Title:
Baseball Batting Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A baseball batting device includes an elongate lever arm having opposed proximate and distal ends. The device includes a fulcrum lowerly adjacent the lever arm for separating the proximate or distal end of the lever arm from a ground surface during use. The lever arm is rotatable about the fulcrum between a first position in which the distal end is adjacent a ground surface and a second position in which the distal end is separated from the ground surface. A downward force exerted on the proximate end moves the lever arm from the first position to the second position. The lever arm distal end is configured to support a baseball when the lever arm is at the first position and to release the baseball when the lever arm is at the second position. The fulcrum and distal end are adjustable so as to modify the path of a tossed ball.



Inventors:
Masters, John A. (San Carlos, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/970254
Publication Date:
07/09/2009
Filing Date:
01/07/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/451
International Classes:
A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080070713Golf ApparatusMarch, 2008Scarbrow et al.
20100009792SHEET-LIKE OBJECT FOR BALL AND BALLJanuary, 2010Ashida et al.
20090291785ARROW SHAFT WITH TRANSITION PORTIONNovember, 2009Smith
20020016226UV curable coating for golf ballsFebruary, 2002Jin et al.
20080127459Apparatus For Gripping An Instrument Having An Elongate HandleJune, 2008Burke et al.
20030065124High performance polyurethane elastomers from MDI prepolymers with reduced content of free MDI monomerApril, 2003Rosenberg et al.
20060084535Turbine-tip arrowheadApril, 2006Kuhn
20090143882Machine and Method for Caddying and Golf InstructionJune, 2009Young
20060229149Sports ball with a woven fabric and method for manufacturing such a sports ballOctober, 2006Goedoen
20040116217LACROSSE STICK HANDLE WITH A REINFORCING INSERTJune, 2004Morrow et al.
20090170626Two hang gripJuly, 2009Chen et al.



Primary Examiner:
KLAYMAN, AMIR ARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ream Law Firm, L.L.C. (OTTAWA, KS, US)
Claims:
1. A baseball batting device, comprising: a stake; a baseball; a tether connecting said baseball to said stake; an elongate lever arm having opposed proximate and distal ends; a fulcrum lowerly adjacent said arm to separate at least one of said proximate end and said distal end from a ground surface during use; and wherein said lever arm distal end is configured to support said baseball when said lever arm distal end is adjacent said ground surface and release said baseball when said lever arm proximate end is adjacent said ground surface.

2. The baseball batting device of claim 1, wherein said fulcrum is adjustable between a position relatively adjacent said lever arm proximate end and a position relatively adjacent said lever arm distal end.

3. The baseball batting device of claim 2, wherein a portion of said lever arm distal end is angularly adjustable relative to another portion of said lever arm.

4. The baseball batting device of claim 2, wherein: said lever arm distal end is removably attached to a portion of said lever arm; and said distal end has a configuration complementary to a configuration of said lever arm portion for selectively coupling said distal end to said lever arm portion in a plurality of respective angular configurations.

5. The baseball batting device of claim 4, wherein said lever arm proximate end includes a tread for receiving a user's foot to move said proximate end adjacent said ground surface.

6. The baseball batting device of claim 1, wherein: said lever arm distal end is removably attached to a portion of said lever arm; and said distal end has a configuration complementary to a configuration of said lever arm portion for selectively coupling said distal end to said lever arm portion in a plurality of respective angular configurations.

7. The baseball batting device of claim 1, wherein: said fulcrum includes a first connector comprising at least one of a protrusion and a receiving hole; and said lever arm includes a plurality of second connectors, each second connector comprising another of said protrusion and said receiving hole, each said second connector having a configuration complementary to a configuration of said first connector for adjusting said fulcrum between a position relatively adjacent said lever arm proximate end and a position relatively adjacent said lever arm distal end.

8. The baseball batting device of claim 1, wherein said lever arm distal end configuration includes a cutout to receive a portion of said baseball when said lever arm distal end is adjacent said ground surface.

9. A batting device for use with a baseball, comprising: an elongate lever arm having opposed proximate and distal ends; a fulcrum lowerly adjacent said lever arm, said lever arm being rotatable about said fulcrum between a first position in which said distal end is adjacent a ground surface and said proximate end is separated from said ground surface and a second position in which said distal end is separated from said ground surface and said proximate end is adjacent said ground surface; wherein a downward force on said proximate end moves said lever arm from said first position to said second position; and wherein said lever arm distal end is configured to support said baseball when said lever arm is at said first position and release said baseball when said lever arm is at said second position.

10. The baseball batting device of claim 9, wherein said fulcrum is adjustable between a position relatively adjacent said lever arm proximate end and a position relatively adjacent said lever arm distal end.

11. The baseball batting device of claim 10, wherein a portion of said lever arm distal end is angularly adjustable relative to another portion of said lever arm.

12. The baseball batting device of claim 10, wherein: said lever arm distal end is removably attached to a portion of said lever arm; and said distal end has a configuration complementary to a configuration of said lever arm portion for selectively coupling said distal end to said lever arm portion in a plurality of respective angular configurations.

13. The baseball batting device of claim 12, wherein said lever arm proximate end includes a tread for receiving a user's foot to move said lever arm to said second position.

14. The baseball batting device of claim 9, wherein: said lever arm distal end is removably attached to a portion of said lever arm; and said distal end has a configuration complementary to a configuration of said lever arm portion for selectively coupling said distal end to said lever arm portion in a plurality of respective angular configurations.

15. The baseball batting device of claim 9, wherein: said fulcrum includes a first connector comprising at least one of a protrusion and a receiving hole; and said lever arm includes a plurality of second connectors, each second connector comprising another of said protrusion and said receiving hole, each said second connector having a configuration complementary to a configuration of said first connector for adjusting said fulcrum between a position relatively adjacent said lever arm proximate end and a position relatively adjacent said lever arm distal end.

16. The baseball batting device of claim 9, wherein said lever arm distal end configuration includes a cutout to receive a portion of said baseball when said lever arm is at said first position.

17. A method of placing a baseball for batting, the method comprising: providing a batting device comprising: an elongate lever arm having opposed proximate and distal ends; a fulcrum lowerly adjacent said lever arm, said lever arm being rotatable about said fulcrum between a first position in which said distal end is adjacent a ground surface and said proximate end is separated from said ground surface and a second position in which said distal end is separated from said ground surface and said proximate end is adjacent said ground surface; and wherein said lever arm distal end is configured to support said baseball when said lever arm is at said first position and release said baseball when said lever arm is at said second position; placing said baseball upon said lever arm distal end; stepping upon said lever arm proximate end to move said lever arm to said second position, causing said baseball to separate from said lever arm distal end and pass through air to a location for being struck by a batter.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein: said fulcrum includes a first connector comprising at least one of a protrusion and a receiving hole; said lever arm includes a plurality of second connectors, each second connector comprising another of said protrusion and said receiving hole, each said second connector having a configuration complementary to a configuration of said first connector for adjusting said fulcrum between a position relatively adjacent said lever arm proximate end and a position relatively adjacent said lever arm distal end; said method further comprises the steps of: coupling said first connector to one said second connector to cause said baseball to separate from said lever arm distal end and pass through air to a first location for being struck by a batter upon stepping upon said lever arm proximate end; and coupling said first connector to another said second connector to cause said baseball to separate from said lever arm distal end and pass through air to a second location for being struck by a batter upon stepping upon said lever arm proximate end.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein: said lever arm distal end is angularly adjustable relative to a portion of said lever arm; and said method further comprises the step of angularly adjusting said distal end relative to said lever arm portion to alter said first and second locations.

20. The method of claim 17, wherein: said lever arm distal end is angularly adjustable relative to a portion of said lever arm; and said method further comprises the step of angularly adjusting said distal end relative to said lever arm portion to alter said first and second locations.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to athletic training devices and, more particularly, to a baseball batting device that enables a user to practice hitting baseballs without the assistance of another person. More particularly, the batting device enables a user to simulate a pitched ball with an opportunity to bat it.

A baseball player often desires to engage in batting practice—which is an activity in which the batter is given multiple opportunities in repeated succession to swing a bat and hit pitched baseballs. Typically, the baseballs are pitched to the batter by another person or by a baseball pitching machine. In either case, batting practice requires the assistance of another person or a machine. Even when a coach or fellow player is willing to throw pitches to a batter, the act of batting practice can be very inconvenient for the person who must throw the pitches.

Various devices have been proposed in the art for enabling a batter to engage in batting practice without the active involvement of another person. As indicated above, a pitching machine may be used to throw a series of pitches to a batter. Although assumably effective for its intended purposes, a pitching machine still typically requires another user to feed balls into the machine, to vary the trajectory of the balls being pitched therefrom, or for aiming the pitches being thrown. In addition, balls that are hit by a batter using existing batting devices must ultimately be retrieved for reuse. The existing batting devices are not conducive to a single batter wishing to practice hitting balls without assistance.

Therefore, it would be desirable to have a baseball batting device that simulates a “soft-toss” batting drill and allows a batter to toss pitches to himself and then to practice batting the tossed pitches. Further, it would be desirable to have a baseball batting device that enables a batter to actuate a tossed ball using his foot. In addition, it would be desirable to have a baseball batting device that enables a batter to repeatedly hit a simulated pitched ball and for that ball to be on a tether for easy return to the device. Still further, it would be desirable to have a baseball batting device that is quickly adjustable to simulate different types of pitches.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, a baseball batting device according to the present invention includes an elongate lever arm having opposed proximate and distal ends and a fulcrum lowerly adjacent the lever arm. The fulcrum may be positioned to selectively separate the proximate or distal end of the lever arm from a ground surface during use. The lever arm is rotatable about the fulcrum between a first position in which the distal end is adjacent a ground surface and said proximate end is separated from the ground surface and a second position in which the distal end is separated from the ground surface and the proximate end is adjacent the ground surface. A downward force exerted on the proximate end moves the lever arm from the first position to the second position. The lever arm distal end is configured to support a baseball when the lever arm is at the first position and to release the baseball when the lever arm is at the second position.

The fulcrum is selectively adjustable between positions between the proximate and distal ends of the lever arm such that a trajectory of the baseball released from the distal end of the lever arm at the second position may be adjusted. A portion of the distal end is also angularly adjustable to modify the path of a baseball released therefrom in a generally forward or rearward manner. In addition, the baseball may be tethered to the lever arm such that it may be retrieved by a batter after being struck by a bat without the batter having to physically travel to the ball's location and without the assistance of another person.

Therefore, a general object of this invention is to provide a baseball batting device that enables a batter to repeatedly practice batting baseballs without the assistance of another person.

Another object of this invention is to provide a baseball batting device, as aforesaid, in which a ball may be tossed into the arm upon an exertion of force by the batters foot such that the ball may then be batted.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a baseball batting device, as aforesaid, in which a ball may be connected to a tether for quick retrieval of the ball after it has been hit.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a baseball batting device, as aforesaid, in which the trajectory of the initial ball toss may be adjusted.

A further object of this invention is to provide a baseball batting device, as aforesaid, that is economical to manufacture and easy to use.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein is set forth by way of illustration and example, embodiments of this invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a baseball batting device according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view on an enlarged scale of a stake and tether as in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3a is a perspective view of the batting device as in FIG. 1 in a first position;

FIG. 3b is a perspective view of the batting device as in FIG. 1 in a second position

FIG. 4a is a perspective view of the batting device as in FIG. 3a;

FIG. 4b is an isolated view on an enlarged scale taken from a portion of FIG. 4a;

FIG. 5a is a perspective view of the batting device as in FIG. 1 from another angle;

FIG. 5b is a perspective view of the fulcrum as in FIG. 5a; and

FIG. 5c is an isolated view on an enlarged scale taken from a portion of FIG. 5a.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A baseball batting device 100 according to the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to FIGS. 1 through 5c of the accompanying drawings. More particularly, according to the current invention, a baseball batting device 100 includes an elongate lever arm 110 and a fulcrum 120.

As shown in FIG. 1, the lever arm 110 has opposed proximate and distal ends 112a, 112b. A portion of the lever arm distal end 112b may be angularly adjustable relative to another portion of the lever arm 110. For example, the lever arm distal end 112b may be removably attached to a portion 112c of the lever arm 110, and the distal end 112b may have a configuration 113a complementary to a configuration 113b of the lever arm portion 112c for selectively coupling the distal end 112b to the lever arm portion 112c in a plurality of respective angular configurations. It should be understood that the lever arm distal end 112b may be entirely removable relative to the portion 112c or only partially removable (i.e., the distal end 112b may move away from the portion 112c but not become entirely separated from the portion 112c), and that the distal end 112b may be otherwise angularly adjustable.

The fulcrum 120 is lowerly adjacent the lever arm 110 to separate the lever arm proximate end 112a and/or the lever arm distal end 112b from a ground surface during use. More particularly, the lever arm 110 is rotatable about the fulcrum 120 between a first position 110a (FIG. 4a) in which the distal end 112b is adjacent a ground surface and the proximate end 112a is separated from the ground surface and a second position 110b (FIG. 3b) in which the distal end 112b is separated from the ground surface and the proximate end 112a is adjacent the ground surface. The fulcrum 120 may be adjustable between a position relatively adjacent the lever arm proximate end 112a (FIG. 5a) and a position relatively adjacent the lever arm distal end 112b.

For example, as shown in FIGS. 5a through 5c, the fulcrum 120 may include a first connector 130 and the lever arm 110 may include a plurality of second connectors 135. The first connector 130 may include a receiving hole 132 and/or a protrusion, and each second connector 135 may include a protrusion 136 and/or a receiving hole so that each second connector 135 has a configuration complementary to a configuration of the first connector 130.

As shown in FIGS. 1, 3a, and 3b, the lever arm distal end 112b may be configured to support a baseball 10 when the lever arm distal end 112b is adjacent the ground surface (i.e., when the lever arm 110 is at the first position 110a) and release the baseball 10 when the lever arm proximate end 112a is adjacent the ground surface (i.e., when the lever arm 110 is at the second position 110b). The configuration may include, for example, a cutout 115 for receiving a portion of the baseball 10 when the lever arm distal end 112b is adjacent the ground surface. The lever arm proximate end 112a may include a tread 118 for receiving a user's foot to move the proximate end 112a adjacent the ground surface (i.e., to move the lever arm 110 to the second position 110b).

In one embodiment, the baseball batting device 100 includes a stake 12 (FIG. 2) and a tether 14 connecting the baseball 10 to the stake 12. The tether 14 may preferably be elastic.

In use, the baseball batting device 100 may be operated to place a baseball for batting, or in other words to place a baseball in a location to be struck by a batter. The lever arm 110 may start at the first position 110a, and the baseball 10 may be placed upon the lever arm distal end 112b (such as in the cutout 115). If the stake 12 and tether 14 are included, the stake 12 may be secured to the ground. The user may step upon the lever arm proximate end 112a (or otherwise assert a downward force F1 on the proximate end 112a) to move the lever arm 110 to the second position 110b. The tread 118 may increase friction between the user's foot and the lever arm 110, making it easier for the user to move the lever arm 110 to the second position 110b.

Moving the lever arm 110 to the second position 110b may cause the baseball 10 to separate from the lever arm distal end 112b and pass through the air to a location for being struck by a batter, as shown in FIG. 3b. The batter may then use a bat or another appropriate tool to strike the baseball 10. The tether 14 and stake 12 may keep the baseball 10 within a predetermined distance from the batter, reducing effort required to retrieve the baseball 10.

To adjust the location of the baseball 10 to be struck by the batter, the batter may step upon the lever arm proximate arm 112a either more or less forcefully. In addition, the fulcrum 120 may be adjusted between a position relatively adjacent the lever arm proximate end 112a (FIG. 5a) and a position relatively adjacent the lever arm distal end 112b to adjust the location of the baseball 10. As set forth above, this may involve coupling the first connector 130 to various second connectors 135, respectively. Finally, to further adjust the location of the baseball 10, the lever arm distal end 112b may be adjusted angularly. As set forth above, this may involve utilizing the configurations 113a, 113b of the distal end 112b and the lever arm portion 112c to alter the angular configuration.

It is understood that while certain forms of this invention have been illustrated and described, it is not limited thereto except insofar as such limitations are included in the following claims and allowable functional equivalents thereof.