When something fits very well or snugly, we might say that it “fits like a glove.” But does a glove always “fit like a glove”? I have found myself pondering this very question from time to time when I am watching a baseball game. I’ll notice a batters routine in-between pitches. Many times, the batter will take a step out of the batter’s box to quickly collect his thoughts and determine his strategy for the next pitch. Often, he will then take a practice swing or two. Next, for a number of batters, he will first tighten one batting glove and then the other batting glove before settling back in for the next pitch. I am a bit perplexed, especially by the last item and ask myself why does he need to tighten his batting gloves?
It has probably been less than a minute since he last stepped out of the batter’s box and adjusted his batting gloves. The only thing that has happened in the interim is that he either a) watched one pitch go by, b) swung at the pitch and missed, or c) fouled the pitch off. Not one of those three things would seem to make a batting glove loosen significantly. So, what has happened that caused his gloves to get so loose? Is it really that difficult to get a batting glove that does indeed fit like a glove and it is due to both gloves being ill-fitting that it requires the constant adjustment of both gloves. Perhaps there is only one size of batting glove manufactured and the “one-size-that-fits-all” only fits a man with hands the size of Goliath? Or is the Velcro defective thus causing the gloves to loosen with the slightest of movements (which includes eye movement of watching a pitch go into the catcher’s glove)? It remains a mystery to me.
I can remember when baseball players did not wear batting gloves at all. Then came the advent of wearing one glove and then two. Now once they get on base, a runner will exchange his batting gloves for running gloves. I will have to watch to see if the running gloves also require adjustment after every pitch. I also remember a catcher/first baseman/designated hitter in the 1970’s and 1980’s by the name of Cliff Johnson. If my memory serves me correctly Mr. Johnson, who may have hands larger than Goliath’s, did not tighten his gloves after every pitch, in fact he never tightened his batting gloves at all. You could see the Velcro strips flying in the wind as he would take one of his mighty swings. I would also bet you that Mr. Johnson never owned a pair of running gloves.