Ever found yourself curious about those special gloves some baseball players wear when running the bases? They’re called baseball sliding mitts, and they’re not just for show. These cool accessories protect players’ hands, boost confidence on the field, and give players some inexpensive baseball drip.
But what’s the real story behind these sliding gloves? Why exactly are they so important, and how do they work? From injury prevention to choosing the perfect mitt, our guide is packed with everything you need to know.
- Best Sliding Mitt Options For Baseball (Top 5)
- What Is A Baseball Sliding Mitt?
- Choosing Sliding Glove Baseball Mitts
- Baseball Sliding Mitt Rules
- Final Thoughts
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Sliding Mitt Options For Baseball (Top 5)
The first time I saw a baseball sliding mitt was at a youth game I was attending. I think I asked my wife why the kid on first was wearing an oven mitt on his hand. I thought the sliding gloves, including the ice cream sliding mitt from absolutely ridiculous looked absolutely ridiculous (pun intended) but I assumed they served some sort of purpose.
Over the next few years, I’ve seen many baseball players, including those in MLB, put this protective gear on when they reach base. I guess I was the idiot for thinking these would never become popular.
So to make things easy for you, we’ve searched the field, assessed the contenders, and narrowed down the top 5 sliding mitts that stand out from the crowd.
What Is A Baseball Sliding Mitt?
A baseball sliding mitt isn’t just a fancy glove you wear to look cool on the field (although it does add to your baseball drip). A sliding glove is a type of glove worn by players to help protect their hands while sliding. These gloves typically have a leather or synthetic palm, fingers, and padded backing. They are usually tight-fitting to provide a secure fit and have a Velcro strap to keep them on the hand.
The sliding glove is typically put on once a player reaches base after a hit or walk. The mitt is made of a combination of protective plates, hard lining, velcro, and compression-fit neoprene straps, catering to both left and right-hand use with adjustable thumb holes.
Sliding Mitt Protection
When players slide, they risk being cleated by an opposing player but this risk is greatly reduced if the player is wearing one of these.
Most mitts have a thumb hole that allows the baserunner to free their thumb or tuck it into the glove for protection. A few options feature a three-in-one design that includes double-sided thumb holes to allow for use with all fingers inside and left hand or right-hand use with thumbs out.
The sliding mitts feature several key elements that enhance their protective function:
What Is The Purpose Of A Baseball Sliding Glove?
When sliding into a base, the runner will often extend their arm out in front of them to help break their fall. This action can cause the hand to come into contact with the ground, base, or cleats which can lead to injuries. The importance of sliding mitts in baseball extends beyond mere protection.
Here are a few advantages:
Choosing Sliding Glove Baseball Mitts
Highly-Regarded Sliding Mitt Brands
So, you’re on the lookout for a sliding mitt, but where do you start? Here’s a tip. Go with the winners. There are a few brands that players swear by:
Selecting the Right Sliding Mitt
Choosing the right sliding mitt is like finding the perfect pair of sneakers. It’s gotta fit, look good, and feel right. Let’s break it down:
Exploring the Advantages of Using Baseball Sliding Mitts
First things first, why even get a sliding mitt? Here’s why they’re worth a spot in your gear bag:
Factors to Keep in Mind
Find your perfect fit:
Practical Aspects of Sliding Mitts
Ease of Wearing and Removing Sliding Mitts
Let’s face it, no one likes fumbling around with complicated gear, especially in the heat of a game. Luckily, sliding mitts are a breeze to put on and take off. Here’s why:
MLB Sliding Mitts: Are Pros Using Them?
Ever wonder what the big leaguers are wearing? Sliding mitts have found their way into the MLB, and here’s why:
So yes, if it’s good enough for the pros, it might be something worth considering for your baseball gear.
Baseball Sliding Mitt Rules
A considerable flaw exists in baseball’s rulebook, which I am confident will be addressed eventually. The flaw has to do with equipment regulations, specifically baserunning equipment. Each league has detailed rules around bat size, glove size, how players must dress, etc. So why are there no rules around baseball sliding gloves?
The baseball sliding glove can add a few inches to the baserunner’s reach, giving them an unfair advantage. There are rules stating that no MLB glove can be bigger than 13″, so why isn’t there a size limit for the baseball sliding mitt? Could a baserunner use a sliding glove that is three feet long? Baseball is a game of inches, so this oversight in the rulebook could have a significant impact on some games.
This is where the umpires come in. While there is no specific language in the rulebook around baseball sliding mitts or their size, each umpire has the authority to rule on any point not specifically covered in the official regulations. If they deem a runner’s sliding mitt excessive and think it gives the player an unfair advantage, they can deny its use.
Can You Customize A Sliding Mitt?
Most of the decent baseball sliding mitts come in your standard colors. Companies like EvoShield offer a wide selection of colors, but that’s about it in terms of customization. 44 Pro Guards does offer a custom sliding mitt builder where you can select different colors for each piece of material on the mitt. There is also an option to put your name on the glove and you can also select different color outlines around their logo.
Sliding gloves are already pretty expensive at around $50 and customizing them brings that price to over $70. Unless you have a high OPS, you won’t be on base enough to warrant the additional costs of customizing one of these gloves.
Check out this hideously beautiful sliding glove I created using the 44 sliding mitt Pro Guard’s online designer.
Are baseball players soft?
In the early days of baseball, players were expected to be tough and resilient. They played through injuries and didn’t complain about aches and pains. Always playing hard and never taking days off.
Today’s players are much more protected. They can take days off when injured and don’t have to play through pain. This has made them much more fragile in many people’s eyes.
Some argue that today’s players are tougher than players from the past, but I tend to disagree. Their main argument is that the level of competition is better. I do believe that, but a lot of these players are coddled. They didn’t have to get second jobs in the offseason or fight in wars. Let’s look at today’s youth bats as an example. Bats are now designed to eliminate the sting from badly hit balls completely. I feel that getting your hands rung is a right of passage in this game.
Whether or not today’s players are tougher than players from the past is up for debate, but I can assure you that a professional athlete like Hank Aaron would’ve never worn a baseball sliding glove. That man hit 755 home runs without using any batting gloves. His preferred method was rubbing some dirt in his hands.
If these were around when I played, I would’ve avoided them like the plague for the mere fact I’d have been harassed by my teammates incessantly. There was no way I would be called “oven mitt” for the entirety of my baseball career. Maybe seeing Major Leaguers use these will make it cool, though. I saw a kid in the Little League World Series use gardening gloves instead of batting gloves, so maybe his teammates are more supportive.
You’re always looking for an edge over the defense as a base runner but not at the expense of your health. These baseball sliding gloves offer protection that allows you to stay aggressive on the basepath without fear of injuring your hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
A sliding mitt is designed to protect a player’s hand and fingers during slides.
Yes, there are sliding gloves designed specifically for different age groups such as youth, adult, and professional players. Make sure to choose the appropriate size.
I don’t think there is a benefit to wearing two baseball sliding gloves. If you decide to wear two, you may need assistance securing the second one since your hand will be in the other mitt.
For some players, it is a matter of protecting their throwing hands. Others use the hand they tend to lead with when sliding. If you are a baseball or softball player, experiment with wearing the sliding mitt on both your left and right hand to see what works best for you.
A sliding glove is a tool for baserunners, so they obviously wouldn’t wear one while at bat. Upon reaching first, the coach provides it from the equipment manager. For a double, the player must take a time out to retrieve it from first base or carry it in their back pocket.
Scott Podsednik injured his thumb in 2003, at which point he wore a hard piece of plastic to protect it. The sliding glove baseball players in the MLB seem to be wearing the most are from Evoshield, although the drippier options are starting to catch up in popularity.
As a baserunner, you may need to use a headfirst slide which increases the risk of breaking fingers. Many batters remove their batting gloves after reaching base and hold them to avoid finger injuries while on the basepaths.