I. Love. Baseball. It is the only sport I can watch and really understand; I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the rules and the object of the game. It is slow enough and the players are spread out enough that I can actually tell what’s going on.
Put me in front of a football game and 9 times out of 10, I have no clue where the ball is. All I see is a sea of guys running into each other. Basketball has way too many rules and I just get claustrophobic watching those poor players try to take a shot. I feel like everyone should move aside and let the dude just show us what he can do! Baseball is just perfect for a gal like me. So you can imagine my enthusiasm when my kids took to the sport!
Cody was the first one to make me a baseball mom. He’s been playing since he was 3 years old, and I swear that kid has more focus for this sport than I’ve ever seen in a kid. His head is always in the game. Always. Kambree and Hallie both tried out baseball for a couple years but quit when they found gymnastics. Briggs joined in the fun when he was old enough for T-ball, and then I got lucky enough to add a husband and a stepson to our growing roster.
I certainly don’t claim to be a pro, but I am learning as I go, and there are a few things I really wish someone would have told me sooner! And then there are some things that I have just figured out for myself over the years. Regardless of their origin, here are 10 hacks/tips to help you be a happy baseball mom!
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#1 – LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL BELTS
This first Little League tip is one that I came up with ALL on my own. Get excited. This is an original!
Most Little League belts come in two different types of material. The long part of the belt is always the stretchy polyester or elastic or whatever material it is. But the ends are either plastic or leather.
I’m going to give you a tip that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE for baseball season. BUY THE PLASTIC ONE. And here’s why.
Have you noticed that the stupid belts are too big for the stupid loops in the stupid Little League baseball pants?! The end of the belt fits fine, but as soon as you get to the first metal thingy that allows you to adjust the size of the belt, you have a problem.
This reminds me of that scene in “Father of the Bride” where Steve Martin FREAKS OUT in the grocery store. Remember that? Oh my gosh, I have to share this. If you need a laugh today, watch this 2-minute clip. If not, carry on below.
I’m dying! Love that movie. Okay. Back to baseball. So I kind of feel like Steve Martin. I feel like some BIGSHOT over at the pants company got together with some BIGSHOT over at the belt company, and decided to rip off the American public!
But they aren’t even ripping us off because we can’t even pay to have this problem fixed! They must just secretly be laughing their guts out, thinking of all those parents across America who are cursing at 7am every Saturday morning trying to fit these stupid belts through the belt loops on their little tee-ballers’ uniforms. Well guess what! MELANIE PAPWORTH IS SAYING NO!
So I buy the plastic belts. They still have the metal thing that is too tall for the belt loops, but if you get the plastic belts, you can WASH THEM WITH THE PANTS! Which means something glorious; you only have to thread that belt through that belt loop once for the whole season. From that day forward, you need only to take the pants with the belt still intact, and wash them together as one single unit.
I guess you could still do this with a leather belt, but your belt will end up looking like this after just a couple washes. When I saw that happen, I immediately went and got replacement belts that were PLASTIC, and kept the leather ones only as backups.
#2 – SPRAY PAINT THOSE CLEATS!
Yep. No shame. We have girls and boys. Of course the girls wanted pink cleats, and of course I gave in. A couple years ago, we switched out the pink laces for black, and used a black sharpie to color the pink parts of my daughter’s old cleats for one of the boys. Good as new!
This year my husband full-on spray painted a pair of cleats for Briggs. They went from an old dingy black and pink to a nice clean, shiny black! Works like a charm.
#3 – CUP UNDERWEAR / SLIDERS
Have you ever seen a 4-year-old try to put a cup in cup underwear by himself? It’s a tricky fit sometimes. And it always seems to take forever to get it all adjusted and get the rubber to break free from the fabric of the underwear, when you’re already running late to get out the door.
Do everyone a favor and get the cup situated in the cup underwear when you are putting the underwear away.
Also…as soon as your player gets to the age where they are allowed to slide, stop buying cup underwear, and get sliders instead. No one told me about sliders! I had no clue until my son’s coach mentioned how the boys could just wear their sliders under basketball shorts for practice for a week when it was pushing 110 degrees. I’m sorry…what the heck are sliders?!
I quickly learned that they are underwear/shorts to help provide another layer between their skin and the dirt when the players slide. They have a pocket for a cup just like normal cup underwear.
My next tip: not all sliders are created equal. They are all expensive, so you might as well find some that have a little bit of padding on the sides. Any extra padding can’t hurt. Cody has really liked these sliders. They don’t come with a cup, but he already had cups from the cup underwear I had already bought him. Ugh!
#4 – UNIFORM BAG
I used to just have a baseball section in my kids’ closet. Kind of like an underwear or socks compartment. I still do, but that is just for practice clothes. That compartment has old baseball pants, hats, belts, socks, etc that they can wear to practice.
I now have a drawstring bag hanging in each of the boys’ closets that is strictly for their game day uniforms. As I wash the different parts of their uniforms, they go directly into their uniform bags as I do the laundry. This prevents the kids from getting their game day uniforms dirty at practice. It just makes my job of keeping up with the laundry easier.
Then the night before a game, I take everything out and make sure they have all of the parts to their uniforms. That way we aren’t panicking on our way out the door because we have lost a hat or can’t find clean sliders, etc. By laying their uniforms out the night before, I am alerted if anything is still lost in the laundry somewhere, and I still have time to get it washed and dried before the game the next day. Also, don’t forget your Baseball Flip Flops!
**Note: If you or anyone else in the family has a team jersey to wear, or at least something with team colors, lay out those outfits the night before to make sure you have your team spirit outfits ready to go too! Don’t forget ribbons for little sisters’ hair!
This system is definitely easier now that we have been in the baseball scene for a while. If this is your first season, you probably don’t have spares of everything quite yet. However, most younger kids don’t wear baseball clothes to practice anyway. They just wear whatever comfy pants and shirts they want to, so you don’t need to have doubles of things to make this system work.
#5 – VIDEOING
I go off and on with this one. I want to capture a great moment in the game on video, but I also want to just enjoy myself and watch the game without the stress of catching everything on film. I also hate having 50 videos from the game, and having to go back later and weed through them to find the one I wanted to keep.
My tip for this one is, sometimes you’ve just gotta record, and sometimes you’ve just gotta watch.
If you have other kids who can operate your recording device, you could always let them give the role of videographer a try. They may not capture anything great, but it will keep them busy for a while. And there is a chance they will catch something decent on film!
If you do decide to film, I would recommend taking several short videos, and trying to delete them as you go.
What I mean by that is, if I start recording and then something lame happens that I don’t care to have on video, I will hurry and stop and start the recording again. That way I don’t have 3 seconds of cool in the middle of 2 minutes of boring.
If I have time right after I take an insignificant video, I will delete it right then and there. This helps cut back on the time I have to spend later to decide which ones to delete and which ones to keep. It feels so good to come out of a game with only a couple more videos on my phone than I went in with. Even if I have taken a hundred super short clips…I delete the boring ones as I go, so I don’t have to go back and watch all the boring ones again, to know if I should delete them or not.
#6 – PLAYERS’ NAMES
There is just something cool about cheering for each kid by name. I love it. I love it when I hear other parents doing it. And you can bet that the kid who is being cheered for loves it!
But I have to admit…my husband is usually the one who takes kids to baseball practice and actually stays. If I am taking them to practice, I am almost certainly dropping them off and running the next kid to the next field or gym or church activity. I hardly know the team by the time opening day arrives. Not only that, but once you put a bunch of 6-year-olds in the exact same clothes and slap an extra large hat on each of their heads, I can’t even tell which kid is mine half the time…let alone figure out the others.
One thing I started doing was taking notes on my phone. When a kid would get up to bat and others were cheering for him or her by name, I would whip out my Baseball Note and type in the name of the player next to their number. Then if I wanted to cheer for someone, all I would need was their number. I could look them up on my note and cheer for them by name. I loved having a cheat sheet at the tip of my fingers until I learned all the names and faces!
This year, I started this note on the first day of practice. All the parents were just standing around watching the kids, so I struck up a conversation with 4 different parents and made a note in my phone of the parents’ names along with their kids’ names. The kids don’t have numbers yet, but I wrote a little description and any other info that would distinguish them from the others. Call me creepy. I’m just a busy mom trying to learn who my kids’ teammates are.
#7 – SEEDS
Seeds. Ugh. I don’t understand what the big draw is. I’ve never figured it out. But…everyone else seems to love them. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had an entire bag of sunflower seeds dump in a bat bag, in our wagon, or in our car. Most bags of seeds come with a zipper top, but the zipper closure is really stiff and usually doesn’t seal.
We have a gazillion water bottles from different events, but we really only use the good vacuum insulated ones that actually keep your drinks cold. So I have repurposed some of those random water bottles to be the new seeds containers. They are air tight so they keep the seeds nice and fresh, and the lids actually seal, so they don’t spill!
#8 – DIY NACHOS
4 letters: BYON. Bring. Your. Own. Nachos.
This is not to save money. This is just for pure safety.
I love the Snack Shack…for closed, prepackaged items. I have worked in enough Snack Shacks to know that there is a good chance anything that is not in a sealed package has either been on the floor or at the very least handled by un-gloved hands that have touched who knows what since their last wash with soap. The ones that are run by adults may be a smidge more prone to non-gross-ness, but any Snack Shack that is run by teenagers is not able to be trusted if you’d like to live to see the result of your kid’s baseball season.
I once saw an entire bag of chips spill on the floor and the kid who was “in charge” just scooped them all up and put them back into the bag. Gross. Just gross. I haven’t bought nachos from a Snack Shack since. We bring our own instead.
Smart N Final has everything you need!
- I made a one-time purchase of the styrofoam to-go containers for under $10 and they have lasted us 3 baseball seasons.
- Their big bag of tortilla chips is perfect – they are the classic nachos chips and they are a great price. You can also get a similar price/chip at Costco.
- I love the nacho cheese they have at Smart N Final. I have tried a lot of different nacho cheeses. I am very picky and so are my kids. My kids won’t eat it unless the nacho cheese is 100% smooth with no chunks. So Que Bueno from Costco is out. I have tried every brand that the Winco by us sells, and none of them are worth it. I am super sensitive to spice, but you don’t want to feel like you’ve squeezed a packet of Velveeta cheese onto your chips either. There has to be SOME level of kick to it. But a VERY SMALL kick. And that’s why I love the cheese I have found at Smart N Final. The brand is Trenton Farms and it comes in a big #10 can and is only $6.49 (and I live in California…I would imagine it is cheaper in other states).
- **Sidenote: I bought little plastic cups to pour the nacho cheese in because I hate having the cheese dumped all over the chips; you always end up with a few unedible soggy chips and that drives me crazy. It turns out that was a bad idea, because it is really hard to scoop a round tortilla chip into such a tiny cup. So I would recommend not doing the cups.**
If I am really on my game, we will assemble these as a team.
- I assign one of the kids to label each styrofoam container with our names using a sharpie
- Another kid fills each container with chips
- Another kid carries the closed, chip-filled styrofoam containers out and stacks them in our wagon in the garage.
- I warm up the nacho cheese in a saucepan and when it is nice and bubbly, I pour it into a thermos and we’re ready to roll.
Yes, I realize the nacho cheese is in a very large can. The Smart & Final where we used to live had an awesome brand of nacho cheese in a normal-sized can, but I haven’t seen it for a couple years. If you can find the Montecito brand, that is amazing. A little spicy for my taste, but it’s manageable. Since I haven’t been able to find it here, I have switched to this large can of Trenton Farms.
If it makes you feel better, this huge can of Trenton Farms is less than the price of 3 little cans of any brand of nacho cheese out there. And you are getting a heck of a lot more nacho cheese in a #10 can than you get in a normal can. So the price per ounce is insanely cheaper to get the big can. And you don’t have to use the whole can in one day! I usually only heat up about 1/3 the can and put the rest in the fridge for another day.
#9 – GATORADE
My kids are Gatorade snobs and don’t like the powdered stuff that you add to water, so I end up being suckered into buying bottles of Gatorade. I get them at
I noticed last year that Gatorade only went on a coupon once throughout the whole baseball season last year and I was super disappointed. They’re onto us! So if you see them on a coupon, STOCK UP! And if you’re there with your husband, have your husband get the max in a separate cart, so you can get double 🙂
To save money further on the purchasing of Gatorade at Costco issue, let’s talk about the small bottles versus the big bottles. I am the dork who pulls out my phone and figures out the price per ounce or price per bottle or whatever it is, right there at the store.
I hate paying more per ounce than is available in a different option or quantity. And sometimes looks can be deceiving. Sometimes we just assume that the more we buy or the bigger the package, the bigger the savings. This is not always the case.
I love Costco because they do the math for you on their price tags! Have you ever noticed on the price tags it says the price and then the price per ounce or price per each is in the bottom left-hand corner? They even have that math done for you on the sale price when things are on sale. BE SURE TO CHECK THESE before purchasing!
When you are in charge of providing a snack for the entire team, you may be tempted to buy the mini ones because they appear cheaper. However, when the big (normal) Gatorades are on sale and the mini ones are not, the normal ones are actually cheaper PER BOTTLE. Not only per ounce, but also PER BOTTLE.
#10 – HALF-FROZEN WATER BOTTLE
Most of the time I am on my game and have drinks in the fridge well in advance, insulated water bottles clean and ready to go, and have a cooler bag packed for game days. However, there’s always that day where nothing goes as planned – the drinks never made it in the fridge, the insulated water bottles got left in the bat bags for a week and are disgusting, etc, etc, etc. For those days, it’s nice to have a couple half-filled frozen water bottles.
If you dump about half (or even a little more than half) of the water out of a disposable water bottle and then freeze it, you have an easy way to pack ice water with you on the go. Just open the bottle, poor fresh water in, and you have instant ice water that should stay cold for a quite a while. I love having this as a backup option for crazy days when we are in a hurry and need some cold water to go!
**NOTE on ICE COLD WATER: After 10+ years of testing insulated water bottles of all different sizes, brands, and materials, I am happy and confident to recommend the YETI 18-ounce Rambler bottle.
WHY I LOVE THE YETI 18-ounce Rambler bottle:
- Indestructible! Seriously. Even the lid. Nothing about this can break. It’s amazing.
- Dishwasher Safe
- WIDE-MOUTH LID, so you can fill it from your ice-maker without 95% of the ice cubes missing the opening and landing on your kitchen floor!
- Fits in normal-sized cupholders (they have this same Rambler in bigger sizes, but the base is wider, and therefore they don’t fit in normal cupholders…heads up – we have a couple 26-ounce ones and I love that they all use the same size lids!
- THIS LID is the best thing ever. Leak-proof, comfy mouthpiece, 2 straws included
- Keeps drinks ICE cold
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