Baseball Toy Review: Playskool Swing ‘N Score Baseball

A brief note: there is good news on the Back in the Game front. It has officially been cancelled by ABC, so our weekly torment will end. There is also bad news, and that’s that there are seven more episodes to burn off before this show disappears in its entirely. That’s actually one episode more than we’ve been forced to endure thusfar, so our torment will not end quickly. However, the show is off until November 20, meaning our torment shall be delayed. Thank heaven for small miracles. Now, how to torment you until then…?

In recent months, thanks to my six year old’s obsession with Transformers and Lego’s, I have become increasingly familiar with the deeply weird world of online toy reviews on YouTube. These reviews presumably help collectors decide whether they want to drop $125 for the new, two foot tall Metroplex at San Diego’s ComicCon, though they have also inspired The Boy to ask whether he can get the $400 Lego Death Star for his birthday or an original Shockwave off of Ebay for $120. Thanks, YouTube, for inventing new ways for me to disappoint my child.

These reviews, however, are available for damn near every kind of product, presented by presumably well-meaning people who have a webcam, a lot of extra time, and a generous spirit. You, perhaps, will benefit from their expertise. For instance, you might be asking yourself, “Self, how do I get my baby interested in baseball?”  Have you considered the Playskool Swing ‘N Score Baseball Toy?

I guess three out of five stars constitutes a solid recommendation, the reviewer’s lack of enthusiasm notwithstanding. Personally I’m skeptical about her rating system, because this is a toy that we own and that is currently taking up space in our storage room. The great news is that you won’t have to go chasing baseballs on the off chance that your toddler makes solid contact. For a lazy parent like myself, that’s a key feature. On the other hand, it’s loud and has a tendency to make noise when no one is using it, if you leave it on. It’s also constantly falling over because the base is not heavy enough to sustain a solid wallop from an 18 month old.

Perhaps the worst part of the toy is that it subscribes to the Steve Lyons view that home runs are rally-killers and should be avoided at all costs. Singles, doubles, and triples abound, but the only time anyone has ever hit a home run is when I’m putting this toy away, have forgotten to turn it off, and accidentally bump the arm with my elbow.

It’s also terribly unrealistic. As all of us know, baseball is the game where you’re really good if you fail seven times out of ten. But it’s impossible to make an out on this toy. The innings are thus interminable and it’s unclear how children are supposed to learn the important life lessons endemic to baseball without outs. Because of the crucial omission there doesn’t seem to be a lot of point to the activity of whacking the baseball with the comically squat bat.

My review: One baseball out of five. It’s pretty stupid.

Who it’s good for: The littlest babies and those weak of spirit, for whom any failure, no matter how small, is a confidence-destroying bomb that saps your will to endure what this harsh world throws at you. Also, Cistulli.

How much should you pay for it: Nothing. If you want mine, let me know and you can come pick it up at my house tonight. If you want to ruin your child, that’s your business.

More reviews surely to come as we press our way through the winter and find ourselves without things to talk about and .gifs to make.

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Mike Bates used to have a stupid pseudonym. Now he doesn't because people want to pay him to write about baseball on the Internet and he's really a sell out that way. He is also a Designated Columnist at SBNation, co-founder of The Platoon Advantage, and is an American Carpetbagger on Getting Blanked, the finest in Canadian baseball-type sites. His favorite word is paradigm. Follow him on Twitter here:

3 Responses to “Baseball Toy Review: Playskool Swing ‘N Score Baseball”

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  1. JayT says:

    Personally, I’m more a fan of written toy reviews. The YouTube ones are just too long winded most of the time.

    For what it’s worth, I found the Comic Con Metroplex to be quite a fine toy, however there’s no chance you’ll find it for $125. At Comic Con it retailed for $162, and it’s only gone up since then.

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  2. Damaso's Burnt Shirt says:

    It’s not like that bat is going to be wielded like a weapon by a toddler.

    “1 strike, two balls and you’re out.”

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  3. Jordan Peele says:

    I think you mean Transformers and Dickos.

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