By Eli Hearne (Tech Editor).
The ball leaves the bat of an MLB player, at about 120-miles/ hour.
Pitchers, having just finished their delivery, are the most vulnerable players on the field to be hit by this high-speed ball. The result of being hit: sometimes-fatal injuries where permanent brain damage can be caused.
About 17 months ago, Oakland Athletics’ pitcher Brandon McCarthy was struck in the head and sustained serious head injuries. This incident sparked increased discussion about how to protect pitchers.
After many tests and prototypes from various companies, a cap developed by the 4Licensing Corporation will be made available for pitchers during Spring Training.
The padding in the hat adds seven ounces to the weight of the cap. The company believes that it won’t interfere much with the pitcher’s motion or comfort.
There is no doubting that the hat looks different and separates the pitcher from other players on the field.
The question that many are debating is whether or not the different look is worth the safety.
Sharon Eagles pitcher Aidan Arnold says that they are “dope.” “Pitchers get hit in the head and they get seriously hurt,” Arnold said.
Junior Sammy Kirshenbaum contradicts Arnold’s beliefs saying that they are ugly. “They look like it was just thrown together with not much thought,” he said. “Also, it just looks soft if you ask me,” Kirshenbaum added.
Senior catcher, and avid baseball fan Ryan Crooks says that it will be a great addition to the game as he has seen a pitcher get hit. “I was at the game when Red Sox pitcher Matt Clement got hit in the head, and it was really scary because he could have died, and no one should ever die playing the sport that they love,” Crooks told the Talon.
Junior Adam Sneider says that it doesn’t look protective enough. “I don’t see how that little protection is going to stop a ball moving 100 plus miles per hour from causing some serious damage,” Sneider said.
Freshman Sergio Ripley says that there is a need for it in the league, but it shouldn’t be necessary. “It’s 100% necessary,” Ripley said. “But I don’t think that pitchers should have to wear it if it makes them uncomfortable,” he added.
Another area for discussion is whether or not the hat has a practical place in the game, and is even needed.
Junior Josh Rotman thinks that it is a little over-protective. “It’s a freak accident when it happens so I don’t think that they need it,” Rotman said.
The MLB is testing out the helmets in spring training this year, with hopes that they will receive successful feedback. Although many players are skeptical about the looks of the hat, so far feedback has been generally positive, as everyone in the league has agreed that increased safety for pitchers is important.