How to Break In a Baseball Glove

How to break in a baseball glove? There are many, many ways to break in a baseball glove. If you talk to 10 players, there's a good chance you'll come up with 10 different ways to break in the leather before you take the field. However, there is one basic path to follow to make sure your glove is nice and loose, and your fielding good and tight.

Oil Up
Oil, or a substance similar to it, is essential to getting your glove to loosen and soften at a quick pace. Of course, you want to rub it in the center of the glove and a tiny bit in the pocket-as you will want it to bend closed. Baseballgloves.com suggests rubbing foam shaving cream, Vaseline, or saddle soap in the glove, after which you'll then want to put the glove on and flex it to maximize the "moisturizing." Of course, do this at a time well before you have to play, as an oily glove won't do you any favors in the field.

Tie It Up
Once it's oiled and/or greased, a good trick is to take a baseball and stuff it in the pocket of the glove, then tie it shut with a string or shoelace. This will give your glove the "shape" of catching a ball, which is ultimately how you want the glove to rest. It's a good idea to leave your glove in this position overnight for about a week after purchasing it, until you can barely feel the ball falling onto the pocket.

Bake It Up
If you're in a rush to break in your baseball glove, and don't have said week to wait it out, you can go Julia Child on it-that is, bake it in your oven. You may want to think twice about tying it shut with the ball inside-as that could add to the possibility of a pop-in by the fire department. However, you can do so after oiling it up with non-flammable substances (read the labels). If you go the oven route, plan on baking it for about five minutes at 300 degrees-monitoring it as it "cooks."

Use It Up
Probably the most important way to break in your glove is to use it. You can use all the tricks in the world to try and prime it, but the bottom line is that use is your greatest ally. If you're watching TV or reading a magazine, or even riding on the bus, it's a good idea to throw a ball into the pocket as much as you can and give it a truly natural "break-in." But remember, the glove needs to remain in one piece, meaning it is possible to break the glove in too much. For reference, borrow a friend's broken in glove so you can get a feel for what to shoot for.

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