When I started playing baseball, I didn’t put much thought into my equipment. I mean, of course, I wanted the shiniest new baseball bat or the new signature glove that just hit the market, but I couldn’t fully appreciate all the thought and effort that went into manufacturing these gears.
Take a baseball glove, for instance. The intricacies of the needlework, the subtle placement of logos, and the delicate art of lacing all blend together to make the finest baseball glove. If you ask me, that sounds closer to art than anything else.
And to fully appreciate the quality of gloves, you need to consider the smaller aspects of it also. So, let’s talk about binding for now. Basically, the binding on a baseball glove refers to the piece of material wrapped around the wrist of a glove that basically works as a protective layer for your skin.
I will help you delve deeper into what a binding does and explore the different types of bindings that you can find in a baseball glove.
What Does Binding Mean On A Baseball Glove?
I have already given you a basic idea of what a binding is on a baseball glove. It’s a small piece of material that protects your skin from chafing against the wrist opening of the glove. But that’s not all that it does. As it turns out, the binding can add a lot of extra utility to your baseball glove.
You can, of course, find open-back gloves that do not come with any bindings. Those gloves are usually a bit cheaper and typically considered budget-friendly baseball gloves.
So, let’s talk about some of the benefits that come from the binding on your baseball glove.
One of the main advantages of going with a baseball glove with binding is that it will last longer. The binding not only protects your skin from rubbing against the exposed leather in your glove, but it also protects the material of the glove from your hands.
Compared to regular open-back gloves, a bonded baseball glove lasts much longer. It can tackle the normal wear and tear that comes from regularly playing baseball much more gracefully. And since it essentially creates a barrier between your hand and the glove, sweaty hands should have no effect on the glove.
While style is a subjective thing, I think most would agree with me on this – the binding on a baseball glove looks pretty darn cool. With the binding, the manufacturers usually try to give the glove a bit of personality. You can also stitch a binding yourself on your glove to give it a different look.
Of course, I wouldn’t recommend trying it unless you are confident in your sewing ability. Instead, you should take it to a professional glove maker and have him do it for you. Yes, it might cost a couple of bucks, but you will be getting a professionally installed binding that will last for ages.
Another major advantage of going with binding on a baseball glove is that it offers better stability for your hand. You will be able to maintain a solid grip on the ball, and since it helps keep your hand dry, you will have less of a risk of fumbling the ball as you catch it.
Besides, when you are catching the ball with your bare hands, the glove hand will not slide around inside the glove because of the binding. A bound baseball glove offers a better fit for your hand and keeps the glove stable when you are playing the game.
Types of Bindings On A Baseball Glove
Binding on a baseball glove can be made using different materials. The most common ones used currently are nylon, rubber, and leather. Typically, the binding is sewn by hand. As of today, you can find three types of binding on a baseball glove.
Let’s talk a bit about each of them.
· Wrap Binding
Wrap binding is the most cost-effective method making it a prime choice for affordable gloves. This binding is made using a nylon cord or leather wrapped tightly around the fingers and palm area of the glove.
· Lace Binding
Lace binding is a bit more advanced compared to wrap binding and also offers some adjustability options for the player. In this type of binding, leather strips are used for lacing up the palm and finger area. You can remove some of the laces if you want the opening to be bigger or add some to make it tighter.
· Stitch Binding
Finally, there’s stitch binding which is considered the most durable and premium method. The idea is the same as lace binding. But instead of simply lacing it up, the leather is stitched into the shell. As a result, the material lasts longer and boosts the strength of the glove. You can also tighten or loosen the material, just like lace binding to find the best fit for your hands.
Rolled vs Flat Binding
While stitching is definitely the most effective binding method of the three, the other two methods also offer a decent experience for the player. But if the choice is in your hands, I would always recommend going with stitch binding on your baseball glove.
But before you proceed, you should also know that there are two variants of stitch bindings – rolled and flat. And you need to understand the differences between them before you can decide which one you should go with since there are merits and weaknesses to both.
· Rolled Binding
In this type of binding, a leather piece is folded and sewn together. But that’s easier said than done, as folding a leather piece is not that easy while keeping it smooth. So, glove makers use a rubber piece and roll the leather around it to make a smooth seam.
The main advantage of rolled binding is that it is extremely durable. You don’t have to worry about the binding fraying or chafing anytime soon.
· Flat Binding
With flat binding, instead of rolling a piece of leather, a single layer of leather is stretched flat and stitched together. Since the binding is made by stretching a single piece of leather, it offers greater flexibility compared to the rolled binding. Usually, flat binding fits better around the wrist.
However, it is not as durable compared to flat bounding. Don’t get me wrong – it will still boost the strength and make the glove last longer than a glove without binding. But not to the same level as rolled binding.
Final Few Words
I’m sure you have noticed how most of the high-end baseball gloves in the market come with binding around the wrist. As you can see, that’s not there to simply make the glove look stylish – there are some practical benefits to this design.
And in a game where every bit of advantage counts – you would definitely want your glove to have a good binding to help you play to your fullest potential. Even when you have an affordable unbound glove, consider installing the binding yourself.
I hope my article could help you better understand the importance and function of baseball glove binding. Good luck!