Spring Training Special: Gadgets for Baseball Fans

This week marks the start of another year of fresh cut grass, the crack of the bat, and the slap of baseballs in leather gloves. Here's the best gadgets for fans of all stripes. By Alfred Poor

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    Spring Training Gizmos

    If you're a fan of the boys of summer, you know that down south in the Land of Oranges and Grapefruits -- and out in the Arizona desert -- this week marks the start of another year for our nation’s favorite pastime. It's a time of fresh cut grass, the crack of the bat, and the satisfying slap of baseballs being captured in leather gloves. So it's time to get your gadget gear together for the coming season. Here are some items that that can prepare you for the summer to come, even if you aren't a die-hard baseball fan.
    AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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    Bring the Heat!

    You don't need to lug around a big radar gun to find out pitch speeds (or the speed of just about anything else, for that matter). Pocket Radar has developed a radar device that fits, well, right in your pocket.  About the size of a digital camera, the Pocket Radar can time a baseball from up to 120 feet away, and a larger object like a car from up to half mile. It takes less than a second to power up and stores the last 10 readings. Plus it's good for speeds from 7 to 375 mph. Preorder now and get a $50 discount off the $199 price as well.
    Pocket Radar
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    Get Into the Swing

    For a more interactive experience, you can always try a video game. For an affordable alternative to a gaming console, however, try a dedicated electronic baseball game such as Radica's Play TV Baseball 3. This toy plugs into your TV, and then you use the controller to play defense, or swing away with the wireless bat on offense. Play against a friend or the computer. It's available from Amazon and other retailers.
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    What's the Score?

    Having a hard time keeping track of the home team? Does your boss frown on running MLB GameDay in a window on your computer? Well, just get a handy little desk clock, like the Centerfield Baseball ScoreCaster from Ambient Devices. It shows the line score for any major league game, as well as league standings and schedule. It even has a big button that glows red or green, depending on whether your team won or lost its last game. The device gets its information wirelessly, so all you need to do is plug it into an electrical outlet and you’re ready to play ball. 
    Ambient Devices
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    Store Those Stats

    Football may be a game of inches, but baseball is a game of endless statistics. You'll be the envy of your fantasy baseball league when you bring out a decade's worth of numbers on your baseball-shaped USB drive from Cool Cube Toys.  Its 2GB capacity may not be state of the art, but what other drive will let you deliver the data with a four-seam fastball?
    Cool Cube Toys
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    Get an Earful

    You can listen to the game in quiet comfort, and still make a bold statement about where your loyalty lies. MLB-licensed team logo earphones from Nemo Digital will show your team pride while you concentrate on the play-by-play. The company makes in-ear, jogger style, and over-the-ear models from which to choose -- find your favorite at Overstock.com.
    Nemo Digital
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    Take Me Out to the Ballgame

    Next time you make a Skype video call, do it on location: There's a low-tech solution that doesn't even require batteries. Backdrop City makes cloth backdrops for use by photographers, but one would also look great on the wall behind your desk. The company sells a 9 foot by 10 foot view of a baseball stadium, looking in from center field. Run a recording of crowd noise in the background, and your caller will think you're right there on the field. Alfred Poor writes the daily "HDTV Almanac" about home entertainment technology, and spends the rest of his time surrounded by gadgets.
    Backdrop City
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