March 31, 2013

NOTHING EVER BEAT A NEW GLOVE OR A NEW BIKE:

New baseball gloves a rite of spring (PETE CALDERA, 3/17/13, THE RECORD)

[T]he methods for making a glove game ready are as wide as the assortment of brands on players' hands.

For instance, Chris Stewart shuns the oils or creams fellow catchers might apply to a new glove.

"I just play catch with it and throw it in my bag," said Stewart, who might take up to a full season of catching bullpen sessions to break in a new gamer. "I like my glove really broken in. A good soft glove that most guys would maybe throw away, that's game ready for me."

Suzuki's gloves arrive from the manufacturer already soft and pliable.

"He could use it in a game that night right out of the box," Brett Gardner said of the 10-time Gold Glove winning Suzuki, who normally goes through one glove per month during the season.

"I usually break in two," Gardner said of his spring training glove ritual. "But if my backup from last year is worthy of being a gamer, I'll use that and break in one."

Gloves of a generation or so ago had to be prepped during the winter.

Kelleher's method was a dab of Vaseline diluted with water rubbed into the pocket. He'd pound the pocket with a bat, put two baseballs inside and keep the glove tied until it was time to play catch -- repeating the process over and over.

Some players use shaving cream to soften the leather instead of Vaseline. Others have put gloves in the clothes dryer to tumble around and soften up.

As pros, Gardner (who uses Mizuno) and Stewart (who uses All-Star) never have kept one glove for more than two seasons.

"But when you find a good one, it's tough to get rid of," Stewart said. "One time, I had a hole in my glove but I kept using it."

Posted by at March 31, 2013 8:23 AM
  

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