November 4, 2011
Ah...the catchers mitt...that big clumsy, ugly, and heavy mitt. It might just get you a lot of baseballs! As I touched on in my last article, you might be surprised to find out what you've been missing out on by not using one.
As I stated before, I wanted to try and get into the heads of the players. I noticed that most of the players that shag baseballs during batting practice (BP) are mostly pitchers, and they stand against the outfield wall. As they are standing there, we as ball hawks are trying to get their attention to have them toss us up a ball. Zack Hample has already written about how to ask the players for a baseball, and most of the fans at the ball park are now wearing sports gear for their favorite team. To take that a step farther, most of the fans during BP usually have baseball gloves on their hands that ask for baseballs, but about 99% of those gloves are mostly your standard infielder or outfielder gloves. Hopefully you can see where I'm going with this; have you ever considered using a catcher's mitt to snag balls with?
My point is that you will most likely look like all the other fans hanging on the outfield wall driving the players crazy by asking for a ball. You will want to separate yourself some how to get the players attention, how 'bout using a different TYPE of glove? Most people that ball hawk use outfielder gloves, which totally makes sense...home run balls..."hello"!- but, what about for player toss ups? What about for bull pen toss ups, for over the dugout toss ups, or for Umpire balls at the end of the game? What about for catching foul balls that come down the 1st or 3rd base lines rocketing in at warp one speed! The extra padding might just come in handy.
A catcher's mitt says to me that you are serious about snagging baseballs. They are big & bold, and are indicative of the player that uses them...the catcher! The catcher is a "Bad-Ass"! He knows & runs the game, and takes the abuse of the game. The mitt itself says that it can take the abuse of an Aroldis Chapman 105 MPH fastball! Players that see you with this glove on your hand will know that you are not the AVERAGE fan. You are going to stand out. The glove itself says that you know how to handle a glove, and that you're not some "goofy" fan that just happened to bring a glove to the game to look cool or impress your girlfriend. I confirmed this when Roy Halladay tossed me two balls within a span of a few days using one. His face "lit-up" when he saw my glove! I also noticed that players will "ZIP" the ball to you, rather than just soft toss the ball up to you, which makes it more fun to get a player toss up ball. The mitt also gives the players a larger target to throw to. Another thing is, that bullpen catchers love to see fans using a catcher's mitt. They always toss me a ball when they see my glove! I use a big black Mizuno with a 34" "fruit bowl"! The glove also gives me a sense of security when I sit at certain spots in the ball park, like over the dugout. I feel safe to use it to block my face from flying bats!
I actually bring two gloves to the ball park now, my Catcher's Mitt, and my 1st Baseman's Glove. I mostly use my catcher's mitt for BP toss ups, but when the power hitters (Votto, Fielder, Howard, etc.) come up to bat during BP, I'll switch to my other glove for home run balls. It's kind of a pain to drag them both around, but so what. If it helps me get more baseballs, so be it (NO glove trick at G.A.B.P.)! So, go ahead and buy one, break it in over the off season, and see how you like it. Trust me, you won't be sorry!
Rocco Sinisi is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.