Team Insight

January 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 63

A Special Store — Bases Loaded T here is no shortage of specialty retailers for running, tennis, golf, and soccer, but there are very few retail destinations that cater specifically to the diamond sports of baseball and softball. The very successful exception is Bases Loaded in Rancho Cordova, CA. It's the home of one of the largest retail loca- tions in America devoted to baseball and softball and its business model almost makes it a brick-and-mortar version of an online store — it is open seven days a week, its shelves are stocked with every possible baseball and softball product and it boasts more than 15,000 SKUs. And it has been doing it well for a very long time. "We have been in business since 1997," boasts Dan Wells, CEO and owner of Bases Loaded. "We will be celebrating our 21st year on April 1, 2018." Business has always been steady and strong for Bases Loaded, though it's been brisk for the last six years. "Since 2011, we have been growing at a rate above 25 percent," he reports. This growth required the opening of its 30,000-square-foot facility two years ago and in 2017 it was honored for the third time in a row on the INC 5000 list of Fastest Growing Companies in America. In addition to the superstore, customers can shop at and receive the same expert service and if they spend more than $35 there's free next-day delivery in California and free two-day delivery for customers in Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Idaho and parts of Colorado. And, Wells says, in 2018 there will be same-day delivery seven days a week for customers within 45 miles of the retail location in Rancho Cordova. Having shipped more than 100,000 packages in 2017, the company knows the shipping business as well as the business of selling diamond sports. He expects the momentum to continue into 2018 and beyond. "We are prepped for an incredible year," Wells says. "We are staffing up with five to seven new hires and an incredible selection of inventory." Q Blind Baseball: A Real 'Eye Opener' World Series fever was alive and well recently as the Boys (and Girls) of Summer made a pit stop in south Florida, when the nation's best blind and sight-impaired baseball players gathered at Village Park in Wellington (a suburb of West Palm Beach) to compete in the 42nd Annual National Beep Baseball World Series. To compete, players must either be blind or visually impaired — and must have an intense passion for baseball. This year, 22 Beep baseball teams competed in the World Series. Three of the teams were international – the Taiwan Homerun, Caribbean Hurricanes, and, yes, the Toronto Blind Jays. Fielding, hitting and running are three shared characteristics of baseball and Beep baseball. Also, the team that scores the most runs wins; umpires call balls, strikes and outs; and getting on base is the mission, after hitting the ball. It's also worth noting that the players from all the teams were dressed like baseball players — name brand cleats, performance socks, baseball pants, batting gloves, customized team jerseys, knee pads, elbow pads and baseball-style caps. It's also worth noting that a few fielders used gloves on defense, but it wasn't necessary since the ball was a somewhat soft ball. Beep baseball's rules are as interesting as the event itself. The Beep baseball is actually a beep- ing, modified 16-inch softball; every batter gets four strikes; games last six innings; and all batters and fielders are blindfolded with two exeptions, the pitcher and catcher. The pitcher lobs the ball from 20 feet away to a blindfolded batter, who is actually a teammate. "Every pitcher knows the swing pattern of every batter, so the pitcher customizes every pitch," explains Jan Traphagan, chairman of Beep Baseball World Series. This is where it gets interesting. After making contact, the blindfolded batter then starts running right or left (to first or third base) depending on the direction of the sound of a beep that's heard by the batter. The nearest blindfolded fielder to the ball is then given a one-word verbal code to help field the ball by a full-vision sighted volunteer, who is standing in the infield. Fielders (there are a total of six in the field) try to secure possession of the moving beeping ball before the batter-turned-baserunner touches first or third base, which is a rather large tackle-dummy-like cushion located 100 feet from home plate. The baserunner must touch the base and if safe, his or her team scores a run. If a home run is hit, which is when a fly ball travels at least 170 feet in the air, it counts as two runs. If a fielder (who is blindfolded, of course) catches a fly ball in the air, it counts as a triple play. Finally, two of the best slogans in Beep Baseball are the following: "Beep Baseball: It's a Real Eye Opener." "Beep Baseball: The Coolest Game You've Never Seen." For more on Beep Baseball: Q 22 Team Insight / January 2018 TEAM / BASEBALL

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Team Insight - January 2018