|Easton-Bell's Pitcher Helment|
That change of thought about football...keeping an open mind as new data or experiences challenge my perspective makes me more open to the idea that baseball can be dangerous. Base coaches wearing helmets had also seemed silly. Then someone had to die for people to take those risks seriously. That is how our society operates. Our rules and regulations require blood before action is taken. A textile plant needs to burn down before sweatshop conditions were dealt with. One out of every five tunnel workers have to die from silicosis before that is handled. The Cuyahoga had to burn 13 times before people thought maybe that we should take better care of our drinking water supplies. And now, we wait for global warming (aka climate change) to somehow show us more explicitly that bad things are happening. For many shrinkage of ice coverage, reduction in coral, movement of planting zones, pH changes in high latitude seas, increased understanding of how carbon dioxide fits into global ecological/geological cycles. It is simply how we are. We see immediate things that are right in front of us that are hard to ignore. I mean, how long did people ignore cigarettes or leaded gasoline?
This roundabout thought process leads us to pitcher head injuries in baseball. A pitcher gets hurt at each level every single year. This year, the notable bull's eye shot happened to Brandon McCarthy. Just a quick internet search brought up these incidents:
- In 2002, Kaz Ishii suffered a skull fracture.
- In 2005, Kyle Denney at AAA suffered a skull fracture.
- In 2009, Darin Downs at AAA suffered a skull fracture.
- In 2010, a high school pitcher was placed in a medically induced coma for several weeks due to brain swelling from a skull fracture.
- In 2012, a high school pitcher suffered a severe skull fracture.
The positives are clear...in the incredibly unlikely situation a pitcher is unable to defend himself on the mound and is hit in the head with a ball, he is substantially less likely to suffer a severe injury or death. The negatives are...well, that the pitcher looks silly. Pitchers simply get hit in the head and get injured. Something should be done to protect them. It makes sense, it is cheap to do, it likely has no effect on performance, and the only true cost is people getting over it looking silly.