Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How to Buy a Baseball Glove

By Brad Neuendank

The "Why" about baseball glove sizes and webs

Note within a note: I love making Jimmy O sweat. He's a buyer, he's a coach, he's a player. He knows his stuff. But I tend to ask the questions that most people just "know" instinctually, because when it comes to sports, I don't have instincts until I get to know the mechanics of the game, the physics behind the technologies. [CM]

Infielders use smaller gloves because they are handling the ball more. They are catching grounders, scooping quickly, transferring to their throwing hand, etc. They need to feel where the ball is right away so they can complete the play. Larger gloves will make it difficult to feel exactly where the ball is because the pressure is spread across a greater surface area. The deeper web would also make it a bit more difficult to transfer the ball quickly and efficiently to your throwing hand, so small is the way to go. They'll use a modified trap web, I web or basket (also called tartan or closely woven) web, something designed for a smaller glove, something that doesn't create a deep web where the ball can get lost (okay, not actually lost, but at least less accessible).

Pitchers generally wear infielder's gloves with a modified trap, tartan web or basket web. The web has to be closely woven so you can't see the way he's gripping the ball inside the glove. Some teams prefer their pitchers to wear large gloves, up to 12.75", to offer more coverage and give them more opportunity to snag shots.

First-basemen don't really wear gloves, they wear mitts. Without separate finger stalls, the glove wears like a mitten -- a big, bulky, leather mitten. First base mitts are generally very large, up to 13". The webbings are wide and usually posted for stability. They need to catch the wild balls thrown at them in desperate attempts to prevent a run.

Third basemen have a wide array of gloves to choose from. They can pretty much wear anything they feel comfortable with. They are in between infield and outfield as far as skill sets go, and they can benefit from the larger, looser webs of the outfield but may find it easier to handle the ball with a smaller, tighter glove. Once you're in the outfield, it's all about size and extending your reach. The gloves are larger, and the webs are bigger and looser.

In the outfield you'll see Trapeze webs and Ichiro webs that create a very deep ball pocket. You might also see specialty webs like the ladder web, Y web, H web or Aso web. The basic gist of these gloves is to make the ball pocket huge, so you'll make a bigger bullseye for the ball.

The gloves are larger, and some are even flared at the ends to create a funnel effect to direct the ball toward your palm.

The diamond is calling. Let Eastbay answer with our huge selection of baseball gloves! For everything baseball, we have one of the largest selections of baseball gloves available online. Gloves come in a variety of sizes and are geared to fit both the position you play and the level of your game.

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