I started playing ball again last year after i was invited by Adam Horovitz and his wife Kathleen Hanna to check out their running game they've had for years, i jumped at the chance. I think it had been literally 30 years since i played a game of baseball or softball.
When i was a kid i was really into baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates of the late 60's and 70's were my team. I followed the standings of the NL East like a hawk. Roberto Clemente was my idol. I even got to know Dock Ellis personally (we'll get into that in another blog one day perhaps)... I used to think i was gonna be pro, that dream got shattered a little late for me, i was around 12 years old. I punched someone in the face and broke my own hand, it was a horrible season for me. Besides I started skateboarding a lot more then too. And the fact was I couldn't hit a curve ball.
But let's get back to the 2008 season, I had a fucking blast playing every week all summer long, more fun than i could remember in a long time, win or loose i really didn't care, it's an easy going game with some people who can't play and some who take it a bit too seriously. I was so anxious at first, i think for the first two games i had hit the first ball pitched to me everytime i came to bat, and i was whacking them, fun as hell. Connecting the bat to the ball solid is a great feeling, catching a fly ball on the run is just damn fun.
Ok, so i'm a vegan, correct? so what the fuck? what was the last piece of animal in my life that i hadn't replaced after all these years? You guessed it, my baseball glove. After all did i even have a choice? Well almost 20 years after i stopped using a leather wallet, wearing leather shoes or even having a leather belt in my wardrobe, i still had a leather baseball glove and i wanted to do something about it. So several years ago (even though I was yet to discover equipment manager Horovitz' softball game), i still wanted to replace that last leather item, just in case i was able to find someone to at least have a catch with. So i searched and i searched and i searched, sure there were some literally "dime store" vinyl gloves out there made for 8 year olds, but was i really going to have to steep that low, not to mention that small? Somehow I stumbled upon this guy Scott Carpenter in some interview some where, and somehow i found his brand new website, it had not even been picked up by the search engines yet, i must have been one of the first people to even see it! I was blown away by what i was reading. He started the business up in Cooperstown , New York (the same little town where the National Baseball Hall Of Fame is located), and he used to work for Rawlings one of the most important baseball company's in the world, before they closed down their US operations. He knew gloves inside and out, literally. i called the guy almost immediately to get more details and see if he was as real as his website had professed. He was all that and more.
I was only balking at the price by this point (around 250 bucks) and told him as it came closer to summer i'd get back to him. Within a month or two he dropped me a line, when we had last spoken i believe he could read my reason for hesitation, but i think he knew how i really wanted the glove and he wanted me to have one, so he let me know he had donated a certificate for one of his custom made gloves to PeTA to auction off for some fund raising event they were having, and he let me know the bids were low. This was my chance to give the money to a good cause, AND get the glove for a good price. Well it worked out perfect, i bid it up at the last minute, my first time ever on Ebay, and got it for less than half the usual price! Within a month or so Scott had e-mailed me some progress photos with my custom embroidery, and then the final product came in the mail a few weeks after that.
I recently took a peek back at Scott's website "Carpenter Trade" and it's been updated a bit as has his glove design, so I called him yesterday just to say hello and check in. He informed me, among other things, that the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has just asked to aquire one of his gloves since they are now being used by some pros and are the first 100% synthetic gloves ever made and used by pros (less than half the weight of a normal glove by the way - and every one is hand made). He also told me that his work has improved as well since i got my original a few years back. If you are at all interested in baseball or the DIY aesthetic you need to check out his story, and if you're so inclined i'd highly recommend one of his gloves, this guy is a serious craftsman. The season is almost upon us...