Playing baseball generally requires less equipment compared to other sports like hockey and football. However, the cost of repairing and replacing the gear can add up pretty fast if you are not careful with your usage and maintenance. To help you avoid this, we’ve rounded up some of the best maintenance tips for the various baseball gear in your locker.
Let’s start with the gloves:
1. Baseball Gloves
Baseball gloves are one of the most important gears for any baseball player. The state of your gloves can actually make or break your game. A well-maintained glove improves your game significantly. Meanwhile, ignored gloves will be a breeding ground for mold and other nasties. They’ll also lose their shape, which will ultimately affect your game on the field.
So, how exactly can you take care of your baseball gloves? There are several ways of going about it. One, you need to clean your gloves after every game. Wipe the dirt, grime, and other residues from your gloves before storing them.
To ensure the gloves stay in good condition, you also need a leather cleaner to get rid of the caked dirt. Do not use your typical household cleaners for this purpose. You need a dedicated leather cleaner to avoid damaging the material.
Baseball gloves also need to be moisturized. This can be done using a special conditioning oil or petroleum jelly. Whatever you choose, make sure to use the right amounts since too much moisture will damage the gloves.
Finally, disinfect your gloves regularly to prevent the growth of mold. This also helps to keep your gloves smelling fresh. Baseball gloves should be stored in a cool, dry place.
What if your gloves are already damaged? Well, a decent baseball repair kit makes repairing your gloves pretty easy. They also come with manuals to guide you through the process. But if the damage is too much, focus on finding new gloves.
2. Baseball Bats
The cleaning routine of baseball bats varies depending on the material of your bat. Metal baseball bats require pretty much zero maintenance. You just need to clean them once in a while.
On the other hand, wooden bats require more attention. They must be cleaned properly to maintain the grip and prevent corrosion and cracks.
Use rubbing alcohol to clean your bats. Alcohol does an incredible job of killing bacteria. Rubbing alcohol is also safer for wooden bats than water which damages wood.
Speaking of water, never leave your bats wet. The water will seep into the wood and damage its structure.
Most athletes condition wooden bats by rubbing them against each other. Pretty much like how you can sharpen two knives by brushing them against each other. Use hard and even strokes for this purpose.
Lastly, store your bats vertically. The handle must be upwards to avoid warping.
3. Catcher’s Gear
The catcher has the most equipment to maintain. They also have some of the most critical gears used to protect sensitive body parts like the head. Therefore, you cannot afford to compromise the maintenance of the catcher’s gear.
Like the baseball gloves, the catcher’s gear must be cleaned after every game. This prevents the buildup of dirt.
Next, make sure to keep the shin guard and chest piece straps and hooks in good condition. These materials are relatively cheap, but that’s no excuse to maintain them properly. Plus, you never know when a poorly maintained strap might fail on you. It could happen mid-game, which would ruin the entire game for you and your team.
The chest piece requires extra attention when cleaning lest it develops foul odor and mold growth. Air out the piece before storing it in a cool, dry place.
Finally, inspect your face mask and helmet, looking for cracks. If you notice your helmet is developing some issues, find a replacement right away. This is a crucial safety gear, so you shouldn’t take any chances.
4. Baseball Cleats
Cleats are probably the toughest to clean. They collect the most dirt, so you’re going to spend a good amount of time getting rid of the dirt and grime.
One way of removing the dirt is by banging them together. Of course, you want to do this outside since they typically carry tons of dirt. But this alone is not enough.
You also need to soak them in warm water. This helps with removing any dirt left inside. You can use a stiff brush to ensure no residues remain. Then, soak the cleats once more in dish soap, then rinse them off. Dry your cleats with a towel or an air dryer.
Cleaning baseballs is pretty straightforward. Just use a mixture of water and ammonia, then pat them dry with a soft rag. That’s it.
Maintaining your baseball equipment extends its lifespan, ensuring you get the most value for your money. It also helps to keep your performance at top-level while reducing safety issues.