A glove is made of leather - once a living thing. As such, it was treated and processed to remove all of the things that made it supple, flexible and durable as a hide (animal). The manufacturing process for animal skins uses a chemical process … especially for baseball gloves … that targets uniformity with texture, color, and other things that will assist the workability further down the handling chain of manufacturing. The hide also has to have toughness to accept holes punched in it for lacing. Lacing that won’t rip once the lacing process starts and then the glove is used to stop some pretty serious impacts.
Now, to help your glove stay playable as your first line of defense and play-making, here are some suggestions:
> Sand and dirt act like tiny razors. These particles will wear down laces and stitches. Sand and dirt can also dry out your glove and leave it open to dryness and cracks. So, take a clean damp cloth and wipe your glove off before putting it away. Don’t soak it with water, and don’t leave it out in the sun after cleaning.
[/color][/b] Saddle Soap is a great conditioner for gloves, but you have to be careful not to soak the laces too much. Only saddle soap your glove once during the season, usually at the end of the season when your putting your glove away.
Use more than one glove during the season. Church rummage sales, tag sales and the like offer a great opportunity to acquire other gloves suitable for play. Rotating the gloves in your possession spreads the wear and tear. Also, and as a side note … check out the adjustments needed by yourself with the feel and play of a different glove. Slight changes in balance, playability and so forth can test your skill level and adaptability.
Glove oil and conditioner should be use sparingly. Don’t soak a glove or mitt with this stuff. These products require some time to “work in” the oil or conditioner so its evenly applied. DON’T GET THIS MATERIAL IN WHERE YOUR HAND GOES. Also, stay away from the laces that joint the fingers and web section.
[/b][/i][/i][/color] After every use, your hand’s sweat and body oil will leave a film on the inside portion of your glove. Sprinkle a light mixture of talcum powder (baby powder) and baking soda in the inside portion and then work the powder in … getting into the finger sections as well. Just don’t over do it. This mixture will absorb the sweat and body oil and the talcum has a small amount of skin conditioner to keep the pocket section supple and flexible.
Don’t wait till your glove needs replacing to re-lace it. When you see a section needs attention - address it. Don’t be shy here about learning what the lacing patterns are. Use the proper equipment especially designed to do the job … a lacing needle and rawhide. Don’t substitute lacing rawhide for other materials. Nylon and other laces can actually cut into the lacing holes on your glove and that’s not good. Rawhide laces are used for a reason … stick with the original intent of the manufacturer’s materials … rawhide.
Finally, and most important … respect the glove that is so much a part of you and this sport of ours. Your glove was once a living thing. Like the baseball itself, the grass on the field, the clay of the skins, the lime or chalk that make up the baselines, the stark white of the pitcher’s rubber, the rosin bag behind the mound, and the canvas bags that makeup the bases. At one time or another, all these things were composed of … or part of… living things. Baseball orbits this. We all use what was given to us that once had life to it, and in some respect … still does. So, a great deal of respect and awareness of what we’re privileged to be part of should focus on respecting the glove that shares equal space with all the rest of our world on the field. An attitude like that can prolong the life of everything that you come in contact with out there.