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Glove Day tour makes final stop with Rockies

Special to MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies were the last stop on Wilson's 15-club "Glove Day" tour through the Cactus League, but judging by the constant thumping sounds throughout the training facility as players eagerly took to breaking in their new gloves, the wait was well worth it.

Glove guru Shigeaki Aso was there to meet more than a dozen Rockies players and prospects who have deals with Wilson, and he worked with each of them to fit them with a glove that fits their needs and provide insight on how best to break in and care for the gloves.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies were the last stop on Wilson's 15-club "Glove Day" tour through the Cactus League, but judging by the constant thumping sounds throughout the training facility as players eagerly took to breaking in their new gloves, the wait was well worth it.

Glove guru Shigeaki Aso was there to meet more than a dozen Rockies players and prospects who have deals with Wilson, and he worked with each of them to fit them with a glove that fits their needs and provide insight on how best to break in and care for the gloves.

For first-base hopeful Ryan McMahon, he looks forward to Wilson's arrival and the comfortable feel of their mitts.

"I trust them to bring good gloves, and I usually like the 2K, so as soon as I saw it, I said, 'That's the one I'm getting,'" McMahon said.

• Rockies Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

MLB Pipeline's No. 1 Rockies prospect, Brendan Rodgers, took another route, asking for some custom features that would help his glove stand out the way he hopes his spring performance stands out in a crowded Colorado camp -- a bright blue infielder's glove with a couple of personal touches.

"I kind of wanted a glove out of the ordinary," Rodgers said. "I put 'Skinner Strong' on it. That's my buddy [Joe Skinner] who passed away from cancer two years ago. I have a tattoo in honor of him, so I put it on my glove. I have it on my bat. I thought it would be nice to have that."

Rodgers and Skinner grew up playing baseball together from about age 12 until his death at age 17. That kind of touch accentuates how personal a player's glove can be -- ultimately the most individualized and enduring piece of equipment they rely on every day.

"I beat on it all day, as much as I can," Rodgers said of his habits when breaking in a glove. "Catch balls with it, play catch with it, warm up, do pretty much everything I can with it."

Most of the custom requests are along those lines, essentially "cosmetic," as Aso puts it, but he constantly culls feedback from players as he works to design every professional model Wilson glove.

"For a catcher's mitt, I talked with Ivan Rodriguez, and he doesn't like a plastic piece for a thumb guard," Aso recalled. "He said we need to implement something on the catcher's mitt, so I put a special [leather] piece in. Then the thumb will not break."

In starting pitcher Kyle Freeland's case, the glove he wears is a family affair. He put in some custom requests, scattering in some Rockies purple highlights and having his name embroidered on the glove, but otherwise, he has a tried and true preference.

"My dad actually has an original Wilson A2000 that he'll still play catch with," Freeland said. "He turned me on to it when I was young, and I've been using it ever since. Every glove I've played with has been an A2000. I haven't had this model with this webbing. I've had the Clayton Kershaw one before and the trapeze webbing, but this is new to me."

Though they'll experiment with minor changes and the occasional bold cosmetic, ultimately these players keep coming back to Wilson for the familiar comfort it gives them as they approach their job.

"I'm confident with it," catcher Tom Murphy said of his Wilson 1790. "I always feel like I have a good chance with that glove in my hand, so it's an easy decision for me."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com.

Colorado Rockies, Kyle Freeland, Ryan McMahon, Tom Murphy, Brendan Rodgers