Craig Remsburg column: Baseball trying to help pitchers
There can’t be a more scary moment in pro baseball than a pitcher being hit in the head by a line drive batted ball.
Unless said pitcher faces Miguel Cabrera at the plate, of course. That has to be REAL scary.
Several pitchers have been hit in the head by a batted ball the last few seasons, including former Detroit Tigers hurler Doug Fister. He was struck during the 2012 World Series.
This past season, J.A. Happ of the Toronto Blue Jays and teammate Alex Capp were both sidelined after being hit.
To help alleviate the danger, Major League Baseball this past week approved a protective cap for pitchers that’s supposed to limit – or maybe prevent – injuries suffered by a line drive to the head.
The larger and heavier hat will be available to pitchers for testing on a voluntary basis during spring training.
Safety plates are sewn into the hat and custom fitted. The plates – weighing about six to seven ounces – are said to protect the forehead, temples and sides of the head.
Made by isoBLOX, the hat is purported to be able to withstand a line drive going from 85-90 mph. Though line drives to the mound have been clocked even faster, the hat should give pitchers more protection than they have now with their current caps.
Getting pro pitchers to wear the new hat might be a tough sell, though. Since it’s bigger and heavier, it appears to be like wearing a batting helmet on the mound.
It might be too bulky for a pitcher to wear. He might prefer the lightness of the hats currently in use.
Depending on the design, the new hat may also not be very stylish, or “cool.” There is no doubt there will be pitchers who will prefer being stylish over being safer on the mound.
You’d think trying to protect yourself from major injury to you head in general and your eyes in particular would be more important than perhaps looking a little dorky.
At least MLB is making an attempt to keep players from serious injury. It’s no doubt just trying to avoid liability lawsuits, but it’s a start.
Maybe, in the beginning, only a few players who have been struck by a batted ball will try the new cap. They’ve experienced the damage the line drive can cause first hand.
But I suspect when a pitcher wearing the hat is uninjured by a batted ball, and one who’s wearing a “normal” cap is hurt, more hurlers may make the switch.