Title:
Batting T adapter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An insertable adapter for use with rubber batting-t's that is translucent, flexible and designed to more faithfully reflect the mechanics of hitting a ball thrown through the air.



Inventors:
Livingstone, John Ralph (Clayton, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/782463
Publication Date:
09/23/2004
Filing Date:
02/19/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/00; (IPC1-7): A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mr. John Ralph Livingstone (Clayton, NC, US)
Claims:

What I claim is:



1. A unitary batting-t adapter comprising: a) a cylindrical lower base portion having an outside wall, a lower edge, a lower end, a top end, a lower base narrow section, having a first diameter, disposed adjacent said lower end and, an upper neck section, having a second diameter, larger than said first diameter, disposed between said lower narrow base section and said top end of said cylindrical base portion; b) a circumfrential stop ring, unitarily connected to said top end of said lower base portion, having a lower neck, an extending arm portion and, an upper neck; c)a solid upper base portion, having a lower end and an upper end, which is unitarily connected to said upper neck of said circumfrential stop ring; d) an upper support portion, unitarily connected to said upper end of said upper base portion having an outer wall, an inner wall an inner base, and an upper edge which together define an internal aperture; and, d) an upper flared tip portion, connected to said upper edge of said upper support portion, having an outer wall, an inner wall, a lower edge and an upper edge for supporting a ball.

2. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said batting-t adapter is made from translucent material.

3. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said batting-t adapter is made from flexible material.

4. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said batting-t adapter is made from flexible PVC.

5. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said batting-t adapter is made as a unitary article of manufacturer.

6. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, made from a material with a relatively high-density material that is flexible and tough.

7. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, made from a material with a smooth relatively low friction surface.

8. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said cylindrical lower base portion firmly, slidably and frictionally mates with telescoping vertical tubes of commonly known batting-t's.

9. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said cylindrical lower base portion firmly, slidably and frictionally mates with vertical base pipe portions of commonly known batting-t's.

10. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said batting-t adapter is lightweight and of unitary construction.

11. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said batting-t adapter may be carried in a travel bag.

12. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said cylindrical lower base lower base narrow section has a diameter of about 1.165 inches.

13. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said cylindrical lower base upper neck section has a diameter of about 1.23 inches.

14. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said cylindrical lower base portion has a length, between said lower edge and said lower neck, of about 7 inches.

15. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said circumfrential stop ring has a diameter of about 1.7 inches.

16. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said cylindrical lower base upper neck section has a length of about 0.5 inches.

17. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said upper support portion is about 5.5 inches in length.

18. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said upper flared tip portion has a length of about 1.5 inches.

19. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said upper flared tip portion has a wall diameter of about 0.25 inches.

20. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said upper edge of said upper flared tip portion has a rounded surface.

21. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said upper aperture of said upper flared tip portion has a diameter of about 1.25 inches.

22. A batting-t adapter, as recited in claim 1, wherein said upper support portion has a length of about 1.0 inches.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This non provisional application is a continuation-in-part of provisional application 60/251,767, which was filed Dec. 7, 2000, entitled TURBO BASEBALL BATTING TEE ACCESSORY and is a continuation-in-part of utility patent application Ser. No. 10/006,025, filed on Dec. 7, 2001, entitled Batting T Adapter, now abandoned.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to a unitary, insertable adapter for use with batting-t's which is translucent, flexible and designed to more faithfully reflect the mechanics of hitting a ball thrown through the air and will frictionally mate with most commonly known batting-t's.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Batting-t's have been widely used and known for many years. They are often necessarily designed to be heavy and rugged in order to withstand the punishing treatment of being hit during use. A major drawback of heavily built commonly known rubber batting-t's is that hitting the heavy, rigid and usually rubber “pipe” holding the ball sends shockwaves back through the bat to the batter. This shockwave is physically and mentally detrimental to the batter who considers the implication of a low swing on all future attempts. This has the result of the batter worrying about being “shocked” by impact with the batting-t, instead of concentrating on hitting the ball. As a result, the batters start to alter their swing, and instead of hitting down and through the ball, they tend swing over the top of the ball.

[0004] Additionally, most batting-t's are black and do not replicate the action of hitting a ball in clear mid air. Since these batting-t's do not exactly mimic the reality of hitting a ball in mid air because of this visual difference, the utility of existing batting-t's as a training tool is diminished.

[0005] Existing batting-t's and often made of many discrete parts and will wear out or come apart after being struck by bats and the entire unit must be replaced at a large expense.

[0006] There are many patents covering batting-t's such as Becker, U.S. Pat. No. 5,100,134 and Chorey, U.S. Pat. No. 3,883,138. Chorey teaches a telescoping batting-t adapter that has a hollow base that is held in place within the batting-t's base by a thumbscrew. Since the batting-t adapter in Chorey will likely struck by fast moving baseball bats, it is likely to come lose and have to be reset to continue play.

[0007] Becker teaches a uniform diameter solid post with a slidable lock ring, where the lower portion of the solid post below the sliadable lock ring is placed in frictional engagement with the inner wall of the batting-t base pipe. A ball holder is screwed onto the top of the post in Becker. The batting-t in Becker is likely move vertically and/or have the ball holder come loose as baseball bats strike it. In Becker, the post will move vertically as it is struck by the bat due to the slidable nature of the friction grip and the continuous and unchanging diameter of the post.

[0008] Batting-t's generally have a wide base and a vertical base pipe portion rigidly and perpendicularly attached to the wide base. The vertical base pipe portion is generally made of heavy rubber that is required to withstand repeated beating from baseball bats. Generally, a telescoping pipe is designed to be in slidable frictional engagement within the vertical base pipe portion of the batting-t. The telescoping pipe is usually hollow or solid.

[0009] The ball to be hit is placed on the top of the telescoping pipe section.

[0010] The internal diameter of the vertical base pipe and telescoping pipe of commonly known batting-t's will vary due to the difficulty of forming rubber to precise dimensions.

[0011] The instant invention is designed to frictionally and securely mate with the majority of commonly available batting-t's, both the vertical base pipe portion and the telescoping pipe through the use of exacting manufacturing standards and dimensions and from being manufactured from smooth, yet rigid and dense material. The instant invention is designed as a unitary article of manufacture and has a significant mass below the neck portion to ensure a stable base through a low center of gravity. Additionally, a stepped locking surface design on the periphery of the lower base portion helps to lock the instant invention into most commonly known batting-t's. Not only will the instant invention not come apart in use, as is it a unitary article, it is designed to stay firmly situated with most commonly known batting-t's. Thus, the instant invention overcomes the critical design shortcomings of before known batting-t adapters.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES OF THE INVENTION

[0012] An object of the instant invention is a quick and easy to install batting-t adapter which will mate with most commonly known batting-t's.

[0013] Another object of the instant invention is a batting-t adapter that is flexible and translucent and is configured to reduce ball friction.

[0014] Another object of the instant invention is a batting-t adapter that has a unitary construction and a low center of gravity to help it stay in place while in use.

[0015] Another object of the instant invention is a batting-t adapter which is lightweight and durable, yet is also small and portable being made from strong, dense PVC with a smooth, low friction surface to prevent excessive wear from use.

[0016] Another object of the instant invention is a batting-t adapter that prolongs the life of existing and dilapidated batting-t's.

[0017] Another object of the instant invention is a batting-t adapter designed to frictionally mate with most batting-t's through a stepped locking band below the circumfrential ring portion of the batting-t adapter.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the batting-t adapter in use inserted in a batting-t.

[0019] FIG. 2 is a side sectional view of the batting-t adapter.

[0020] FIG. 3 is a side elevational view engineering drawing with dimensions shown thereon.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0021] Detailed embodiments of the instant invention are disclosed herein, however it will be understood that the disclosed embodiments are exemplary of the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed structure.

[0022] Referring to FIG. 1, the batting-t adapter 2 is shown frictionally disposed in the upper telescoping vertical tube 40 of commonly known batting-t 54. Upper telescoping vertical tube 40 is in turn in frictional engagement with vertical base pipe portion 42, which is in turn is attached to batting-t base 52.

[0023] Referring to FIG. 2 batting-t adapter 2 has a lower base 4 which has solid core 6, outside wall 12, lower end 8 and lower outer edge 10, a top end 56. Lower base 4 has an upper neck 50 that has a wider diameter than the diameter of lower base narrow section 58 of lower end 8. Solid and dense core 6 of base 4 helps to keep batting-t adapter 2 solidly supported in telescoping vertical tube 40 of commonly known batting-t's 54.

[0024] Most commonly known batting-t's have one of two hollow telescoping vertical tube 40 internal diameters. The more expensive brands usually have a slightly larger telescoping vertical tube 40 internal diameter of between 1.18 at 1.20 inches. The less expensive brands usually have a slightly smaller telescoping vertical tube 40 internal diameter of between 1.15 to 1.16 inches. Additionally, since commonly known batting-t's are built from rubber, they have some inherent flexibility and are seldom manufactured to precise manufacturing specifications.

[0025] The external diameter of solid core 6 of lower base 4 is preferably 1.165 inches, with a manufacturing tolerance of 0.01 inches. Solid core 6 of lower base 4 is preferably 6.5 inches in length.

[0026] The external diameter of upper neck 50 of lower base 4 is preferably 1.23 inches, with a manufacturing tolerance of 0.01 inches and is preferably 0.5 inches in length and is disposed between lower base 4 and circumfrential stop ring 16.

[0027] When lower base 4 is inserted into telescoping vertical tube 40 with a smaller periscope internal diameter, lower base 4 fits very snugly within the smaller telescoping vertical tube 40 opening and will tightly frictionally engage the inside wall of telescoping vertical tube 40 and will slightly stretch the diameter of telescoping vertical tube 40. Further, when the upper neck 50 of lower base 4 is inserted into the small diameter telescoping vertical tube 40, the telescoping vertical tube's 40 diameter will be exceeded by 0.08 inches which further makes for a very tight fit, while the slightly narrower diameter of the solid core 6 of lower base 4 makes for easier insertion and removal of batting-t adapter 2 from telescoping vertical tube 40.

[0028] With respect to batting-t's having a larger diameter telescoping vertical tube 40 openings, the solid core 6 of lower base 4 fits firmly into the telescoping vertical tube 40, with the neck 50 of lower base 4 exceeding the diameter of telescoping vertical tube 40 by 0.03 inches. This level of frictional engagement, along with the mass and weight of the seven inch insertion of solid core 6 of lower base 4, creating a low center of gravity, and the unitary construction of batting-t adapter 2, have been found to keep the batting-t adapter 2 properly situated in the telescoping vertical tube 40 during actual and heavy use thereby being able to withstand repeated bat stikes and normal side load forces.

[0029] Tight manufacturing tolerances, combined with the unitary construction of the batting-t adapter 2, are far superior to the functionality of prior known batting-t adapters having multiple parts and non tightly controlled structural tolerances. To meet these tight engineering tolerances requires the manufacturing mold to be formed from a Nitronic, or similar, stainless steel alloy material.

[0030] Circumfrential stop ring 16 is located at the opposite end of lower base 4 from lower end 8. Circumfrential stop ring 16 has a lower neck 14, an upper neck 18 and stop ring extending arm portion 44. When in use, lower neck 14 of circumstantial stop ring 16 is supported by telescoping vertical tube 40 of commonly known batting-t's 54.

[0031] The batting-t adapter 2 base will additionally frictionally mate with vertical base pipe portion 42 of commonly known batting-t's 54 due to the 1.70” diameter of circumstantial stop ring 16. The wide diameter of Circumstantial stop ring 16 allows players, coaches and parents to completely remove telescoping vertical tube 40 from vertical base pipe portion 42 and just only use batting-t adapter 2 supported by vertical base pipe portion 42. This is preferred for younger, smaller players, including t-ball leagues and five and six year olds, or any player who wants a very low assimilated pitch. Vertical base pipe portion 42 of commonly known batting-t's are usually heavy and thick and players and coaches will seldom hit a ball off vertical base pipe portion 42. If the player were to do this, he/she would risk damaging the batting tee and would risk injury to his/her hands and/or wrists from receiving a shockwave from hitting vertical base pipe portion 42 with the bat due to the substantial heavy mass of vertical base pipe portion 42. With the lighter and pliable batting-t adapter 2 placed in the vertical base pipe portion 42 players can safely train at a desired lower setting, without risking injury or damage to the equipment.

[0032] Circumfrential stop ring 16 should have a thickness of approximately 0.25 inches to be thick enough to firmly support the batting-t adapter 2 within the telescoping vertical tube 40 or within vertical base pipe portion 42 of commonly known batting-t's 54.

[0033] Upper support portion 22 of batting-t adapter 2 is integrally connected to lower base 4. Depending on the need for height and rigidity, upper base portion 20 may be integrally disposed between lower base 4 and upper support portion 22. Upper base portion 20 may be configured with the same, narrower or wider dimension as compared to lower base 4. Upper base portion may preferably be 1.0 inches in length.

[0034] Upper support portion 22 has internal aperture 24, internal walls 26, outer wall 28 and internal bottom 30.

[0035] Flared tip portion 32 is connected to the top of upper support portion 22. Flared tip portion 32 has internal aperture 34, internal wall 36, outer wall 38 and outer edge 48.

[0036] As shown in FIG. 1, in operation, ball 46 is placed on outer edge 48 of flared tip 32. Ball 46 is held in position in order for a batter to hit ball 46 from a position resting on outer edge 48 of batting-t adapter 2.

[0037] Batting-t adapter 2 is made from translucent, flexible PVC or similar material in order to simulate hitting a ball suspended in air. The translucence helps to isolate the ball 46 from commonly known batting-t's 54. When in use, lower neck 14 of circumstantial stop ring 16 is supported by telescoping vertical tube 40 of commonly known batting-t 54. The material which forms batting-t adapter 2 is flexible to avoid contact pressure being transferred back to the batter as a result of contact made with batting-t adapter 2.

[0038] In the preferred embodiment, batting-t adapter 2 is made from PVC material that should have a toughness and density to be able to withstand at least 2,500 contacts of a bat without any indication of breakdown. Since the batting-t adapter 2 is easily replaceable, it makes old and dilapidated commonly known batting-t's 54, which have a frayed or split telescoping vertical tube 40, completely functional. Additionally, batting-t adapter 2 will extend the life of most commonly known batting-t's 54 by absorbing the majority of impact hits.

[0039] Upper support portion 22 of batting-t adapter 2 should be about 3 inches in length and upper flared portion 32 of batting-t adapter should be about 1.5 inches in length. The flared tip outer wall 38 should be about 0.25 inches in thickness to be relatively thin, yet rugged and resilient to being struck by bats. The flared tip outer wall 38 has a rounded outer edge and a maximum aperture diameter of about 1.25 inches to keep ball friction to a minimum.

[0040] Batting-t adapter 2 is designed to be lightweight to be easily carried in travel bags to be installed in telescoping vertical tubes 40 or vertical base pipe portions 40 of commonly known batting-t's 54 in seconds, without tools and to remain in place in active use.

[0041] Additional features and applications of the instant invention can be practiced hereunder without departing from the nature and spirit of the description of the preferred embodiment.





 
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