The UNC and University of Texas clubs are the first teams we’ve ever seen with the provocative new Nike MVP Select line of hybrid (leather/synthetic) gloves. We knew nothing about them until Nike told UT baseball’s Vince Alcazar the following three key components:
“The ring, middle, and index finger are perforated steer hide leather.”
“The thumb and pinky are a lightweight composite material we manufacture using our Hyperfuse process.”
“It is comprised of a light, flexible, perforated base material, a breathable mesh, and a super strong synthetic skin.”
Nike is learning before our very eyes how to make the lightest possible high-performing baseball glove.
They probably got some good insight from Springer/Cargo and made some tweaks in the production version, which is called the Vapor 360 (you can read about that one here):
With even more insight from high school’s elite players at showcases like the Perfect Game All-American Classic, Nike has taken another step forward with the MVP Select handed out to the Tarheel and Longhorn clubs.
The web on the MVP Select Trap outfielder’s glove is borrowed from Matt Kemp‘s Japanese made SHA|DO (Matt Kemp’s “Mighty Fine” version here).
Got a good look at UNC’s thanks to their Twitter account (link above). Wish we could get you a few more of these, but I’ve had no luck getting in touch with UNC’s equipment guys. For God’s sake they tagged Uni Watch in this tweet. Which is about uniforms. (sad face)
(On a side note, take it easy with the #filters, @DiamondHeels.)
In the below shot you can see other MVP Select webs (front to back: modified trap, I-Web, basket taken from Nike’s Diamond Elite line, H-Web, and Trap):
A few thoughts on them:
Based on the perforation coupled with the distribution of real leather and synthetic materials, this looks to be the best combination of speed/performance of all the hybrid gloves Nike has produced during this on-going project.
There’s dimples on the synthetic parts. Is Nike borrowing that from the golf ball? Aerodynamics? Maybe not.
Thank God they’re not Volt.
I want the trap.
These gloves pass the eye-test with flying colors, in my opinion. What Nike does better than any other sports manufacturer ever has is they listen to athletes and learn from them. These gloves are proof.
Big thanks to Miguel Avila @MigAvila11 for getting all these great photos together at UT. Hook ‘em.
When I was a young kid, I wanted Ken Griffey Jr’s glove for Christmas, and I wanted to leave no margin for error for my mom who I hoped would buy it for me. So I went looking for the exact model information, and I found it, thanks to a glove forum (probably Glove-Works). Even though I found the info after some digging, I couldn’t believe how hard it was to find! I ended up not getting the glove that Christmas, but what I did get was the dream of a place like WPW—so that one day baseball fiends like me could accurately beg their mothers for expensive equipment!
Fast forward about 15 years, and I’m building another Christmas List. If money was no object, what would I want for Christmas going into the 2015 baseball season? If all the “exclusives” were inclusive, who’s swagger would I be jackin’?
Here is my most wanted list, some buy-able, some exclusive.
As far as THE LOOK and only the look goes, there are some instances when a classic just can’t be touched. Apologies to the new school labels, but like Wrigley’s Ivy or Yankee pinstripes, the caked on pine tar/flame-treated ash look is everlasting.
via @t_vett on Instagram
The Nike Treatment
Maybe its Nike’s experience with larger-than-life mega stars like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, but there is just nobody better at pampering their athletes with hyper-personalized gear. Its not just the special colorways, or a stylized logo–Nike stands alone in their ability to embed the DNA of a specific athlete in the gear they use.
In the above example, Nike uses Shane Victorino’s H-Web as a canvas, paying homage to his family, his heritage, and his own personality, all the while providing Victorino with a high-performance glove worthy of a Gold Glover.
In 2014, Nike’s baseball designers set the new high-water mark for custom glove work. Check out their work here and here. And here. And here.
Not everyone can get a one-of-a-kind custom glove made by Nike’s best designers to your exact specifications. However, there is a company out there now, called Gloveworks, that offers the amateur player a taste of what that’s like.
Gloveworks has a custom tool that allows you more customization than any other similar tool we’ve seen, including the ability to embroider your own image/logo.
Custom glove builders have never before offered this much personalization, and Gloveworks does it for a ridiculously reasonable price. The top of the line European Kip will run you $199, and customizations like the logo you see above only cost $10 extra. Not only that, but the sheer number of options is unbeatable. On the fingers alone you can choose the color of 10 separate panels completely independent of one another. See more of what I’m talking about here.
This decision was extremely difficult. Gut reaction when I first started thinking about this was these Pedroia 4040v2s:
But then I went on a scroll binge on our Instagram and fell back in love with the Guthrie 2KFresh Elephant Print beauties and that’s when things got complicated. And how could I forget Nick Swisher’s Cleveland customs? Or his desert camo 4040s? I could probably come up with 5 or 10 more that I have dreamed about one time or another, so its a tough call.
Between Guthrie’s Elephants and Pedroia’s Camo 4040v2s, which would you choose?
My team colors are black and green with a hint of Columbia blue. These cleats would not match those colors.
I do not care.
Fantasy Batting Gloves
Chris Young’s Under Armour Yard VII Batting Gloves
The UA Yard VII isn’t a total fantasy, its available, but unfortunately, Under Armour hasn’t come around to offering anything but the white base leather, nothing like the ones you see above from Kolten Wong, Josh Harrison, and Chris Young respectively.
For my money, there isn’t a better looking glove in the Big Leagues right now. UA provided their contract guys all over the League with an array of colorways that I gradually fell into lust with throughout the year.
Buy-able Batting Gloves
This is an easy decision. Franklin’s new custom builderis awesome. The Emerald Beauties you see above are gettin’ sewn up by Franklin’s finest seamstress as we speak.
My team is called the Tsunami (Roll Tide) and we share Tulane’s colors (below).
(sexy photo of me courtesy of Tsunami CEO Matty Rowe)
I can’t wait to rock these. I will most likely get some shit from my square-ass teammates about it, but if I was them, I’d be a little sour about it too. Check out Franklin’s custom builder here (you can get the Pro Classics too).
Profiling so many players, I look at a lot of baseball sunglasses. Harper’s Spine-inspired shades are stunners. They’re different than the swarms of Oakley Radar standard issue we’re used to seeing, and they make that very clear. I’m a big fan of the reptilian style and I hope UA expands on these. Imagine a custom builder for these? I think I’d go with black and green with a green-tinted lens. Maybe Christmas 2015.
We posted this on Instagram earlier and I wasn’t too sure how they’d be received, but the reception looks pretty positive. What about you? Would you be into this? I don’t think there was ever a point in my baseball life that I wouldn’t have gotten TORN APART by teammates/opponents if I was wearing Superhero shoes, but maybe that’s not the case anymore.
I was just alerted to this by an old teammate Jake Seiner who writes for MiLB and I think its worth a look and a bookmark to be used as reference.
MLB’s PITCH SMART, is (as you can see above) “a series of practical, age-appropriate guidelines to help parents, players and coaches avoid overuse injuries and foster long, healthy careers for youth pitchers.”
What I found most interesting so far is the pitch count guidelines chart (below).
We saw hints from Franklin that this day would come, and after giving their custom tool a shot myself, it is well worth the hype. Within their robust custom tool Franklin Sports is offering the legendary Pro Classic for the first time in a long time, which you can see above, as well as the Franklin CFX Pro below (you can look at those here).
Both models allow for total creative freedom—the Pro Classic offering 14 different areas for customization and the CFX Pro offering 21 different areas for customization.
Pricing for Franklin’s custom batting gloves is $49.99, which is excellent when you consider that Nike is pushing their stock Vapor Elite Pro gloves at $60. You can add options that will bump the price slightly.