With the Major League Baseball season solidly through its first week, for many of us who play the game, whether it be competitively or simply for fun, the search for gear to get us through this season also begins this week. As we see our favorite players debuting the latest technologies in their equipment, it’s natural to wonder how they decide upon the equipment they have chosen for the season. One of the most important parts of the game of baseball is the glove you choose. Being that there are so many different styles out there, just seeing your favorite player in a particular baseball glove doesn’t necessarily mean that is the right glove for you.
Although each of us have our own influences that guide us towards a particular style, I thought I’d reach out to some of “those in the know” at Eastbay to give me some direction on some of the choices that are available. Depending on the position, there are some features and styles that may work better for some aspects of the game than in others. With that said, a quick trip throughout the defensive positions was in order to ensure a real understanding of how the design of a glove can affect your performance at a particular position. Below are some of the details that were given to me, and hopefully they can help guide you in the right direction in how to choose the correct baseball glove for yourself.
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).
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.