US 20050194335 A1
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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
In the illustrated embodiment, the lower hanger 20 includes a hook portion 22 that can be used to hold a batting helmet 90 (see
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
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.
Referring again to
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
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.