Baseball award season makes people feel all kinds of way. Whether it is the inevitable snub for Manager of the Year, or a Gold Glove going to a strong offensive and popular player with mediocre defense, there is plenty of ire to go around. People take issue with the process and with the results. Unless, of course, it goes the way of their favorite teams; in that case, the entire thing is clearly on the up-and-up and well-deserved. Either way, the entire process provides intrigue, entertainment, and Twitter fodder galore.
And who doesn’t love a little intrigue, entertainment, and Twitter fodder?
So to capitalize on the energy surrounding the offseason debates over who should be the winner of what award, and only tangentially inspired by the real awards, we present to you the fifth of a series of We Love Baseball awards for the 2021 season.
Next up: Bold Glove. This award goes to the player with the boldest, most colorful, or noticeable gloves, either batting or fielding, or really anything else that might qualify.
Let’s bring on the contestants, in no particular order, shall we?
1. Adbert Alzolay, SP | Chicago Cubs
Adbert Alzolay Has Fourth Minor League Option https://t.co/eNNorlot0K pic.twitter.com/WaEVhW7T12
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) March 24, 2021
2. Francisco Lindor, SS | New York Mets
Francisco Lindor unveils amazing 'Welcome to Queens' batting gloves. #LGM @The1Tab
FULL STORY: https://t.co/1jQ1CeGkD3 pic.twitter.com/aElJcUbjwK
— ESNY (@EliteSportsNY) March 4, 2021
3. Walker Buehler, SP | Los Angeles Dodgers
A loose, extended glove side is what creates effortless velocity🔥🔑
Walker Buehler is a great example of this. His extended front side allows him to stay over his back side and reach his power position at front foot strike. Then he unwinds and explodes towards the plate. pic.twitter.com/gCvuAi76nB
— The Pitching Factory (@FactoryPitching) April 16, 2021
4. Joey Wendle, 2B | Tampa Bay Rays
Joey Wendle going classic no batting gloves + wedding band 😎 @RaysBaseball pic.twitter.com/5a2FkNcCGt
— Jake Reiner (@Reiner_Jake) April 22, 2021
5. Ronald Acuña Jr., OF | Atlanta Braves
THIS MAN IS LIKE A SUPERHERO VILLAIN WHO JUST LEARNS OTHER STARS’ TALENTS AFTER FACING THEM pic.twitter.com/I3xScjPJpc
— Tipping Pitches (@tipping_pitches) April 15, 2021
6. Marcus Stroman, SP | New York Mets
Durags and batting gloves. @HDMHApparel pic.twitter.com/7H0nJiGfiD
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) September 16, 2021
Baseball in Beantown. #LGM
📍: Fenway Park
🕢: 7:10 p.m.
🔗: https://t.co/x5Ar4x2UE4 pic.twitter.com/nDNEWMA7E7
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 21, 2021
7. Sean Manaea, SP | Oakland Athletics
Sean Manaea's glove 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/0ZLYJVnal2
— Retired Rear Admiral Jay Garage-A-Roo (@AshyVandross) June 26, 2021
As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and until we have some sort of hue saturation quotient, it will remain that way. Determining exactly what qualifies as the boldest glove (or gloves in some cases) is quite subjective. Luckily, all of that power rests with the author of the piece. To that end, let us sort these seven contestants into three categories: Better than Vanilla, The Unconventional, and the Truly Bold.
Better than Vanilla | Walker Buehler and Adbert Alzolay should both be acknowledged and recognized for their efforts, but let’s be honest here: they are just royal blue. Sure, they are coordinated with the team colors, and they look sharp. It is hardly their fault that the team colors are as they are, but you simply cannot give this award to somebody whose leather is only slightly more interesting than the norm. Sorry, boys, you’re out.
The Unconventional | I absolutely love including Joey Wendle in this list and giving credit where credit is due; this comes directly from the PL+ crew inside the Pitcher List Discord. They are an awesome crew and really came through with this one. It may not get any bolder in today’s game than to go without batting gloves, and my heart really wants to reward that. If you haven’t, join PL+ and get in the Discord to explain why this is a mistake, but it seems too outside-the-box to make him the winner, but Wendle does get my undying admiration and respect, and let’s face it, that might be the greatest gift of all (narrator: it is NOT).
The Truly Bold | Marcus Stroman, Sean Manaea, Ronald Acuña Jr., and Francisco Lindor all represent the truly bold gloves in the game. If this were more like the real defensive award after which this is named, they each might get their own recognition. But it is not like that, so they will need to fight it out.
Acuña is going to be a tough beat because those yellow batting gloves are absolute fire. Plus, they are on his hands when he wields the magic stick he calls a bat and jacks baseball after baseball. Lindor’s gloves are busy and intricate and art on leather; they truly are worth serious consideration. The mint green on Manaea’s glove is pretty sweet. That is a statement piece for sure, so much so that after wearing it for a whole lot of regular-season games, the umpires actually took it away from him as if he were an insolent toddler having a tantrum on the mound. And Marcus Stroman not only kills it on the field with his powder blue number but also at the plate with some fancy batting gloves as well. Two-way players are hard to beat.
The PL+ Choice
Before we crown the winner, it is time to reveal the insider pick from the Pitcher List Discord. The Pitcher List staff and PL+ members contributed to a poll wherein they chose which players should win the WLB awards, including the Bold Glove. The choice of the masses goes to:
Ronald Acuña Jr.
Jazz Chisholm wore yellow batting gloves today as a tribute to Ronald Acuña Jr. 🙌🏻 pic.twitter.com/95Z51Bi20H
— Baseball Authority (@BsblAuthority) July 11, 2021
Those bright yellow gloves were so iconic that they were the manner by which Jazz Chisholm was able to pay tribute to the Braves’ star after he went down with a season-ending ACL injury. The PL+ members are not wrong about how dope Acuña’s vibe is, and these batting gloves certainly make him a frontrunner for the overall victory. However it shakes out, we are all rooting for him to come back from injury and be awesome at baseball again. He is good at the game, and, perhaps more importantly, he is good for the game.
Can’t wait to see him smashing baseballs again in 2022.
The Winner Is…
Platinum Gold Glove Award 2021@STR0
— マーカス・鷺ヌーマン (@L_CHC_HOU_16019) August 18, 2021
🗣 E N E R G Y!
.@STR0 was a whole mood today. pic.twitter.com/vT4c6sySSl
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 7, 2021
As Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will tell you, it is nearly impossible to compete against somebody who gets it done on both sides of the field. Marcus may have the best fielding glove in the contest with that beautiful powder blue, and while he may not have the absolute best batting gloves in the game (these belong to the aforementioned Ronald Acuña Jr.), he most definitely has the best combination of the two, and there is simply no beating that.
All that remains now is to see how he brings this swagger to the North Side of Chicago in 2022, where it can safely be said that everybody is rooting for him (except maybe Steven A. Cohen, but who cares about that guy). Of all the awards and accolades he was won and likely will win in the future, there is no doubt that this WLB Bold Glove will be the most memorable and meaningful to be bestowed.
Photo by Ariel Basaar/Unsplash | Adapted by Ethan Kaplan (DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)