Elijah R:
How you doing, man? What is going on?

Eric W:
I am good, dude. We had a pretty big event last week, where we had a hundred teams in Baton Rouge playing games. We had Home Run Derby and all this stuff, so we had to do tours at the office like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. So now we are just catching back up on some stuff and busy as always.

Elijah R:
So is that just a Marucci event or did you all put that on for somebody, or was that just something you all put on for yourselves, or...

Eric W:
It is all the team side of the business. The teams that we sponsor organizations and travel ball teams, we pick, I think it is like 15U, 16U, and 17U, and we invite them all down here, and they basically just play against each other for bragging rights and having fun.

Elijah R:
I know you all have a lot of teams. Was it just Marucci teams?

Eric W:
It was only Marucci-sponsored teams that can play in it, and they play the championship game at LSU stadium, which is pretty cool. And then they do the Home Run Derby there and they play at a couple college fields like Southeastern, and some of the local schools and it is fun. It is great for them and the teams, but it's a grind, for sure. Especially this time of year when we get a lot of afternoon rain.

Elijah R:
Oh, nice! I was just interested, like I said, you have a really massive presence on social media. You are huge, man. I have been following you for a while. I saw that Louis Vuitton glove you posted yesterday. Those are all concept gloves? Are those actual models or are those just concepts that you put out? I know you did that one, that SpongeBob one you did a while back, you did that one with the time piece. Well, that one was obviously a real watch on that one. But a lot of those, do you just brainstorm daily and just put stuff together? How does your creative process work?

Eric W:
All of those right now are just development samples. My process is if I see something that I think could be cool or if I have an idea or I'm inspired by something, and we sample it, and then put it out there to see if other people are feeling it or interested in something like it.

Elijah R:
You have people hate on those gloves?

Eric W:
Oh, yes. The funniest part about that is when you go a little bit deeper and you start asking questions like, "Well, what don't you like about Marucci or our gloves in general or whatever?" And they are like, "Well, I've never had one." I am like, "Oh, okay. So, you're just hating to hate." Do you know what I mean?

Elijah R:
That's pretty normal across the board, but those are super cool. I really think you should put some of those out, regardless of what anybody says. I know that SpongeBob one would be hilarious.

Eric W:
The SpongeBob one, it was pretty cool how it came together. So Grayson Rodriguez, who is a pitcher on the Orioles, he was their number one overall prospect in their organization. He got called up, he is injured now, unfortunately, but he just messaged me one day. He is like, "Hey, man, can you make a glove that has a picture of SpongeBob on it?" And I was like, "Man, I don't know if I can actually do that because of copyright issues. But, let me see if I can make more of a SpongeBob-themed glove." So, I was kind of looking at the sky pattern from the show and I created it one off on an illustrator app. And then the font just came, and then it just all came together. So that one in particular, it is hard to see, but on the index finger it says Grayson. So that was given to one player in particular, and he is a pitcher, so he cannot even use it in a game, because it's like...

Elijah R:
Oh, it was dual colors. You cannot even really use that.

Eric W:
So I think if we did it, I was doing something like that, make it like an infield glove or something. But I think the response to that was pretty good. So, I think that would be something down the road, that we would probably want to launch, just because everybody loves SpongeBob.

Elijah R:
I have to ask; did you have any say in those Wood Bats that they used in the Home Run Derby? There were four people that used those, those really cool ones like they had the Hollywood written on one. Were those Victus models? Did you have any say in those?

Eric W:
The Wood Bats team at Marucci and at Victus are unbelievably talented and awesome at what they do. I do not really get involved too much in that, just because they don't need the help. They are all so good at what they do. They are crazy creative. The bat king, his name is Bruce, he does a lot of the Victus limited edition designs and he is amazing. He sets up his airbrush, you give him an idea and he can just make it come to life, which really cool. I hadn't seen those bats either until I watched the Home Run Derby and I was pretty blown away.

Elijah R:
I saw them post the four and I was like, "Oh my gosh, those are sweet.” I know the first hitter had one. What is his name? Julio. Is it Julio Rodriguez? The guy who had like 82 homers?

Eric W:
Julio Rodriguez.

Elijah R:
He had one. I forgot the other two. I do not know if Pujols had one.

Eric W:
We made him one. He just ended up swinging more of his game bats, his standard game bat. And then we had made one for Giancarlo Stanton too. It was like LA-themed. He is an LA guy. Just shouted out. We went to high school together.

Elijah R:
Oh, really?

Eric W:
Yes, we did.

Elijah R:
Gosh!

Eric W:
But he's a beast and his bat was really cool too. They had palm trees on it and the Hollywood sign. It was pretty cool.

Elijah R:
Yeah, man, it's pretty tight. I got to ask. So it's safe to say, you're obsessed with gloves obviously, right? So my thing is, do you have a collection going?

Eric W:
At my house, I have a lot gloves from a lot of different brands, also Marucci gloves that I've worked on, obviously. But I think of it now, I started out collecting for sure, and that led to learning pattern varieties and leather and material differences, and what some brands do well and what some brands could improve on. And now, I consider it almost like a reference library. I hang on in these gloves because obviously, I really like them and I am passionate about them, but also, if I ever need to see if something's been done or if someone's in the past found a solution to something that I'm trying to accomplish or whatever. It's almost like a living reference and a place to compare different things, and see if you're on the right track, or if something could be improved, or whatever. At least that's how I justify continuously buying more and more gloves. I'm like, "Well, it's for my job."

Elijah R:
Oh, man. I've got a buddy of mine; I think he may have talked to you. His name's Jason. It may have been back when you were with Easton a while ago. And this dude has one of the biggest glove collections I've ever seen. So, I've had a bunch of gloves, obviously I played ball through college. I've had a bunch of gloves, but when I was coming up in high school and went to college, glove trading was huge, so everyone was trading gloves and stuff. So now I have a bunch of gloves that I look back on like, "Man, I'm not happy with half of them", but I have recently got back into buying gloves. So I'm a huge Rawlings guy. No offense to Marucci. I don’t think y'all started making gloves until maybe like 2012, 2013, right?

Eric W:
Yeah. '13 or '14, something like that.

Elijah R:
What is your favorite web type? What's your go-to? If you were going to go step on the field and play, what glove are you choosing?

Eric W:
If they let me play infield, I like a Single Post and I like an I-Web too. Pretty practical webs, Single Post just because they break in quick, it's just a single bar going across. There's not a lot of exposed lace, so it's a pretty low maintenance web as far as you pop a lace or something, it's easy to fix and it's quick and it's not a modified trapeze or something crazy. It looks cool but you break a lace on a trapeze, you're in trouble.

Elijah R:
It's a mess to fix that one.

Eric W:
I like the low maintenance aspect of the Single Post and it gives me old school Cal Ripken, A-Rod vibes. They were Single Post guys and too low obviously. And so to me, it's been that on the pitching side, it's like two-piece closed, just like your standard closed web like that, I think is timeless. You can't go wrong with someone like that. I think trends come and go with your different wild, crazy webs, but that one's always going to look good, no matter what. And man, if I played outfield, I think the most practical is probably an H-web.

Eric W:
I've always been a fan of the full trapeze just because Griffey and Tory Hunter and players like that when I was growing up that used them. But you catch a ball on the end, you smoke on a ball with the trapeze is like you got a 50/50 chance of that thing popping out. So it's not the most top to bottom structurally-sound web, but it does look pretty cool. And it's got that nostalgia factor. So each blended the six finger trap with the add-on web full trapeze. So that was cool too. But for practicalities sake, I'd probably say H-web.

Elijah R:
I'm a trapeze guy. I love trapeze gloves, man. Trapeze is it. I was a PO and catcher. So don't ever ask me to play infield or outfield because I suck. I'm so bad. Don't ever ask me to catch popups. I can't catch them. Ground balls, not my thing. But if you were to put me out there, I'd have to use either an I-Web or trapeze. Outfield, I'm not even going to say. I haven't played outfield my entire life. I'd be like, "Just give me a glove that's big enough to catch a ball. I don't even care what it looks like because I'm going to have a hard time..."

Eric W:
I'm not saying I could catch a ball or field a ball at this point either. Infield gloves are the most fun because they're smaller. I was a pitcher in college too. So I didn't have any of like the cool stuff that I get to mess with nowadays. But each glove has their pros and cons, each web has their pros and cons than anything else. There's no one perfect option for everybody. So that's what I think the biggest thing about gloves are, is like no matter what brand or web or whatever, you can't just go to one brand, try one glove and go, "Nah, not for me. I don't like this brand." Because every brand makes a variety of different things. You just haven't found the one thing that's right for your playing style or what you're looking for or whether it's your hand size or your grip strength or whatever, because everything is going to have that variation. You said you're a Rawlings guy. And so when I was playing, I could never use Rawlings because their hand stalls are notoriously big.

Eric W:
They're big. So I had smaller hands. My hands always swam around in those. So I just could never get comfortable with them. Not saying they're not a great glove. Of course, they're probably the most recognizable name and gloves and they do a great job and they got good products and, but I always catered towards Wilson just because their hand stalls are smaller, they're a tighter fit. And that's not saying that one is better than the other. It's just for me, one catered to my playing style better. So I think that's one of those things that players and kids, I understand that there's the side of being a loyalist to a brand or whatever, but there's so many out there and there's so many different patterns within each brand that tries something because you might be missing out on something that could actually make you maybe not better, but could make you more confident or comfortable or whatever.

Elijah R:
I feel the same way, man. Growing up, my parents always bought me Rawlings. Obviously, you're just going to use your parents are going to buy you. You can make suggestions and they're going to get you what they want. It's funny because you didn't use Rawlings, you said use Wilson. We were complete opposites. My parents just for some reason would never buy me Wilson. I didn't care for them that much. I'm not going to lie, I think that the Wilson trapeze is just the most ugliest thing I've ever seen. They just doesn't look good. I'm like in love with their A2K models, though.

Elijah R:
I love gloves on all spectrums. I think every company has something to offer in that realm. Segueing back into Marucci, so I know you all got some new stuff coming out here soon and I know y'all have the Capitol Series. What do you want customers to know about your gloves and what sets them apart from the other ones in the space of ball gloves right now?

Eric W:
I would say, first and foremost, from a performance standpoint, one of the only quantifiable things you can put for a glove is weight. Everything else is personal preference and subjective. For example, stiffness. What you think is stiff and what I think is stiff could be totally different things. What you think is comfortable, what I think is comfortable, it's all subjective. So I think from a fielding glove standpoint, we have, in my opinion, the lightest glove on the market at each price point. So if you're talking pro level like Capitol Series and you're putting it up against Heart of the Hide, A2000, Pro Preferred, whatever, two highest tiers of other brands, we're going to measure significantly lighter at each size.

Eric W:
So I think that's a big component of something you can actually feel immediately and can actually quantify in a glove. On top of that, we understand that, like you said, we've only been in gloves since 2013. We don't have the luxury of our grandfather and our father have passed down this Rawlings or Wilson for generations and they want steer you into what they use. And I get all that. There's definitely the heritage factor, but since we don't have that, our approach is more like, we want to give each player that same quality, if not better, and not have the price point be as high as our competitors, because when you have brand name and recognition and you've been around for a hundred years, it's a little bit easier to demand a little bit more price for your goods.

Eric W:
Whereas us, we feel that our quality is there, if not better, in some instances, depending on your subjective opinion, obviously, but our price points are going to be lower than all of those more heritage brands, which I think gives us an advantage. Quality-wise, we're talking Japanese Kip, Japan Steerhide, it's all very high quality materials. So I think in that sense, we're right on par there. It's a tough market and telling a baseball player to try anything new is always a challenge. We're a very stubborn and setting our ways bunch.

Eric W:
It's part of the culture of being a baseball player. I only made a few errors with this glove last year, so I'm never going to try anything new. And it's a tough market to crack for sure. But I think the things we can control are what we perceive to be high performance, high quality materials, and in a price point, that's not going to make your parents not ever want to consider buying.

Elijah R:
That's honestly true because I know we started doing some stuff with String King and I don't know if you've heard of them. They do a lot of the lacrosse stuff, but they really recently went into the bat space and their bats are like 200 bucks. So when you compare it to an Easton, you're like, "Oh my Lord”. When I was playing, the premier bat was, let's just say like the Exo Grid was the one. And it was only like 300 bucks at the time. That was steep at that time. Now, it's insane how much stuff's costing these days obviously, but that's a whole other topic.

Elijah R:
But I think that's awesome that you guys are in that space of really doing something that's budget friendly. That a lot of people can get behind. And honestly, you're Marucci, you guys are notorious for making amazing wood bats. So even if I had a child or I was looking to still play, I would give it a shot. I don't see why people wouldn't.. And I've held your gloves. I've seen them, they're awesome. You guys are working on some really cool stuff. Going back into you, man. So you're playing career, where did you play ball at in college?

Eric W:
I played at UC Berkeley. So in the PAC-12, on the west coast. I say played, I was injured 99% of my playing career. So I was there.

Elijah R:
I feel that in a lot of levels, but I see. You were a pitcher in college, you said, right?

Eric W:
Yeah. After my freshman year, shoulder surgery, leg surgery and then Tommy John a year later. So that pretty much took me all the way to junior year just right there. It was a great time. Played with some talented players, played against some really good players. And honestly, all that downtime in college is what inspired me to try to figure out once baseball's over because again, I'm a five foot, 10 right-handed pitcher who had two surgeries. My ceiling was pretty low as far as projectability goes. So when I was rehabbing, I started messing with other players' gloves and looking at them and trying to figure out like what makes them the way that they are. Is it the finger shape? Is it the lining? Why do certain players like certain patterns? Flat patterns, deep patterns, whatever. And just with all that downtime, I just tried to learn. And once I graduated, I realized this was something that one, I could stay involved in the game. And two, if something I actually like doing and that's better than working in insurance or something.

Elijah R:
Doing something that sucks. So that really feeds into everything that you're doing now. Wow. I didn't know that. That's crazy. So, you have had a passion for gloves and that kind of built into what this is because I know you were with Easton for a while.

Eric W:
I was there for like two or three years. Something like that, right out of college.

Elijah R:
That's where I found out about you because I know that you did... Did you do Alex Bregman's gloves?

Eric W:
Yes.

Elijah R:
Okay. And that is where I originally found out about you.

Elijah R:
I have been a fan of yours for a while, so it's super humbling to get to talk to you. Is there anything else that you want tell us about Marucci? I think this would be great for our customers as well to get an insight on Marucci as a company. Is there anything that you want to let everybody know about what you guys got coming up?

Eric W:
I think apart from one series, everything is new this year. The names are going to sound the same just because they are. But we basically, not just in field and gloves, but in everything that Marucci does, we are never really satisfied and we are never not tinkering on something, whether it's something very small that maybe the public doesn't even notice, but we do or it's something big as far as like overhauling, but on the glove side, a lot of small changes. And as you know, I am sure a few small changes in the glove can add up to something huge. All I can really say is the people who have tried them in the past, whether they liked them or did not, were always changing.

Eric W:
So hopefully, the people that liked them will like them even more. And maybe the people that did not like them can give them another shot. And we address some of the issues that maybe they had previously, but again, we're continuing to learn and we're continuing to try new things and push the envelope and fielding gloves and everything else that we do. So it's exciting times and I hope everybody likes everything. And again, you or anybody over at Express, let me know if you have questions or need help on anything, I am always available for you. So just let me know.

Elijah R:
Awesome. And I appreciate your time. It has been awesome talking to you, but I'll definitely be reaching out!