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Bat & Glove Care
There are as many myths and methods to breaking in a baseball glove as there are players in Major League Baseball. Some pretty bizarre substances and practices have been endorsed over the years — from rubbing in shaving cream to running over the glove with a car — to soften the mitt and suit it to your hand. But when it comes down to it, there are a few proven methods that can get your glove in game condition.
SOFTEN THE LEATHER.
To conform your glove to your hand and your game, the first step is to soften the leather. Any number of creams, oils and foams will do the job. Most pros prefer Neetsfoot Oil. But no matter what you choose to soften your mitt with, remember that less is more and that too much oil or foam will not get you closer to your goal. In fact, it will probably damage your glove. So remove the excess product after you have applied it, and don’t over-moisten the leather.
MOLD THE POCKET.
You want a nice, round, roomy pocket for your glove when you’re fielding grounders or snatching those line-drive bullets out of the air. The tried-and-true method for achieving this is to place a ball firmly where you want your pocket to be and then close your glove securely around the ball by tying a shoestring around it or using a large rubber band. Because time is needed to get the pocket started, let the glove sit for a day or two while the shape starts to form.
Of course the best way to create your pocket and match your glove to your hand is to use the glove. Before you take it out to the game, grab a buddy and catch some balls. This, more than anything else, will help you form the glove to your hand.
A GOOD GLOVE should last many years, so patience and dedication should be used when breaking it in. If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to hand the glove down to your kids when they’re ready to get in the game.