Atec 'Hitting Streak' baseball pitching machine, $10.

There are pitching machines, and there are pitching machines. Some machines pitch real baseballs at 100 m.p.h., and some pitch much lighter practice balls much more slowly. Confusing these two classes of machines may cause problems, so be sure you know what you're dealing with whenever it comes to laying out your hard-earned cash!

Here's this item's description from Atec's website:

"The ATEC Hitting Streak Baseball Pitching Machine throws curveballs, fastballs, sliders, change-ups, drops and risers. The Hitting Streak pitching machine throws baseballs up to 60 mph. ATEC'S Hitting Streak pitching machine is sturdy steel construction and rugged powder coat finish for a durable component of your baseball or softball training program. The ATEC Hitting Streak pitching machine features a Quick-adjust action for fielding drills. The Hitting Streak pitching machine uses only ATEC Tuffy SFT balls which takes the fear factor out of hitting for younger players and allows for using the Hitting Streak indoors.

Throws fastballs and breaking balls --- Sturdy steel construction --- Durable powder coat finish ---Uses 110V current --- Quick-adjust for defensive drills --- Uses ATEC Tuffy SFT balls --- Indoor/Outdoor use."

Let's talk a bit more about this baseball pitching machine business. If you're familiar with what a real baseball pitching machine looks like, you may have noticed that this little Atec is not for throwing real baseballs. The machines that pitch real five-ounce baseballs at up to 100 m.p.h, are much 'beefier' than this little Atec. They have to be, when you consider that a 100 m.p.h. fastball has, in kinetic energy, approximately the same energy as a .22 caliber rifle bullet.

A human pitcher has the luxury of being able to impart all this energy to the baseball over a distance of several feet, much like swinging a sledgehammer. But a baseball pitching machine has to accelerate the same ball from 0 to 100 m.p.h. in the space of only several inches. That's why machines designed to pitch real baseballs use large, heavy wheels to accelerate the ball. As the baseball is pinched between these big wheels, which are spinning really fast, their immense kinetic energy is immediately transferred to the baseball. Bam! Zero to a hundred in a few inches!

The Atec Hitting Streak machine in intended to use the much lighter SFT (about 1 3/4 ounces) rubber baseballs. Pitched at the more modest speeds up to about 60 m.p.h., you get about a tenth of the energy produced by a real baseball from a real pitching machine. Take a closer look at this little Atec, and it becomes much more apparent how that one little wheel inside couldn't possibly fire a real baseball at any appreciable speed.

So, why am I going on and on about the differences between these two classes of pitching machines? I don't want you to get ripped off! All it takes is a quick comparison between the prices of foam baseball pitching machines like this Atec, and prices of the machines that pitch real baseballs, to see how someone could get into lots of trouble if he wasn't aware of these differences! I don't want you to go out and pay a load of cash for a machine the seller swears is designed to pitch real baseballs, only to find out later that your machine only piches the lighter rubber variety.

As always, the key to your continued success as an eBay seller is to always be curious! By all means, please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with what those horrendously-expensive, full-size baseball pitching machines look like. But also be sure to take a look at the other models that Atec makes, like the softball pitching machine and the cordless pitching model. After all, these machines are out there waiting for you!

This Atec 'Hitting Streak' sold on eBay for $134

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