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To glove or not to glove, that is the question

Feb 28, 2013, 5:03 PM EDT

I was sitting here in the press box, slowly losing track of the many mid-game substitutions and watching my scoresheet turn into a mess of misspelled names and inaccurate notations when — suddenly! — a ball was fouled back behind the third base line. A fan reached up and … it clanged off his glove.  This was that fan:


His name is Tyler Jack and he hails from South Lake Tahoe, California. The jersey he’s wearing is a sweet Matt Williams number.  But the real issue is that glove on his left hand.

My reason for seeking Tyler out in the stands was because the issue of grown-ass men wearing gloves to ballparks has long been debated around here. I’d by lying if I said, however, that anything other than a small minority thinks it’s OK for anyone besides (a) kids; or (b) the actual players to wear gloves to the ballpark. Still, I don’t know that we’ve given the issue a full and fair hearing, and I wanted to get Tyler’s side of the story. And what we learned was, I think, pretty critical.

Seems that Tyler usually takes a glove to the park.  I asked him if he had ever gotten a foul ball.

“Yes,” he said.


“In Anaheim. At an Angels game.”

“Ah, cool. So you had the glove then too? It worked out for you?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “I didn’t have the glove then.”

Just as he said that another foul ball went into the stands farther down the third base line.  Another grown-ass man with a glove reached up for it and … missed it.

I just feel like there are life lessons to be learned here. I feel like this is sort of a turning point for human progress. And I worry that we’re making choices that are dooming us.

  1. dw3dw - Feb 28, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    I stopped bringing a glove when I started keeping score.

  2. Minoring In Baseball - Feb 28, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    I’m not sure what the big deal is here. I’m a ‘grown-ass’ man, and bring my glove to just about every game. Who has a better chance at catching a ball, me or my 5-yr-old? We’re mostly at minor league games, too, and we’re very close to the action. Maybe in the nose-bleed section of a major league stadium it’s not needed, but I like having mine. Baseball is a game, anyway, so what’s the big deal about bring a glove? It’s all in fun, so who cares if you want to be part of the action. I wear a jersey to hockey games, too, is that also a problem?

  3. sincitybonobo - Feb 28, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    I always bring my glove, keep score, and listen to the radio broadcast. I pay more attention to the game than most who attend.

    Another reason to bring a glove can be found in small print on the back of every professional baseball game ticket. If a ticketholder of any age gets drilled with a frozen rope into the stands, the club will not pay for extenuating medical bills. Kids, especially, don’t always pay attention to all of the action and are sitting ducks for wayward line drives. Each year, many leave the stands in ambulances because they either didn’t bring a glove or pay enough attention. This is especially true with premium seats near dugouts. Most don’t read the back of their ticket until it’s too late.

    I also carry with me a $6 logo ball. It’s my “give it to a kid” insurance. I’m keeping any ball from a game- mostly the PCL, in my case. But, I will happily part with an unwrapped logo ball to make the nearest kid happy. Not a fan of kids, generally, but I realize it is important for them to be exposed to the game early.

    • smoothaswilkes - Mar 1, 2013 at 12:15 AM

      what does the boilerplate on the back of a ticket have to do with you bringing a glove? does it state that if you get drilled by a foul ball but have a glove that the team will pay your medical bills? did you read the part of the post where everyone having had a glove didn’t make the catch?

      i’d like to think that having that “logo ball” handy is pretty cool but if i’m a kid and you’re knocking me down to catch the real foul ball (your glove stance makes it clear you mean business.), I would not be happy with your consolation prize.

      • term3186 - Mar 1, 2013 at 12:34 AM

        Smooth….. the glove is to protect yourself/others/kids from hard hit foul balls. If anyone gets nailed with a foul ball, they’re on their own with respect to any medical bills. If you bring a glove, its far easier to catch/deflect hard hit foul balls that would otherwise hit you/your children/the children near you.

  4. phillyphannn83 - Feb 28, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    Stiller43 February 28, 2013, 5:36 PM EST

    Unless youre still ordering off the kids menu, you should not be allowed into the ball park with a glove. Not for security reasons, just because you look dumb.
    Pittsburgh fans are not allowed to comment on baseball articles.

    • delsj - Mar 1, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      You wear that Philly fan stereoype as a badge of honor, don’t you?

  5. hodaghunter - Mar 1, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    When you have a liner whistling at you at triple digit mph I would love to see you put your hand up in defense of yourself. I’ve been to enough games down the first base line where guys defend themselves from incoming whistling fastballs that have gotten fouled off with their bare hands and got nothing but broken fingers and a story out of it.
    I like my fingers how they are… not broken. thanks… I’ll bring my glove when I sit that close

  6. stercuilus65 - Mar 1, 2013 at 3:26 AM

    To glove or not to glove, that is the question every Doctor faces…

  7. personalspaceinvader - Mar 1, 2013 at 7:13 AM

    My dearly departed dad used to take me to baseball games when I was younger. He would say to me, “PersonalSpaceInvader, no glove, no love.” Of course, he might not have been talking about baseball. But still, the point holds true.

    But seriously though. I never bring a glove. Not out of some moral/mature superiority. I usually just forget it. Also I’ve got a lot of other stuff to carry around in my backpack while roaming around downtown on my way to the game. I did get drilled with a foul ball in the arm once. I had a glove, but not on my hand. I was talking to my pals anyway. Wouldn’t have mattered unless I had sat with the thing on the whole time. And then my palm would have got all sweaty.

  8. shrshot - Mar 1, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    I take more of an issue with people calling themselves or others “grown ass men”. Just stupid. Have they grown into ass men? Were they once leg men? What does being grown have to do with it? is this a plant or a person?

    Guy brought a glove to a spring training game, who cares? Don’t you relive a little bit of your childhood when you go out to a ball game? Lighten up Francis… Go judge someone who deserves it.

  9. jaybyrd99 - Mar 1, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    I personally do not bring a glove in , but for those who do i say good for them . The ballpark should be a fun place and if bringing a glove in as an adult is the worse someone does,that’s not so bad at all . It certainly beats drunks and hooliganism.
    Now folks tucking in their jerseys(-:

  10. therealtruth210 - Mar 1, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    totally acceptable to bring a glove especially when you are in line drive type of foul territory for your seats. Nothing wrong with being a kid for a few hours during a baseball game. Anyone who doesn’t agree is just more or less a loser. That’s you Craig

  11. chadjones27 - Mar 1, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    Interesting timing of this post. I just read, on another site not affiliated with this, so I’ll just say it rhymes with Wahoo, Big League Flu, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that the “baseball rule” didn’t apply to a lawsuit at a minor league game where a fan lost an eye from a foul ball. And all I could think of was the fans at the Daytona Nationwide race now have precedence.
    So, what becomes of the baseball stadiums now? Extend the net behind home plate past the dugouts?

  12. raybrower - Mar 1, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Why do we care? I care a hell of a lot more if someone brings a giant sign that blocks my view. Or if people start the wave in the 8th inning of a one run game. Or if the guy next to me is hammered and has to pee 9 times during the game. But someone bringing a glove? Something that doesn’t change my game day experience in any way at all? Why would I worry about that? I’m too busy watching a baseball game to care what that guy does.

  13. hisgirlgotburrelled - Mar 1, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    The first thing I do when I get in the park is get 2 beers and 2 Schmitters, or 2 beers and Bull’s BBQ, for my girlfriend and I. I can’t carry a glove in all that, especially with the BBQ. I have yet to have this theory tested but as someone that played in college and still bumbling around a slow-pitch softball field I think I can defend myself and my girlfriend from foul balls with no glove. Unless you stick your glove up and miss a ball and it hits me in the face then I couldn’t really care less if you bring a glove.

    What’s more ridiculous, bringing a glove to a baseball game where balls leave the field, or dressing like Raiders fans, or that Eagles fan, wearing shoulder pads? (I’m a big football fan and live near Philly, but that guy, that’s ridiculous). Although, I did see someone at the ballpark in full catcher’s gear a year or 2 ago.

  14. mullman76 - Mar 1, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    @hisgirlgotburreled: Why do you have to bring the Raiders into this? Every NFL stadium has donkeys that play dress up, not just philly and oakland.

    It’s not like they’re wearing dresses and pig noses…

  15. drinkpeepee - Mar 1, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    if you bring a glove and you’re a grown man you probably wear suits made of human skin and tuck it back while you dance and look at yourself in the mirror.

  16. jarathen - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Baseball is about a simple joy. it’s about rooting for a team that doesn’t really care about you because you most likely grew up nearby, it’s about wearing a bunch of overpriced licensed gear, and, dream of all dreams, it’s about catching a ball that was once part of the greatest game ever invented. I am not concerned about what other people think of me; I wouldn’t dream of attending a ball game with my son and leave my glove at home. If I’m by myself and out of danger, yeah, I’ll probably leave it for catch in the backyard, but if there’s a chance, and if I’m with my family, the glove comes with. Chance to avoid injury plus a great memory trumps what the bro police think. Also Craig.

  17. dowhatifeellike - Mar 1, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    I sometimes bring a glove when I sit in a seat with legit injury potential as a means of protecting myself.

    If I’m behind home plate, in the outfield, or in the upper deck, I’ll use my hands. Most of the time you’re better off letting someone else try to catch it, then jumping on the ball when they can’t handle it.

  18. garlicfriesandbaseball - Mar 1, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Sorry, you’re way “off base” on this one. I like to take a glove to the park, even though there’s a small chance in hell I’d even know how to use it. It just makes me feel better. And the best ballpark experience ever is getting to sit next to someone who has a glove ~ and knows how to use it! Heads up!

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