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Articles Tagged Batting Helmets 

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Where do you stand on violent collisions at the plate? Should they be outlawed, or are they a part of the game? Before you answer, a warning...

Late Wednesday night, Scott Cousins of the Florida Marlins (likely) ended the season of San Francisco's reigning Rookie of the Year Buster Posey by colliding with Posey on a play at the plate. Posey, who was more in front of the plate than in the basepath, was turning to make the block and apply the tag when Cousins initiated the contact in an effort to get the upper-hand in the collision (from Cousins' point-of-view, Posey was a split second away from squaring up and tagging him out; Cousins did what he thought was necessary to balance the scales). Posey was upended from his spot, his left leg staying stationary under his body as the rest of him flipped over and made wild contortions. As it stands now, Posey is on the 15-day disabled list with a broken bone and strained ligaments.

The conversation around baseball since the collision - from national writers and commenters to bloggers all over the internet to radio hosts and television announcers - has been almost entirely about the injury and the debate over whether home plate collisions should even be allowed in the sport (we even had a similar debate in the comments to Jay Jaffe's piece). Ignoring for the time the fact that Cleveland's Carlos Santana had a very similar injury last season without garnering even a fraction of the attention Posey's injury has received, the debate seems to settle on one of two points. Either the collisions should be outlawed because baseball is not a contact sport and there is no reason to allow a player to be so vulnerable, especially when there is already a rule in place that is meant to keep things like this from happening; or, the plays should be allowed because they are some of the most exciting parts of the game and have been a part of it from the beginning. Rarely does anyone fall on any other side of the issue.

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The former Red Sox ace and longtime pitching coach reflects on a lifetime in the game.

Bill Monbouquette is as old-school as they get. The 74-year-old “Monbo” spent 50 years in the game -- 11 as a big-league right-hander and many more as a pitching coach -- and few have been more hard-nosed. Three years after being diagnosed with leukemia, he remains every bit as feisty.

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August 3, 2010 8:00 am

Another Look: Do No More

6

Bob Hertzel

A trip in the Wayback Machine shows how baseball has changed over the years.

Let us play pretend for a moment. It is October 3, 1951, and Bobby Thomson just hit The Shot Heard 'Round the World. You go to bed that night with the kind of glow that only a baseball game like that can give you, but strange things happen overnight.Rip Van Winkle and you awake nearly 60 years later.

You notice immediately that much has changed, from the TV you watch the game on to the automobile in which you ride. Oh, you can still get a Coke, sailors still get tattoos, but you quickly notice that so, too, do college coeds in places you didn't know they had places when you went to bed.

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May 28, 2010 9:17 am

Watch Your Head!

18

Mark Smith

It is time for Major League Baseball and the MLBPA to make the new "overstuffed" batting helmets by Rawlings mandatory.

With a crack and a thud, David Wright slammed into the Citi Field turf. He had just been struck in the head by a mid-90s Matt Cain fastball, and after a few frightening moments and an unsteady walk back to the dugout, the Mets' third baseman was taken to the hospital for treatment of a concussion. Three days earlier, on August 12, 2009, David Waldstein of the New York Times asked Wright about Rawlings’ new batting helmet, one that could protect a player’s head from a 100 mph fastball. Despite other players’ negative reactions that noted an increase in discomfort and a decrease in style, Wright responded, “If it provides more protection, then I’m all for it. I’m not worried about style or looking good out there. I’m worried about keeping my melon protected.” It was a somewhat surprising response given the other players’ reactions, but it is one that seemed sound and levelheaded. Wright, however, was not wearing that helmet when the fastball crashed into his skull.

Wright’s injury could have been prevented. The risks and dangers of being hit in the head by a pitch are well-known. The solution was well-publicized. Yet Major League Baseball—its players, coaches, teams, and commissioner—continually lag behind when it comes to safety concerns. Why is this? What causes baseball to ignore the safety of its players, especially when teams invest so heavily in them, when the risks and solutions are so readily apparent? To answer these questions, it is necessary to delve deeper into an understanding of ourselves, professional sports, and societal pressures.

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May 23, 2008 12:00 am

UTK Wrap: Fast Work

0

Will Carroll

The Padres' double dose of injuries in a single inning shows a quality staff rising to a terrible challenge.

It's Carb Day here in Indy, so today my town is more about 225 mph Hondas and the reunion of Stone Temple Pilots than anything else. In racing, speed is everything, on the track and in the pits. One of the events of Carb Day is the Pit Crew contest, where they'll fuel up and change all four tires in under ten seconds. It would be nice if baseball worked like that, but quick for this game is fifteen days. That doesn't mean that the "pit crew"-the medical staff-isn't working just as feverishly. If you've ever seen the trainer run after a player into the clubhouse, you'll know that time does count. You don't see them re-taping an ankle, coming up with a finger splint on the fly, fixing a contact, or one of the hundred other tasks that might come up without warning, triggering a burst of creativity that would put Angus McGyver to shame. In Wednesday's game, you may have seen highlights of Chris Young and Josh Bard getting injured, but if you watched the game, you saw how quickly Todd Hutcheson and his staff were back out there to tend to Bard, despite having just taken Young into the clubhouse. Beyond the trainers, a team's medical staff extends to an associated list of doctors, dentists, massage therapists, rehab professionals, and chiropractors. Players may not need their tires changed or two turns of wing because they're loose in turn two, but everything else is fair game in the trainer's room. Powered by Wii Fit, on to the injuries:

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May 22, 2008 12:00 am

Under The Knife: This One Goes to Eleven

0

Will Carroll

Multiple Padres go down at the hands of Albert Pujols, Jobamania's latest twist, and Tulo's fast recovery.

Chris Young (0 DXL)
When Young ends his motion, he's closer than most to home plate. Now add in the fearsome bat of Albert Pujols, and you have a combination that adds up to "worst-case scenario." Luckily, Young came away from a screaming liner off of his head with what looked like a nasty cut and a likely mild concussion, which is relatively light damage compared to what could have happened. I can't say any more than I already have about the need for some sort of protection for pitchers, whether its a shell for their hat or some kind of shielding on their legs. I realize the arms are tougher, but even there, we could stand for it, especially at lower levels. Football evolved its protective gear over time, but aside from better batting helmets, baseball is playing in roughly the same gear of forty years ago-guys, it's time for a change. As for Young, late word is that he has a broken nose; at worst, he may miss his next start, but for now, we'll put him as a zero DXL.


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August 18, 2005 12:00 am

Under The Knife: Big Decision

0

Will Carroll

It's coming down to it for Scott Rolen, who will have to choose between surgery and continuing rehab. Will also has updates on Mike Piazza, Nomar Garciaparra and Sean Casey.

Even at the signing, talking about the upcoming football season, we all had our eye on the big screen showing the Cubs/Astros game and my Sidekick buzzed a couple times, so I'm never far from baseball. That's a good thing, one I'm savoring.

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A ludicrous slippery-slope response to baseball's recent announcement that they will enforce rules limiting the wearing of protective "body armor" at the plate? Of course it is. No one wants to see batters lose their head protection, no matter how much they crowd the plate.

The move comes after previous league attempts to back hitters off the plate resulted in little change in batter behavior. MLB eliminated most equipment protecting batters' elbows, wrists, and hands in 2002, but baseball observers say many batters still stand close to home plate in an effort to make solid contact with pitches on the outside corner.

"We've seen a few broken wrists and severe elbow injuries [since the 2002 ruling]," said one unnamed MLB official, "but batters are still hanging over the plate, and they're not making enough of an effort to avoid inside pitches. We need to try new ways of making them face the consequences of getting hit."

Many pitchers welcomed the new ruling. "I don't know if we'll see a big change right away," said one American League starter on condition of anonymity, "but after the hitters see the results of a couple of accidental beanings, I'll bet they think twice about diving across the plate."

He quickly added, "Of course, nobody wants to see anyone die from getting hit in the head. Hopefully we'll just see enough to get hitters to reconsider their priorities. A fractured skull, a short coma--that sort of thing."

A ludicrous slippery-slope response to baseball's recent announcement that they will enforce rules limiting the wearing of protective "body armor" at the plate? Of course it is. No one wants to see batters lose their head protection, no matter how much they crowd the plate.

Nevertheless, it's odd that everyone seems anxious to get rid of another kind of protection for players. While nearly every injury-reducing breakthrough in baseball history--from catchers' masks to batting helmets to outfield wall padding--has met with universal praise, columnists, coaches, and even many players seem ready to throw out the injury protection of hard elbow pads and other hard arm guards.

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The move comes after previous league attempts to back hitters off the plate resulted in little change in batter behavior. MLB eliminated most equipment protecting batters' elbows, wrists, and hands in 2002, but baseball observers say many batters still stand close to home plate in an effort to make solid contact with pitches on the outside corner.

"We've seen a few broken wrists and severe elbow injuries [since the 2002 ruling]," said one unnamed MLB official, "but batters are still hanging over the plate, and they're not making enough of an effort to avoid inside pitches. We need to try new ways of making them face the consequences of getting hit."

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