why do base runners keep their batting gloves in their hands after taking the gloves off?
by dan shea
Good sliding technique, hands in the air, off the ground
Dan asked: Why do base runners keep their batting gloves in their hands after taking the gloves off? Rationale for base runner keeping gloves in hand?
Rick answered: Dan, thank you for your question.
When players keep their batting gloves in their hands on the bases, they are doing so to help keep their hands in the air should they need to slide.
When your hands have a grip on something, you tend not to drag them on the ground as you slide, thus reducing the chance of a strained wrist ligament or a broken bone.
Prior to the prevelance of batting gloves, base runners were taught to pick up a hand full of dirt in each hand, thus providing the runner with something to grip.
As you look at the photos above, the first one shows a player sliding into second, with both hands up. He doesn't have the gloves in his hands, he still has them on. Doesn't need the help.
The second picture the player has dropped his left hand on the ground as he slid. He has no gloves.
Generally personal preference. You can certainly learn to slide without dragging a hand on the ground. The level of competition and experience isn't necessarily a factor, as the first picture is a high school player, the second an MLB player.
Personally, I broke my wrist in High School sliding and dragging my right hand. I became more cautious after that, and tend to coach that way also.
There are undoubtedly more players at all levels who drag a hand, than there are those that keep them both in the air. For the number of slides made, probably not an alarmingly high number of wrist injuries; but the potential is there.
Once it happens to you, it then becomes a factor. Broken or sprained wrist, pretty tough to play the game with either. Better to be safe.
Yours in baseball,