Why Infield Gloves are the Way they are?
Regardless of where you play in baseball, you can tell the difference between gloves, and are jealous of infielders. Infielders have the widest variety of gloves as each position can have a slightly different Glove. But, they are all generally the same and have some pretty great designs. Infielders have a distinctive glove design that likely are the most useful in other positions. This is because they have to do it all, consistently. They must be able to catch pop-ups like outfielders, but must be able to field hard hit ground balls that are still at maximum speed. Because of the usefulness of an infielder they need to have a middle of the pack glove. So, as a result infield gloves have become what they are today.
Infielders have many responsibilities, so they need a glove that can do it all. Infield gloves have a wide set, so ground balls will have more area to get into the glove. They also feature deep pockets to secure fly balls, and throws at the best. Infield gloves are also designed to be lighter as infielders must have quick hands to get rid of the ball to turn double plays and throw people out consistently. Many companies have a different philosophy to perfect the design of the infield glove. Each have a great solution, but one company does not sell all of the infield gloves as different people prefer different designs.
Different Designs and Sizes
A great example of a company being innovative is Louisville Slugger. Their Flare series featured pre-flared gloves in order to create more surface are and a deeper pocket. Some players really enjoyed this design while others did not. Infielders gloves usually range from 11.25 inches to 11.75 inches. This variation in size is for the benefit of each individual player. For players that like having ultimate control over their glove an 11.25 inch glove is perfect. With this size glove you are able to precisely field balls. But you must be precise, there is no room for error. The 11.75 inch glove is for those that like a little extra length in their glove. The 11.5 inch glove is for those in the middle.
All infielders have a preference of what they like, but they all have the same goal. That goal is to produce the best they can on the field and make no errors. Players want to be comfortable with their glove and this is why there is so much variety. There are many different styles of play in the infield, so there needs to be many styles of gloves to fit each style of play. Glove manufacturers are excellent at producing different styles, so different players can pick what is best for them. Baseball glove designs are constantly changing, so it’s great to see what companies come up with as the game evolves.
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