Batting with gloves is one thing, but running the bases while wearing batting gloves is completely different. If you have a great pair of batting gloves, you’ll want to do whatever you can to prevent them from being damaged. This leads a lot of people to wonder, should you slide with batting gloves on?
Players who drag their hands when sliding into a base should wear batting gloves to protect their hands from cuts and scrapes. Players who keep their hands in the air do not need to wear batting gloves when sliding, but wearing batting gloves while running bases is always a personal preference.
Batting gloves aren’t required in baseball, so the answer ultimately comes down to your personal preference. I always wear batting gloves when sliding because one of my hands drags on the dirt and I want to protect my hand from minor cuts.
You don’t need to wear batting gloves, but I’ve seen two different ways players approach this topic and I’ll cover each of those methods below.
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Method #1: Wear Batting Gloves Normally When Running Bases
This is the method I always use when running bases. When I get on base, I continue to wear my batting gloves like I did when I was hitting.
The biggest advantage you get from this method is your batting gloves will protect your hands from cuts and scrapes when sliding into a base.
I used to take off my batting gloves and hand them to one of the base coaches, but when I slid I would always drag my hand and leave some type of mark on my hand. On rare occasions, my hand would bleed from where it was dragging in the dirt.
Eventually, I decided to just keep my batting gloves on while running the bases and I have yet to get those same scrapes I used to get.
The biggest disadvantage to this method is your batting gloves will wear out quicker.
This is a big disadvantage if you’re using a fairly cheap batting glove. Cheap batting gloves already tear easily and they’ll tear even quicker if you’re sliding while wearing them.
But if you’re fine with sacrificing a couple pairs of those cheap batting gloves to protect your hands then I think it’s worth it.
However, I recently purchased a high-quality pair of batting gloves and they have yet to rip, even though I wear them when sliding all the time. The batting gloves I got are these Bruce Bolt batting gloves. I’ve probably played in about 30 games with these batting gloves and I bet I’ve slid into bases at least 15-20 times while these batting gloves were on my hand.
My right hand typically drags in the dirt while I’m sliding and you can see from my photo below that they have yet to tear.
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Method #2: Hold Batting Gloves in Each Hand When Running Bases
The second most common way baseball players run the bases with baseball gloves is by gripping each pair of batting gloves in each hand – like they’re making a fist.
This may look weird to some because the batting gloves are sticking out on each side of the player’s hands, but some players love to run the bases this way.
The biggest advantage you get from gripping your baseball gloves in your hand while sliding is that you are forced to turn your hands into a fist. This helps prevent fingers from getting jammed while sliding into a base.
No one really thinks of their fingers getting jammed until it happens to them. It can be extremely painful and it can even take you out of the game if it severely impacts your throwing or catching abilities.
The biggest disadvantage to running the bases while holding batting gloves in each hand is that you lose about 4 or 5 inches when sliding head-first into a base, which can be the difference between being safe or out on a close play.
When your hands are clenched into a fist, you can not extend your hands to try to beat the throw. When a pitcher tries to pick you off at first base, you need to dive back head-first. If your hands are in a fist, it will take you slightly longer to get back to first base.
Additional Advantages of Sliding With Batting Gloves on
In the early years of baseball, legendary players didn’t use batting gloves at all. However, during the mid-1960s, players started wearing gloves to protect themselves from hitting and sliding mishaps.
The following benefits might help you decide what to do with your batting gloves while playing:
Batting gloves are made out of tough and protective materials, such as genuine leather, nylon, or synthetic fabric. Some hybrid batting gloves have a combination of all three to ensure optimal comfort, protection, and performance.
When playing in cold weather, repeated impact with the bat and the ground (when sliding), can cause your hands to sting. Wearing gloves helps absorb impact and minimizes the stinging sensation.
What’s more, gloves provide stability to sweaty hands and prevent blistering.
Most importantly, gloves envelop your hand completely, providing extra protection to your wrist, palm, and fingers. As a result, you can reach out to the base safely and more confidently when sliding.
Other Disadvantages of Sliding With Batting Gloves on
One major disadvantage of sliding with your gloves on is the wear and tear that sliding causes to your batting gloves.
Frequent contact with the ground might cause your gloves to degrade sooner than expected. This can lead to additional costs in buying replacement gloves.
Another disadvantage is for players who put pine tar on their gloves to enhance their grip while batting. Sliding with sticky gloves can cause them to get extremely dirty or even damaged. You’ll also need to re-apply the tar before your next at-bat.
It’s worth mentioning that batting gloves may be uncomfortable to wear when playing in rainy weather. No one wants to wear gloves that feel heavy, soggy, or slippery.
Additionally, sliding with batting gloves can decrease your natural feel for the ground, the base, or the ball. Depending on your playing style and the field conditions, batting gloves might negatively affect your performance.
Other Protective Gear for Sliding
The following protective gear is an excellent alternative if you don’t want to ruin your batting gloves but still want some added protection:
Sliding Wrist Guard
Sliding wrist guards, like this EvoShield wrist guard on Amazon, have shock-absorbing pads specially designed to protect the back of your wrist, forearm, and the back of your hand during a rough slide. They function by dispersing the impact of hitting the ground, thereby decreasing wrist pain and soreness.
Additionally, wrist guards support and stabilize the top and bottom of your wrist. They also prevent you from hyper-extending your hand when sliding.
If you’ve ever wondered why your favorite player is wearing an oven mitt while running bases, chances are they’re using a sliding mitt, like this EvoShield sliding mitt on Amazon. This protective gear is usually made out of plastic and hard lining, with protective plates and an adjustable velcro strap.
Sliding mitts have the dual purpose of supporting your wrists and shielding your fingers during risky slides. It only takes seconds to put them on so that you can slide with less fear and hesitation.
Players usually take this mitt from their coach while on the basepath after getting on base.
Some sliding mitts are reversible, so you can wear them on either hand. Most players choose to use a sliding mitt on their lead hand when sliding.