Adrian Beltre is going to have his name be synonymous with pain for a while, the way Michael Barrett, Chris Snyder, and Josias Manzanillo were for a time before him. Men everywhere will watch the video — though MLB.com has elected not to show it — and cringe. Beltre injured himself on a grounder and no, he was not wearing a cup, according to manager Don Wakamatsu. He continued to play and “felt it” on two plays, including one where he dove into first base.
While Beltre will miss at least a week, more if surgery is required, the question is “Why the bleep wasn’t he wearing a cup?” While we can talk about new helmets, gloves, pitcher protection, and other advances, is there any excuse for a player not wearing the most basic of devices?
No. No there’s not.
It’s a “comfort thing,” said one MLB Trainer. A player said “some guys do, some guys don’t.” When asked how many don’t, he quickly said “I don’t check,” but neither does anyone. These players are grown men, making their own choices. However, there’s no rule against a team requiring them, or any other safety device.
I’ll propose a rule change: MLB will certify equipment as “state of the art.” They’ll take the very best and fund research into making that even better. Once certified, that becomes the baseball standard. Every player is required to wear it, but they can elect to opt out. Don’t want to wear the new helmet or padded glove? Fine, but if you’re injured and the equipment would have prevented the injury, there’s no DL for you.
I’m always concerned with protecting players, especially when it might trickle down. It’s one thing if Jeff Francouer is too vain to wear a helmet that could help prevent injuries and quite another if a high school sophomore doesn’t. Let’s hope when kids were looking up to Adrian Beltre, they weren’t looking down.