October 9, 2012
Oh the glove trick! What an awesome weapon in the ball hawks' arsenal. Just knowing that you have this cool devise at your disposal at the ball park gives you a sense of confidence that, 1.) you won't get shut out, 2.) that you will have extra fun snagging baseballs, and 3.) NO ball is out of reach! How cool is that! In the past few years, I've watched a few ball hawks perform the glove trick in different ball parks, from Hample, Jabs, to some little kids at the park, and in my humble opinion, they could all be doing something a little better...use U.S. Army 550 Parachute Cord.
The glove trick is a dificult task to perform in the first place. You have a lot of moving parts to try and coordinate to get the thing "off the ground", and snag a ball with. You are also under a time constraint, and are most likley under pressure to get the job done in a hurry before security figures out what you are up to, or a few fans start to "ouu & ahh" over what they are watching you do. If you have ever performed the glove trick before, you know what I mean. You have to get, or have the glove trick pretty much set up before you start to snag that precious commemorative baseball for instance. At this point in the task I've watched a few people get HUNG-UP performing the task, as their STRING gets all TANGLED UP! It cost them precious time having to untangle it, and usually frustrates them to no end! You could ***lose your cool*** here at this point in the task, and do a lot of stupid things that will make you lose the chance to snag the baseball. Also, STRING has a tendency to BREAK!!! NOT GOOD!
Do you want to know what I use to solve the problem, you guessed it...U.S.ARMY 550 PARACHUTE CORD! Yes, being the Military Man that I am, when I first saw the glove trick being performed with string, I naturally said...STRING!!!...why would you use string, don't these silly CIVILIANS know about 550 Parachute cord???! Then I thought, they probably never sling-loaded a HUMMVEE from a helicopter. Oh well. So, here I am telling you about my little secret.
First of all, "550 Cord" as we call it in the military is SUPER STRONG stuff, and it doesn't BREAK! We use it for everything!!! We tie all our equipment down with it, and it is used to make parachutes, and used for 100 other different reasons in the military. Plus, guess what...IT'S ARMY GREEN IN COLOR!!! Guess what else is Army Green in color, you guessed it...the OUTFIELD WALLS at the ball park!!! That's right, it matches the color of the out field walls perfectly! Why am I talking about the color of the out field walls you ask, because every time I see someone doing the glove trick, they have a BROWN GLOVE, and WHITE string. I have found that to be more STEALTHY in hiding your intensions about plucking a ball off of the "sacred warning track" at most ball parks, you might want to make your glove trick a little more CAMOUFLAGED. The brown glove, and especially the WHITE STRING stick out like a "sore thumb" against the DARK GREEN outfield walls. I have found that a BLACK GLOVE & GREEN 550 Cord blend right into the color of the outfield wall. The white string alone tells all the security guards in the park that something is going on, especially when the fans start cheering you on!
But the biggest thing about 550 cord is that it almost NEVER TANGLES! THATS RIGHT...NEVER TANGLES! Plus, it makes great knots to tie around the back strap of your glove, and the knots can be UN-TIED very quickly too. When security comes to accost you about doing the glove trick, and you have that precious ball in your pocket, just quickly un-tie the 550 Cord OFF your glove like I do, and put it back in your pocket. A quick story; security has come up to me in the past and wanted to see if my glove had string on it, then I showed them my glove with NO string on it...then they go... oh, ...OK, and walk away, as my 550 Cord is in my cargo pocket of my shorts! Ha Ha!
One side note about how to use the 550 cord: when you buy your roll of 550 Cord, you will find that it is very thick...I mean the cord itself. Take and cut off a 16" (foot) long piece, long enough for *your* outfield wall, and PULL OUT the white center strings that are inside the the green outside sleave. There will be aproximately 6 or 7 little white nylon strings inside the green nylon outside sleave part. The green outside sleeve part is what you will use for the glove trick. This part alone is VERY STRONG, and will almost never break. When you pull out the white nylon strings inside, you can throw them away. The green part of the 550 Cord will now be like the string it's self, and will become very FLAT, and easier to work with. You will also now want to ***BURN*** the ends of the 550 Cord with a cigarette lighter. This will keep the ends from fraying. When you burn the ends, the nylon will MELT to a hard point, stop burning, and let it dry for a minute, then you are ready to go! Keep an eye on the melted ends every now and then to see if they have broken off, you might need to re-melt them later to keep them from fraying. You now have a cord/string that is better than regular string in every way!
Where can you get your hands on 550 Cord if you're not in the military you ask? Well, start with the local Army & Navy stores in your area. ***Try EBAY***! Go to a GUN SHOW in your area, they will most likely have it there. If you have a military base close by, go to the "Clothing & Sales" store on base and see if they will sell it to you. If not, ask a soldier in the store to by you a roll. That's where I would start. Also, 550 Cord is now made in all types of colors for civilian use too. I'm sure you could find a color to match the bright green outfield walls in MIAMI too (LOL)!!!
TRUST ME, 550 Cord is better than string! It is ***BATTLE TESTED***!!! But, if string works for you, go with it. I am just here trying to HELP my fellow ball hawks get an edge & build a better "Mouse-Trap". Well, now that our baseball season is pretty much over, you will have about 5 months to go chase down some 550 Cord and try it out. So, try it out, see what you think, and let me know if I helped in any way. I'd like to hear back from the ball hawking community on this. As always, "GO HAVE A BALL"... I will!
Rocco Sinisi is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.