Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Major League Baseball Approves Padded Cap for Pitchers

File Under: Free Market Innovation

Major League Baseball has approved a padded cap designed to protect pitchers from potentially dangerous line drives.

After testing a number of prototypes from various companies, a cap manufactured by the 4Licensing Corporation subsidiary isoBlox will be made available to pitchers at all levels when they report to Spring Training. Use of the equipment will be optional.

The approval comes almost 17 months after pitcher Brandon McCarthy, then with the Athletics, sustained serious head injuries after being struck by a line drive, an incident that triggered increased discussion about ways to protect pitchers.

According to the company, the caps are slightly more than a half-inch thicker in the front and an inch thicker near the temples than standard caps and provide frontal impact protection up to 90 mph and for side impact up to 85 mph.

National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw told MLB Network that he also has some reservations, although he's optimistic that baseball is moving in the right direction.

"I've actually tried one of those on," said Kershaw. "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."

The new equipment will not prevent all injuries and many of the more seriously injured pitchers were struck below the cap line. There has been no discussion of expanding this initiative to include visors, masks or helmets.

"There would have to be widespread willingness among players to use such a device," MLB's executive vice president for labor relations Dan Halem told ESPN. "Short of wearing a helmet, I am doubtful there'll be a product to protect against 100 mph. Hopefully there will be."

Below is the only image currently available of the cap. It is the one on the right.

1 comment:

  1. We in socialist country ahhh prefer much ahhh the one in center, Komrade...