PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Christmas in March.Such was the feeling early Monday morning when Wilson showed up to deliver gloves to Rays players for the coming season.Among those receiving gloves: Brad Boxberger, Evan Longoria, Chase Whitley, Justin Marks, Luke Maile, Matt Duffy, Jake Odorizzi, Shawn Tolleson, Steven Souza Jr. and
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Christmas in March.
Such was the feeling early Monday morning when Wilson showed up to deliver gloves to Rays players for the coming season.
Among those receiving gloves: Brad Boxberger, Evan Longoria, Chase Whitley, Justin Marks, Luke Maile, Matt Duffy, Jake Odorizzi, Shawn Tolleson, Steven Souza Jr. and Wilson Ramos.
"Getting a glove is pretty cool," Souza said. "It takes you back to when you were a kid. It's weird now, you get these gloves every year. When I was a kid, one glove lasted me forever. I had one glove from 14 to 19."
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Souza orders his gloves for the upcoming campaign at the end of each season.
"I try to get team colors," Souza said. "I battled certain models over the years, and the last couple of years I've stuck with the same one. It's a trapeze web. It's light, and it breaks in easy."
Longoria's new glove won't see action for a couple of years. He's used an A2000 EL 3 for 12 years and has five of the same glove in his locker, all at different stages of being broken in, somewhat like a wine cellar stocked with cabernets waiting to mature.
Wilson representative Ryan Smith had two gloves waiting for Duffy, even though the Rays shortstop had a glove sent to him several weeks ago "just so I could have more time to break it in."
"I use a very stock, boring model," said Duffy of his A2000 1781. "My glove is stock, nothing special, no name on it, nothing custom or anything."
Typically, Duffy will use a glove for approximately two years before he starts to get the feel that the glove is ready to be retired.
"If it gets too flimsy, that's a big part of it for me," Duffy said. "I don't like it hard by any means. But if it starts feeling flimsy, I don't like that."
Duffy played third base for the Giants prior to getting traded to the Rays, where he began playing his old position, shortstop. Despite the change, he uses the same model glove he used at third.
"I like having the bigger surface area to catch the ball with," Duffy said.
Duffy allowed that he has mixed emotions about receiving a new glove.
"Actually, I'm kind of torn," Duffy said. "I do like it, it's kind of like Christmas a little bit. But at the same time, my patience for breaking in a new glove. ... I'm just like, I just want to be able to use it in a game already. Plus, brand new gloves don't feel good on your hand. It kind of hurts sometimes."
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.