Are you wondering why baseball players flare their gloves? Of course, a lot goes into breaking in a new baseball glove, and you should take your time when breaking it in to ensure it fits comfortably. But why do you flare a baseball glove too?
Flaring a baseball glove gives it a bigger catching area and allows you to transfer the ball much quicker to your throwing hand. Infield players often flare their baseball gloves so they can throw the ball across the diamond quickly, but any player can flare their glove if they prefer this shape.
If you’re wondering why people flare their gloves, how to flare a baseball glove, and if it is better to flare or roll your glove, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll discuss everything there is to know about flaring a baseball glove and share tips on when to start looking for a new one.
Should You Flare A Baseball Glove?
When you buy a baseball glove, you’ll notice that the leather is rigid and stiff and has a deep pocket. While this deep pocket ensures that you can catch the ball without dropping it. However, the deep pocket also makes it challenging to get the ball out of the catching hand and to throw it again.
This is why many players, especially infielders, flare their baseball gloves when breaking them in. By flaring the baseball glove, you get a flatter surface area, which means a bigger surface area to catch the ball.
The flatter surface is helpful for two reasons. The first is that it broadens the surface, allowing more space to catch the ball. The second is that it makes it easier to transfer the ball from the glove to your throwing hand during the game.
While you may be concerned about dropping the ball since you flatten the pocket, this rarely happens to entry-level or professional players. The glove still has plenty of grip and is more than deep enough to securely catch the ball.
As mentioned, it’s primarily infielders who flare their baseball gloves to ensure a quicker return when it matters most. However, some professional outfielders have been known to also prefer the shape of a flared glove. Ultimately, it is up to players to decide how they like their gloves, and there isn’t a specific rule regarding flaring the glove.
Is It Better To Flare Or Roll A Baseball Glove?
Flaring a baseball glove is a newer method, while people a decade ago stuck to rolling their gloves. Rolling the glove does precisely the opposite of flaring it, as it creates a more closed glove shape that prevents the ball from slipping out of your grip.
Of course, the argument is whether it is better to flare or roll your baseball glove. This primarily comes down to personal preference and where on the pitch you stand. Flaring is the way to go if you prefer a wider grip and faster transfer. However, if you prefer a more secure grip on the ball and don’t have trouble with the transfer, you may prefer a rolled baseball glove.
Rolling a baseball glove is an older technique, though, and it appears that most professional players now strictly flare their baseball gloves. But the best way to determine if you like your baseball glove flared or rolled is to practice playing with both styles. You’ll soon discover which glove you prefer and can style your own gloves accordingly.
Some gloves now come pre-flared. So, if you know you prefer a flared baseball glove, you can opt for one. Alternatively, you can flare the baseball glove yourself without too much effort. Let’s consider how you can flare a baseball glove the easiest if you don’t buy one already flared.
How To Flare A Baseball Glove
Flaring a baseball glove is straightforward. Baseball players usually flare their gloves when breaking them in or after breaking them in. Properly breaking in a baseball glove is a timely process. You must repeat it several times to ensure your baseball glove is pliable and comfortable.
Although flaring a baseball glove doesn’t require as much effort as it does to break it in, you should still repeat the process a few times to properly flare the glove and ensure it maintains its shape. The idea is to heat the leather and then curl the pinky and thumb grip outward to create the flared shape.
You can flare a baseball glove without heating up the leather, but most agree that this makes the leather softer and easier to work with. Prepare a bowl of warm (not boiling) water to heat the leather. If the water is boiling, it may shock the leather, which can cause it to crack or degrade.
The water should be at a temperature comfortable enough for you to touch it. Next, dip a cloth in the water and wipe the baseball glove to dampen the leather. Don’t dunk the entire glove in the water since you don’t want it soaking wet. Just damp will do.
When the leather is damp and warm, fold the thumb and pinky sections outward away from the glove’s curve. Repeat this folding procedure several times, heating the glove in between as needed. The more you flare the glove, the softer the leather will become, eventually retaining the flared shape when it cools down.
Getting the baseball glove to have the perfect flared shape for you might take a while, so we suggest repeating the process every night until the glove feels comfortable. Once your baseball glove is flared to perfection, it’s time to take it to the pitch and test it out.
When Should You Buy A New Baseball Glove?
One final question you may have about baseball gloves, in general, is how to know when you should replace the glove. Having a broken-in and flared baseball glove is perfect, but there comes a time when the leather gets worn, which means you should consider replacing the glove. Here are some signs that you should replace your baseball glove:
- The padding starts to feel loose or missing
- The leather is cracked everywhere on the glove
- The baseball glove loses its form
- The glove feels extremely heavy
- The glove is ripped
When a baseball glove is worn, it starts to lose its form and will affect your performance on the pitch. Therefore, it may be time to replace your baseball glove. The fun thing about buying a new baseball glove is that you can break it in according to your preferences. You also get the opportunity to practice your flaring technique.
While you don’t have to flare your baseball glove, many players do since they feel it makes the transfer quicker and increases the surface area of the glove.
To flare a baseball glove, heat the leather slightly and fold the pinky and thumb sections of the glove outwards. Repeat the process as needed and enjoy your newly flared baseball glove.