Have you bought a baseball glove for your Little Leaguer lately? Did you pay more than $100 for it?
How about a $250 bat?
A New York Times story headlined "Big Price Tags Attached to Even the Littlest Leagues," looks at the big business of equipping youngsters for participation in youth baseball and softball leagues, quoting those costs and more.
"A batting helmet protects tiny heads for $39.99," the Times reports. "A pair of Nike Jordan Black Cat cleats will make your child fast and fashionable at $51.99 until he or she outgrows them."
However, Muskego Athletic Association member, coach and dad Paul Peardon said it's possible to outfit without outrageousness.
"As a father, coach and league director I have to monitor equipment costs pretty closely. I personally have had a lot of success at local businesses like the Athlete's Foot in New Berlin, Dunham's and Burghardts, who all graciously offer our programs discounts on merchandise," Peardon said. "That most certainly helps to offset the rising costs of some of the equipment."
He advised parents need to ask league officials for a list of vendors or businesses that may offer discounts, as some of these businesses even offer a percentage back to the program on every purchase.
"That can be used as kind of a fundraiser, which can help reduce or maintain the league fees as well," Peardon added.
However he also said that if your six-year-old seems promising, you need to realize that equipment won't impact performance or safety.
"I can honestly say that until they get into higher levels (High School ages), the high priced equipment does not make that much of a difference. As parents, we get too caught up in wanting to give our kids the best of everything and the marketing now days is being more and more targeted directly towards the kids. It is very hard to tell your 10 year old that those $75.00 shoes (which some of his friends have) are no better than the $40.00 ones, especially when you know they will most likely outgrow them by next season," Peardon said.
"In short, there are a wide range of prices and a parent has to decide how important it is for their child to have the latest and greatest even if the . But I have definitely found that if you look around, you can find less expensive options for pretty good quality equipment."
So what do you think? Has the cost of bats and gloves taken our kids too far from the simpler days of sandlot and playground ballgames? Or have you had better luck finding more modestly-priced equipment for them?