Title:
Baseball bat with a ball-serving device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A baseball bat includes a tubular bat body with a resilient member, a ball-pushing unit which is disposed within the bat body, a gripping rod that retains the ball-pushing unit within the bat body, and an adjustment member that is coupled with the gripping rod. The resilient member is formed with a retaining projection that engages a hole in the ball-pushing unit. The resilient member can be actuated to separate the projection from the hole so that the ball-pushing unit is biased by a spring to move quickly in the bat body, thereby shooting a ball from an opening in an end of the bat body. When it is desired to perform a subsequent ball serving action, an adjustment member is pulled out from the bat body so as to engage the retaining projection with the hole, after which the adjustment member is returned to its normal position on the bat body.



Inventors:
Liu, Chao-jih (Taiwan, CN)
Application Number:
09/810582
Publication Date:
06/13/2002
Filing Date:
03/16/2001
Assignee:
LIU CHAO-JIH
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B59/06; A63B69/00; A63B69/40; (IPC1-7): A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
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20070238552Propylene elastomer compositions and golf balls that include such compositionsOctober, 2007Kim et al.
20080268989Sports ballOctober, 2008Lalvani
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OSTROLENK FABER LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A baseball bat comprising: a tubular bat body having a barrel portion, a grip portion extending axially from an end of said barrel portion, and a ball-shooting opening formed in the other end of said barrel portion, said barrel portion defining an accommodating space therein, said bat body further including an integral resilient member which is formed with a retaining projection that is biased to move in a radial direction of said bat body; a ball-pushing unit disposed within said accommodating space in said bat body and including a bowl-shaped ball-receiving element that is adapted to receive a baseball therewithin, and a push rod unit which has an outer end that is connected fixedly to said ball-receiving element, and an inner end that is provided with a fixed retaining seat, said push rod unit being formed with a guide slot that extends along length thereof and that has an outer end and an inner end, said retaining seat having a slide slot, within which said resilient member of said tubular bat body is received slidably, and a hole, which is communicated with said slide slot and which engages said retaining projection of said resilient member, thereby positioning said ball-pushing unit within said bat body; means for guiding said ball-pushing unit to move axially within said bat body; a gripping rod retained at a retracted position relative to said bat body and having a wide rod portion disposed within said grip portion of said bat body, a narrow rod portion disposed within said push rod unit of said ball-pushing unit, a limiting shoulder defined between said wide and narrow rod portions and abutting against said inner end of said push rod unit, and a gripping portion formed on said narrow rod portion and retained slidably within said guide slot in said push rod unit so as to limit movement of said gripping portion between said inner and outer ends of said guide slot, thereby retaining said ball-pushing unit on said gripping rod; a coiled compression spring sleeved on said wide rod portion of said gripping rod and disposed between said ball-pushing unit and said bat body so as to bias said ball-pushing unit away from said gripping rod when said resilient member is actuated to remove said retaining projection of said resilient member from said hole in said retaining seat, thereby pushing the baseball from said ball shooting opening in said bat body; and an adjustment member connected removably to said gripping rod in such a manner that, after said retaining projection of said resilient member has been removed from said hole in said retaining seat, said adjustment element can move relative to said bat body so that said resilient member slides within said slide slot in said retaining seat of said push rod unit of said ball-pushing unit, thereby engaging said retaining projection of said resilient member with said hole in said retaining seat and consequently permitting subsequent ball pushing action of said ball-pushing unit.

2. The baseball bat as claimed in claim 1, wherein said push rod unit includes an inner rod that is formed with said guide slot therethrough, and an outer tube that is disposed around said inner tube, each of said inner rod and said outer tube having an end that is connected fixedly to said ball-receiving element, said narrow rod portion of said gripping rod having a plate-shaped portion that engages said guide slot in said inner rod and that has a uniform width, said guide slot in said inner rod having an elongated rectangular cross-section with a long side and a short side that is slightly longer than the width of said plate-shaped portion of said narrow rod portion of said gripping rod, said plate-shaped portion of said gripping rod and said guide slot in said inner rod constituting said means for guiding said ball-pushing unit to move axially within said bat body.

3. The baseball bat as claimed in claim 2, wherein said inner rod has an end surface which is formed with a cylindrical recess that is communicated with said guide slot in said inner rod and that has a diameter smaller than width of said guide slot in said inner rod to define a retaining shoulder therebetween, said gripping rod being made of a flexible material and having a bifurcated end, which constitutes said gripping portion and which includes two lateral projections that extend integrally therefrom away from each other and that are movable to abut against said retaining shoulder so as to prevent removal of said bifurcated end of said gripping rod from said inner rod.

4. The baseball bat as claimed in claim 2, wherein said bat body is formed with an insert tube that is connected fixedly to said grip portion of said bat body and that extends into said sleeve portion of said bat body, said insert tube being inserted between said inner rod and said outer tube of said push rod unit so as to permit sliding movement of said insert tube therebetween, thereby further guiding said ball-pushing unit to move axially in said bat body.

5. The baseball bat as claimed in claim 1, wherein said wide rod portion of said gripping rod is formed with a longitudinal slot that extends along length thereof, said bat body including a radial guide bolt that is fixed thereon and that extends slidably into said longitudinal slot in said gripping rod, thereby guiding said gripping rod to move axially in said bat body.

6. The baseball bat as claimed in claim 1, wherein said compression spring is disposed between said ball-pushing unit and said guide bolt, thereby biasing said ball-pushing unit away from said guide bolt.

7. The baseball bat as claimed in claim 6, wherein said push rod unit has an end surface which is formed with a cylindrical recess, said compression spring having a first end portion that is received fittingly within said cylindrical recess in said push rod unit, and a second end portion that abuts against said guide bolt.

8. The baseball bat as claimed in claim 1, wherein said grip portion of said bat body is formed with an axially extending central hole therethrough, said wide rod portion of said gripping rod extending into said central hole in said grip portion and having an end surface that is formed with a threaded hole, said adjustment member having an integral insert rod that is press fitted within said central hole in said grip portion, a hole formed through said adjustment member, and a lock bolt extending through said hole in said adjustment member to engage said threaded hole in said gripping rod, thereby retaining said gripping rod at said retracted position, said adjustment member being capable of being pulled away from said grip portion of said bat body so as to separate said insert rod of said adjustment member from said central hole in said grip portion and so as to move said ball-pushing unit and said gripping rod relative to said bat body, thereby moving said gripping rod to an extended position, in which said retaining projection of said resilient member engages said hole in said retaining seat of said ball-pushing unit.

9. The baseball bat as claimed in claim 1, wherein said retaining seat has a generally U-shaped cross-section, and includes two parallel side walls and a connecting wall that is formed integrally with said side walls at two opposite sides thereof, said slide slot in said retaining seat being defined between said side walls, said hole in said retaining seat being formed through said connecting wall.

10. The baseball bat as claimed in claim 1, wherein said sleeve portion of said bat body is formed with an inward flange that extends radially and inwardly therefrom and that defines said ball-shooting opening, said bowl-shaped ball-receiving element of said ball-pushing unit being formed with a hemispherical cavity that is adapted to receive the baseball, said ball-shooting opening being sized so as to be adapted to prevent movement of the ball therethrough.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates to a baseball bat for training of children, more particular to a baseball bat, which is provided with a ball-serving device therein.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] A baseball bat for training of children is made normally of plastic. In practice, two children are needed to serve as a pitcher and a batter, respectively. When somebody cannot find others to play with, he must serve up a ball, and subsequently strike the same in situ using a bat, thereby resulting in a monotonous and difficult act.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] An object of this invention is to provide a baseball bat which is designed for training of children and which is provided with a ball-serving device that can be operated easily to serve up a ball so as to permit subsequent striking on the ball using the bat.

[0006] According to this invention, a baseball bat includes a tubular bat body with a resilient member, a ball-pushing unit which is disposed within the bat body, a gripping rod that retains the ball-pushing unit within the bat body, and an adjustment member that is coupled with the gripping rod. The resilient member is formed with a retaining projection that engages a hole in the ball-pushing unit. The resilient member can be actuated to separate the projection from the hole so that the ball-pushing unit is biased by a spring to move quickly in the bat body, thereby shooting a ball from an opening in an end of the bat body. When it is desired to perform a subsequent ball serving action, an adjustment member is pulled out from the bat body so as to engage the retaining projection with the hole, after which the adjustment member is returned to its normal position on the bat body.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] These and other features and advantages of this invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of this invention, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0008] FIG. 1 is a partly exploded perspective view of the preferred embodiment of a baseball bat according to this invention, which is provided with a ball-serving device;

[0009] FIG. 2 is an assembled perspective view of the preferred embodiment;

[0010] FIG. 3 is a longitudinal sectional view of the preferred embodiment;

[0011] FIG. 4 is another longitudinal sectional view of the preferred embodiment, illustrating engagement between a retaining projection of a resilient member and a hole in a retaining seat;

[0012] FIG. 5 is a longitudinal sectional view of the preferred embodiment, illustrating how a ball is served from an opening in an end of a bat body; and

[0013] FIG. 6 is a longitudinal sectional view of the preferred embodiment, illustrating a state after an adjustment member is pulled out from the bat body, thereby permitting subsequent ball serving action of the ball-serving device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0014] Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4, the preferred embodiment of a baseball bat according to this invention is shown to include a tubular bat body 10, and a ball-serving device, which includes a ball-pushing unit 20, a gripping rod 30, and a coiled compression spring 40.

[0015] The bat body 10 has a barrel portion 11, a grip portion 12 extending axially from an end of the barrel portion 11, and a ball-shooting opening 13 formed in the other end of the barrel portion 11. The barrel portion 11 defines an accommodating space 111, and has a notch 14 formed in a wall thereof. The bat body 10 further includes an integral resilient member 15, which is formed with a retaining projection 151 that is biased to move in a radial direction of the bat body 10. A polyurethane sleeve 121 is disposed fixedly around the grip portion 12. An insert tube 16 is connected fixedly to the grip portion 12, and extends into the sleeve portion 11. The grip portion 12 has an axially extending central hole 17 formed therethrough, and a radial threaded hole 120. A radial guide bolt 18 extends threadably through the threaded hole 120 in the grip portion 12. The ball shooting opening 13 is defined by an inward flange 131 that extends integrally, radially and inwardly from an end of the sleeve portion 11.

[0016] The ball-pushing unit 20 is disposed within the accommodating space 111 in the bat body 10, and includes a bowl-shaped ball-receiving element 21 and a push rod unit 22, which consists of an outer tube 23 and an inner rod 24 that define an annular space 25 (see FIGS. 3 and 4) therebetween. The ball-receiving element 21 defines a hemispherical cavity 211 that is adapted to receive a baseball 100 (see FIG. 4) therein, and is formed with an integral annular flange 212. Because the ball-receiving element 21 has a maximum diameter that is slightly larger than the diameter of the ball-shooting opening 131 in the bat body 10, removal of the ball-receiving element 21 from the opening 131 is prevented. The inner rod 24 is formed with a guide slot 26 therethrough that has an inner end (26A) and an outer end (26B), and a cylindrical recess 241 that is formed in an end surface of the inner rod 24 and that is communicated with the inner end (26A) of the guide slot 26. The cylindrical recess 241 has a diameter smaller than the width of the guide slot 26 in the inner rod 24 to define a retaining shoulder 261 (see FIG. 1) therebetween. The push rod unit 22 has an outer end 201 (see FIG. 4) that is connected fixedly to the ball-receiving element 21, and an inner end 202 that is provided with a fixed retaining seat 27 on an outer surface of the outer tube 23. Each of the inner rod 24 and the outer tube 23 has an end that is connected fixedly to the ball-receiving element 21. In this embodiment, the inner rod 24 is press fitted within the annular flange 212 of the ball-receiving element 21. The outer tube 23 is press fitted within an annular groove in the flange 212. The retaining seat 27 has a generally U-shaped cross-section, and includes two parallel side walls (27A) that define a slide slot 271 therebetween, and a connecting wall (27B) that is formed integrally with the side walls (27A) at two opposite sides thereof and that has a hole 272 formed therethrough. The resilient member 15 is disposed slidably within the slide slot 271. The retaining projection 151 engages the hole 272, thereby positioning the ball-pushing unit 20 within the bat body 10.

[0017] The gripping rod 30 is retained normally at a retracted position, and has a wide rod portion 31 disposed within the grip portion 12 of the bat body 10, and a narrow rod portion 32 disposed within the push rod unit 22 of the ball pushing unit 20. The wide and narrow rod portions 31, 32 define a limiting shoulder 33 therebetween, on which the inner end 202 (see FIG. 4) of the ball-pushing unit 20 rests. The wide rod portion 31 is formed with a longitudinal slot 34 therethrough, which extends along length thereof. The guide bolt 18 of the bat body 10 extends slidably into the longitudinal slot 34, thereby guiding the gripping rod 30 to move axially within the bat body 10 between the retracted position and an extended position shown in FIG. 6. An adjustment member 35 has an integral insert rod 351 that is press fitted within the central hole 17 in the grip portion 12, a hole 352 formed through the adjustment member 35, and a lock bolt 353 extending through the hole 352 to engage a threaded hole 311 in an end surface of the wide rod portion 31 of the gripping rod 30, thereby retaining the gripping rod 30 at the retracted position. The narrow rod portion 32 of the gripping rod 30 has a plate-shaped portion 320 that engages the guide slot 26 in the inner rod 24 and that has a uniform width. As illustrated, the guide slot 26 has an elongated rectangular cross-section with a long side and a short side that is slightly longer than the width of the plate-shaped portion 320 of the narrow rod portion 32 of the gripping rod 30. As such, the ball-pushing unit 20 is guided to move axially within the bat body 10. The gripping rod 30 is made of a flexible material, and has a bifurcated end or gripping portion, which includes two lateral projections 36 that extend integrally therefrom away from each other and that are limited to move between the inner and outer ends (26A, 26B) of the guide slot 26 in the ball-pushing unit 20, thereby preventing removal of the lateral projections 36 from the inner rod 24.

[0018] The spring 40 is sleeved on the wide rod portion 31 of the gripping rod 30, and has a first end portion that is received within the cylindrical recess 241 in the inner rod 24, and a second end portion that abuts against the guide bolt 18. The spring 40 is compressed between the ball-pushing unit 20 and the guide bolt 18.

[0019] In use, a ball 100 is placed in the cavity 211 of the ball-receiving element 21 of the ball-pushing unit 20, as shown in FIG. 4. When the resilient member 15 is pressed to disengage the retaining projection 151 from the hole 272, the ball-pushing unit 20 is pushed by the spring 40 to move quickly within the base body 10 to the position shown in FIG. 5, where the lateral projections 36 contact the retaining shoulder 261 and where the ball 100 is shot from the bat body 10 through the opening 131.

[0020] When it is desired to perform a subsequent ball serving action of the ball-pushing unit 20, the adjustment member 35 is pulled out from the central hole 17 in the grip portion 12 of the bat body 10 in a direction shown by the arrowhead of solid lines in FIG. 6, so that the gripping rod 30 moves relative to the bat body 10 to the extended position shown in FIG. 6, where the ball-pushing unit 20 is pulled by the lateral projections 36 to a position, in which the retaining projection 151 engages the hole 271. Note that no movement is caused to the spring 40 during movement of the gripping rod 30 within the bat body 10. Then, the adjustment member 35 is pushed back in a direction shown by the arrowhead of phantom lines in FIG. 6 to its normal position, where it engages the central hole 17 in the grip portion 12 of the bat body 10 and where the gripping rod 30 is at the retracted position.

[0021] With this invention thus explained, it is apparent that numerous modifications and variations can be made without departing from the scope and spirit of this invention. It is therefore intended that this invention be limited only as indicated in the appended claims.