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United States Patent Application 20170368436
Kind Code A1
Burrell; Jonathan C. December 28, 2017

BATTING TEE

Abstract

A batting tee supporting a ball has a base, a telescoping post having a first tube, a second tube, a rod, and a flexible ball holder secured to the telescoping post. Wearable bushing assemblies enable friction between components of the tee to remain at least substantially constant over a range of tolerances, even as bushings wear. Each bushing assembly includes a bushing holder, a C-shaped spring positioned around at least a portion of the bushing holder, and a C-shaped bushing constructed of wearable material and positioned at least partially around an outer periphery of the C-shaped spring. Each bushing assembly is positioned into a respective tube such that the C-shaped bushing contacts an inner surface of its respective tube. The C-shaped spring provides an outward radial force for applying friction between the C-shaped bushing and the inner surface of the tube when one component is axially moved relative to another.


Inventors: Burrell; Jonathan C.; (Spring Hill, KS)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Burrell; Jonathan C.

Spring Hill

KS

US
Family ID: 1000002707179
Appl. No.: 15/630702
Filed: June 22, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62493179Jun 24, 2016

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63B 69/0075 20130101; A63B 2225/093 20130101; A63B 2069/0008 20130101; A63B 69/0002 20130101
International Class: A63B 69/00 20060101 A63B069/00

Claims



1. A tee for supporting a ball, said tee comprising: a telescoping stanchion, wherein said telescoping stanchion comprises a tube and a rod; a flexible ball holder secured to a first end of said rod; a base, wherein, when said tee is assembled, said stanchion extends upwardly from said base and said ball holder is positioned at the top of said tee; a bushing assembly comprising-- a bushing holder; C-shaped spring positioned around at least a portion of said bushing holder, and a C-shaped bushing constructed of wearable material, wherein said C-shaped bushing is positioned at least partially around an outer periphery of said C-shaped spring, wherein said bushing assembly is positioned into an open end of said tube such that an outer periphery of said C-shaped bushing contacts an inner surface of said tube, wherein said rod is positioned at least partially within said tube and secured to said bushing assembly, and wherein said C-shaped spring provides an outward radial force for applying friction between said C-shaped bushing and said inner surface of said tube when said rod is axially moved relative to said tube.

2. The tee of claim 1, wherein a spring rate of the C-shaped spring is such that an amount of radial load applied to the C-shaped bushing is at least substantially consistent over a range of dimensional tolerances, thereby enabling at least substantially constant friction between said C-shaped bushing and said tube even as said C-shaped bushing wears from use.

3. The tee of claim 1, wherein said rod is constructed of plastic.

4. The tee of claim 1, wherein said rod is secured to said bushing assembly by a removable fastener.

5. The tee of claim 4, wherein said removable faster is accessible through an opening in the bottom of the tee.

6. The tee of claim 4, wherein said removable fastener comprises a screw.

7. The tee of claim 1, wherein said rod is secured to said bushing assembly by a weld.

8. The tee of claim 1, wherein said bushing assembly is positioned into a bottom end of said tube and said C-shaped bushing comprises a first bushing, said tee comprising a second bushing that is positioned in a top open end of said tube and said rod passes through said second bushing, wherein the friction between said second bushing and said rod is less than the friction between said C-shaped bushing and said tube.

9. The tee of claim 1, wherein said bushing assembly is positioned into a bottom end of said tube and said C-shaped bushing comprises a first bushing, said tee comprising a second bushing that is positioned in a top open end of said tube, wherein said tube has an annular bead and said second bushing has an outer ridge such that said outer ridge of said second bushing mates with said annular bead, thereby retaining said bushing in said tube, wherein said rod passes through said second bushing.

10. The tee of claim 9, wherein said second bushing comprises a C-shape.

11. The tee of claim 1, wherein said tube comprises a first tube, said tee further comprising: a second tube; a second bushing assembly comprising-- a second bushing holder; a second C-shaped spring positioned around at least a portion of said second bushing holder, and a second C-shaped bushing constructed of said wearable material, wherein said second C-shaped bushing is positioned at least partially around an outer periphery of second said C-shaped spring, wherein said second bushing assembly is positioned inside said second tube, wherein said first tube is at least partially positioned within said second tube from the top of said second tube, and wherein a bottom end of said first tube is fastened to said second bushing assembly.

12. The tee of claim 11, wherein said second C-shaped spring provides an outward radial force for applying friction between said second C-shaped bushing and said inner surface of said second tube when said first tube is axially moved relative to said second tube.

13. A tee for supporting a ball, said tee comprising: a telescoping stanchion, wherein said telescoping stanchion comprises a first metal tube, a second metal tube, and a plastic rod; a flexible ball holder secured to a first end of said plastic rod; a base, wherein, when said tee is assembled, said stanchion extends upwardly from said base and said ball holder is positioned at the top of said tee; a first bushing assembly comprising-- a first bushing holder; a first C-shaped spring positioned around at least a portion of said first bushing holder, and a first C-shaped bushing constructed of wearable material, wherein said first C-shaped bushing is positioned at least partially around an outer periphery of said first C-shaped spring; a second bushing assembly comprising-- a second bushing holder; a second C-shaped spring positioned around at least a portion of said second bushing holder, and a second C-shaped bushing constructed of wearable material, wherein said second C-shaped bushing is positioned at least partially around an outer periphery of said second C-shaped spring; wherein said first bushing assembly is positioned into an open end of said first metal tube such that an outer periphery of said first C-shaped bushing contacts an inner surface of said first metal tube, wherein said plastic rod is positioned at least partially within said first metal tube and secured to said first bushing assembly, wherein said first C-shaped spring provides an outward radial force for applying friction between said first C-shaped bushing and said inner surface of said first metal tube when said rod is axially moved relative to said first metal tube, wherein said second bushing assembly is positioned inside said second metal tube, wherein said first metal tube is at least partially positioned within said second metal tube from the top of said second metal tube, wherein a bottom end of said first metal tube is fastened to said second bushing assembly, and wherein said second C-shaped spring provides an outward radial force for applying friction between said second C-shaped bushing and said inner surface of said second tube when said first tube is axially moved relative to said second tube.

14. The tee of claim 12, wherein said rod is secured to said first bushing assembly by a removable fastener, and wherein said removable faster is accessible through an opening in the bottom of the tee.

15. The tee of claim 12, wherein said rod is secured to said first bushing by a weld.
Description



RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This non-provisional patent application claims priority benefit, with regard to all common subject matter, of earlier-filed U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/493,179, filed on Jun. 24, 2016 and entitled "BASEBALL BATTING TEE". This identified earlier-filed provisional patent application is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety into the present application.

BACKGROUND

1. Field

[0002] Embodiments of the invention relate to baseball equipment. More specifically, embodiments of the invention relate to ball tees for holding a ball for a batter.

2. Related Art

[0003] A batting tee, sometimes called a ball tee, is an important equipment item for the teaching and playing of baseball. Baseball players, softball players, coaches, and the like rely on ball tees to play their game and improve performance. A ball tee holds a ball stationary at a certain height such that the player may swing a bat and strike the ball. Many prior art ball tees include a telescoping stanchion (e.g., telescoping post assembly) that enable the batter to adjust the height of the tee.

[0004] Batting tees of the prior art present a number of drawbacks. One of the problems with prior art batting tees having an adjustable stanchion using telescoping posts is that the friction provided by slides within the telescoping posts wear with time and temperature. Another problem is that some prior art batting tee products have a great deal of variability from one tee to the next, even though they are the same design from the same manufacturer. In other words, many prior art batting tee designs are highly sensitive to part tolerances. Accordingly, the need exists for a batting tee that is forgiving of part tolerances and that maintains friction within a fairly tight range over many cycles of sliding the telescoping posts and over the full temperature range of its intended use.

[0005] Additionally, it is common for ball holders at the top of the tee wear out due to being repeatedly struck with the bat. Prior art batting tee ball holders made of a sheet of rubber, such as neoprene, are superior to those that use a molded ball holder because the rolled sheet is more flexible, thereby providing less resistance (than the molded version) to the bat and a more realistic feel to the hitter. However, when the rolled sheet wears out, it is difficult and expensive to replace because it takes skill and special tools to roll a new sheet in the correct way and to fasten the newly rolled sheet to the top of the batting tee. Accordingly, the need also exists for a batting tee having a ball cup that is made of a rolled sheet and that is easy to replace.

SUMMARY

[0006] Embodiments of the invention address the above-mentioned problems and provide a distinct advantage in the art by providing an improved ball tee, while being similar in many respects to embodiments of a batting tee described in U.S. Pat. No. 9,358,440, issued Jun. 7, 2016 and entitled BALL TEE, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0007] The batting tee has a base, a telescoping stanchion (e.g., a telescoping post or pedestal), a fitting for connecting the telescoping stanchion to the base, and a ball holder. The telescoping stanchion has a lower tube having an upper beaded end, an upper tube having an upper beaded end, and a rod. The lower tube is releasably secured by the fitting to the base, the upper tube at least partially slidably telescopes in the lower tube, and the rod at least partially slidably telescopes in the upper and lower tubes. As noted, each of the lower tube and the inner tube are beaded at one end. In particular, each tube has an annular bead at an upper end of the tube when the tee is in use and the stanchion is secured to the base and thereby oriented to extend upwardly from the base in an a manner that is at least substantially perpendicular to the ground.

[0008] A C-shaped bushing has a ridge protruding outwardly from a side-wall of the C-shaped bushing. The C-shaped bushing is inserted into the beaded end of the inner tube. The C-shaped bushing snaps into place inside the inner tube in manner such that the outwardly protruding ridge of the C-shaped bushing fits into the annular bead of the tube, thereby retaining the bushing in place within the inner tube.

[0009] The rod, having a ball holder already assembled to one end of the rod, is inserted through the center of the C-shaped bushing. The C-shaped bushing provides a small amount of interference with the plastic rod to provide a small amount of friction between the rod and the C-shaped bushing, but this is not the primary holding friction (as described further herein). Note that once the rod is inserted through the center of the C-shaped bushing, the C-shaped bushing is restricted by the rod and therefore cannot be removed.

[0010] A bushing assembly is constructed and inserted into the opposite (non-beaded) end of the inner tube. The bushing assembly has a bushing holder, a C-shaped spring, and a C-shaped bushing. In embodiments, the bushing holder is plastic, the C-shaped spring is steel, and the C-shaped bushing is made of wear-resistant Nylon. The bushing holder has an annular spool-shaped design having a portion that accepts, about the outer periphery of the spool-shaped portion, the C-shaped spring. The C-shaped spring provides radial force outwardly, thereby applying friction on the inside surface of the inner tube. The C-shaped bushing provides a sacrificial surface which is wear resistant. The C-shaped spring has a spring rate such that the amount of radial load applied to the C-shaped bushing is consistent over a wide range of dimensional tolerances. Thus, even as the C-shaped bushing material (such as Nylon) wears away from adjustment and use of the batting tee, the load applied by the C-shaped spring is at least substantially consistent.

[0011] As stated, the bushing assembly is inserted into the opposite end (non-beaded end) of the inner tube and is fastened to the end of the rod with a trilobular screw. Alternatively, the bushing assembly could be attached via spin welding or ultrasonic welding. It will be appreciated that, once installed, the rod is fixedly retained within the inner tube in a highly robust manner.

[0012] A second, lower bushing assembly is constructed in the same manner as the upper bushing assembly described above and, therefore, has a second bushing holder, a second C-shaped bushing, and a second C-shaped spring albeit all dimensioned so as to enable the second bushing assembly to fit snugly into the bottom end of the lower tube (which has a larger diameter than the diameter of the upper/inner tube). The lower bushing assembly is inserted from the bottom into the lower tube and slid up the tube into contact with the second C-shaped bushing that has been snapped into the top of the lower tube. A second C-shaped bushing (which also may be made from a material such as Nylon and which is larger than the first C-shaped bushing) is inserted into the upper end of the lower tube. The sub-assembly described above (ball holder, upper/inner tube, rod, bushing assembly) is inserted, from the top beaded end of the lower tube, into the lower tube and axially down through the second, larger C-shaped bushing.

[0013] The bushing holder of the lower bushing assembly has cross holes and the lower (outer) tube has holes in its sidewall near the top. The holes of this bushing holder and the holes in the side wall of the lower tube are aligned with holes in the bottom of the upper (inner) tube and two screws are placed through these aligned holes and screwed in to the bushing holder to securely fasten the lower bushing assembly to the upper (inner) tube. Alternatively, for example, a roll pin could be used for fastening. Notably, no adhesives are required. Once these assemblies are fastened in place as described, it is very difficult to completely withdraw the tubes from each other. Notably, the hole in the lower tube which facilitates the assembly using the small screws is outside the operating range of the C-shaped bushing on the lower bushing assembly (e.g., the C-shaped bushing never runs over the hole). A rubber grip is positioned over the hole.

[0014] The rolled ball holder can be very quickly and easily replaced by removing the trilobular screw, which is accessible through an opening in the bottom of the tee. Once the screw is removed, then the rod, along with the assembled ball holder, is pulled upwardly and out of the tubes. A new ball holder and plastic rod assembly are inserted into the tubes from the top and the trilobular screw is fastened into the end of the new plastic rod from the bottom, thereby providing a convenient and inexpensive field serviceable rolled ball holder.

[0015] This summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the detailed description. This summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter. Other aspects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of the embodiments and the accompanying drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

[0016] Embodiments of the invention are described in detail below with reference to the attached drawing figures, wherein:

[0017] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the tee;

[0018] FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view illustrating the various components of the tee illustrated in FIG. 1;

[0019] FIG. 3 is a side-elevational and cross-sectional view of the tee illustrated in FIG. 1;

[0020] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a plastic rod of the tee;

[0021] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a liner of the tee;

[0022] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a rubber grip of the tee;

[0023] FIG. 7A is a perspective view of a bushing of the tee;

[0024] FIG. 7B is a cross-sectional view taken along line 7B-7B of the bushing illustrated in FIG. 7A;

[0025] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an upper/inner tube of the tee;

[0026] FIG. 9A is a perspective view of a first bushing holder of the tee;

[0027] FIG. 9B is a cross-sectional view taken along line 9B-9B of the first bushing holder illustrated in FIG. 9A;

[0028] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a C-shaped spring of the tee;

[0029] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a wearable C-shaped bushing of the tee;

[0030] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a lower/outer tube of the tee;

[0031] FIG. 13A is a perspective view of a second bushing holder of the tee;

[0032] FIG. 13B is a cross-sectional view taken along line 13B-13B of the second bushing holder illustrated in FIG. 13A; and

[0033] FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional view illustrating a bushing assembly of the present invention in place within a tube.

[0034] The drawing figures do not limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed and described herein. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0035] The following description of the invention references the accompanying drawings that illustrate specific embodiments in which the invention can be practiced. The embodiments are intended to describe aspects of the invention in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention. Other embodiments can be utilized and changes can be made without departing from the scope of the invention. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense.

[0036] In this description, references to "one embodiment", "an embodiment", "embodiments", "various embodiments", "certain embodiments", "some embodiments", or "other embodiments" mean that the feature or features being referred to are included in at least one embodiment of the technology. Separate references to "one embodiment", "an embodiment", "embodiments", "various embodiments", "certain embodiments", "some embodiments", or "other embodiments" in this description do not necessarily refer to the same embodiment and are also not mutually exclusive unless so stated and/or except as will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the description. For example, a feature, structure, act, etc. described in one embodiment may also be included in other embodiments, but is not necessarily included. Thus, the current technology can include a variety of combinations and/or integrations of the embodiments described herein.

[0037] As illustrated in FIG. 1, a batting tee, for holding a ball to be hit by a batter, is illustrated generally by reference numeral 10. Batting tee 10 has a base 12, a fitting 14, a telescoping stanchion (or post) illustrated generally by reference numeral 16, and flexible ball holder 18.

[0038] With additional reference to FIG. 2, the various parts of batting tee 10 are identified. In particular, fitting 14 includes a splined sleeve 20 and a pipe 22. Base 12 is a metal base over molded with rubber and has an opening 24 defined by an upwardly protruding rim 26. The stanchion 16 includes a lower tube 28, an upper (or inner) tube 30, and a rod 32. Each of lower tube 28 and upper tube 30 has a beaded portion 29, 31, respectively, proximate its upper end. Batting tee 10 employs a number of innovative bushings, including (i) an upper-tube plastic bushing 34, (ii) an upper bushing assembly, represented generally by reference numeral 36, having a first bushing holder 38, a first C-shaped spring 40, and a first C-shaped bushing 42, (iii) a lower-tube plastic bushing 44, and (iv) a lower bushing assembly, represented generally by reference numeral 46, having a second bushing holder 48, a second C-shaped spring 50, and a second C-shaped bushing 52. Batting tee 10 further includes the flexible ball holder 18, a rubber liner 54, rubber grips 56, 58, a trilobular screw 60, and small screws 62.

[0039] As described further below, FIG. 3 illustrates the tee 10 assembled, albeit with C-shaped springs 40, 50 and C-shaped bushings 42, 52 not shown.

[0040] FIG. 4 illustrates the rod 32. Rod 32 may be formed of any suitable material. In embodiments, rod 32 is formed of durable plastic.

[0041] FIG. 5 illustrates rubber liner 54. Rubber liner 54 has a lower portion 64 that is positioned over the top of rod 32 and an upper portion 66 having an open top 68 into which is received a lower portion of the ball holder 18. Rubber liner 54 also includes gripping members 70.

[0042] FIG. 6 illustrates rubber grip 56. Rubber grip 56 is O-shaped and has an outwardly protruding annular grip ridge 72. During assembly, rubber grip 56 is positioned over the top of upper tube 30 and rod 32 passes through the grip 56. Rubber grip 58 is similarly formed and is positioned over the top of lower tube 28 and upper tube 30 passes through it.

[0043] FIGS. 7A and 7B illustrate upper-tube plastic bushing 34. Upper tube plastic bushing 34 is generally C-shaped (when viewed in a top plan). Plastic bushing 34 has an upper rim 74, an outwardly protruding rim 76, an elongate channel-opening 78 from top-to-bottom in the side-wall 80 of bushing 34, and a central channel 82. An upper opening to central channel 82 is chamfered, as illustrated by reference numeral 84. During assembly of tee 10, bushing 34 is inserted into the open top of upper tube 30 and the outwardly protruding rim 76 mates with the beaded portion 31 of upper tube 30. As such, the bushing 34 snaps-into place in the upper tube 30. Rim 76 may have a notched portion (not shown) for aiding insertion of the bushing 34 into the rube 30. It will be appreciated that the bushing 34 may have an annular recess (not shown) in addition to or in place of rim 76 and that upper tube 30 may have a corresponding inwardly protruding bead for mating with the recess. Lower-tube plastic bushing 44 has a similar construction as upper-tube plastic bushing 34, albeit with a larger diameter for snugly fitting into the larger-diameter lower tube 28.

[0044] FIG. 8 illustrates upper tube 30. As described herein, upper tube 30 has an annular beaded portion 31. Upper tube 30 may be made of any suitable material, such as metal and, in particular, such as stainless steel. Upper tube 30 has two small screw holes (not shown) proximate its lower end.

[0045] FIGS. 9A and 9B illustrate first bushing holder 38. First bushing holder 38 is generally spool-shaped and has an upper portion 86, a lower portion 88, and an intermediate portion 90. First bushing holder 38 has a central open channel designated generally by reference numeral 92. Open channel 92, as illustrated, has an upper channel portion 92A, a lower channel portion 92B, and an intermediate channel portion 92C. The diameter of upper portion 86 and lower portion 88 are the same or at least substantially the same, while the diameter of intermediate portion 90 is less than the diameter(s) of upper portion 86 and lower portion 88. First bushing holder has chamfered edges 94 and rounded corners 96, 98. First bushing holder 38 may be made of any suitable, durable material and, in embodiments, is formed of molded plastic.

[0046] FIG. 10 illustrates C-shaped spring 40. C-shaped spring 40 is formed of any suitable material, such as metal. C-shaped spring has an open channel 100.

[0047] FIG. 11 illustrates C-shaped bushing 42. C-shaped bushing 42 is formed of any suitable sacrificially-wearable material, such as Nylon. C-shaped bushing has an open channel 102.

[0048] During assembly, C-shaped spring 40 is wrapped around intermediate portion 90 of first bushing holder 38. The dimension of C-shaped spring 40 is such that it must be compressed to fit within upper/inner tube 30. More particularly, an outer diameter of C-shaped spring 40 is greater than the diameter of the channel in upper/inner tube 30. The C-shaped bushing 42, having a dimension to enable it to snugly fit around C-shaped spring 40 when C-shaped spring 40 and C-shaped bushing 42 are not compressed, is wrapped around the outer periphery of C-shaped spring 40. As will be understood, openings 100, 102 enable C-shaped spring 40 and C-shaped bushing 42, respectively, to be clipped over intermediate portion 90 of first bushing holder 38. Together, first bushing holder 38, C-shaped spring 40, and C-shaped bushing 42 form the upper bushing assembly 36.

[0049] FIG. 12 illustrates lower post 28. As described, lower tube 28 has a beaded portion 29 proximate its upper end. Lower tube 28 also has a pair (one shown) of openings 104 for receiving fasteners. Lower tube 28 may be formed of any suitable material, such as metal and, in particular, such as stainless steel.

[0050] FIGS. 13A and 13B illustrates the second bushing holder 48 of the lower bushing assembly 46. Second bushing holder 48 has an upper portion 106, a lower portion 108, a first, lower outwardly-protruding rim 110 at a bottom of second bushing holder 48, and a second outwardly-protruding rim 112 located between a bottom and a top of second bushing holder 48, as illustrated. An upper portion of second outwardly-protruding rim 112 is chamfered, as illustrated by reference numeral 114. Second bushing holder 48 has a central channel denoted generally by reference numeral 116 having upper channel portion 116A, lower channel portion 116B, and intermediate (chamfered) channel portion 116C. The diameter of upper channel portion 116A is less than the diameter of lower channel portion 116C. The diameter of the outer periphery of upper portion 106 is slightly less than the diameter of the outer periphery lower portion 108. The sidewall 109 of lower portion 108 and rims 100, 112 form a spool-shaped portion of second bushing holder 48 for receiving the second C-shaped spring 50 and the second C-shaped bushing 52 in a manner similar to that described above with respect to the upper bushing assembly 36. However, the second C-shaped spring 50 and the second C-shaped bushing 52 have dimensions that are slightly greater than the first C-shaped spring 40 and the first C-shaped bushing 42, respectively. In particular, the outermost diameter of C-shaped spring 50 is slightly greater than the diameter of the channel of lower tube 28, thereby requiring C-shaped spring 50 to be compressed to be inserted into the tube 28 and thus resulting in radial force outwardly when the C-shaped spring is inserted into the tube 28.

[0051] With additional reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, during assembly of tee 10, splined sleeve 20 is inserted into pipe 22 and the resulting fitting 14 is inserted through opening 24 in base 12. Upper-tube plastic bushing 34 is snapped-into the upper end of upper tube 30 such that the outwardly protruding rim 76 of the bushing 34 mates with the bead 31 of upper tube 30. Lower-tube plastic bushing 44 is positioned and snapped-into the open upper end of lower tube 28 such that the outwardly protruding rim of the lower tube plastic bushing mates with the bead 29 of lower tube 28.

[0052] Bushing assemblies 36, 46 are assembled as described herein with their respective C-shaped springs 40, 50 and C-shaped bushings 42, 52 being clipped over the spool portions of their respective bushing holders 38, 48. Upper bushing assembly 36 is inserted into the bottom, open end of upper tube 30. Ball holder 18 is fastened to the top of plastic rod 32 (using adhesive and ties) and liner 54 is slid up from the bottom of the rod into frictional engagement with the bottom of the ball holder 18. Plastic rod 32 (with attached ball holder 18) is inserted through grip 56 and upper-tube bushing 34 into the open top end of upper tube 30. The bottom of plastic rod 30 is received in the open top of bushing holder 38 and a thread-rolling screw, such as a trilobular screw 60, is inserted through the lower open end of upper tube 30 and the screw is screwed into the bottom of plastic rod 30. In this way, the bushing assembly 36 is fastened to the plastic rod 32 so that the plastic rod may be slid within upper tube 30 with frictional engagement between bushing assembly 36, including particularly C-shaped bushing 42, and the upper tube 30.

[0053] Lower bushing assembly 46 is inserted into the bottom, open end of lower tube 28. Lower bushing assembly 46 is internally slid up through lower tube 28 and into contact with lower-tube bushing 44 and, in particular the upper portion 106 of second bushing holder 48 is received within lower-tube bushing 46 and the top of rim 112 of bushing holder 48 abuts up against the bottom of bushing 44. The bottom end of upper tube 30 is inserted into the open top end of lower tube 28 (and through grip 58 and through lower-tube bushing 44). Holes in the bottom of upper tube 30 are aligned with openings 104 in lower tube 28 and also aligned with the opening in lower-tube C-shaped bushing 44 (and a small slot on the opposite side of the opening in C-shaped bushing 44). Small screws 62 are inserted through the aligned openings for fastening the bottom end of the upper tube 30 to the lower bushing assembly 46. In this way, the bushing assembly 46 is fastened to the upper tube 30 so that the upper tube 30 may be slid within lower tube 28 with frictional engagement between bushing assembly 46, including particularly C-shaped bushing 52, and the lower tube 28. The bushing 52 is positioned beneath the aligned holes and does not cross the holes during use or adjustment of tee 10.

[0054] As illustrated in FIG. 14, upper bushing assembly 36 is shown in place within upper (inner) tube 30. C-shaped spring 40 and C-shaped bushing 42 are compressed between bushing holder 38 and the inner surface 33 of upper tube 30. It should be appreciated that lower bushing assembly 46 functions similarly in lower (outer) tube 28.

[0055] In use, a batter can adjust the height of tee 10 and, in particular, the height of the ball cup 18 (and thus the height of ball to be hit that is resting on the ball cup 18) by adjusting the telescoping stanchion 16. As will now be understood and appreciated, this adjustment is done by sliding upper tube 30 and/or plastic rod 32 up or down. In such sliding operations, the outer periphery of the C-shaped bushings 42, 52 (made of sacrificially-wearable material such as Nylon) slide against the inner wall of their respective tube 28, 30. Through use of tee 10, temperature changes, and over time, the bushings 42, 52 wear, thin-out and/or shrink. However, as such wear, thinning-out, and shrinkage occur, the outward radial force applied by respective C-springs 38, 48 enable maintenance of at least substantially constant friction between the subject respective components of tee 10.

[0056] Although the invention(s) has/have been described with reference to embodiments illustrated in the attached drawing figures, it is noted that equivalents may be employed and substitutions made herein without departing from the scope of the invention as recited in the claims. It will be understood that features and/or components of the invention(s) may be employed individually or in combination with other features and/or components of the invention(s) as contemplated in the claims.

[0057] Having thus described various embodiments of the invention(s), what is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent includes the following:

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