Toy Review: Franklin MLB electronic pitching machine

My 2 little sluggers getting work in last summer. In the winter we work inside with our new Franklin MLB electronic pitching machine!

When you've got high energy, growing youngsters at home, good toys matter. They make life easier and more enjoyable; good toys create memories. We got this particular awesome toy for our oldest son's 6th birthday about 2 weeks ago. It has been a strong addition to our play room. Below I give you specific reasons why we love it so much and why you should add one to your toy quiver.

During winter in the PNW, it is critical to have good activities to do with the kids...indoors. My kids love books, games, puzzles and legos but they also love good ol' fashioned sports.

Over the years, we've tried a few versions of pitching machines. This included battery powered styles that held 3 balls and launched straight up and spring loaded versions where you step on a trigger and wait for the ball to launch. Although shooting the ball straight up seems like a logical next step for a young slugger after he or she masters the batting tee, in reality it is much more difficult to time and make contact with ball that is moving on a vertical plane.

Not only were these machines frustrating for the kids, they were not well-made and only one slugger could participate at a time – cue the bat making contact with another child's head. Soon after purchase, as with many things us gullible parents purchase, they found their way to the garbage.

Then, thanks to the gift giving genius of my sister-in-law, who also runs an incredible hand-made kid's clothing business (, we happened up on this Franklin MLB electronic pitching machine linked below. I also have a video at the bottom of this post so you can see how it works and just how much fun it is for kids and dads.

Purchase directly by clicking the link!

Why this toy is better than any pitching machine we've used in the past:

1. You can take swings or practice fielding ground balls and catching throws. If you have a hallway, you have a fielding surface. This is controlled with a tilting mechanism that controls weather the ball comes out high, medium or low. We mostly use this for practicing fielding ground balls and catching throws, if you want to hit with you'll need a little more room.

2. This thing actually works as advertised!! Install 4 D-batteries and go, super simple and consistent in the way it launches the balls out. It says every 7 seconds on the box, I'd say more like every 5, a ball drops into the chute, a red light blinks and boom there it goes!

3. Simple operation for the kids. My 4 year olds can sit by the machine, receive rolled balls from the fielder and keep the machine filled, they love it too!

4. You can use Franklin MLB practice balls with the machine as well, so after you lose the balls that come with it – dads know how it is – you can keep the fun going with affordable replacements (click on the balls below right, just over $1 per ball!). Important to note, standard wiffle balls with the holes on half the ball will not drop into the chute as consistently.

These are less than $1/ball, buy 6 packs and stay ready!

5. Whichever ball you choose to use, this bad boy holds 9 at a time, 1 for each inning! It's been a lot of fun for us to see how long we can make those 9 last with me and 6 year old fielding and a 4 year old at the turret.

Crushlife Acres: Helping you spend your money wisely and have fun indoors this winter with your youngsters. MAKE MEMORIES AND GET UP AND MOVE AROUND! I promise you, unlike 1/2 the stuff you bought for Christmas, this Franklin MLB electronic pitching machine will not disappoint.

Rise. Shine. Crush.