Title:
Device system and method for abating accidental release of a hand held sporting implement such as a baseball bat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A new and improved device and system for abating accidental release of a sporting implement such as a baseball bat from a player's hand following a swing is provided. The hand held sporting implement includes a longitudinally extending shaft having a far end, a near end and a gripping area adjacent to the near end. The device includes an elongated strap having two ends for connecting to the shaft of the hand held sporting implement. A first end of the strap is configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at the near end thereof. A second end of the strap is configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at a point along the shaft thereof. The strap also includes a mid-portion extending between the first and second ends. The strap is positioned with a 180° twist relative to the hand held sporting implement. Once the strap has been secured to the hand held sporting implement, the user slips his non-dominant hand between the gripping area and the strap, then turns his fingers back over the top of the strap mid-portion and grabs the gripping area of the hand held sporting implement. The dominant hand then covers the strap and gripping area together in a normal manner



Inventors:
Hall Jr., Lawrence K. (Boonville, IN, US)
Application Number:
10/910998
Publication Date:
02/09/2006
Filing Date:
08/04/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/218
International Classes:
A45F5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
C RICHARD MARTIN (EVANSVILLE, IN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for abating accidental release of a hand held sporting implement from a player's hand following a swing, wherein said hand held sporting implement includes a longitudinally extending shaft having a far end, a near end and a gripping area adjacent to said near end, said device comprising: an elongated strap having a first end configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at the near end thereof, a second end configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at a point along the shaft between said near end and said far end, and a mid-portion extending between said first end and said second end; means for securing said first end of said device to the near end of the hand held sporting implement; means for securing said second end of said device to the shaft of the hand held sporting implement.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein said elongated strap includes a front surface and a rear surface, wherein the rear surface of the first end of the strap engages the near end of the hand held sporting implement such that the mid-portion of the strap extends from said first end in a direction away from the far end of the hand held sporting implement, and the rear surface of the second end of the strap engages the shaft such that the mid-portion of the strap extends from said second end in a direction toward the near end of the hand held sporting implement such that the strap has a 180° twist therein.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein the means for securing comprises a plurality of holes disposed along lateral edges of the first and second ends of the strap and laces threaded through said holes for securing said first and second ends of the strap to the hand held sporting implement.

4. The device of claim 3 wherein the strap is leather.

5. The device of claim 4 wherein the laces are leather.

6. The device of claim 1 further comprising means for adjusting the length of the mid-portion of the strap relative to the gripping area.

7. A system for abating accidental release of a hand held sporting implement from a player's hand following a swing comprising: a hand held sporting implement comprising a longitudinally extending shaft having a far end, a near end and a gripping area adjacent to said near end; an elongated strap having a first end configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at the near end thereof, a second end configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at a point along the shaft between said near end and said far end, and a mid-portion extending between said first end and said second end; means for securing said first end of said device to the near end of the hand held sporting implement; means for securing said second end of said device to the shaft of the hand held sporting implement.

8. The system of claim 7 wherein said elongated strap includes a front surface and a rear surface, wherein the rear surface of the first end of the strap engages the near end of the hand held sporting implement such that the mid-portion of the strap extends from said first end in a direction away from the far end of the hand held sporting implement, and the rear surface of the second end of the strap engages the shaft such that the mid-portion of the strap extends from said second end in a direction toward the near end of the hand held sporting implement such that the strap has a 180° twist therein.

9. The system of claim 7 wherein the means for securing comprises a plurality of holes disposed along lateral edges of the first and second ends of the strap and laces threaded through said holes for securing said first and second ends of the strap to the hand held sporting implement.

10. The system of claim 9 wherein the strap is leather.

11. The system of claim 10 wherein the laces are leather.

12. The system of claim 7 wherein the hand held sporting implement is a baseball bat comprising a far end, a near end, a generally cylindrical hitting area adjacent to the far end, a generally cylindrical gripping area adjacent to the near end, a tapering transition zone between the far and near ends, and a knob of a short axial length at the near end.

13. The system of claim 12 wherein said elongated strap includes a front surface and a rear surface, wherein the rear surface of the first end of the strap engages the near end of the baseball bat at the knob such that the mid-portion of the strap extends from said first end in a direction away from the far end of the baseball bat, and the rear surface of the second end of the strap engages the bat in the tapering transition zone such that the mid-portion of the strap extends from said second end in a direction toward the near end of the baseball bat such that the strap has a 180° twist therein.

14. The system of claim 12 further comprising means for adjusting the length of the mid-portion of the strap relative to the gripping area.

15. The system of claim 14 wherein said adjusting means comprises an adjustment lace configured to be secured around the gripping area of the bat and the mid-portion of the strap at a longitudinal position between said tapering transition zone and said near end.

16. A method for securing an elongated strap to a hand held sporting implement to abate accidental release of the sporting implement from a player's hand following a swing, wherein said hand held sporting implement comprises a longitudinally extending shaft having a far end, a near end and a gripping area adjacent to said near end, and said elongated strap comprises a first end configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at the near end thereof, a second end configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at a point along the shaft between said near end and said far end, and a mid-portion extending between said first end and said second end, said method comprising: securing a rear face of the first end of an elongated strap to the near end of the hand held sporting implement such that the mid-portion of the strap extends from said first end in a direction away from the far end of the hand held sporting implement; rotating the second end of the elongated strap 180°; securing a rear face of the second end of the elongated strap to the shaft of the hand held sporting implement at a point between said near end and said far end of the sporting implement, such that a mid-portion of said strap extends between said first end and said second end along the gripping area of the hand held sporting implement.

17. The method of claim 16, further comprising the steps of: inserting a non-dominant hand between the hand held sporting implement and the strap; turning fingers of the non-dominant hand back over the front surface of the strap and gripping the gripping area of the hand held sporting implement.

18. The method of claim 17, further comprising the step of gripping the front surface of the strap and gripping area of the sporting implement with the dominant hand at a point between the non-dominant hand and the far end of the sporting implement.

19. The method of claim 16, further including the step of securing an adjustment lace about the mid-portion of the strap and gripping area of the sporting implement.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the securing steps are accomplished by tightening laces which are laced through holes in outer lateral edges of the first and second ends of the strap to tightly secure the strap to the sporting implement.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a device, system and method for abating accidental release of a hand held sporting implement such as a baseball bat from a player's hand following a swing and more particularly pertains to preventing injuries to players and spectators from inadvertently released bats.

In a 1995 Consumer Product Safety Commission Study, it was reported that there are 19,500 injuries related to baseball bats recorded by hospitals in the United States each year. There were 13 deaths related to baseball bat injuries between 1973 and 1995. Therefore, it can be appreciated that there exists a continuing need for a new and improved baseball batting system for abating accidental release of a bat from a player's hand following a swing which can be used for preventing injuries to players and spectators from inadvertently released bats. In this regard, the present invention substantially fulfills this need.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an improved device, system and method for abating accidental release of a hand held sporting implement from a player's hand following a swing. As such, the general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a new and improved system for abating accidental release of a hand held sporting implement, such as a baseball bat, from a player's hand following a swing and a method which has all the advantages of the prior art and none of the disadvantages.

According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a new and improved device for abating accidental release of a hand held sporting implement from a player's hand following a swing. The hand held sporting implement includes a longitudinally extending shaft having a far end, a near end and a gripping area adjacent to the near end. The device comprises an elongated strap having two ends for connecting to the shaft of the hand held sporting implement. A first end of the strap is configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at the near end thereof. A second end of the strap is configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at a point along the shaft between the near end and far end. The strap also includes a mid-portion extending between the first and second ends of the strap. A rear surface of the first end of the strap engages the near end of the hand held sporting implement such that the mid-portion of the strap extends from the first end in a direction away from the far end of the hand held sporting implement. The rear surface of the second end of the strap engages the shaft such that the mid-portion of the strap extends from the second end in a direction toward the near end of the hand held sporting implement such that the strap has a 180° twist therein. According to one preferred embodiment, the strap is leather. Means for securing the first and second ends of the strap to the near end and shaft, respectively, of the hand held sporting implement are also provided. A plurality of holes are disposed along lateral edges of the first and second ends of the strap and laces threaded through the holes for securing the first and second ends of the strap to the hand held sporting implement. According to one preferred embodiment of the present invention, the laces are leather. Further means for adjusting the length of the mid-portion of the strap relative to the gripping area may also be provided. According to one embodiment of the invention, the adjusting means comprises a leather lace which is wrapped around the mid-portion of the strap and the gripping area of the sporting implement to adjust the length of the strap for users of varying size.

According to another aspect of the invention, a system for abating accidental release of a hand held sporting implement from a player's hand following a swing is provided. The system includes a hand held sporting implement and an elongated strap. The hand held sporting implement has a longitudinally extending shaft having a far end and a near end. A gripping area is provided along the longitudinal shaft of the implement adjacent to the near end. The elongated strap has a first end configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at the near end thereof. A second end of the strap is configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at a point along the shaft between the near and far ends thereof. The strap also includes a mid-portion extending between the first and second ends of the strap. A rear surface of the first end of the strap engages the near end of the hand held sporting implement such that the mid-portion of the strap extends from the first end in a direction away from the far end of the hand held sporting implement. The rear surface of the second end of the strap engages the shaft such that the mid-portion of the strap extends from the second end in a direction toward the near end of the hand held sporting implement such that the strap has a 180° twist therein. According to one preferred embodiment, the strap is leather. Means for securing the first and second ends of the strap to the near end and shaft, respectively, of the hand held sporting implement are also provided. A plurality of holes are disposed along lateral edges of the first and second ends of the strap and laces threaded through said holes for securing the first and second ends of the strap to the hand held sporting implement. According to one preferred embodiment of the present invention, the laces are leather. Further means for adjusting the length of the mid-portion of the strap relative to the gripping area may also be provided. According to one embodiment of the invention, the adjusting means comprises a leather lace which is wrapped around the mid-portion of the strap and the gripping area of the sporting implement to adjust the length of the strap for users of varying size.

According to one preferred embodiment, the hand held sporting implement is a baseball bat comprising a far end, a near end, a generally cylindrical hitting area adjacent to the far end, a generally cylindrical gripping area adjacent to the near end, a tapering transition zone between the far and near ends, and a knob of a short axial length at the near end. The elongated strap includes a front surface and a rear surface, wherein the rear surface of the first end of the strap engages the near end of the baseball bat at the knob. The mid-portion of the strap extends from the first end in a direction away from the far end of the baseball bat. The rear surface of the second end of the strap engages the bat in the tapering transition zone. The mid-portion of the strap extends from said second end in a direction toward the near end of the baseball bat such that the strap has a 180° twist therein. A means for adjusting the length of the mid-portion of the strap relative to the gripping area is also provided which comprises an adjustment lace configured to be secured around the gripping area of the bat and the mid-portion of the strap at a longitudinal position between said tapering transition zone and said near end.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention, a method for securing an elongated strap to a hand held sporting implement is provided to abate accidental release of the sporting implement from a player's hand following a swing. According to this aspect of the invention, a rear face of the first end of an elongated strap is secured to the near end of the hand held sporting implement such that the mid-portion of the strap extends from the first end in a direction away from the far end of the hand held sporting implement. The second end of the elongated strap is then rotated 180°. A rear face of the second end of the elongated strap is then secured to the shaft of the hand held sporting implement at a point between the near end and said far end of the sporting implement, such that a mid-portion of the strap extends between the first end and second end along the gripping area of the hand held sporting implement. The securing steps according to one aspect of the invention are accomplished by tightening laces which are laced through holes in outer lateral edges of the first and second ends of the strap to tightly secure the strap to the sporting implement Once the strap is secured onto the hand held sporting implement, the user inserts his or her non-dominant hand between the hand held sporting implement and the strap. The user then turns the fingers of the non-dominant hand back over the front surface of the strap and grips the gripping area of the hand held sporting implement. The dominant hand is then used to grip the sporting implement at a point between the non-dominant hand and the far end of the sporting implement. According to one further aspect of the invention, an adjustment lace may be secured about the mid-portion of the strap and gripping area of the sporting implement.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved baseball batting system for abating accidental release of a bat from a player's hand following a swing which has all the advantages of the prior art baseball bat grip accessories and none of the disadvantages.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved baseball batting system for abating accidental release of a bat from a player's hand following a swing which may be easily and efficiently manufactured and marketed.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a new and improved baseball batting system for abating accidental release of a bat from a player's hand following a swing which is of durable and reliable construction.

An even further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved baseball batting system for abating accidental release of a bat from a player's hand following a swing which is susceptible of a low cost of manufacture with regard to both materials and labor, and which accordingly is then susceptible of low prices of sale to the consuming public, thereby making such a baseball batting system for abating accidental release of a bat from a player's hand following a swing economically available to the buying public.

Even still another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved baseball batting system for abating accidental release of a bat from a player's hand following a swing for preventing injuries to players and spectators from inadvertently released bats.

Lastly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved baseball batting system for abating accidental release of a bat from a player's hand following a swing.

These and other objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood by referring to the following detailed description, drawings and claims, wherein examples of the presently preferred embodiments are given for purposes of illustration and disclosure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood and objects other than those set forth above will become apparent when consideration is given to the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of one preferred embodiment of the invention shown without the laces.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the invention illustrating the positioning of the device relative to the gripping area of the baseball bat.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the butt end of the strap connected to the near end of the baseball bat.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the connection between the barrel end of the strap and the tapering transition zone of the bat.

FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective view of the invention with a left hand shown inserted through the strap.

FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of the invention with a left hand shown inserted through the strap and the right hand also gripping the bat handle and strap according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the invention with both hands shown inserted through the strap.

FIG. 8 illustrates a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the invention with both hands shown inserted through the strap and gripping the golf club handle and strap.

The same reference numerals refer to the same parts through the various Figures.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With reference now to the drawings, and in particular, to FIG. 1 thereof, the preferred embodiment of the new device and system for abating accidental release of a sporting implement from a player's hand following a swing embodying the principles and concepts of the present invention will be described. In its broadest context, the device can be used in connection with any hand held sporting implement such as a baseball bat, tennis racket, golf club, hockey stick, and the like. The device could also be used in conjunction with hand held swinging tools such as axes, hammers, and the like. As shown in the drawings according to one preferred embodiment, the system 10 consists of a baseball bat 20 and a strap member 30.

The bat 20 has a near end 21, a far end 22 and a generally cylindrical hitting area adjacent to the far end. The hitting area has a diameter of between about two and three inches. The bat has a generally cylindrical gripping area 23 adjacent to the near end 21. The gripping area is also commonly referred to as the handle of the bat. The diameter of the gripping area is between about ¾ inch and 11/4 inch. The bat has a tapering transition zone 24 between the near and far ends. The bat also has a knob 25 of a short axial length at the near end. The knob has a diameter between about 13/4 and 21/4 inches.

The strap member 30 is fabricated of a one piece construction from flexible, non-stretchable material. In the preferred embodiment the attachment member is fabricated of leather. In alternate embodiments the attachment member is fabricated of cotton, nylon or other stretch resistant natural or woven fabric material.

According to the embodiment shown in the Figures, the strap member 30 has a front surface 30a and a rear surface 30b and includes a first or butt end 31 configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at the near end thereof, a second or barrel end 32 configured to engage the hand held sporting implement at a point along the shaft between said near end and said far end, and a mid-portion 33 extending between said first end 31 and said second end 32. As shown in FIG. 1, the butt end 31 of the strap 30 engages the bat 20 in the region where the gripping area 23 meets the knob 25. The barrel end 32 of the strap 30 engages the bat 20 in the tapering transition zone 24 just beyond the gripping area 23.

The first strap end 31 is secured to the bat 20 at the near end 21 thereof by engaging a rear surface 31b of the first strap end 31 such that the mid-portion 33 of the strap 30 extends from said first bat end 21 in a direction away from the far bat end 22. According to one preferred embodiment, a butt lace 34 is threaded through a plurality of holes 35 disposed along lateral edges of the first strap end and wrapped around the gripping area 23 to removably secure the first strap end 31 to the bat 20. As best seen in FIG. 3, two set of holes 35a, 35b are disposed along the lateral edges of the butt strap end 31 and the butt lace 34 is threaded through the first set of holes 35a and then the second set of holes 35b. After the first set of holes 35a is threaded, a tight first loop knot is tied in the butt lace 34 prior to threading the lace through the second set of holes 35b, and a square knot is tied in the butt lace to cinch the butt strap end 31 to the butt bat end 21. The butt lace 34 is constructed from flexible, non-stretchable material and according to most applications is approximately 17″ to 30″ in length. In the preferred embodiment the attachment member is fabricated of leather. In alternate embodiments the attachment member is fabricated of cotton, nylon or other stretch resistant natural or woven fabric material.

The barrel strap end 32 is then rotated 180° in the counter-clockwise direction for a right handed hitter or 180° in the clockwise direction for a left hand hitter prior to the rear surface 32b of the barrel end 32 of the strap with the bat 20 in the tapering transition zone 24. To locate the best positioning of the barrel end of the strap, the batter holds the bat in the normal hitting position and one inch is added to the width of both hands. In most cases, the barrel end of the strap will engage the bat at the tapering transition zone although it is possible that in some situations the barrel end of the strap would engage the bat in the gripping area 23. According to one preferred embodiment, a barrel lace 36 is threaded through a plurality of holes 37 disposed along lateral edges of the second strap end and wrapped around the tapering transition zone 24 of the bat to removably secure the second strap end 32 to the bat 20. As best seen in FIG. 4, five sets of holes 37a, 37b, 37c, 37d and 37e are disposed along the lateral edges of the barrel strap end 32 and the barrel lace 36 is threaded through the first set of holes 37a and then the second set of holes 37b, and so on through the last set of holes 37e. After each set of holes is threaded, a tight first loop knot is tied in the barrel lace 36 prior to threading the lace through the next set of holes. After the barrel lace 36 has been threaded through the last set of holes 37e, a square knot is tied in the barrel lace to cinch the barrel strap end 32 to the bat 20. The barrel lace 36 is constructed from flexible, non-stretchable material and according to most applications is approximately 17″ to 30″ in length. In the preferred embodiment the attachment member is fabricated of leather. In alternate embodiments the attachment member is fabricated of cotton, nylon or other stretch resistant natural or woven fabric material.

An adjustment lace 38 is also provided to shorten the length of the mid-portion of the strap as needed once the strap has been secured to the bat. The adjustment lace 38 is configured to be secured around the mid-portion 33 of the strap and the gripping area 23 of the bat at a longitudinal position between said tapering transition zone and said near end. The exact positioning of and use of the adjustment strap depends on the needs of the batter. The adjustment lace 38 is secured around the mid-portion of the strap and the bat and can be moved toward the near end of the bat until it becomes difficult or impossible for the batter to throw the bat. The adjustment lace 38 should be tied around the bat and strap closer to the hands until the user cannot throw the bat. The strap should be snug, not loose, but not too tight on the hand as to impair the batter's swing. The best way to get the right position is by trial and error due to different hand sizes.

As shown in FIG. 5, once the strap 30 has been secured to the bat 20, the batter slips his non-dominant hand between the bat 20 and the strap 30, then turns his fingers back over the top 33a of the strap mid-portion 33 and grabs the bat 20. As shown in FIG. 6, the dominant hand then covers the strap 30 and bat 20 together in a normal manner. The batter's hands can then be moved to get the most comfortable feel of the bat. If the batter needs to choke up on the bat, he simply slides his non-dominant hand, with the strap in place, up or down the gripping area of the bat. FIGS. 5 and 6 depict use of the device by a right-handed individual. Where the device is used by a left handed individual, the strap would be shown rotated 180° in the opposite direction and the right hand inserted in FIG. 5 with the left hand overlaying as in FIG. 6.

FIGS. 7 and 8 show use of the strap member 30 configured for two hand insertion. The strap member 30 is shown in conjunction with a golf club 40 having a near end 41, far end 42 and gripping area 43. For two hand insertion, the strap is attached to the sporting implement in the same manner as previously described except that the second strap end 32 is attached to the shaft of the sporting implement without a 180° twist. The non-dominant hand is then inserted between the mid-portion 33 of the strap member 30 and the gripping area 43 of the golf club 40 such that the rear surface 33b rests against the back side of the hand around the wrist, passes around the hand and rests against the palm of the non-dominant hand. The dominant hand is then inserted between the mid-portion of the strap member and the gripping area of the golf club such that the upper surface 33a of the strap member mid-portion 33 rests against the back side of the hand around the wrist, passes around the hand and rests against the palm of the non-dominant hand as it grips the gripping area 43 of the golf club 40 as shown in FIG. 8.

With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and the manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modification and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modification and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.