So yesterday I promised a little explanation about the specifics of Jason Varitek’s mitt. We get tons of e-mails asking why his web is so floppy. Well, rest assured that it is by design, and it serves a purpose.
Every good catcher knows to catch the ball in the pocket, not the web. This is one reason to train and do drills with undersized training mitts. So why the floppy web if you catch in the pocket? Jason tunes the lacing to be loose to help snag and control wild pitches and pop flies. The floppy web helps to snag and trap the ball under these situations. If the ball has a lot of spin, it helps prevent the ball from popping out. If he’s straining to either side and barely makes contact with the ball and gets it in the web, then the loose web helps to trap the ball.
In order to get the web this loose, we provide him with extra long rawhide so he can relace the web to his liking.
Honestly, my dad and I are worried that one of these days a ball is going to get through that web. But you’ve gotta go with what works for you.