Most of us have been faced with the question at least once in our baseball careers: do I need a new baseball glove? Of course, we always want a new glove, but reality usually tells us otherwise.
However, there are many tell-tale signs that it may be time to ditch the old glove in favor of a new one. And most of them are pretty simple but need to be reiterated.
It’s so floppy that it feels like the ball might just slip through the fingers:
A pretty obvious example here, but if it feels like you couldn’t
“snowcone” a ball, you probably shouldn’t be trusting that mitt to protect you,
let alone catch the ball.
It has a rip.
I once had a glove for four years, and using it everyday for
a few hours did a number on the poor mitt. It had a rip in the webbing and in
between the index and middle fingers, among other issues.
But I still used it everyday, and lo and behold, I got a
line drive in a game and the ball ripped straight through my webbing.
I was out of a glove and stuck using a really, really bad
glove while I broke in my new one. Lesson learned.
So, if your glove has a rip anywhere, especially in the area
where you catch the ball, definitely start looking for a new mitt.
Trying to fix it by gluing it or stitching it (been there,
done that) won’t work and just pushes back the inevitable fact that you need a
It’s better to start the break-in process on a new glove (and
have it as a backup) and use your old glove for a few weeks than be stuck with
only having a glove that may or may not fall apart at any moment.
It feels like you’re
holding a 10 pound dumbbell in your hand.
Maybe you left the glove out in the rain one too many times
or used too much oil on it, but an unusually heavy glove simply isn’t something
you want to be using.
Sure, it may be your fault that it weighs that much in the
first place, but it’s a whole lot better to play with a regular weight glove
than a stupidly heavy one.
It used to have
Perfect Form, but now it just feels blah.
You spent months breaking in your mitt and finally got that
perfect form. And you start using it and the glove feels amazing, all thanks to
the way you broke it in.
But after a few years, the form starts to go. The thumb and
pinky stays don’t maintain their form, the fingers start to flatten, and the
glove starts to close oddly.
This doesn’t mean you start shopping on JustBallGloves when
your glove feels off one day, but if you notice the form is starting to get progressively
worse, it’s a good idea to get a new mitt.
It’s better to play with a glove that feels perfect (or
close to it) than a glove that feels awful. If you feel comfortable in your
glove, you’ll play better. But once doubts start creeping in, that’s when
The padding feels
Just like the leather will start to wear down on your glove,
so will the padding. And after a while, it will feel like the glove has
absolutely zero padding.
You certainly don’t want a bruised hand from catching a hard
hit line drive, so getting a new glove seems like a good idea if the padding feels
Now this does not mean you get a new glove the second you
start feeling the ball sting your hand, especially if you make it a habit to
catch it in the palm.
But if you start feeling serious pain when you catch the ball
in the pocket, it’s time to start looking for a new mitt.
The leather is
A glove with worn leather can be characterized as having “character.”
But a glove with cracked leather? That should be characterized as needing to be
The reasoning for this is simple: the leather is the
foundation of the glove, and once that starts to go, the entire glove will
start to deteriorate, too. Get a new glove and save yourself the trouble.
Reasons to not get a new glove
Sometimes you get the itch that you need a new glove. I mean, who doesn’t like a new baseball glove? But many of these times you really don’t need a new glove.
Here are a few signs you don’t need that new piece of leather:
You might play _____
position but you probably won’t.
“I’m usually a middle infielder, but my coach said I might
play a little bit of outfield, so I need to go out and buy an outfield glove to
Don’t fall for this trap. I certainly did and regret it to
this day. I said the exact same thing as above and bought an outfield glove,
only to use it for about two innings.
So not only was I out of a lot of money, but I had a glove I didn’t like or want. I ended up using my infield mitt in the outfield by the end of the year and haven’t touched that outfield glove since.
Trust me. You don’t need a glove for that position you “might”
play. Chances are you will never play that position (I’ve seen it too many
times to count), or if you do, your regular game glove will do.
Now if that position you might play is catcher, talk to your
coach to see if you need to drop serious cash on a catchers mitt/equipment. Chances
are you don’t and there is gear and a glove floating around.
You got a lot of
money for Christmas/Birthday/Whatever, and it’s burning a hole in your pocket.
You may have just gotten a lot of money for whatever
occasion. And the first thing you think about when you see that check/cash is
that new Pro Preferred you’ve been eyeing online.
I’m going to make this really simple for you: DON’T BUY IT.
Especially if you got $400 and are about to drop $350 of it on a new glove.
Sure, having that new mitt is awesome, but so is having
money in the bank. You never know when you’ll need that money, and you’ll sleep
better knowing you have dough in your bank account.
Now, if you got more money than you know what to do with,
then I won’t stop you from splurging on a new glove or two.
You change teams every
year and you NEED a glove to match the teams color.
It may seem ridiculous at first, but I’ve seen it too many
times to discount it. A kid gets a glove that matches his team colors (or even
a custom), and then he changes his teams and “needs” a new glove.
First of all, nobody will care if your glove doesn’t match
the teams’ colors. Everybody has changed teams at some point, so everybody’s
going to have some mismatched gear (helmet, bag, etc.).
Second, buying a crazy custom glove for a travel team that
you may not be on next year is a stupid idea. I would only recommend a custom glove
for high school or college, because you’re probably not leaving either.
Third, most would take a simple camel glove over your “sick”
blue and orange glove. Some people might say it looks cool, but most will think
you’re just a goon.
The lacing is going, but
the leather is in great condition.
Sure, the lacing on your glove may be less than perfect, but
chances are the leather on your glove is still good.
Just because your lace is stretching more than normal doesn’t mean you need a new glove. Just get a relace and you’ll be fine.
Any others you can think of? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.