The Mizuno Affair
I was reminded today of something I haven’t thought of in at least 25 years. I used to play baseball at Kirby Park, near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania when I was a kid. Back then, in my thinner days, I played center field mostly. I was wasn’t great. I wasn’t terrible. But I got great — albeit for a short time. And not due to my skills, but due to a glove I used. My regular glove had had it. The pocket tore right out of it after too many plays and too many loaners. So I had to borrow a glove as my new one was soaking in glove oil.
A guy, who we’ll call Lou, lent me his first baseman’s mitt to play centerfield. At first I thought, “Hmm, this could be awkward.” Even the name, Mizuno, wasn’t really well known at the time. A Japanese manufacturer produced the glove alongside more well known brands like Rawlings, MacGregor, and Spalding. But, I had heard that Pete Rose had a brand new endorsement deal with Mizuno. If it was good enough for Pete, it was plenty good for me.
So I used it in center field. And miraculously I discovered everything found it’s way into this glove. It was magical. I swear it was. I was suddenly making catches I had no business making. I was tempted to just lay the glove in center field and watch it play from the bench — it was that good.
I really have no explanation how this glove worked. To this day, I honestly believe it made me a better player. But this glove had a ripple effect. Because it made me better in the field it also carried over to other activities. I walked with more of a bounce. I easily joked around with people. Things started happening.
But, all good things must end. And Lou reclaimed his Mizuno first baseman’s mitt after the new glove I’d purchased was finally starting to break in. I went back to being spectacularly average in the field.
I found out today, it’s still around. I heard from Lou. And he confirmed he still has it. I need to see it again…perhaps touch it. Rub it with the hope that it’s magic powers will somehow rub off on me. Because, stangely…without it, I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.