Turn on any sports highlights television show and you will see incredible baseball catches on a regular basis. No matter how many times you see similar plays, it never gets old. The outfielder chases down a fly ball then dives or slides at the last moment to snag the ball and record the out before it gets a chance to land in play.
How can you make stunning, highlight reel catches like that? It goes without saying that making big plays like that takes plenty of practice. It also helps if you have the right equipment for the job.
When searching baseballs gloves for the right model you will likely come across the popular Rawlings Heart of the Hide Pro Mesh Outfield glove. Rawlings is a popular brand name that you will commonly see worn by the pros. If that the result of a big marketing budget for signing endorsement deals or is Rawlings actually worthy of the popularity it has among ball players?
Let’s take a closer look at the Rawlings Heart of the Hide Pro Mesh Outfield Baseball Glove and see if it lives up to the hype and reputation.
What is the Difference between an Outfielder’s Glove and Other Gloves?
First of all, we should cover a quick lesson about baseball gloves. A lot of people, especially beginners, believe that a baseball glove is a baseball glove. Go out, buy a glove, and play whatever position you want.
While that sentiment may work for people just having some casual fun in a weekend beer league softball game, it’s not true for competitive players who need the right equipment for their position.
An outfielder’s glove, on the surface, looks very similar to other baseball gloves. It uses the same general shape and appearance that you are used to seeing on most other gloves. However, there are some small differences in the design that can have a big impact on your ability in the position.
Since outfielders have to move quickly and track down fly balls or line drives that are often moving fast, their glove needs to be able to help them cover a lot of ground. To help them do this, outfielder’s gloves are usually longer than other gloves. When you’re chasing down a fly ball, that added length could be the difference between making the catch and letting it fall into play.
In addition, outfielder’s gloves also have deep pockets to help prevent high fly balls from bouncing out of the glove during the catching process. Other positions don’t need to handle fly balls as frequently so their gloves are designed slightly differently to suit their unique needs.
Do these differences mean you can’t use an outfielder’s glove anywhere else on the field? If you are a high-level player then you probably want to use the right glove for the position you are playing. If you are having fun playing weekend ball then using an outfielder’s glove instead of an infield glove while you try different positions will likely not matter a whole lot.
Ultimately, buying an outfielder’s glove is a good idea if you play the position. It is especially important if you are playing at a high level of competition and you need the absolute best performance possible from your equipment.
What Makes the Rawlings Heart of the Hide Pro Mesh Outfielder’s Glove Unique?
A trusted brand like Rawlings should be a leader in the baseball equipment industry. If the promises they make about the Heart of the Hide Pro Mesh Outfielder’s Glove are accurate then this glove should stand above much of the competition.
It’s clear that Rawlings has put an emphasis on lightweight design and long-lasting durability. They have built this glove with strong, flexible mesh as well as real leather. The result, according to Rawlings, is a 15% reduction in weight. This should allow outfielders to move more efficiently and make more catches when compared with players using heavier gloves.
The thumb is reinforced which is perfect for players who have to negotiate hard line drives. An awkward bounce or a poorly timed movement could mean that you don’t catch the ball perfectly. The reinforced thumb should help protect from broken bones and injuries in those situations.
Rawlings also advertises that their gloves come 75% broken in from the factory. This feature may be important to some while others may not care at all. Breaking in a glove is important to ensure it fits and feels perfect. Some people dislike the breaking in process so Rawlings has taken care of much of it already. This should mean that the glove is ready for game action sooner than a glove that does not come broken in from the factory.
All you have to do is get some practice time in, use some glove oil, and perhaps make use of a tool designed for breaking in ball gloves if you have one. Personal preference plays a major role in how people break in their gloves and Rawlings has left the last bit of breaking in up to you.
Public Perception about Rawlings Heart of the Hide Pro Mesh Outfield Glove
Marketing copy on a website is one thing, but what do people actually think about this glove? Does it get the job done or are there better options out there for people who need the absolute best when they are chasing down that final out?
Generally, reviews about the Rawlings Heart of the Hide Pro Mesh Outfield Glove are positive. After reading a number of reviews we were able to identify some consistent thoughts among people who purchased and used this glove.
Let’s start with the positive comments. It appears that the 15% reduction in weight did not go unnoticed by buyers. People regularly mentioned that the glove is very lightweight while seemingly not losing any of its durability. That’s a good sign for buyers who want great performance but also want a strong glove that won’t need to be replaced earlier than other models.
The lightweight construction has an added benefit that people noticed but was not mentioned in Rawlings marketing materials. On a hot day, during a long game, the lightweight build helps the hand breathe and prevent buildup of sweat that could cause performance issues when fielding a ball.
A few people noted that they enjoyed the amount of padding put into this glove. The Rawlings Heart of the Hide Pro Mesh glove strikes a nice balance between a lot of padding and not enough. Of course, this is also partially a personal preference issue as some people may prefer a lot of padding and find this glove to be insufficient in that regard.
While we weren’t able to find any strong negative reviews about this outfielder glove, there were some notes from people that you may want to take into consideration when buying.
Although Rawlings promises the glove comes 75% broken in from the factory, several reviewers noted that it was still very stiff and required substantial breaking in before being ready for game action.
Again, this is another personal preference issue but the regularity we saw this comment suggests that it takes a lot of breaking in before the Rawlings Heart of the Hide Pro Mesh glove is ready to go. On the bright side, that does partially speak to the durability of the glove. You don’t want something that breaks in too easily or that could suggest that it will wear out just as quickly.
In any case, if you are buying this glove then you may want to allow for enough time to properly break it in before playing in the big game. If you need a glove that’s ready to play with right away then you may need to look at other options and sacrifice the quality or durability that this Rawlings glove offers.
How Does the Competition Stack Up?
One of the most difficult thing about buying a baseball glove can simply be the amount of options available. How do you narrow down your selection to find the right one for you?
We have already covered the differences between the different styles of gloves and why an outfielder needs a proper outfielder glove. Of course, that still leaves a lot of options on the table.
One of the main things people look for first when shopping for baseball gloves is price. While price is not the best way to narrow down your options, it is hard to ignore budget. The level you are playing at could also dictate your budget. A high level high school player might be willing to spend more for the right equipment than someone who is just looking to casually play for fun once a week.
This Rawlings Heart of the Hide Pro Mesh Baseball Glove is a mid to high range option on the market and the pricing reflects that. There is no doubt that you can find less expensive gloves. Of course, with that, you are giving up some quality.
Entry level gloves are great for beginners and casual players who have the lowest budget. For these people, the Rawlings Heart of the Hide Pro Mesh glove is probably too large an investment. Entry level gloves usually use synthetic materials that will wear out faster than real leather. These materials are often heavier as well.
In addition, entry-level gloves may not offer added features like extra thumb protection. This might not be a big deal for entry-level players but could actually lead to injury in players who are dealing with better hitters.
On the other end of the spectrum are the high-end gloves. These gloves can come with a price tag as high as $400 or more. Essentially, these gloves are marketed at the most serious players who need the best technology in their glove.
Rawlings does have some similar features to high-end gloves. For example, most high-end products will also use real leather and offer reinforced thumb protection. However, there are some additional features they pack in to justify that increased price.
In some high-end gloves, you will find special, patented padding. This could even be referred to as multi-zone padding, with customized feel for different areas on the glove. Whether you need those features is largely dependent on the level you’re playing at. For most, however, a mid-range glove like the Rawlings Heart of the Hide Pro Mesh is a great option that also won’t break the bank.
Final Thoughts on the Heart of the Hide Pro Mesh Outfielder’s Glove
At this price point, you will not find the perfect ball glove. Compromises have to be made if you are not willing to spend as much as the highest end gloves demand. Rawlings has made an effort to make sure you don’t have to make too many compromises while still getting a very quality product.
If you want great performance from your ball glove then you can feel confident that Rawlings, one of the top brands in baseball, will meet or exceed your expectations. They have packed a lot of features into this reasonably priced glove which will certainly stand head and shoulders above entry level gloves that are simply not made with the same care and attention.
For us, the Rawlings Heart of the Hide Pro Mesh Baseball Glove checks off a lot of the most important boxes. You should feel confident purchasing this glove and putting it into game action. See you on the highlight reels!