If you’re new to baseball, you’ll notice that some players prefer to use batting gloves while others enjoy playing without. So, what’s the deal with batting gloves, and should you be using one when you’re on the field? In short – the answer is simply yes; you should be using batting gloves when fielding! We’ll take you through a journey in understanding why you should wear batting gloves when fielding and how to pick the right gloves below.
What are batting gloves and why is it important?
Batting gloves are additional equipment used by players in a baseball game. They’re mostly used to provide the players with extra grip when batting but would also act as protective gear especially in extreme weather. Batting gloves are usually made of leather on the grips and nylon or any other synthetic materials on the back. They come in various sizes to fit different players and have been considered a staple in most baseball games although it isn’t considered mandatory equipment.
The Pros and Cons of wearing Batting gloves
Like all sporting gears, wearing batting gloves on the field has its pros and cons. Here’s a look at why you should or shouldn’t consider a pair of batting gloves for your next baseball game:
The pros of wearing batting gloves
- Batting gloves provide you with extra grip: Historically, batting gloves were first worn to provide players a better grip on their bats. This allowed them to hit better with less margin for error and is the top reason why most players would pick up a pair of batting gloves.
- Batting gloves helps to avoid blisters: Getting blisters is a common injury for any baseball player out there. This could be caused by long term practice and could affect their performance on the field. Wearing a pair of batting gloves would help avoid painful blisters, allowing the players to continuously bat without worries.
- Batting gloves help absorb shock and vibration: Of course, this generally only affects aluminum bats, but batting gloves have been known to help absorb the shock and vibration from every hit. This reduces the amount of strain and injury caused to the players and is especially important for beginners and Little League players.
- Batting gloves help “weather-proof” your bat: Batting gloves have been known to be a great help to players during extreme weather. For instance, it helps players to avoid losing grip of their bats due to sweaty palms in the summer. They’re also used to keep the hands of the players warm in the winter and prevent sore or stinging fingers.
The cons of wearing batting gloves
- Batting gloves reduces the “bat-feel”: Some players believe that wearing batting gloves reduces the natural feel of swinging a bat. These players would optionally wrap their bats with alternative grips or use pine tar instead.
- Batting gloves are a disadvantage on rainy days: On wet days, batting gloves would work completely against any player as they would cause a loss of grip. Players may then opt to play without their batting gloves and look into separate grip alternatives instead.
How do I pick the right batting gloves?
If you’re looking to get your very own pair of batting gloves, it’s important to remember that no 2 batting gloves are the same. Finding the right fit for your batting gloves would allow you to reap the benefits of wearing them and is especially important if you’re looking to avoid injuries. To kickstart your journey, you’ll want to keep these in mind:
- Grip: Essentially, batting gloves are worn to provide you with extra grip on the field. This is why you’ll want to pick gloves that are perfect for your gripping comforts so you can play your best on the field.
- Durability: Picking a pair of batting gloves made of high-quality materials ensures that they will last longer throughout your use. Batting gloves are usually made of leather on the palms and synthetic material on the back, so be sure to pick what’s your preferred glove material.
- Padding: Getting a pair of well-padded gloves will help absorb the shock or vibration when you hit a pitch. They would also reduce the risk of blisters forming on your hands, making it an important factor when picking out your batting gloves.
- The cuffs: Picking out batting gloves that are comfortable to you would also encourage you to use them more often. Today, players can choose between batting gloves with cuffs snugly fitting around their wrists or those that go way past the hands. This is simply on personal preference but is an important factor when you’re choosing your batting gloves.
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How do I measure my hands when buying batting gloves?
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The next step to picking the right batting gloves is to know which size fits best. Pre-measuring your hands when you want to buy batting gloves will make your shopping trip much easier, regardless if you’re going to the sports store near you or making an online purchase. Here is our step-by-step guide on how to measure your hands when you want to buy batting gloves:
- Step 1: Keep the fingers of your hands straight and firmly pressed together. Place it on a flat surface with your palm facing up.
- Step 2: Measure your hand, starting from the base of your palm to the tip of your middle finger. You could use a ruler or tape measure, and if possible, do seek help for a more accurate measurement.
- Step 3: Test out the batting gloves if you can. Even if the batting gloves are right to your size, you’ll want to make sure that your hands will fit comfortably so they’re snug but not too tight. Try wiggling your fingers to make sure you can still move them as normal and if they’re too big or too small, be sure to go a size up or down accordingly.
How do I stretch out my batting gloves?
Occasionally, you may receive batting gloves as a gift but what if they’re not entirely comfortable to fit? Thankfully, most batting gloves are made of leather that is easy to stretch out so they can be snug to your hands. If you need some tips to help ease you into your tight batting gloves, do check them out below:
- Use moisture to your advantage: Unlike most beliefs that you may have heard, moisture is a great help in stretching out your leather batting gloves. To do this, simply mix 1 part of rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol to 3 parts of water in any container. Use this to dampen your gloves and make sure it’s wet on the inside and out. Wear your gloves while they’re wet and stretch your fingers accordingly to help with the stretching process. Let dry and repeat this process as you see fit.
- Use a leather conditioner: Genuine leather may shrink a little as it dries, so it’s important to also keep it well-conditioned. Consider getting lanolin-based conditioners for your batting gloves and condition them after each use. You’ll want to avoid any oil-based conditioners such as mink as they may transfer onto your clothing and turn your gloves tacky.
- Use a chemical treatment: You should only use chemical treatments if it’s very necessary, as they may be dangerous if accidentally ingested. A chemical spray used to stretch shoes however may help stretch out your leather gloves. Be sure to use it sparingly without overstretching your gloves.
It’s important to remember that leather is a material that would stretch itself out over a period anyway. With prolonged wearing, you may find that your batting gloves will snugly fit itself against your palms so you should never overstretch them if you are using any of the tips above. The key is to make them comfortable but not too loose to wear.
How do I shrink my batting gloves?
Alternatively, if you receive gloves that are too large to fit, or if your current gloves are beginning to feel loose, you could also shrink them using water and a hairdryer. This will cause the leather to shrink due to the structure of the material.
Wearing batting gloves that are too large is not recommended as you may not achieve the right grip as expected. This may affect your game performance in the long run, or even cost your team the game.
Did you know…
The history of donning batting gloves trails back to 1949 when Bobby Thomas of the Giants wore a pair of golf gloves during his spring training. In 1964 however, Ken Harrelson of Kansas City Athletics began to wear a pair of golf gloves in a professional game to avoid blisters.
This sparked the interest and need for the sportswear industry to start producing batting gloves. In the 1980s, most players had already owned and used their personal pair of batting gloves on the field, successfully making the use of batting gloves a staple addition to every baseball game.