Many fun summer activities revolve around America’s favorite pastime: baseball.
For over a century, Americans incorporated baseball into their summer plans one way or another. So, a visit to the batting cage can be a fun, relaxing activity, even for members of your family who haven’t played the game before.
Swing Into Action
Batting cages can be found in virtually every city in the country. Serious baseball players of all ages use them to hone their skills and prepare for the next game. However, many people enjoy stepping into the cage to see how far they can hit the ball. Some even enjoy imitating their favorite baseball player’s stance while practicing.
What is a Typical Batting Cage Like?
Warm nights in the batting cage fuel everlasting summer memories. Batting cage facilities are typically found in sports complexes. These sports complexes also offer a variety of family-friendly activities. They may feature arcades, miniature golf, and junior/senior league sports events. This gives you multiple choices for a night of summer fun.
The cages themselves are usually located in a spacious area, with multiple batters’ boxes separated by netting and chain fences. About 60 feet in front of each batter’s box is a pitching machine, also enclosed by a net and fence. Some batting cages have areas behind the machines that resemble actual baseball parks. This gives each batter the feeling that they are playing in a professional stadium. Meanwhile, other batting cage facilities have a net to collect the balls directly behind the machine.
Batting cages typically have multiple speed options. Some are used for baseball, while others are used for softball. The different speed options provide an opportunity for people of all ages and skill levels to step up to the plate.
What do You Need to Bring to the Batting Cage?
Many people bring their own bats or helmets to the batting cage. This is necessary for those who want to improve their game, but they are typically not needed for a recreational event. Most batting cage facilities provide a choice of bats and helmets for you to borrow. This makes the batting cage an activity that can be enjoyed at the spur of the moment. Other accessories, like batting gloves or goggles, are typically not provided, however. So, be sure to bring your own!
History of Batting Cages
Batting cages have been in existence since the early 1960s. However, early cages featured only baseball pitching machines; softball machines hadn’t yet been invented. Additionally, these early cages were located in open fields, which meant that the balls often landed in an open area, similar to what occurs on a golf driving range.
This batting cage framework was not practical, as collecting the balls was time-consuming, and workers had to hand-feed the balls into the pitching machine. At this time, batting cages catered to professional team practices, rather than recreational pursuits.
It was not until the late 1970s that the first automatic retrieval and conveyor system eliminated the need for workers to feed the pitching machines. These systems usually came with sloped surfaces, so that the balls could be easily fed back into the machine. This new practical standard for batting cages allowed for an explosion in batting cage facilities throughout the United States.
There is nothing quite like stepping into the batter’s box and hitting a few out of the park. Batting cages can be a great place to fine-tune your swing and improve your game. They also allow you to enjoy a fun and simple activity with family and friends.