Should pitchers wear protective headgear?
The safety of those on the mound in the game of baseball has become a hot topic recently. Baseball has seen an increase in head-related injuries to its pitchers and have had a hard time addressing it. The player’s union will resist any requirements to wear protection, but doesn’t player safety take precedence over anything else? Should pitchers wear protective headgear?
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Baseball, and all sports for that matter, has to learn. When you see an issue arise at the top level of the game, you go down to the lower levels to begin to address it.
Here’s what I mean. A lot of players in the major leagues have stated that they will not wear any kind of hat that makes them look different on the mound. That makes sense given the fact that most players grew up playing the game with a helmet at the plate and a cap in the field.
Now they have come out with a hybrid-style hat that adds lightweight protection for a pitcher. With something like this, baseball could be on to something. But even if they are, they are going about it the wrong way.
If you want something changed in a sport, you go to the youth, and the change will become normal over time.
If there is a memory foam-style hat that adds a little bit of size to the hat, at least the player is more protected. And over time this hat will seem normal to all the players since they grew up wearing them.
Here’s video of the Giants’ Johnny Cueto getting hit in the head yesterday:
There are other ways to protect the pitcher like having an L-screen, or raising the mound. But having a screen on the field would take away many chances by the middle infielders and make them less valuable, and raising the mound would likely lower offensive stats with the increased slope for the pitcher.
There seems to be only one way to protect them better, with head protection, which they are resistent to do.
It may take a fatal blow to adjust the proper attention to the potential of disaster on the field. Sluggers are hitting the ball with great force, and good hitters are taught to hit it back up the middle. Not having a solution to this problem is likely to have consequences that will be very costly. Can you imagine going to your first game and seeing that? When it could have possibly been prevented.
At this point, baseball needs to reach out to the youth to institute a change in headwear on the mound, and if it is similar to what is presently used, perhaps it can be worn by all players. Require it, sponsor it, and watch it become the new normal.