Sunday, February 27, 2011

Youth Baseball: Buying a Glove for a Select Player

My son, Nic, needed a new baseball fielding glove for the 2011 season. Over the past few of weeks, I did the research on how to buy a glove for a serious teenage player. I hope you can learn from my work.

Background

Before you buy a glove you need to assess the situation. Here is our situation.

My son, Nic, signed with a new select baseball team. Like his old team, this new team plays at the highest division of youth baseball in the area.

My son had been the primary catcher for his old team for the last 3 seasons. His new baseball team has 3 other catchers, so he will not be need to catch 70-80% of the innings anymore. We are thrilled because catching can take a toll on a player. We also happy because we think that young players (6-14) should play / learn multiple positions.

At this point, we're not sure which position will be his secondary position to catching. This uncertainty makes buying a fielder's glove more difficult because there are different glove designs for different positions.

Nic is hoping to play infield but outfield is a possibility too. As such, he needs a versatile glove that will be his gamer through high school regardless of position. Nic is in 7th grade.

The sites researched

There's a lot of information on the internet regarding this topic. I visited many sites, some were good and some were bad.

ehow - How to buy a baseball glove This site was light on information and expertise. A waste of time.
Dick's Sporting Goods - Buyer's guide - How to buy a glove This guide was comprehensive but did not offer a strong recommendation for or against specific brands.
BaseballGloves.com - This is a comprehensive site with information and links to every major and niche brand.
Wilson.com baseball glove selector tool. Wilson makes great gloves but their baseball website is terrible. I am sure that they are losing business because their site is so poorly architected and the content is so poorly written.
High School Baseball Web. This is the best site I found for very specific information and expert advice.

This is the info that we took with us to the sporting goods store after I did the reseach:

Position - Not sure - infield (not first base) or outfield.
Size: 11.75 is the most versatile size for multiple positions.
Material: Leather - the better the leather the better the glove. I wanted a glove with top quality leather that would last.
Color: Personal preference - my son likes black.
Web: We decided on the trapeze web or H web.  Both versatile web choices.
Brand: Wilson. Nic has a great Wilson A2000 Showcase catcher's mitt. He received a free Wilson A2000 Showcase catcher's mitt for participating in consumer research for Wilson. He is loyal to Wilson.
Price Range: $150 - $200

The stores we shopped

We did not consider online stores. A player needs to try gloves on to get the best fit. Even two of the same model gloves do not feel exactly the same.

We went to Dick's Sporting Goods, our typical go to place for sports equipment. The particular store we went to was sold out of the top quality gloves. They had 100's of gloves for younger little league players, but only had 1 top quality glove. That one glove was not the size nor the brand we wanted. The clerk told us that they were expecting a large delivery the next day. We returned the following week. The Wilson A2000 and A2K glove bins were still empty. Dick's lost a sale.

Subsequently, we went to specialty sporting goods store in Cincinnati called Koch's Sporting Goods. They have a nice selection of top end gloves for the same price at Dick's Sporting Goods. They also provided expert advice that confirmed all of our research and gave us peace of mind.

The Glove we bought


We bought the Wilson A2000 Limited Edition Black Out (A2000LE 1796). It is a 11.75in glove with a trapeze web for $249. 


Note: Wilson makes the same glove for $199 called the A2000 1796 - The difference a yellow W and yellow A2000 markings. Unfortunately they were sold out of the $199 model. I was tired of driving around looking for gloves, so I spent the extra $49 for the Black Out. Wilson made 500 of these gloves. My son has glove number 132 of 500. Nic loves being unique so he his thrilled. He calls his new gamer the black stealth mamba.  




Preparing the Glove for Play


Baseball Glove Steamer
Have you ever heard of steaming a glove?

The specialty sporting goods store clerk steamed the glove in a Mizuno steamer. They sprayed the glove with what looked like a water and soap solution and placed the glove in the steamer for 2 minutes.

After they steamed the glove, they beat the glove with a wooden mallet to soften the leather and form the pocket. The glove was nearly game ready after this treatment.

The clerk / baseball equipment expert told me to put a very light coating of Vaseline on it inside and out in about a week to treat the leather and help break it in.

The Main Point

1) Assess the situation - your son's age, skill level, commitment level, position, etc.
2) Assess your budget.
3) Do your homework.
4) Go to the store and try the gloves on for fit and comfort.

14 comments:

  1. It is a great glove. I have #106. It is a higher quality then the A2000 1796. A2000 1796 is commercially available from a variety of stores and websites. The A2000 1796 LE is uses the same materials and crafstmanship that goes into the gloves the Major Leaguers wear. You made the right choice purchasing this one instead of looking around for the regular 1796.

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  2. Great tips on how to buy the baseball glove that will fit your needs. I totally agree that before buying gloves, you need to really assess the situation. Thank you for sharing these tips!

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  3. You may want to pass on the Vaseline. It traps dirt, does not clean, and is an oil- your glove will become heavy and nasty. Use Nokona glove conditioner. It cleans and conditions. A tube costs $5 at Dick's. Just my two cents.

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  4. Size matters..... Most parents buy a glove that is too big for their player thinking that it will be easier for them to catch the ball. Incorrect, in many cases it is too heavy and the opening for the players hand is too big. Again, access the situation and the size of your player. Great job on the post...

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    Replies
    1. I couldn't agree more! Especially for infielders, having a smaller glove makes a world of difference. Far less balls squirting through unfilled fingers and it is much easier getting a ball out of the pocket quickly with a smaller glove.

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  5. I bought my son, who was 7 at the time, a Mizuno Prospect series 11.50" glove ( It's the all black glove) and it really was the right glove at the time. Break in was a non factor and it really has been a terrific glove. However, he is playing travel ball or some call it select ball now and he is 8 years old, but the Mizuno is pretty much worn out already. This time I am considering the Wilson A2000 showcase series with super skin as they claim faster break in. I know the higher quality leather takes longer to mold into form and is stiff at first. Any recommendations otherwise? He plays all infield positions, predominantly SS and occasionally outfield.

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    Replies
    1. My son's A2000 broke in surprisingly fast. Gloves of my youth took so much time an effort. My son played a game with his new glove the first week he had it and loved it.

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    2. Not sure if you will get this since this thread is 3 years old but my son is 8 and playing select ball. How was the a2000? I am worried it's too big.

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  6. I completely agree that going into an actual store and trying out different gloves is the best way to shop for one. Buying one online can sometimes not live up to your expectations, after all. Also, I like how they broke it in at the store. WIll have to try a steamer sometime.

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  7. Thanks for these tips. Buying the wrong type of glove can make it difficult for my child to play the game and probably require me to replace the glove, wasting money if I can’t return the first one I purchased.

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  8. The selection process for a major league baseball team player could take years to accomplish. Read here

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  9. Purchasing hand and glove is entirely soothing for you as there are numerous online shops where you can get a full kind of modern hand glove designs without fronting any hassles. cheapest pricing on nitrile gloves

    ReplyDelete

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