Paul Hagen shared on MLB.com, that Major League Baseball has approved padded caps for pitchers. This will be optional for pitchers but will give them an opportunity to decide if wearing the cap will be enough protection from dangerous line drives to the head. The new caps will be manufactured by isoBLOX.
The company explains on their website the science behind their product:
When impacting forces strike us, the ensuing energy must go somewhere, preferably not to our bodies. isoBLOX® uniquely formulated protective plates utilize a COMBINATION of energy dispersion AND energy absorption to diffuse impact.
Hard plates deflect initial impact and then subtly flex, via strong micro hinges, to absorb residual force. Only isoBLOX® proprietary, patent pending, hinged plates can offer this dual protection.
If the science behind the product actually works, then why wouldn’t a pitcher want the added protection. Over the past several years, there have been a number of pitchers getting hit by line drives to the head and like A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who needed brain surgery and the Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ, who suffered a cracked skull, the added protection should be taken seriously.
MLB’s executive vice president for labor relations Dan Halem told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on Tuesday, “We’re excited to have a product that meets our safety criteria.”
Hagen shares that according to ESPN, Halem and MLB senior counsel for labor relations Patrick Houlihan said the threshold for approval was that the cap had to provide protection at 83 mph, and an MLB-commissioned study determined that 83 mph is the average speed of a line drive when it reaches the area of the pitching mound.
The last thing that a pitcher wants to worry about on the mound is getting hit anywhere on the body especially the head, but it has become part of the game and the easiest way to put it out of the minds of many people, is to provide something that pitchers can use. The cap looks just like a normal baseball cap, so a ball colliding to the face will not be deflected, but at least the head could avoid major impact.
One Major League pitcher feels that maybe it just may work, Dodgers Clayton Kershaw tells MLB Network, “I’ve actually tried one of those on. I’ve thrown with it. You don’t look very cool. I’ll be honest. You don’t look very cool out there. But technology is unbelievable and it really doesn’t feel that much different once you get used to it. Obviously it would be a change. We wouldn’t look the same as everybody else, but if you’re that one guy who gets hit what seems like every year, there’s that chance out there. I’m definitely not opposed to it. I think it’d take a lot of getting used to. I think it’s a great thing and a step in the right direction, for sure.”
I am all for the protection, and it will determine how comfortable the company can make it for each individual pitcher and if it fits like a normal baseball cap, then at the end of the day, it may just be worth it.
I actually tweeted a year ago, that I felt it was time to make a change:
— David Conde (@DAConde24) April 24, 2013
I applaud how quickly MLB responded to the many requests for change and just in time for the new season.
(Photo Credit: AP and Ben Margot)