Monday, December 10, 2007

nutty buddy

Littell has a nuttier idea

Mark Littell, inventor of the Nutty Buddy, shows the four sizes of the protective cup he has designed. The video on YouTube is almost comical ― except it's not.

Former Royals pitcher Mark Littell, pitching a new product he has designed called the "Nutty Buddy," stands in front of one of those pitching machines aimed at his groin, and takes one for the teaNutty Buddy
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Nutty Buddy is an ice cream cone topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate and peanuts, manufactured in the United States.

The Nutty Buddy is no longer produced commercially in large numbers across the United States. Its former manufacturer was the Sweetheart Cup Company, which was also the manufacturer of the machines that produced the cones; Sweetheart went out of business in 1998. One of the last manufacturers of the Nutty Buddy is Purity Dairies in Nashville, Tennessee.

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There is a resounding "whomp," and Littell jumps up ― not in agony ― and flexes his muscles, unfazed.

"Yes sir, folks," he says to the camera. "The Nutty Buddy: It's mean, it's tough, and it's right there for ya every time."

Littell, who pitched for the Royals in 1973 and '75-77, has designed a new athletic cup that he says is ahead of the competition.

"All people have to do is try it," Littell says of the anatomically correct cup, which Littell says is more comfortable than the protective cup designed by other companies.

He came up with the idea while working with Royals pitchers in spring training.

"I asked my pitchers, how many of you guys don't wear cups? And half of them raised their hand," he said. "So I went off on a little mild tirade at the time."

Littell says he always wore a cup while on the mound. He got smashed in the groin only once by a hit, but he still remembers it.

At $19.95, the Nutty Buddy is on the high end in price, about twice as much as a typical athletic cup. But Littell is betting that parents will buy them for their sons in hopes the better fit will get them to wear the cups.

In case their kids need encouraging, Littell's cups come with macho names: "Hammer," "Boss," "Hog" and for really big men, the XL-sized "Mongo," a salute to a the ogrelike character in the movie "Blazing Saddles."


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