Every professional sport prioritizes the safety level of players. When it comes to baseball, you can see players wearing gloves, metal cleats, hats, and oven mitts. While the reason for using some of them is known and justified, there is a constant question about using a baseball sliding mitt. Before we understand the usefulness, let us begin with – what is a baseball sliding mitt?
A baseball sliding mitt (or an oven mitt) combines two safety equipment to protect them from injuries while sliding a base. This mitt can potentially prevent severe damages caused while sliding the base.
It is undoubtedly an essential wearable designed for baserunners. But what kind of sliding mitt is ideal? What does MLB talk about it?
Evolution Of Sliding Mitt
Sliding mitt has recently evolved to enhance the safety level of baserunners replacing traditional gloves and other heavy pieces of equipment to safeguard wrist and fingers.
During the early ages, baseball was played in the absence of gloves. When catchers played in barehanded situations, the rate of injury increased. In 1870, catcher Doug Allison was the first to use a glove. However, Charlie Waitt (first baseman) wore colored gloves in a match in 1875 when people recognized the existence of gloves and began wearing them.
The traditional gloves model was rather hard and affected the players’ focus. As these gloves were made of leather, players chose additional padding for the bare hand instead of wearing a heavy material. The usual practice of players earlier was to use gloves on the non-dominant hand.
The quality, design, and structure underwent major changes for decades. The goal of the glove was customized to focus more on the efficiency and comfort of players. Today, the baserunner’s mitt contains a lining and is not as heavy as before. Still, customizations are made to enhance the design further to encourage more players to adopt these sliding mitts.
Significance Of Sliding Mitt
Sliding mitts are critical to protecting baseball players on the base. These mitts replaced conventional batting gloves that got their hands dirty and affected the grip during the sliding process.
Sliding mitts are made of elastic with a strong lining of plates. The purpose of using elastic is to promote flexibility and add further protection to players. On the other hand, the lining of the mitt is meant to protect against the potential wrist or finger injuries that can happen when other players step or jam on them.
It is common to notice baseball players getting their hands and fingers injured each season. Some players sustain and recover from injuries. In cases of deep gashes or bruises, they fail to participate in upcoming seasons.
In the last few leagues conducted in baseball, the sliding mitt such as the EvoShield sliding mitt is gaining significance and is more likely to be adopted by baseball players at all levels (high school, college, minor, and major).
Baseball Sliding Mitt Rules
It is a common practice among players to wear sliding mitts on one hand. However, MLB has not drafted rules about wearing sliding mitts.
Several coaches and critics have identified severe flaws concerning rules about base running mitts. For instance, there are no rules on the dimensions of sliding mitts. So, baseball players wear designs and dimensions of their choice.
Baseball has designated rules about the size of gloves, safety levels, bat size, and other necessary dimensions. Unfortunately, this piece of equipment has been left out. Another major flaw is when to wear this mitt.
In a Bat Flips And Nerds critique, a hitter was handed over a mitt while reaching the first base. The size was too big that the length extended beyond the hand. The mitt deviated the attention of the baserunner as he spent time adjusting the mitt on his way to the next base.
The final flaw is the need to use it. Baseball players are encouraged to wear gloves and other safety equipment to protect their hands from injuries. When it comes to sliding mitts, some players wear them on both hands while most of them wear them on one of their hands. This uneven pattern among baseball players seems to confuse fans and lower the reputation of the professional sport.
It is closely anticipated that MLB shall pass rules prioritizing the safety level of baserunners and wearing sliding mitts to reduce the rate of injuries.
What Hand Should A Sliding Mitt Go On?
As MLB does not mandate any specific hand to wear mitts on, players can use them on the dominant hand used for sliding. This is to promote the convenience of players.
It is common to notice baseball players switching sliding mitts between their hands. This is due to aspects like comfort, usability, flexibility, and momentary need.
When players use their right hands for sliding positions, wearing sliding mitts on the same hand will improve grip and reduce potential injuries in the process.
Various baseball professional leagues encourage players to use a suitable hand that can add comfort. It is important to eliminate distractions caused by a sliding mitt. When the degree of comfort increases, it enables players to tackle respective sliding positions efficiently.
What Sliding Mitt Do MLB Players Use?
EvoShield sliding mitt tops the list and is widely used by MLB players. However, there are other mitts from Tru-Pro, Orbis, Nocour, Tucci, and BUI that are used by players based on their budgets, convenience, and requirement.
EvoShield is a reputed brand dealing with protective equipment for baseball players. As sliding mitt is one of the much-needed safety equipment for professional baseball players, EvoShield’s sliding mitts are chosen and also recommended to other players.
The brand has mitts fitting right and left hands. It is made of a durable elastic material with extendable length and utmost protection. Players find it a valuable addition to purchase high-quality sliding mitts.
Subsequent to EvoShield, Tru-Pro’s sliding mitt is chosen for its uniqueness in features and competitive pricing. While EvoShield encourages players to purchase mitts made specifically for the right or left hand, Tru-Pro’s sliding mitts can be worn on either hand. It is easier to switch based on convenience.
Various amateur players go with Tru-Pro’s sliding mitts since they can share mitts among their colleagues. It is made of neoprene, ensuring durability, flexibility, and elasticity.
Tucci’s sliding mitt is ideal for those players believing in the one-size-fits-all concept. There is no need to choose specific sizes. Purchasing one mitt is all that is required to protect fingers and hands while sliding the base.
There are notable differences in these sliding mitts. However, EvoShield tops the list for its quality, comfort, professional touch, and durability. More mitt manufacturers are expected to enter the market in the future based on the demand level.
Why Do Some Baseball Players Wear A Mitt When Running Bases?
Baseball players wear mitts to protect their hands, wrists, and fingers while running bases. With high chances of thumb and finger injuries, the mitt protects the hand while sliding the base.
Sliding mitts serve several purposes in addition to safeguarding hands and fingers from injuries. While playing at the plate, collisions are common, and a baseman can stamp your hand with cleats. In such instances, the recovery time can be longer than usual, affecting the focus on the sport.
When professional players wear batting gloves, the degree of protection is comparatively lesser than a sliding mitt. Another advantage with a mitt is the defending capability. Instead of focusing more on protecting hands during every move, it adds up to the defense mechanism of the player and frees their minds from worrisome thoughts on their safety levels.
Do All Players Wear Same Mitts?
Mitts and gloves are chosen and worn according to the position. First baseman and catcher wear mitts while pitchers, infielder, switch-thrower, left-hand thrower, and outfielder wear gloves.
The first baseman and catcher do not have individual fingers like mittens. As a result, pitchers take advantage of players in these positions and score higher. When they wear mitts, they can add further toughness to pitchers in the game.
Catchers wear mitts in single and dual-hinge types. Sometimes, they go with bigger mitts if they have to catch a knuckleball. On the other hand, first basemen wear mitts of 318-324 mm dimensions. These are usually worn on the left.
Players in the remaining positions wear gloves in different dimensions. For instance, pitchers use gloves of the size 298-305mm. Infielders use 11-12-inch gloves, while outfielders use 12-12.75-inch gloves. These players also choose hands based on their convenience. However, they cannot skip gloves as it can affect their performance and capability.
On the whole, gloves and mitts add multiple layers of protection to hands, enabling players to focus more on the game’s strategy. These relieve players from unnecessary worries about their protection levels.
My Favorite Baseball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you can find my favorite baseball bat, baseballs, and a glove that I think will take your game to the next level!
- Bat: My favorite baseball bat is the Easton Project 3 Fuze. This bat has a composite end cap, reduced post-impact vibrations, balanced swing weight for the fastest swing speed, and a carbon core that makes this bat perform very well! As I’m not a professional baseball player, I like to use alloy bats as you can swing faster and hit further.
- Baseballs: Rawlings Competition Grade Practice Balls are my choice for something to hit. I love these balls because they fit all levels of play, so regardless of who you are playing with, you can use them. They come in a 6 or 12 balls box, and you can choose between raised or flat seams! I prefer flat seams as the balls tend to fly further!
- Glove: When it comes to the glove, my choice is the Rawlings Sandlot Glove. This glove is available for both lefties and righties. The same glove is also available for infielders, outfielders, pitchers, catchers, and 1B mitt. This glove has a nice vintage look, and it’s made from oiled leather. It has palm pads that protect your hand from impact, and it is pre-broken-in, so you are good to go as soon as you have it! A glove I’m proud to recommend.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.