How to be awesome at breaking in a baseball glove

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

A new pair of dress shoes is typically uncomfortable, stiff and lifeless. But you don't discard your shoes - you wear them, breaking them in until they're one with your feet. The same is true of a new baseball glove. There are several different, effective ways to turn that unyielding hunk of leather into an extension of the hand.

1. Oil it up

In order for the glove to become flexible, the leather needs to become soft. Using lubricants such as shaving foam, Vaseline, or tanning oil will help ease the mitt into a pliable state. It's important to massage only small amounts of oil into the glove; using too much will saturate the leather, causing it to deteriorate faster.

2. Hidden ball trick

Find an old, dirty baseball ("old" and "dirty" give the glove a more authentic smell) and place it deep within the glove's pocket. Then wrap the fingers of the glove around the ball and bound them together with a shoestring. Place under a pillow and dream those sweet dreams of walk-off homers in game seven.

3. The heat is on

High temperatures will also loosen the leather - leaving the mitt in the hot sun for an afternoon will do wonders. Placing the oiled-up glove in the oven is another method. The oven can be risky, however; the glove could dry out if it's overcooked. Let Mother Nature work her magic instead.

4. Catch this!

This method is so obvious, it will offend many baseball purists. The best, most effective way to break in a new glove is to play with it. Find a friend and start throwing. The more actual baseball exposure the glove sees, the faster it will flex to accommodate ground balls and pop-ups. You don't want to be the player who can only catch a cold.