Best AA Rechargeable Batteries and Chargers: 2018 Update

After 6 years of researching and writing about AA and AAA rechargeable batteries and chargers, this site continues to have the same basic advice:

Opus charger performing a different function on each LSD battery: 400 mA charge, 200mA discharge, internal resistance test, charge test

Use pre-charged, low self-discharge (LSD) batteries for AA and AAA battery needs. When used with a quality charger, LSD batteries offer the best combination of long-term cost-effectiveness, quality, durability, and environmental sustainability. Once you’ve tried LSD batteries with a good charger and realize how good they are, you’ll end up using them for the vast majority of devices that require AA or AAA batteries.


If you prefer to skip the details, click to the Just Tell Me What to Buy section of this article. If you prefer to understand what you’re buying, read on.

Continue reading “Best AA Rechargeable Batteries and Chargers: 2018 Update”

Leo’s Journey from Little League to College Baseball (Second Chance at College)

This is part 11 (Age 20-21, second chance at college) of an ongoing series following a young player’s baseball career from Little League to College Baseball. In order to get the most out of this series, be sure to start at the beginning.

It will be a long time before another part is written after this one. This is a true story, which as of the end of part 11 is up-to-date (June 2017). It will be at least a year before there is enough new material available to write out the next part.

This last post (for now) is long enough that I broke it up into sections to make it a little easier on the reader.

Leo overcame many obstacles in his long journey from little league to college baseball. What will he have to overcome next?
Image courtesy of Robert Montenegro at crookedscoreboard.com

Leo overcame many obstacles and setbacks during his years as a young baseball player, made all the harder by rarely being proactive on his own behalf, not taking his studies seriously, and sometimes simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The old adage, “if you’re good enough, they will find you” may apply to the very best few thousand high school ball players in the nation each year. But it does not apply to most players, and it certainly did not apply to Leo. Except . . .

They did find him. Well, sort of . . .

Continue reading “Leo’s Journey from Little League to College Baseball (Second Chance at College)”

Leo’s Journey from Little League to College Baseball (College Walk-on)

This is part 10 (Age 19, first year of Junior College) of an ongoing series following a young player’s baseball career from Little League to College Baseball. In order to get the most out of this series, be sure to start at the beginning.

Leo performed very well on the baseball field in little league, travel ball, middle school, and high school. But his grades, work ethic, and various other behaviors hampered any aspirations he may have had to attend college as a student/athlete playing baseball.

A couple months after high school, Wayne enrolled Leo in a two-year junior college located a couple hours away. He was invited onto the baseball team there, but as a walk-on, with no baseball scholarship funds available to support him during his first year as a student. Wayne helped Leo move into his apartment mid-August.

Would Leo be able to travel and play with the college baseball team?
(image courtesy Marco Bellucii)

A few days later, Leo attended his first college baseball practice. Wayne was excited to hear that Leo was finally practicing with a baseball team, but also uncertain whether Leo would ever get to play.

Continue reading “Leo’s Journey from Little League to College Baseball (College Walk-on)”

Axe Bat Review: MB50 Big Barrel in the Hands of an 11-year old

My son likes Axe bats so much that he now refuses to swing bats without an axe-like knob. Though he likes all of the Axe bats he’s tried, the MB50 is the first bat he’s truly loved. He loves the appearance and grip (designed by Mookie Betts). He loves the feel of the swing. But more than anything, he loves the performance off live pitching.

I’m not new to describing my son’s experience with Axe bats. My first review covered two 2 1/4″ 2015 models, while the second review covered the 2 1/4″ 2016 Origin.

This review is for my son’s first big barrel bat, the 2017 MB50 2 5/8″ barrel, 30″, 20 oz. (for 10% discount, use code JGOL10), which Baden Sports provided to us for testing:

MB50 Axe Bat 2 5/8″ (Courtesy Baden Sports)
Origin L144E Axe Bat 2 5/8″ (Courtesy Baden Sports)

The $129.99 MB50 differs from the $99.99 L144E Origin big barrel only in appearance and the tape used for the handle, so any experience with the MB50 applies to the L144E as well.

How did the MB50 work out for my son?

Continue reading “Axe Bat Review: MB50 Big Barrel in the Hands of an 11-year old”

Best of the Budget Chargers: BQ-CC55 vs FCT344 vs BQ-CC17

Editor's Note: I'm pleased to introduce Jim Hyman as a new writer for FilterJoe for the battery category. With my research and writing energy mostly devoted to baseball these days, it's great to have another knowledgeable battery enthusiast on board to research and write articles with even more depth and testing than I did. Expect more battery related articles and reviews in the future from Jim, and I will continue to provide the annual battery update — Joe Golton
Fujitsu FCT344 vs Panasonic BQ-CC55 vs Panasonic BQ-CC17

We’re here today to look at three advanced compact budget smart battery chargers: the Panasonic BQ-CC17, the Fujitsu FCT344, and the Panasonic BQ-CC55.

Continue reading “Best of the Budget Chargers: BQ-CC55 vs FCT344 vs BQ-CC17”

One Player’s Journey from Little League to College Baseball (The Beginning)

Making it onto a college baseball program and staying with it for all 4 years is not easy. Playing high school baseball also has its challenges.

Want to know what it takes?

I’ve been curious myself about what it takes and how it works to play baseball all the way from Little League to college. I’m curious because my own 12-year-old son has been telling me since the age of 2 that he wants to become a professional baseball player. It’s an improbable dream. But it’s a dream that may be shared by over a million kids at any given time.

Though I’ve learned bits and pieces about playing baseball at the higher levels over the years, it wasn’t until I read a very detailed chronicle of one player’s journey that it all began to make sense. This player, who I shall call Leo, is a talented and hard-working baseball player. Leo made it all the way from Little League to college baseball.

The hard way.

The baseball journey can be hard
Image courtesy of Robert Montenegro at crookedscoreboard.com

This is part 1 of my retelling of the story of Leo’s journey from Little League to College Baseball.

Continue reading “One Player’s Journey from Little League to College Baseball (The Beginning)”

New USABat Standard Coming in 2018 for Youth Baseball Bats

In January 2018, many youth baseball players will need to buy a new bat with the USABat standard. Here are the details, starting with facts, moving on to advice, and ending with opinions about this change.

usa-baseball-logo

I interviewed several authorities for this article, including Russell Hartford, who is the “bat guy” at USA baseball, in addition to his role as Director of National Team Championships.

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Air Cleaners and Beyond: Lessons from a Decade of Filtering Air

I could be called the “First Lady of Filtering” and not just because I’m married to FilterJoe. As someone with allergies, asthma, and chemical sensitivities, filtering the air helps keeps me healthy and comfortable. Sometimes it makes it possible for me to be places and do activities that I’d otherwise avoid. I’m making a guest appearance to share about what’s worked for me after more than a decade of research, trial, error, and success.

karinhoneycombmask
The author wearing a mask to avoid breathing campfire smoke.

Though many articles review products such as air cleaners and vacuums, few recount someone’s longtime experience with them. Over the years I have found a combination of air filtering products (two masks, three types of air cleaners, and a vacuum) that works to cover most breath-challenging situations that arise in my life. Remarkably, most of these exact models are still available.

In this article, I discuss why and how those products work for me and how you might find the right ones for you. I also provide tips connected to the situations where I use those products. Continue reading “Air Cleaners and Beyond: Lessons from a Decade of Filtering Air”

Youth Baseball Stats Part 4: Moving to a Bigger Field Changes Everything

The stats that matter most for youth baseball change as kids age. You’ll want to first read Part 3 of the youth baseball stats series if you want to get the most out of Part 4:

Part 1: It’s Hard – how to gather, interpret and apply baseball data to improve youth baseball play

Part 2: Appropriate coach pitch stats – ages 7-8

Part 3: Appropriate kid pitch stats – ages 9-10

This post discusses the stats that matter when kids move to the bigger 50/70 field and the full rules of baseball begin. In our PONY league, this starts with the Bronco division, ages 11-12. Continue reading “Youth Baseball Stats Part 4: Moving to a Bigger Field Changes Everything”

What Does Drop Mean for Youth Baseball Bats?

bat-drop-printed-on-louisville-slugger-bat
Drop -12.5 prominently displayed on Louisville Slugger bat

Bat drop is printed weight, in ounces, minus printed length, in inches. For example, a bat labeled 13.5 ounces and 26 inches has a bat drop of minus 12.5 (13.5-26 = -12.5).

To get the right bat, you just need to match the right drop, weight, and length printed on the bat to the age, height, and weight of the player.

It’s that simple, right?

Nope.

Continue reading “What Does Drop Mean for Youth Baseball Bats?”

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