Glove Day a lot like Christmas for Padres

Glove Day a lot like Christmas for Padres

PEORIA, Ariz. -- He may be a big league ballplayer, but on the day his new gloves arrive each spring, Travis Jankowski becomes a kid again.

When the Padres center fielder entered the Peoria Sports Complex on Saturday morning for Glove Day, a pair of customized Wilson gloves with "H" webbing were waiting for him.

"It takes you back to being like a 5-year-old on Christmas day," Jankowski said. "Now, you get to design your glove, make your glove online. It's kind of tough to tell what it's really going to look like in person. This year, I think I got two keepers."

Seven Padres on the big league roster got their gloves on Saturday when the crew from Wilson arrived.

"Of course it's fun," said right fielder Jabari Blash, who was among them. "You get to take them home, beat them up, mold them a little bit. Who doesn't like getting a new glove? Come on, it's great."

Blash received a pair of gloves as well -- a blue one he plans to use at home and a brown one for the road.

Blash and Jankowski turned their gloves over to clubhouse and equipment manager Spencer Dallin, a wiz at breaking them in. In a couple days, they'll be returned to their owners, ready for use.

Each player has his own routine for putting a new glove into action during games.

Jankowski -- one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball -- spends half a season playing catch and shagging fly balls during batting practice with his new leather. Then, around the All-Star break, he'll put the glove into use.

This year, Jankowski dug deep into the process of designing his gloves online.

"The first thing I do is get the H-web," Jankowski said. "Then I'll get the traditional leather. It's harder to break in, but it's tougher and lasts longer. And then, I go with the color scheme. I can play around with that for a few hours, even a few days, until I find the right one."

So if he got two new gloves on Saturday -- which is "the right one?"

Jankowski paused, examining the pair, settling on the shiny new black glove with orange lacing.

Shortly thereafter, Jankowski walked the glove to a clubhouse attendant, his process of breaking it in beginning anew.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.