Another change for the MLB


The MLB protective hats

America’s past time and most stigmatic sport when it comes to rules is changing again, making it twice in one off-season. First, they’ve allowed the expansion of the challenge system next season and now, The MLB has approved the petition to allow pitchers to wear protective caps as they pitch.

The protective caps movement has been strong for many seasons now due to the excessive of line drives towards the pitchers. Almost every time it happens, the pitcher is not even out of the last step of his motion before the ball reaches the mound. Fortunately though, it usually misses a fatal spot in the body.

Sometimes though, it does hit a fatal part of the body. There have been recent incidents where the ball connects with the pitcher’s head and leads to injury. No one needs to say how important it is to keep one’s head safe.

The injury that launched this proposition into serious consideration was the most recent line drive that connected with Oakland Athletics’ pitcher Brandon McCarthy where he suffered life threatening brain injuries.

To prevent these types of problems again, the MLB did extensive research on how to protect pitchers.  They’ve tested many prototypes from different companies to decide which would be best. The cap must be able to protect from the force of a 83 mph ball, which is what the MLB determined is the average speed of a ball off a bat when it reaches the pitcher’s mound.

“We’re excited to have a product that meets our safety criteria,” Dan Halem, the MLB executive vice president of labor relations, said. “MLB is committed to working with manufactures to develop products that offer maximum protection to our players, and we’re not stopping at all.”

The MLB has put full force behind promoting the use of the protective hats,  already making youth prototypes as well. They obviously have the players’ safety narrowly in their scopes and they know now that with all these injuries that have been happening, they must change for the better, but will the players buy in?

Three pitchers, who have all been rocked in the head by balls have already come out and said they will not wear the padded caps.

McCarthy, who is now a Diamondback since the devastating blow, has said he will not wear the hat in its current form. The hat, which was designed for safety, left out one key ingredient that goes along with professional sports – comfort.

Brandon McCarthy as he fell to the ground after the blow to the head

All three pitchers have said the hat looks funny, it wiggles on their head when they throw and it makes them sweat. That probably wasn’t what the MLB wanted to hear. If the pitchers who have gone through the injury they’re trying to prevent don’t want to wear it, who would?

Performance is obviously the most important part to the pitchers. If they cannot pitch well, they’re out of a job. The hat in its current form has not felt right on these pitchers heads and they do not feel that they can perform as well as they can without it. They’re willing to sell their safety for a chance to perform better.

Regardless of whether or not the pitchers will buy into this new safety precaution, it still shows that the MLB is willing to start changing. Rule wise, professional baseball has been the sport known for never changing. But this is their second change this off-season. All around professional sports there has been a spark for safety issues, maybe we will see the other powerhouse organizations following suit.