March 31, 2007

Curious George: Breaking In A Mitt What's the best way to break in a mitt?

My 7-year-old starts "real" baseball next week, and he and I are going out to buy his first real mitt. Unlike my own mitts, I want to break his in properly. What's the best method?

  • Mr. Minda says to put a baseball in it, wrap a rubber band around it, and put it in between the mattress & box springs for a week or so.
  • Minda's got it. That's how my sister used to break hers in when we were kids and it worked like a charm. I'd also heard running it over with a car for a little while. . . or maybe that was a leather jacket?
  • this sounded like a reasonable summary of how to do it:
  • Leather gloves need to be broken in, and just wrapping it around a ball won't do it. It needs to be distressed. The best way to do that is to use it. Play catch with it as often as you can, and when you're not playing catch throw a ball into it from one hand to the other. This will soften and form the pocket. After that twist it up around the places where it hinges so you can squeeze it shut easier. Conditioning helps, and the sporting goods store will sell conditioner (which is probably Neatsfoot Oil). Buy it if it's not too expensive, but unscented shaving foam (not gel) will work just as well. Work it in with a cloth and wipe off the excess. For nighttime storage, follow minda's advice and wrap it around a ball.
  • Yes, neatsfoot oil does the same job as fancy-pants conditioners. Don't put too much on. I've used a combination of the mattress and playing catch and been happy enough.
  • Well it helps if the mitt is the son of a successful governor and gets to go to some good schools. Then get the mitt a good job with some pals at a large retail operation. Then get the mitt to run for governor in an unlikely place. By this time the mitt should be ready to run for president.
  • Generally cheapest at saddlery, boot, and tack places catering to the working-horse set, Neatsfoot and Mink Oil paste are yer leather friends. Fiebing is the major supplier. A six ounce jar of mink oil paste set me back $4.95 cdn, 2 years ago. I use it on all my motorcycling boots, gloves and leathers. The same stuff at the motorcycle shop is 3 times as much.
  • Good for keepin' a shine on ol' Larry, Moe, and Curly, too. Also, water beads up in the shower afterward.
  • Here's my method: 1. Work the neatsfoot into the glove using your hands. Do it evenly and liberally. The leather will soak up a lot of it, so apply it until the glove's dryness is gone. 2. Kick it around in the dirt. Slam it against a wall. Twist it and contort it. Definitely run over it repeatedly with the car (the neighbors will be sure to think you're mad). 3. Play catch with it. A lot. 4. While idling away the evening hours watching TV, repeatedly pop a ball into the glove's pocket. 5. Overnight, put a ball into the glove and wrap it tightly with either big rubber bands or bungee cords. 6. Repeat as needed. And be sure to teach him to pitch left-handed. Lefties are a valued commodity!
  • Wood bats! Wood bats! Aluminum is for baked potatoes!
  • I third the call for mink oil*. My mom played softball for thirty years, and here is her patented method for breaking in a new glove. 1. Mink oil the heck out of it. Mink oil is great because it'll also help waterproof the glove *and* keep it from drying out over the winter (this was a leading cause of glove death in our household). So you'll not only want to oil it down now, but also before you store the glove for winter. 2. Lots and lots of catch. Lots and lots of just keeping the glove on your hand and bending it when doing other things, like watching tv. 3. When you're not wearing the glove, put a ball in it and rubber band it shut. It's kind of the same theory as breaking in a new pair of cowboy boots. Leather stretches and shapes, and you want it to stretch and shape to the form of your hand. You also want it to bend in all the right places. So the more you have it on your hand, and the more you move it in the ways you want it to move, the better. The mink oil just hastens its way to flexibility and protects it from the elements. *is mink oil really made of minks? If so, then use it if you can get behind it ethically, I guess. It's good stuff, though.
  • Monkeyfilter: The more you move it in the ways you want it to move, the better.
  • Hit a mime in the face with it over and over. Sorry. Bad day.
  • It must be nice to have that kind of certainty about life. It really must be...
  • Surprised bernockle hasn't shown up to tout the benefits of owl semen. Gaylord Perry made it mainstream, and according to Jose Canseco today half of all big leaguers use it; we just don't know about it because they don't test for it.
  • btw Fes, love this FPP. You're taking such a Dad tack here: "Any job worth doing is worth doing right."
  • Bloomberg to veto ban on tin bats. Everyone is talking about safety, and not a word about tin bats being a Sin Against Nature and Offensive to the Baseball Gods.
  • Another note: baseball is many things to many people, but it also involves a fair amount of superstition. Realize now that whatever you tell him to try today could affect a major league career many years from now.
  • So don't blow the glove grease if you want to be supported in your old age....
  • Second the awesomeness of the thread, Fes. 1) does anyone use Neat's foot oil on actual feet? 2) Name That Itch's comments were double plus cool because they reminded me that baseball is an everyday game for everybody, not just the rich guys down at the stadium. 3) MinkoilFilter: if you get pickle juice streaks on your Fossil bag 4) YAY BASEBALL!! Hellooooo Opening Day! MMMMwAH!