Four custom baseball gloves appeared with players in tow, the first day of baseball practice. One was a catcher who had also packed in his baseball bag, a load of cute catcher teams. Two were destined for the garden due to their lanky bodies and looking at them, I just hoped they could shoot the target. The final player, sporting a red and black Nokona open web design glove, was either going to be a second baseman or shortstop. Too bad about his glove. He had the wrong guy and obviously had no one with any knowledge to help him choose wisely.

I only had one of these custom gloves last year, a rare player that matched the glove's excellence. He played second base for us and became a good ball player. He loved that glove, a Rawlings model, and it fit him perfectly. It was carefully chosen, it fit him like a glove and, except for the purple accents, I thought it was fine. The problem I normally have with this type of baseball team is that they rarely match the player. Most of the time, the glove is much better than the player, and in the end, the young man sulks on the bench because he can't throw a ground ball constantly.

My two gardeners were comparing their purchases when I heard their obvious delight. Sent to the open field, we hit them with numerous flying balls, which they sent constantly. One had one arm, the other did not. Neither of us had any experience hitting a cut man, and I was wondering at what level this is taught.

We moved the weak arm to the third a few days later and he was surprisingly good at the position. Tall and lanky, he squatted easily and had no difficulty reaching across the third base line to drop a pair of line units. His throw was erratic and I felt the glove was too big for him in that position. Third base players need a bigger glove, some prefer the wide open net that most outfielders use, but with such a big glove they have a problem locating the punishers.

I saw him joke around several of these and finally went to the shelter to retrieve one of my older but prized gloves. Shorter, well oiled, and with thousands of stories to kick out the runners, I threw it at him and told him to try. Most of my players don't know where I've been, who I played with and I prefer to keep it that way. In fact, if this young man had known that he once borrowed the glove I threw at him, he would have run home to put it on a cloak instead of lifting his nose at my suggestion.

Twenty minutes later, he was grounding the players with ease and his first-time shots were much better. The solution was obvious, but I didn't think a boy his age could lose the identity of his custom baseball glove instead of a better game at third base. A shorter glove for an infielder also means a pocket that is not as deep. Digging for a ball once it is played is difficult if you are also required to pitch a runner at first base. If the ball is not lost in your glove, you can access it quickly and your pitch will be better because it is not rushed.

I tried to explain it to him, but he shrugged, threw the old school glove at me, and went back to the red and blue model Rawlings built for him. On the next play, he lost the ball and we moved him to right field, where we hope we don't have to shoot anyone.

Author's Bio: 

Four custom baseball gloves appeared with players in tow, the first day of baseball practice.