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MLB says no to padded caps for pitchers

Mar 28, 2013, 11:02 AM EDT

padded hat

In the wake of Brandon McCarthy‘s scary-as-all-get-out injury on that comebacker last year, we heard a lot about padded caps for pitchers. Major League Baseball was certainly interested and conducted tests on some. But they didn’t pass muster so, as William Weinbaum of reports, the league is passing for now.

McCarthy himself tested the caps and said, unequivocally, that they’re no good as far as feel and functionality. Which is really going to be the key to such caps being used anyway. Pitching mechanics are sensitive enough. Having a hat that feels weird is certain to throw many pitchers off.

Maybe it happens eventually, but it’s back to the drawing board for the equipment makers.

  1. Francisco (FC) - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Well I’m not sure the padded caps will help against a line drive to the nose anyhow.

    • groundruledoublebourbon - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      A la Harry Dunn in Dumb and Dumber: “What if they woulda shot me in the face?!”

      • nightman13 - Mar 28, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        That’s a risk we were willing to take.

  2. kevinleaptrot - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Better to wait until someone dies. Surprised, sort of, that it hasn’t happened already.

    • ptfu - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      This is exactly what will happen. Until someone dies, any changes will be slow and half-hearted.

      Ray Chapman had to die before batters started wearing helmets. And even then, the process took fifty years.

      Mike Coolbaugh had to die before baseball insisted its first- and third-base coaches had to wear helmets.

      Okay, the current padded caps aren’t yet what they need to be. Are they still better than nothing?

      For dog’s sake, pitchers, wear the damn hat and reduce the risk of getting your brain scrambled. If they save one person, they’re worth it.

      Can baseball at least force new players to wear them, while grandfathering existing players in? Something like this happened with maple bats: they got banned in the minors, but big leaguers can continue using them (within some new design specs).

      The offseason and spring training would be a great time for pitchers to get used to new hats. I hope nobody dies in the 7 months until the next offseason.

    • Old Gator - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      It’s just that Bud Light wants to give his concussion testing program some time to play out as written.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 28, 2013 at 2:22 PM

        Bud tells me his priorities are:
        1) the Oakland stadium situation
        2) a state-of-the-art 19th century replay system, using the latest daguerreotype technology
        3) pitcher protection

  3. tfbuckfutter - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    Here is my suggestion for improving pitcher’s safety, without negatively impacting mechanics.

    Plus, there’s the added bonus of ad revenue.

    • Francisco (FC) - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      Here is my suggestion for improving pitcher’s safety, without negatively impacting mechanics

      Auto mechanics I presume? Pitching mechanics will wither and die in that outfit.

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        I disagree.

        That suit will make all pitchers roughly the same size as CC Sabathia, and he has no trouble with mechanics.

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:43 AM

        Sure, but not everyone can be CC Sabathia.

      • kmgannon - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        Sure they can…the Big Bacon Classic is available everywhere. Start your twice-daily regimen now to be ready for next season.

  4. icanspeel - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    I suppose they could make official MLB padded hats and make them optional to start for those who do want to use them and feel it doesn’t impact their performance.

  5. stevequinn - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Out pitchers in football helmets with face masks! :-)

  6. serbingood - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Put Selig on a pitchers mound and hit balls at him for 9 innings. Hat padding will be mandatory within 60 days. Maybe the experience will be enough for him to move up his retirement by, oh let’s say, two years. It’s a win-win situation.

  7. historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    I think some people on here need padded caps…or I need a padded cap because of some of the people on here.

  8. Cereal - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Bud Selig isnt exactly cutting edge….I bet at this very moment he fell asleep on a park bench somewhere while eating his brown bag lunch.

    • nightman13 - Mar 28, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      He doesn’t eat brown bag lunches, he goes to a famous custard stand and gets chili cheese dogs. For real.

  9. chadjones27 - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    I wonder if the little leagues, and high school teams started making them mandatory if the “feel and functionality” wouldn’t be a problem by the Minor League/ MLB level.

  10. klokskap - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    I wonder what material was used in the prototype. I’m curious if they’ve tried some sort of aerogel, which is the lightest known solid and has really good shock absorption properties.

  11. agelardi - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    He wasn’t a pitcher but, I don’t remember John Olerud ever complaining about wearing a helmet in the field.

  12. Walk - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    As much as I dislike those caps I hope something gets implemented soon. Pitchers really do need a bit more protection.

  13. albertmn - Mar 28, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Obviously slightly different, but once saw a slow pitch softball pitcher that wore an enclosed goalie type mask to pitch. He had previously been hit in the head really badly and couldn’t stand to even be out there pitching until he got the helmet and felt safer. It may take a long while until baseball gets to something like that, but I could see it happening in 20-30 years (at least in high school or maybe college).

  14. mogogo1 - Mar 28, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    “Having a hat that feels weird is certain to throw many pitchers off.”

    Temporarily maybe, but let’s get real, they’d be able to adjust. If they were that sensitive you’d have guys saying they couldn’t pitch wearing any hat at all. That line sounds like the old-timer hockey guys who simply weren’t going to be able to play wearing helmets (or later on it was the masks on the helmets that was going to bother them).

  15. jcmeyer10 - Mar 28, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Make it like visors in hockey. Why not let a guy protect himself? I don’t know why this is an all or nothing situation.

  16. cocheese000 - Mar 28, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    The owner of that company was soliciting those hats all spring training. Bet he will be drowning his sorrows in a stiff drink tonight. He could have gotten a nice chunk of change if the MLB would have used these.

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