A baseball glove is one of the essential pieces of equipment a baseball player utilizes on the field. It is an extension of the player's hand, and without a youth first base mitt, the player would be constantly exposed to danger due to the intense nature of the game.
Baseball science has determined that balls can bounce off the bat at an exit velocity of 120 Miles Per Hour. Players in the field must be alert and constantly ready to place themselves in harm's way, and their baseball mit or baseball glovesare the first line of defense.
In particular, the baseball glove empowers the player, though he cannot feasibly use it in every situation. He must wear a glove made from high-quality materials that offer maximum protection and allows him to be dynamic during the game's flow.
Here we will review a baseball mitts and gloves made by Rawlings, the Renegade Series. It is specifically designed to support the first baseman and is shaped more like a mitten, which is why it is typically called a mitt.
Initially, we will cover the basics and terminology of purchasing a first baseman mitt. Then, we will discuss the pros and cons of this specific mitt made by Rawlings. Lastly, we will discuss the company Rawlings more generally and compare this product to others on the market, finally offering our judgment on the value of the Renegade Series first baseman mitt.
A baseball glove is a leather, padded covering worn on the hand, allowing defensive baseball players to catch and field various balls. The most distinguishing characteristic of a youth first base glove is the particular hand it is worn on, which is opposite the throwing hand of the player. If a player throws with his left hand, he will wear the glove on his right hand, and vice versa.
Additionally, gloves are distinguished by the quality of their material, the depth of their pocket, the durability of the grain leather and their shape, how much they have been broken in before being purchased, and most importantly. In this position, they are being utilized.
While each player is unique in their preferences, several factors are generally acknowledged as distinguishing higher-quality gloves from lower-quality ones and how to get them game ready.
First, higher-quality gloves are typically made from heavier, more expensive leather and take longer to break in. This means that a player can shape the glove to fit the particular contours and movements of his hand, which gives him greater comfort, flexibility, and performance while on the field.
The dimensions of the glove are also an essential factor and usually range in size from 9 inches to 13 inches, measured by the length from the index finger to the heel of the glove. These dimensions are also contingent upon the position, as a catcher requires a much longer mitt than a first baseman, which typically requires a 12.5-inch or 12.75-inch length mitt.
Let's take a quick look at the difference between a first base glove vs regular glove or baseball catchers mitt. To begin, the mitts used by the first baseman usually lack compartments for each finger to sit in, which is why they are called mitts. These specialized mitts are much longer and broader than other gloves because the first baseman must frequently catch wildly thrown balls from other players on the field.
Rawlings makes a line of first baseman mitts, and youth catchers mitt, called the Renegade Series. This series comes in either an 11.5-inch or 12.5-inch basket web length and a left-hand or right-hand variety. They range in price anywhere from $44 to $54, depending on the mitt is a base mitt made of friendly leather that features a lightweight mesh exterior to provide balance, durability, and shape retention. It includes a high-density cushioned palm and pads around the index finger to help absorb any shock that a first baseman might experience during play. The pocket for fielding the ball is extremely deep on these base gloves to help mitigate errant throws from other infielders, which is quite common when playing first base.
Rawlings has mostly broken this mitt and requires the player to finish breaking in the final 10% of the mitt for proper pocket shape retention. Rawlings does this by pre-oiling the mitt so the player can begin using it immediately. This makes the mitt perfect for recreational play or slow-pitch play.
This mitt is relatively lightweight, even compared to the most expensive mitts on the market. Players that prefer a light feel will love this mitt as they will not feel bogged down during play.
Of the 116 reviews of this mitt on Amazon, almost 90% of users have given the mitt four or five stars. Most laud the mitt for its quality, comfort, and durability, which is unparalleled in the industry at its price point. The most common demographic that uses this mitt is younger players playing in lower-level leagues, typically anywhere from 8 years old to 12 years old.
This mitt might not be perfect for an older or more advanced player looking for a higher-quality base glove that could be better adapted to his hand. This mitt has already been broken in, and the player would lose significant control over this element if purchasing the Renegade Series.
This makes Rawlings Renegade Series OK for instant usage, or game ready, but not ideal for competitive settings where every equipment nicety influences the player's performance. Some higher-quality mitts allow the player as much as 90% control over breaking in the mitt. Players who utilize these mitts are interested in using them in the future and do not need to use them immediately.
In addition, even though this mitt is made from all leather, there have been recent developments in the market for first baseman mitts that feature more durable and flexible material. For example, some mitts utilize kip skin leather which is described as impeccable and allows the formation of the "perfect pocket".
These higher-quality mitts even feature additional materials in the mitt, such as a sheepskin lining that helps wick moisture away during the high-intensity performance. This is crucial when playing on hot summer days, as your hand can get sweaty inside a mitt for extended periods. This might influence your accuracy and precision when fielding balls and your comfort. Rawlings Renegade Series lacks these additional materials and does not provide as much ventilation, comfort, or flexibility during play.
The leather that the Renegade Series uses is also cheaper and will not last more than a couple of seasons, whereas some leather is made to last for as long as 1tenyears, even a lifetime. Some reviewers commented that while the Renegade Series mitt is perfectly functional, it would not be ideal for playing in more competitive play.
Several customers have complained that the webbing can break on the Renegade Series mitt during its first usage season. While it's hard to ascertain how much these imperfections were due to human error or a stray manufacturing defect, it's still a telling indication that this mitt is not the best quality.
See our catcher's helmet review
Rawlings is lauded highly in the sports industry as one of the most reliable equipment manufacturers. They specialize in baseball equipment but produce gear for softball, football, and basketball players in addition to general training equipment.
The company has a rich history of innovation and was founded in 1887, so they have over a hundred years of experience making equipment for baseball players. They are the most utilized company in Major League Baseball regarding gloves. They are best known as the official supplier of baseballs for the major leagues and producing many balls for other leagues.
This is significant because it means that players that use the company's glove will likely be using the company's ball during play; the two will have a complementary relationship that will subtly optimize the player's performance. It's always better when a company is an expert at producing equipment for many facets of a sport because this more holistic wisdom bleeds into every part of their process and informs each piece of equipment.
When buying a glove, or rawlings catchers gear, from Rawlings, you can be assured you are receiving a piece of equipment that has been designed with every aspect of the game in mind, so much so that professionals trust it.
In this section, we discuss the Renegade Series from Rawlings and compare it to first baseman mitts offered by other companies.
Mizuno makes a similar mitt for first basemen called the GXF102, costing $49. It also comes pre-oiled and ready for instant use, though it might require some initial breaking in.
Mizuno's specific leather is called java leather, a soft cowhide leather. This is a lighter higher-quality leather than the material used by Rawlings and is more durable and flexible. Many reviewers have commented that this mitt is the most comfortable mitt they have ever worn.
Wilson makes a much more expensive mitt called the A200 that costs $149. This mitt is geared towards younger players with a more advanced game.
Wilson's mitt uses pro-stock leather, which is considered one of the best kinds of leather available for baseball mitts. This kind of leather is only slightly broken in by Wilson, which allows the players more control over the eventual formation of the mitt. It also means that the mitt is not ready for play, which could be problematic for players looking to use their equipment immediately.
Furthermore, this mitt features dual welting, which helps the mitt maintain its composure throughout many seasons, and it also gives the mitt more flexibility during play. If you purchase this mitt, you might not have to buy another one for many years.
The youth first base gloves are more customizable gloves and have only been broken in 30% of the way by the factory. The first baseman's mitt is much heavier and features a fur interior for maximum comfort.
This mitt ranges from $229 to $249, depending on what hand you wear it on, and it is ideal for only the most serious players.
After considering all the pros and cons of the Rene and the numerous competitors' options competitors, we think Rawling's mitt is perfect if you are looking for a dependable, deep-pocket mitt on a budget.
If you are looking for something slightly more advanced, this mitt, featuring neo flex, is not for you. Rawlings and Wilson make higher-quality mitts that are more expensive and allow for increased control over how the mitt is broken in.
These mitts also feature better-quality leather that will last longer. Rawling's Renegade will be perfect if you are looking for a mitt that will only last several seasons. If you want something that will last ten years or longer, you should go with a more expensive mitt.
Lastly, the Rawlings Renegade series is perfect if you do not care about controlling how the mitt is broken in and want to use the mitt right out of the box. If, however, you want the mitt to be shaped to the contours and niceties of your hand, then you should go with a more expensive mitt that has not been pre-oiled.
Overall, this mitt will surely satisfy lower-level and mid-level first basemen for at least several seasons of play. Find one at your local Big 5 Sporting Goods or other sporting retailers near you.
After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.
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