Have you bought a baseball glove for your Little League player 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."
Registration costs add a hit, too. The Berkley Dads' Club summer baseball league charges $120 per resident player, including a $50 fundraiser fee, and offers a discount for siblings. T-ball is slightly less at $110 for the season.
Spring soccer with the South Oakland County Soccer league costs $65 for the regular league. Premier players and their parents pay more: $150 registration fee plus $260 training and coaching fee and $75 for uniform. Toss in preseason training ($120), winter indoor training ($75) and winter indoor soccer ($135) and the total comes to $850 for the year. That compares with $50-$70 in the Royal Oak Youth Soccer Association regular league. If your child plays in the Renegade premier league, expect to pay a $980 fee for the year plus about $125 for uniform and costs associated with traveling to away games and out-of-town tournaments.
So what do you think? Has the cost of registration, bats and cleats taken our kids too far from the simpler days of sandlot and playground games? Or have you had better luck finding more modestly priced equipment or leagues for them?