Are Batting Gloves Necessary? (Solved + Pros And Cons)
In an effort to produce the best possible performance, baseball players, including batters, are looking for any edge they can find.
Batting gloves are among the options that can provide a certain advantage, mainly because of the better grip.
However, gloves are a relatively new addition to the game, and hitters used to hold the bat with bare hands for decades.
First MLB players started using the gloves in the 60s. But, it was not until two decades later, that they’ve become a widely used part of baseball equipment.
Nevertheless, there are still some Major League hitters that prefer not to wear gloves.
The question “Are batting gloves necessary” is still a reason for debate in baseball circles.
Both sides have some valid reasons for their preference.
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Are Batting Gloves Necessary?
The fact that there are pro batters who don’t use gloves tells us that they’re not necessary to play baseball.
Furthermore, there’s no rule in professional or amateur leagues making the wearing of batting gloves mandatory.
So, it mainly comes to personal preference.
Still, it’s not by chance that the large majority of hitters chose to wear them. There’s no denying of many advantages they bring, especially for younger players.
They improve grip, absorb the shock when hitting the baseball, and prevent calluses and blisters.
Advantages of Batting Gloves
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For most batters, the primary reason for using batting gloves is the improved grip on the bat.
If you can’t have a solid grip on the bat, the whole timing of your swing may be off.
Holding the bat firmly allows for full control of the hit.
This is particularly important during the hot summer days. Hands tend to get sweaty pretty fast in the warm weather, so the bat may easily slip out of the hands.
Some of the batting gloves models even feature an extra sticky layer to help players achieve a better grip.
In baseball, hands are the most important tools a player has at his disposal. So, it’s essential to take care of them and keep them in the best shape.
Any damage to the hands may lead to less than optimal performance and difficulty with gripping the bat and swinging.
Batting gloves minimize the injury risk by adding a layer of protection between a hand and a bat.
Most of the gloves have light padding for extra safety.
Batters spend their days swinging repeatedly at the practice field.
Holding a bat only with bare hands can easily lead to blisters and calluses which are not only painful but can mess up the swing.
Also, gloves protect players from getting burns on their hands when sliding for the base.
To fully perform its protection task, the glove needs to fit properly.
A glove that is too tight or small can still cause an injury, particularly when gripping too tight.
The right fit ensures that the hand is protected from blisters, provides a better grip, and makes a tear or damage to the glove itself less likely.
Every contact with the ball creates a vibration that can cause a stinging feeling in your hands.
And, with every hit, the hand is more prone to an injury, particularly if you’re not wearing gloves.
Batting gloves act as a cushion and absorb some of the impact and reduces the stinging.
Of course, you’ll still feel some vibration, but in the long run, your hands are much more protected against injuries.
Disadvantages of Batting Gloves
Not Ideal in Rainy Weather
When batting in rainy weather, batting gloves don’t provide many advantages.
Most of the benefits I mentioned above are only valid when the glove is dry.
Wet gloves actually lessen the grip and most of the players opt for alternative ways to get a better grip.
Less Feel for The Bat
Most of the players who don’t use gloves indicate that they don’t have the natural feel for the bat when wearing gloves.
This is especially true for batters using wooden bats. A lot of them prefer using pine tar instead as a way to improve their grip.
Also, some modern aluminum bats, mostly used in Little League and amateur baseball, make gloves redundant, as they already come equipped with lizard skin grip tape.
What Hand do You Put a Batting Glove on?
A fair share of players wears batting gloves on both hands. However, those who use only one put the glove on their top hand.
It’s the hand that is closer to the bottom of the bat. For right-handed players, it’s usually the left hand, and vice-versa.
It’s the hand that does the most rubbing against the bat and stays on the bat throughout the whole swing.
Why do Baseball Players Take off Their Batting Gloves?
While watching a ballgame, you’ll often notice that players tend to take off their gloves after a base hit and before they run the bases.
The main reason for this is to protect their fingers as they slide for the base.
As they’re holding them in their hands, they usually grip them by making a fist, thus preventing them from unconsciously extending their fingers and risking an injury.
Before the gloves became popular, base runners were taught to hold to pick up a handful of dirt for this exact same reason,
What Should I Look for in a Baseball Batting Glove?
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A good grip is the main reason why anyone wears batting gloves in the first place.
When choosing a glove, make sure they provide a solid grip on the bat, fit properly, and are comfortable.
A batting glove is expected to put in hours and hours of work at a practice field.
Finding ones that are made of high-quality materials will sure that they last longer.
Most quality gloves feature leather on the palms and synthetic materials on the back.
Extra padding is key to good shock and vibration absorption as you hit the ball.
Besides, it gives you extra protection from blisters and calluses.
As I already explained, there are positives and negatives to wearing batting gloves.
While it’s basically a matter of personal preference, the overwhelming majority of batters are probably not wrong.
The benefits of using batting gloves seem to easily outweigh the drawback.
Even if you’re on the fence on this issue, it’s always good to be prepared and have a couple of pairs ready. At least for batting practices.
They may take some getting used to, but in time, you’ll start to feel the benefits.
Ultimately, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and safe on the baseball field.