Back when I was starting out as a rookie in baseball, I just bought an affordable glove that I could use in my games. Whether I was playing in the infield or outfield, I would use that one glove every match. But as I grew older and started playing with better, more serious people, my glove wasn’t just cutting it.
It seemed that when I was playing infield mainly, my gloves would hold me back. The time it took to throw the ball to the bases after picking it up off the ground was a second too long. And in the big leagues, that one moment is all it takes to get benched.
Then I started doing some research. And it turned out the reason I was struggling was that I was using a roll baseball glove, but infielders usually prefer a flared glove. And when I flared out my glove, my performance improved quite a bit.
So, I thought it’d be better for new players if I went into detail about flare and roll baseball gloves to help you understand the key differences between the two.
Is Flaring a Baseball Glove Good?
Before I take you deeper down the rabbit hole, let’s talk a step back and talk about the basics. What exactly does it mean to flare a baseball glove, and why should you care about it? I’m sure you’ve noticed how most baseball gloves come with a deep pocket. Well, that’s not there just for looks. Because of the deeper pockets, you will be able to grab onto a ball easier. This design allows the player to catch those flying balls a lot easier.
Now flaring a baseball glove means you turn the deep pockets flat and shallow. You see, the deeper pockets in a baseball glove might give you a better hold of the ball, but it also means you will have to put a bit more effort into scooping out the ball from your gloves to throw it to the bases.
Inversely, roll baseball gloves implies that the pockets in the glove are deeper, giving you better control and handling of the ball when you try to pick it up. A rolled baseball glove retains its shape even after rigorous use and training sessions.
With a rolled baseball glove, the pockets can make it harder to scoop out ground balls for the players. That’s where flaring a baseball glove comes in. A flared baseball glove implies that the pockets in the glove are flat and shallow. This makes it easier to scoop out groundballs.
There are ways you can flare your own baseball gloves pretty easily right in the comforts of your home. And if you want to save yourself the hassle, you can also buy pre-flared baseball gloves.
Now the question of whether it is good or not is up for debate. Most infielders prefer a flared baseball glove instead of a rolled glove since they deal with ground balls and drive-bys most of the time. And outfielders tend to favor rolled gloves since catching those high-fly balls is easier with them
In my experience, most softball players, regardless of position, go with rolled gloves. But in baseball, where the stakes are higher, people generally choose to flare or roll their gloves depending on their positions and preferences.
So whether flaring your baseball glove is good or not depends almost entirely on you and your preference as a player.
Why do Baseball Players Flare Their Gloves?
The main reason behind flaring your baseball glove is to flatten out the pocket so that it is easier to scoop out the ball and throw it to the base. And since the overall surface area of the glove increases because of a flat pocket, it is much easier to capture ground balls with a flared glove. Infielders, in particular, can gain a lot with a flared glove. Since they need to throw the ball quickly to the bases, the flatter surface of the glove allows them to transition the ball faster from their glove to hand.
Should I Flare My Baseball Glove?
As I already said, flaring a baseball glove depends entirely on the player’s preference and position of play. So whether you should flare your baseball glove is really not something I can answer properly. If you are an outfielder, I would recommend going with a roll baseball glove. Since these gloves come with deeper pockets, and the position mostly tackles high balls, the deeper pocket in a rolled baseball glove comes in handy all the time.
However, if you are an infielder, then flaring your baseball glove might be fine, depending on your situation. If you have a spare set of gloves that you don’t use at all, try flaring that first and giving it a couple of tries. Then if you like how it feels and performs, you can switch to flared baseball gloves or flare your main glove.
Can You Flare an Outfield Glove?
Whether it is an outfield glove or an infield baseball glove really makes no difference – you can flare them both. But typically, outfield players prefer a non-flared, rolled baseball glove. Since the pocket is deep, they will have an easier time catching flyballs with a rolled baseball glove.
Do Pros Flare Their Baseball Gloves?
On occasions, even the pros flare their baseball gloves. But typically, MLB pro-level infielders go with pre-flared baseball gloves specifically designed for their hands. However, the pros on a university or college level usually flare their gloves by themselves. Since pre-flared gloves are a bit on the pricey side, they are not the most cost-effective solution.
With That Said
There is a fair bit of difference between a flare and a roll baseball glove, as you can obviously see. But which one you want for yourself is entirely up to you. If I was to recommend something based on your position – go with a flared glove if you play infield. But as an outfield, a roll baseball glove might be the better choice. Of course, either way, you want to make sure you are using a high-end baseball glove in the first place.
Hopefully, my comparison between flare and roll baseball gloves could give you all the information you were looking for. Cheers!