Baseball gloves become sideline
Published: 04:59 p.m., Friday, September 18, 2009 on

If you've played or watched baseball or softball, you've seen a pop fly dropped or a ground ball booted and, there's generally the same reaction by the player -- he or she looks at the glove.

Most fans will hold the glove blameless, but for the player, there can be doubt that his or her mitt isn't playing the way it should.

Mason Jenkins of Greenwich said he believes for some players that the gloves should accept some culpability.

"Most kids, those between 5 and 15 years old, have gloves that are not playable," he said.

Jenkins has launched a business called Accelerated Glove Conditioning. He charges $25 to condition a new glove in three days and $35 for a catcher's or first baseman's mitt. He'll also work on broken-in gloves to help them become more playable. He said he doesn't use any oil or heat to condition the gloves, but he won't reveal the technique.

Jenkins said he came to this conclusion about the poor condition of children's baseball gloves after years of watching his daughter play softball. In each league, he said he noticed kids trying to play with gloves that were too stiff or improperly broken in.

And it's not only in softball, Jenkins said, it's also baseball. He said he volunteered to take some gloves home for his daughter's teammates and condition them. He got results and refined the process. Jenkins studied the gloves, he said, and what kind of leather they use.

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