Million Dollar Question – Would You Pitch With Protective Headgear??
I am an assistant coach for my older son’s Little League team. This is his first year playing and he is in a ‘Coach Pitch’ age group. We have games 2-3 times per week and I try to sneak to the field with him a little early to get a few more reps at the plate before the game starts. 8 games into the season and he is doing very well and I am a proud dad.
In this league, the pitcher (coach) must be on his knees while throwing. The distance from home plate to the ‘mound’ is only 46 feet. And trust me when I tell you, it is very close. Even though very few of these kids have fully developed swings, a shot off of a metal bat is still coming at you quickly.
Last week while in the batting cages, my son ripped one right back at me that caught me in the stomach. I gasped and he cringed. After standing up and stretching, I took a few deep breaths, followed by 12-14 steps backwards and then forwards and then I was ready to resume my role on my knees as a pitcher. No damage was done, though he apologized to me for the next three days. I told him to do it again, blast it right up the middle!
Would a padded undershirt have helped? You bet. And just imagine if I took one in the heart or throat or head – it could have been a lot worse. A lot worse.
After the incident in the cage, we both moved on. We’ve had games and more practice sessions since but when the Aroldis Chapman incident happened late last week, I was a bit startled by what I saw. Now, I was not startled to see a pitcher get hit by a line drive – but I saw myself in that position – and it is not a fun feeling…
Would I wear a protecting helmet if I was pitching in the majors? You better believe it! And I would do it as a coach to a 7-8 year old Little League team as well.
How about you?? If you were a major league pitcher, would you wear appropriate headgear to ensure that your head did not look like this?
Let me hear it!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, in my league, the defensive pitcher that stands next to the pitcher/coach must wear a helmet. And the first baseman does too.