Game Ready Baseball Gloves? Hey Dad! You know what’s best, don’t let your children make the decision
Soft and not durable leathers, pigskin being the most popular. Offerings from the Big 3 (Rawlings, Wilson, Mizuno) compete with style, flair and the all important impulse selection by children. These are superb for toddlers through first year t-ball where the only time these players take the mitt out is at their limited practices and games.
Collateral consequences of the game ready glove is the all important two handed catch. Better known as the alligator catch. As a species, we humans will do what ever we can to minimize the energy we put into anything. We are hard-wired to conserve energy, motions and emotions. So using a superior catching machine diminishes the value of using the second hand with the subordinate result of not using it. Yes, there is success in catching the ball, but for youngsters the culmination of repetitive tasks is what gets them to the next step, Little League. You bet, all these little people want to make the plays like the Big Boys in the Show, but after thousands of hours of perfect practice and hundreds of hours in game situation play those pro’s have earned the right to get outside of the box with their movements. Not to mention they are paid big bucks to WIN and make the jaw dropping catches. Don’t get me wrong, what these guys can do is nothing short of amazing. But when you do this for a living, you spend you days chasing the tough catch. Different level of the game, greater degree of difficulty at practice.
Stiffer gloves serve multiple purposes. First, you are not going to field a grounder with one hand. It takes two until the glove is broken in and by then is pretty much second nature to use two. Second, you don’t need to replace these gloves every year (or after a week hiding on the floor in the back of the family grocery getter). Third, heavier leather gloves tend to stay open with the effort being applied in the closing process. Game readies tend to stay closed where the back of the fingers are used to open the pocket, exactly backwards of how the hand wants to work.
Our little leagues play to win with their hearts. Of all the people I played with we all remember our first non-vinyl glove. Many used these same gloves all through junior high and well into high school. Emotional attachments to these lumps of leather sewn together with thread and cowhide laces go deep. Our current culture has moved substantially from those of the inventors of the game. At that period of American History, the only time something was not in active use by its owner was when the worms were turning it back into the soil (and you thought recycling is a new thing). Even well into the 80’s, on rosters of continuing teams, everyone knew which glove belongs to whom at the get go of the season. This level of instant recognition is diminishing as more and more players arrive each year with a new glove. Sadly the process is pressing the once prideful ownership to a comparative of new seasons offerings and yet another trip to the store for the children to make another selection.
Game ready are soft with good tact that will last a normal recreational season. Even for adults’ that plan to play in 4 or 5 games a year, these will go the distance for a couple of seasons. But if you are going to lay out $50 or $60 to get a year or two of service, why not step up to the $120’s and get a real glove that will go the distance. They catch better, feel better, last longer and you will be proud of what you posses. Even when the new models arrive, yours will still be preferred.
What was that? There is no difference until you spend nearly $200. Well, it takes a bit of looking but you can get steerhide gloves from Kelley Athletics starting at $99. Custom gloves with heavier Premium cowhide are available from, from Valle $150 or NV Baseball $160. Even a Swensons at $135 What I am trying to point out is, if you have a limited budget, spend your time freely finding as many opportunities as you can. Better to have the money in your pocket than giving away for no good reason.
Oh Dad, bye the way, 10 minutes on Saturday during the off season, you know between finishing breakfast and reading the paper but before the game starts, is all it takes to get your little leaguers glove ready, gives you the time to help instill good habits (butt down – hands out – watch the ball into the glove – two hands) and the time spent together, well….. priceless…..
Copyright 2007; reprinted in whole with permission