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There’s a catch to finding the right glove

Brian Ferry

I am not an expert in clothing, but how hard is it to wear a glove properly?

I was a baseball player in my younger days.

And, I’ve been a baseball player again for the past two years.

Apparently, I’ve been doing it wrong the whole time.

Since I joined the Jamestown and Area Old Timers, I’ve worn a Spalding Dwight Gooden model glove that I’ve probably had since 1988.

For those who don’t remember, Gooden was a spectacular pitcher with the Mets — and later and less spectacularly with the Yankees — for several years. Not such a great role model, as it turns out, and not just because he became a Yankee.

I wasn’t a pitcher, but I needed a glove for those times when I wasn’t wearing a catcher’s mitt – seldom indeed. That my 35-year-old glove is in decent shape is partly a testament to how little I used it back then.

I tried wearing my softball glove for baseball, but the thing is so big the ball gets lost.

So, I figured it was time for an update.

After some research, I went to a local sporting goods purveyor and did some in-person browsing.

The research introduced me to terms like “basket web” (like my 1980s-era Gooden), “trapeze,” “modified trap,” “H-web,” and “I-web.”

Over the past two years, I’ve found my basket web glove not to be ideal for infield nor outfield positions. And, I’ve been playing a lot of outfield and a little infield.

The browsing introduced me to one finalist.

It was a modified trap, which I hear is popular with both infielders and outfielders.

It fit a little oddly, but I figured that was part of the breaking-in process.

It was 11.75 inches. I don’t know how or where that’s measured, but it’s reportedly on the large side of infielder gloves and small side for outfielders.

When I looked at it, I had a hard time believing it was on the large side of anything.

It just looked too small.

I crammed it on my hand and looked again. Same thing.

So, I did some more research.

What I found boggled my mind.

Ballplayers leave some of their palm exposed?

Sometimes, they put two fingers in the pinkie space?

I was skeptical – this is probably just something big leaguers, who share little with normal humans, can do – but I tried it.

It felt different. It looked wrong.

But, the glove felt better on my hand. And, it grew on me … not in a literal, parasitic sense.

Not surprisingly, the glove looked a little bigger when it wasn’t crammed as far down my wrist.

I’ve decided to try it — with two fingers in one space when I’m in the outfield or at third (creates a larger pocket) and maybe some other way if I play some other place.

I don’t expect it’ll turn me into some mix of Jim Edmonds and Brooks Robinson, much less Ozzie Smith, but at least I’ll be wearing my glove correctly.

Brian Ferry is a Times Observer staff writer.

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