Customers Report to Spring Training
I’ve mentioned on here before that there is a Rawlings outlet store in our town. I’m one of the biggest Rawlings baseball glove advocates in the world. So, needless to say, I think the Rawlings outlet is just about the best store ever (the Mariners team stores are also excellent).
Tim and I often swing by “the baseball store,” as we call it, on weekends, just for kicks. And that is where we found ourselves on Sunday, February 13, 2011, as MLB pitchers and catchers began arriving at their respective teams’ spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida.
We weren’t the only ones with the idea. The place was a buzz with amateur baseballers of all ages.
The trough along the back wall of the store was filled to the brim with an assortment of beautiful gloves of various colors and styles. Tim gave his mark of approval:
…gives a better view of the dark brown and black glove with white lacing that I’ve had my eye on. I might have picked one up, but the Trap-Eze style was already sold out! I liked the modified Trap-Eze and one other style, but there is no beating a Trap-Eze. I decided I should hold out for it to be re-stocked — not that I necessarily need another glove (see below).
When we wandered by one of the bargain glove bins, Tim pulled out this catcher’s glove…
I checked out the “Primo” line of fancy Italian leather gloves:
That’s some nice looking leather! But I don’t need that fancy of a glove. I think these were in the $300-$400 range. I’m sure they are outstanding gloves. But if you know how to treat a glove right, I think you can be just as happy with any of the more modestly priced gloves. I’ve never spent even $100 on a glove…and I’d put any of my gloves up against the top priced gloves (well, most of my gloves, at least).
Here is the other glove that I really have my eye on:
It is a training glove similar to the “flat” gloves. This one looks like a normal glove (i.e., it is not flat), but it is really stiff and essentially doesn’t close at all. By the 2011 Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2011, I plan to own this glove and play lots of catch with my dad using it on the trip.
Interestingly, you cannot see anyone but Tim in any of these pictures. But the place was packed. People were looking at gloves, trying on gloves, debating gloves (including one dad who wouldn’t even let his son try on the $300 gloves), swinging wood bats, looking at clothing, cleats, batting T’s, baseballs, and catcher’s gear (in fact, Tim asked me to buy him an entire set of catcher’s gear, I did not). It was great to see that the world is getting back into the swing of things…baseball things, that is.
With all of this talk of Rawlings gloves, why don’t I take the opportunity to share mine?? And how about in chronological order?
Wally Joyner model Rawlings RFM14 (first basemens glove):
I probably got this glove in 8th or 9th grade, around 1990. I restrung this glove with green laces in 2010 and featured it in an entry called “The Tale of the Prodigal Glove.” This glove has the distinction of being my only all-brown leather glove.
My first glove growing up was an old used Rawlings. I don’t have it anymore. Aside from the Prodigal Glove, this RBG36B glove was my first “new” Rawlings glove. It was also my first black glove. I got this in high school to replace my old Spalding Dwight Gooden signature model glove. This was my outfield “gamer” in high school and American Legion ball. It is formed to absolute perfection. It is also the first glove that I restrung with different colored laces (because I loved Griffey’s black Trap-Eze with brown laces) and the first glove that I installed extra ties between the middle three fingers (see upper right picture). It sits on my bookshelf in my home office and I almost never use it. But, of all of my gloves, it is the glove to which I have the strongest sentimental attachment.
Randy Johnson signature model Rawlings RBG10B (modified Trap-Eze):
I wrote an entire blog entry about this glove in 2009: “Weekend Project: The Trap-Eze-ification of a Non-Trap-Eze Glove.” This glove holds an interesting place in my life. My folks gave me this glove as a gift while I was in college so I could use it for intramural softball — I didn’t want to ruin my RBG36B by using it to catch softballs. In years of playing softball, it never felt right. I just couldn’t get it formed to my liking. Because of this, I really didn’t care for this glove. And that’s probably why I didn’t mind experimenting with it. After I turned it into a blue-laced Trap-Eze, it was a whole new glove. It feels perfect as a Trap-Eze. It craddles the ball effortlessly. It went from my least favorite to my most-used glove. Since the modification, I have taken it to almost every game Tim and I have attended and I now use it as my softball glove. I absolutely love this glove now.
In a new city without any friends (or sons), I found myself at Dick’s Sporting Goods a day after receiving my first paycheck in my first (real) job out of school. I was looking at gloves, just for kicks, when I found this beauty. I loved the thatched pocket and grey “Rawlings” stitched on the back of the index finger. I had no softball/baseball team and no one to play catch with me, but I had a new job and my first paycheck, so I decided that was all the justification I needed to buy myself this glove. I’ve hardly used it since I bought it and its still not formed to my liking (largely because I let someone else use it and they, lets just say, didn’t treat it in compliance with my standards). Eventually, I’ll break it in properly in the backyard with Tim (hopefully before Kellan can even play catch).
This glove is absolutely perfect for softball. I got it to replace my pre-op RBG10B as my everyday softball glove. I found this beauty in the “blemish” bin at the Rawlings outlet. I’m not sure why it was in the bin, I cannot find a blemish anywhere on it. My folks were visiting when I bought this and my Dad bought the same glove at the same time. Interestingly, they charged him $19.99 for his non-blemished “blemish” glove, and they charged me $12.99 for the same exact thing. It was the deal of the century because this is a stellar softball glove. By the way, you can see my Dad’s RBG10B in our GFS Roadtrip entries (see, e.g., here).
This is my first ever “real” Trap-Eze glove. I love it. I bought it a couple years ago at the Rawlings outlet. I’m very protective of it. If you ask me to borrow it to play catch in my presence, I will say no (unless, perhaps, you are my dad, brother or Paul Samione). I have respected (i.e., not restrung) the factory lacing, which is odd for me. I have not even installed my customary between the finger ties. I use this glove a lot in the backyard with Tim (or with my Dad when he visits), but I almost never take it to games and I never use it for softball. Interestingly, this is my only glove that I wear with my fingers slid over one slot to the left (i.e., two fingers in the pinky slot and no finger in the index finger slot).
This is the last glove I have bought – in 2009, I think. I bought this glove at the Rawlings outleft because I loved the white Trap-Eze lacing and I thought it would be good to have a shorter (infield sized) glove (although I never play infield). This glove is still very new, but it feels good. Like the GG601B, I use this primarily around the house. I did take it to one Mariners game at Fenway on July 4, 2009 — see here.
There you go: a glimpse into the bustling Rawlings store on the day PItchers & Catchers began reporting to Spring Training and a tour of my person baseball glove collection. Hope you enjoyed.