmet 90 and fielding glove 92 mounted on the organizer 10. FIG. 3 shows the organizer 10 hanging on a chain link fence 70 with a fielder's glove 92 resting (attached) on the attachment 32 on the upper hanger 30 and a batter's helmet 90 hanging (attached) on the hook 22 of bottom hanger 20. Of course, different equipment may be stored on the organizer 10, including but not limited to batting gloves, sweat pants and shirts, and a catcher's helmet.

FIG. 4 illustrates another embodiment of the organizer 10. This embodiment is adapted especially to hold more equipment, such as for a catcher. As mentioned above, a catcher typically uses more equipment than other players on a team. The additional equipment may include a chest protector and leg protectors. Generally, this embodiment is similar to the embodiment of FIG. 1, but some differences result from their different purposes. In this embodiment, a frame 14 is longer than the frame 12 of FIG. 1, such that the organizer 10 can support other hangers for the additional equipment. The upper hanger 30 is similar or the same as the organizer 10 of FIG. 1. Similarly, the holding material 50 may also be attached to the frame 14. The lower hanger 20, conversely, is different from the embodiment of FIG. 1. The lower hanger 20 illustrated in FIG. 4 includes the hook 22 and an additional hook 24 to store more equipment, such as a catcher's mask. Although only two hooks 22, 24 are shown in FIG. 4, additional hooks may be present.

Further, sleeves 60 and 62 are mounted to the frame 14. These sleeves 60, 62 can support a chest protector (rolled), and leg protectors that are typically worn by the catcher. Example sleeves 60, 62 may be cylindrical in shape and be approximately 6″ in diameter and approximately 6″ long. One or more of the sleeves may have a tapered diameter. Other shapes or sizes may also be used. Although shown in FIG. 4 as being mounted horizontally relative to a long axis of the frame 14, one or more of the sleeves 60, 62 may be mounted vertically. Additionally, the sleeves 60, 62 may be mounted to another frame, separate from the frame 14. In this embodiment, the catcher may have two organizers 10, a first (such as illustrated in FIG. 3) for their batting helmet 90 and mitt 92, and a second (such as described in FIG. 4) for only their chest and leg protectors. The sleeves 60, 62 may be made of rubber, plastic, or other suitable material, and may be attached to the frame 14 in any conventional manner. The sleeves 60, 62 may be structured to be easily detached from the frame 14 for easy storage in an equipment bag.

FIG. 5 shows another embodiment of the organizer 10. Here, the organizer 10 includes lower hanger 20 that is shaped and sized to receive water bottle 94. Strap 36 attaches to frame 16 above the lower hanger 20 and is formed in an approximately semi-circular shape to laterally stabilize the water bottle 94.

Strap 36 may be made of the same material as frame 16 or made of a different material. Strap 36 may be a separate piece that is attached to frame 16 by adhesive, mechanical fasteners or other mechanisms. The strap 36 may also be formed as an integral part of the frame 16.

Having described and illustrated the principles of the invention in a preferred embodiment thereof, it should be apparent that the invention can be modified in arrangement and detail without departing from such principles.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7789248Apr 3, 2007Sep 7, 2010Salerno Russell JHangable gear holder
US20110100939 *Nov 5, 2010May 5, 2011John FrieschModular hanging rack
US20110174945 *Jan 15, 2010Jul 21, 2011Wood Donald MSporting goods support plate
Classifications
U.S. Classification211/85.7
International ClassificationA47F7/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B71/0045, A63B2243/0004, A63B2225/68
European ClassificationA63B71/00K2