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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. alexo0 - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    I think the bigger issue is that even with a glove, grown men are still having trouble catching the ball.

    • pinkfloydprism - Feb 28, 2013 at 6:32 PM

      I agree.

      I was at an Angels spring game in Tempe a few years back, and a ball was hit down the third base line. In the path of the ball was a father and his 4 year old Daughter… the Dad, did not have a glove. He still tried to catch the ball… missed, of course, and the ball went off of his Daughter. He should have had a glove, or done the correct thing and protected his Daughter.

      • stercuilus65 - Mar 1, 2013 at 3:20 AM

        Did the daughter get credit for an assist?

    • royhobbs39 - Mar 1, 2013 at 9:02 AM

      This should be the only person ever allowed to bring a glove to a ball game ever again…

  2. El Bravo - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    Must be tough living your life as these are the dilemmas that vex you from day-to-day.

  3. manifunk - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Always, ALWAYS bring a glove.

    In this photo is a man who caught Dustin Ackley’s first professional home run. He got a signed bat and ball from Dustin in return for the ball.

    The dude to his right, his arms akimbo in rage? That’s me. If I brought my glove (a softball first baseman’s mitt), the ball would’ve been mine.

    Always bring a glove.

    • manifunk - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      Whoops, pic link here:

    • ezthinking - Feb 28, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      My A2000 goes with me to every game. College ball and 14 years of amateur ball, I just can’t properly watch a game without my glove. At home a bat and baseball must be near. The smell of pine tar, leather and dirt…there’s nothing like it.

    • ditto65 - Feb 28, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      But the man in the photo has no glove!

  4. Jeff J. Snider - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    I am bringing my glove to Arizona with me next week, but mostly because I will be going to the games with my 6-year-old son and I want to make sure I can protect him as well as possible.

    • uwsptke - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      I think this is the universal exception to the “no glove at the ballpark” rule.

    • pinkfloydprism - Feb 28, 2013 at 6:35 PM

      I commented on this issue up above. Good for you. I hope you catch one if it comes your way.

  5. kiwicricket - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Can’t find the stats on BRef, but I think you might find a correlation between grown men who have Joba-type mustaches and grown men who bring gloves to the ballpark…

  6. blabidibla - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    I used to always carry a glove. I’m 46 now and have been attending games since I was 4 years old.

    After decades of futility, I managed to catch my first foul ball during the first year of the WBC in AZ. Now the glove remains at home.

  7. kiwicricket - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Why the glove? It’s easier just to knock a kid over while scrambling for the ball, or simply jar it from their undeveloped hands. Why risk looking like a tool?

    • El Bravo - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:38 PM


    • 2077james - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      Are you a Phillies fan?

    • paint771 - Feb 28, 2013 at 6:35 PM

      I usually bring a big oversized novelty butterfly net, and hide behind the seats right behind the railing over the dugout. Because I really believe it’s important for America’s youth to learn the importance of planning ahead.

      Also, sometimes: airhorn because if you can’t catch a baseball if you get distracted at the very last second by a grown man firing off an airhorn next to your ear, you can’t blame the game under duress, and how are you ever going to make it to the big leagues. DO YOU HEAR ME SON?! HOW?!?! OH YEAH, CRY?? WELL YOU JUST SIT THERE AND CRY AND THINK ABOUT *THAT*.

  8. Stiller43 - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    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.

    • jkcalhoun - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      Some say soda, some say pop. Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow encourages everyone to bring a glove to the yard. People who do are never made to look dumb on Giants’ broadcasts. Maybe clankmitted, but never dumb.

      Tomato tomahto, etc. You’re not going to get a universal ruling on this one.

  9. chacochicken - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Glove. But not always. I bring a catcher’s mitt and that’s primarily to hide my flask.

  10. scotttheskeptic - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Age > 11 = NO glove!!!

  11. shanabartels - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    I’m a grown woman. I don’t bring my glove to major league parks because I pretty much never sit in locations where balls are likely to end up, so the glove would be a waste of space in my handbag that could be better used for sneaking in extra granola bars (take THAT, Hal Steinbrenner). Secret pockets are so useful.

    That said, you can bet your ass I bring my ball to minor league games. Balls go all OVER the place at AA games in Trenton, and the seats are close enough to the field that a foul ball traveling off a bat at god knows what speed and only going a short distance… well, it’s a recipe for disaster. I enjoy having a non-broken skull/nose/teeth and I don’t have health insurance. So yeah, I think it’s entirely reasonable to bring a glove to protect myself and whatever friends or family members are with me that day. I’m not ashamed of that.

    Oh and just to clarify, if I ever do catch a ball at a game in Trenton or something, of course it’s going to a kid. I’m not a monster. I don’t need to keep a foul ball hit by a random scrub.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:56 PM

      extra granola bars

      that’s the weird spelling of beer I’ve ever seen..

      • shanabartels - Feb 28, 2013 at 6:40 PM

        Ha. Sounds cool in theory, but after an hour and a half commute to the stadium on a hot day, I don’t think warm handbag-toted beer would be very appetizing.

    • Detroit Michael - Feb 28, 2013 at 8:00 PM

      You might consider buying health insurance instead of tickets to Yankee games.

      • jarathen - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        Those things are not similar in cost.

  12. superturtle611 - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Leave the glove and personalized jersey at home. They aren’t calling you into the game.

    • stercuilus65 - Mar 1, 2013 at 3:24 AM

      get a life grinch.

  13. APBA Guy - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    The saddest thing about that picture is not that Tyler has a glove, it’s that Tyler lives 3.5 hours East of SF and roots for the Giants, not the A’s.

    • jkcalhoun - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      He doesn’t look sad.

    • jkcalhoun - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      Wait — are you saying that the A’s are maneuvering for rights to El Dorado County too?

  14. m3dman3 - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    You seriously, I mean you SERIOUSLY get paid to write this crap? Wow. That’s all I’ve got. Wow.

    • tuberippin - Mar 1, 2013 at 12:43 AM

      No need to be jealous.

  15. kiwicricket - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    During a shorter, more heavy hitting format of Cricket, several friends and I took Baseball mitts to the ground. Our ‘new’ form of hand-utensil caused outrage, belittlement and taunts such as “even sheep can catch using one of those things”. We were pelted with rubbish and empty beer containers.

  16. Marty McKee - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Jeez, let people wear a glove if they want to. What’s the big deal?

  17. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Craig, this guy you retweeted, please confirm he’s telling the truth!

    • pmcenroe - Mar 1, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      If you are so unathletic this can happen to you, a gloves not going to save you

  18. scottolstad - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Not saying, just saying: Bringing a glove to the park is the best way to smuggle in a beer. Tuck the can in the glove, fold the glove around the can and tuck that glove under your arm as you scan your ticket. I’ve never been searched and it gives me a $7 head-start on my friends who buy their beers like suckers.

  19. yankeesgameday - Feb 28, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Bringing your glove depends entirely on where you sit. I go to only one or two games a year these days, but when I do I spring for seats between home and third, no further than 10 rows back. You think I want to have to duck if Albert Pujols turns on one and rips it into the stands right at my face? No, I want a glove for protection.

    Odds of that happening: small, granted.

    But I’ll tell you something, i stopped trying to impress other guys with how many shots of tequila I could do fifteen years ago, so I’ll be damned if I am going to worry about what they think if I bring a.glove.

    That being said, unless your seats are in a place where you don’t stand a chance of real physical injury.from a.batted ball, leave the glove at home. 

  20. paperlions - Feb 28, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Let me get this straight.

    Grown ass men and women go to the ball park to cheer and groan while watching grown ass men play a meaningless game.

    Grown ass men and women pay a lot of money for the privilege to watch said grown ass men play said game.

    Said grown ass men playing the game typically make more money in one year than your average grown ass man or woman will make in over a decade…and many make more in one year than your average grown ass man or woman will make in his life time.

    In addition, many thousands of other grown ass men and women make their entire living because of the grown ass men and women that pay large sums of money to watch grown ass men play meaningless games…and may do so as journalists, bloggers, concession stand workers, scouts, lawyers, PR people, ushers, and what not.

    All of this silliness is fine for grown ass men and women to do instead of doing something that would better society. Where we draw the line is taking a glove to the park? That’s where the line is? Really?

    • lazlosother - Feb 28, 2013 at 6:31 PM

      Obviously sir, you don’t understand the important things in life.

  21. jimmywho14 - Feb 28, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Up to age 18 a glove is acceptable, after that man the hell up

  22. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 28, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    I wouldn’t call myself a grown-ass man just. Sometimes I’ll go to the outfield seats before a game and try to catch a few that clear the fence. I kept the first one I ever got and now if I get one I toss it to a kid. Once the game starts I can either hold a beer or wear the glove. The choice should be obvious.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 28, 2013 at 8:03 PM

      myself a grown-ass man just.

      • tuberippin - Mar 1, 2013 at 12:45 AM

        I would give you ten upvotes if I could for linking to that classic.

  23. tfbuckfutter - Feb 28, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    I bring my glove when I go to watch the Royals or Pirates play, but that’s only because I have a better than even chance of getting in the game.

    I really wish there was a GIF online of Rod Beck casually barehanding a homerun ball in the Red Sox bullpen (I think he was even eating at the time). That was easily my favorite memory of him.

    • offseasonblues - Feb 28, 2013 at 9:57 PM

      Rod Stewart
      Jeff beck
      Rod Beck
      So confusing.

      Timlin used a towel. Seems like a better safety device when you’re in the foul ball zone.

  24. brewcrewfan54 - Feb 28, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Glove out in the bleachers, no. Now sitting along the base lines its acceptable to me for protection for the screaming liners that come into the seats.

  25. Detroit Michael - Feb 28, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    Let people bring gloves to the game — as long as they don’t use them to start the wave.

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