There are few things in this world that excite me more than new baseball equipment. I'm like a little kid on Christmas morning- I try everything on, make sure everything fits, and then log a good amount of time in front of the mirror to make sure the whole ensemble works. It's pretty embarrassing, come to think of it.
But it gets me excited. I become anxious for the season to start so I can sport my new cleats, show off my new batting gloves, and crack that first homer with my brand new lumber.
My preseason shipment of gear came in yesterday afternoon, and needless to say I'm pumped to begin the breaking-in process during today's training session. New glove, cleats, batting gloves, bats- all will be put to use today, collectively acting as another reason I'm excited to get to Spring Training and get the season underway.
CLEATS: Heading into the season, you need two pairs of cleats- there are gonna be rainy days, natural wear and tear, and let's face it, it's a lot cooler to have two pairs to pick from before you head out to the field.
In buying a new pair of cleats, it always comes down to two things: 1) how do they feel? and 2) how do they look? When buying online, I'm able to get a feel for how the cleats look, but it's not always easy to know how they're gonna feel on your feet- kind of an important factor when you consider you're going to be wearing them five hours a day for the next seven months.
When in doubt, go with a trusted name- in this case, Nike. I've never heard anything bad about Nike cleats, so I figured it was about time I jump on the bandwagon. Truth be told, I actually wanted to track down those Under Armour cleats I wore last year but I couldn't find any- figured the Huaraches would be able to fill in smoothly.
I'm happy with both new pairs, and plan on scratching up some hardwood as I strut around my apartment in them tonight.
BATTING GLOVES: Over the course of the season, I'll use countless batting gloves- they'll rip, get wet, and by the end of the year I'll be using whatever I can get my hands on. But in the beginning stages of the season, I want to be using the best.
I've been using these Mizuno's for a while now and have never encountered a rip- actually, almost no wear and tear at all. They're thick but offer plenty of feel, and the Velcro strap is sturdy, so you don't have to worry about it falling off when the day comes that you hastily rip your BG's off after a poor at-bat. Hey, it happens.
Mix in the fact that the all-whites look pretty sharp and you've got yourself a hand's dream-date.
BAT: Personal service, speedy delivery, fair prices, and great wood- the Zorian Bat Company has got it all. Just got my shipment the other day: a half dozen bats, a hand-written note from the owner, and a free Zorian key chain. They sure know how to make their small-time clients feel like a big deal. (How did Zorian become my bat of choice? Read more.)
GLOVE: I've been using an A2000 all my life. I patrolled the outfield in Little League with a Wilson pitcher's glove, I got my first outfield mitt in high school, and even my college team had a Wilson deal- it's all I've known.
Aside from being a creature of habit, I just love the feel of the A2000. I've used this model since my senior year at school and I've ordered the same glove every season since.
This year, I was actually tempted to join the majority of minor leaguers and plunge into the Rawlings pool- mainly so I could get my name written in script on the side of my glove- but I eventually followed my heart and stayed loyal to the 'W'.
Was my decision affected by the fact that Rawlings gloves are more expensive? Perhaps. And yes, I wish Wilson offered the customization feature, but at the end of the day, it comes down to what glove you feel comfortable enough to make a great play with- for me, it's always been Wilson.
So there you have it, the Scotty Smalls Spring Ensemble. If there's one good thing about not having an agent and having to pay for your own gear, it's the fact that you get what you want. There's no brand consistency here. Nike, Mizuno, Zorian, and Wilson- these are my choices.
Time to go out and make yours.
Comment Section Video Shoutout:
SMALLS TALK Series
Last Day at Work
My Bat of Choice
The Superstitions and Quirks of a Ballplayer
The Art of the Autograph
Greensboro's 'Bat Dogs'
Tim Kurkjian is a Man Among Boys
Baseball Movie All-Star Game: Starting Lineups
Pre-Draft Medical Questionnaires
The Ryan Howard Namesake
The Magic of the Rally
Jeter and A-Rod, How Times Have Changed
Summer Leagues - Cape Still Cream of the Crop?
SportsCenter Commercials are Better Than Most Shows
Schilling's Bloody Sock
Red Sox Nation Goes Crazy, JD Drew Can't Be Bothered
Minor League Hats are the Way to Go
Who Has the Best Uniforms in College Baseball?