To select the best St. Louis-area batting cage, we enlisted the help of an eight-year-old baseball fanatic. After sampling several batting cages, we had a winner: Par-Tee Recreation Center in Florissant. Each of the nine batting cages has an actual home plate, not some painted-on fake. Our evaluator was delighted with the pitches (and proclaimed each hit a homer). For his paying parents, the ability to use plastic at the batting cage came as a welcome surprise. Another big plus is owners Al and Rita Haines. Unlike the surly and indifferent teens at other establishments, the Haineses pay special attention to pint-size patrons, talking baseball and even searching for an extra-special (and light) bat for our eight-year-old's younger sister. In addition to the batting cages, the 25-cent Skeeball that spits out tickets to exchange for trinkets is always a big hit. And after a tough workout in the sweltering summer heat, a trip to the air-conditioned refreshment stand is in order. Just when your own batting cage aficionado thinks it doesn't get any better than this, hit him with a choice of six flavors of Gatorade.