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. Anywhere.
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 new glove.
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 errors happen.
The padding feels nonexistent.
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 nonexistent.
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 cracked. Everywhere.
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 retired.
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 be prepared.”
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.