- Associated Press - Friday, June 17, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Brian Gordon took the ball from the pocket of his black glove, wound up and threw his first pitch for the New York Yankees.

A career minor leaguer, it all seemed pretty natural for the newcomer. Except for his mitt, that is.

On Thursday, Gordon is believed to have become the first big leaguer to play with a glove made entirely of synthetic materials. Not a side panel or string of leather anywhere.

Way to flash the nylon microfiber, rook!

Sitting high up along the third-base side at Yankee Stadium, Scott Carpenter soaked in the entire scene.

“It was chills,” he related Friday by phone. “To see my name on the mound, starting a game for the New York Yankees, I couldn’t believe it.”

That’s because he’s the founder _ and only full-time employee _ of Carpenter Trade Company. From his shop in Cooperstown, N.Y., near the Baseball Hall of Fame, he’d spent 10 years on this labor of glove, building toward this moment.

“I always had the dream that synthetics were the future of baseball gloves and that I would be the person who made the first all-synthetic glove used in major league baseball,” he said. “I kept it to myself because it seemed so preposterous. There weren’t a lot of people offering a lot of encouragement along the way.”

“Baseball is all about traditions. One of them is the lore of the glove, the memories of the smell of the leather and breaking it in,” he said. “There’s such a romantic notion of that, the idea of a synthetic glove strikes people the wrong way.”

These lightweight mitts that carry his name are totally legal. Even though the Official Baseball Rules say fielders may “wear a leather glove,” Carpenter checked way in advance with Major League Baseball and got the OK.

“At first I really didn’t know what to think about it,” Gordon said Friday at Wrigley Field, where the Yankees played the Chicago Cubs.

“It’s very different looking and not your, the traditional look. But I asked more and more questions about it and it just made sense to me,” he said. “I think a glove is a tool. A glove is our tool, a tool we use every day, and it may as well fit, fit for us.”

For the record, Carpenter’s gloves have no scent. They also don’t require any oils, shaving cream or water to break them in. Pop a ball in the web, that’s plenty.

The advantage of these new-wave gloves, Carpenter said, is that they’re five to 10 ounces lighter than standard leather models _ consider a baseball weighs five ounces, and when a fielder moves his mitt into position, that could mean the fraction of a second between a nifty play and near-miss.

“It’s a very simple equation: Lighter is better,” Carpenter said.

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