For a person who has never played baseball or softball, the two sports look similar. It is correct to state that the two exciting games are very similar, thanks to the shared history. The playing field and the pieces of equipment also look identical. However, there are some differences between the two sports. One of the differences in their gloves.
How different are the two gloves?
Baseball gloves vary from one player to another. For example, younger players have shorter gloves compared to pro-players. The same happens in the world of softball. However, at each level, the two sports have different gloves’ lengths. What makes the two gloves different in terms of measures? Is the difference because of sports technicalities or just preferences?
The longest baseball glove in the pro league is 13 inches. The shortest glove, on the other hand, in the same league is 11.25 inches. On the other hand, the longest softball glove in the pro league is 15 inches while the shortest at the same league is 11.50 inches. These numbers indicate that softball has longer gloves compared to baseball. The results are also similar in other junior leagues.
The differences between baseball and softball gloves are both technical and traditions.
First, the ball size in these two sports is different. It is an open secret that softball has a bigger and softer ball compared to baseball. Therefore, the sweet spot should be bigger to give the player a better chance of getting the ball. Baseball, on the other hand, has a smaller ball, which does not need a bigger glove.
The difference between the two gloves is also because of the tradition between the two sports. Softball gloves have always been longer than in baseball. Professional organizations managing the two sports have continued with this tradition for years.
In the two sports, glove openings are critical for competitiveness and technical reasons. However, the opening is different in the two sports. In order to understand why softball and baseball have different openings, we need to explore some fundamental differences between the two sports. For example, who play each sport predominately and, more importantly, the pace of the two sports?
Baseball, compared to baseball, has a wider glove opening. The difference is uniform from pro-leagues to junior leagues. In a 2019 report on glove opening, it is evident that even without differences between the two sports, softball gloves opening would still be smaller than in baseball.
The difference in glove opening is primarily a tradition than it is a technical issue. It is a public secret that baseball is mainly a men’s game, while women play softball. In softball matches; therefore, the pressure to open the glove is less compared to baseball. Experts have argued that softball is the gentle baseball.
It is also important to note that most players in softball have shorter fingers. When players with shorter fingers play a sport, the tendency of opening hands to catch a ball is gentle compared to when the player has longer fingers. This argument has some exceptions in junior leagues, especially at the age where players are identical, both in size and strengths.
Finally, female players have a general liking to gloves that have a smaller opening. This preference has been instrumental in making important decisions, primarily when investing in gloves.
In baseball, different positions have different gloves in terms of structures and makings. The same case applies to softball, where each position has a different glove. However, the biggest difference in all positions is the catcher’s mitts. The two sports have different glove sizes for this vital position. Like in other important locations, the differences are technical and preference-based.
Since baseball has a smaller ball compared to the other sport, the catcher’s mitt is smaller but firm. On the other hand, the softball’s glove is larger because the ball is relatively bigger but soft. When making the purchase decision, therefore, you should understand this critical difference.
It is a fact that softball has a more massive ball compared to baseball. Due to this difference, the gloves are different. The baseball gloves are therefore smaller in all aspects except baseball players prefer loose gloves compared to softball players.
In most cases, baseball is rough in the sense that the player must catch fastballs, exchange hands and throw the ball instantly. Although softball is also competitive, the level is not similar. It is, however, essential to dismiss the argument that softball is boring to watch.
I am Masum Hossain. I live in Dhaka, Bangladesh.