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One blessed young man PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, May 09, 2013 12:22 AM

By JIM METCALFE

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Is it only a matter of time?

I refer to Toronto Blue Jay southpaw J. A. Happ being smacked in the head by a line drive hit by Tampa Bay’s Desmond Jennings Tuesday night.

He suffered a minor skull fracture but has already been released from the hospital. He himself has been quoted as telling reporters that he considers himself very fortunate that he “caught” the ball behind his left ear instead of head-on.

I concur with that assessment, young man.

He is already looking forward to when he can get back on the mound — when, not if — but I think he ought to take his time. Who knows what his reaction will be the first time he takes the mound.

What will go through his mind when he throws that first pitch?

I leave that for another day, my many, many readers. The discussions that I have seen centered around the possibility of having major-league pitchers wearing helmets or masks — you see some high school fast-pitch players wearing them in the field, especially pitchers, first basemen and third basemen — to prevent such an event from happening again.

I thought one comment in particular — former pitcher Curt Schilling — was insightful in response to the injury. He asserted that major-league pitchers themselves will never go for it because of their ultra-competitive natures and they feel these masks/helmets/whatever you are potentially talking about will hinder their ability to get major-league hitters out, especially with the current technology being worked on at this point.

Here is my reply to that — will he change his mind if it happens again and the guy dies? With how hard some of these pitchers throw — seemingly more and more are hitting near the century mark on their fastballs — and how hard the ball seems to be wound, you almost can picture it happening sooner rather than later. The odds are just too stacked that it will happen.

I do agree with him that there needs to be something done about the tightness of the baseball — it makes the ball come off the bat at even faster speeds than before and makes it even harder for pitcher to react.

Another pitcher who did get hit in the head by a line drive last September, then Oakland Athletics’ pitcher Brandon McCarthy (courtesy of the Los Angeles Angels’ Erick Aybar) and had a skull fracture and needed surgery, has a different comment.

He believes that when the “technology” can produce a product that can adequately do the job — which he thinks will happen — pitchers will be wearing headgear.

Will MLB be able to force players to use it is another question. Just like the mouthguard in the NFL, not all players do wear them.

I think this is something that will have to be negotiated with the league and the union.

With all these things that will be looked at, well, let’s put it this way; I do not want to be on this “committee” — or whatever is put together to figure it all out, if anything — to make such decisions.

We shall see if any decisions will get made.

Also, as usual on YouTube, there are some knucklehead posters: one accused Happ of “overreacting.” One even posted “homerun xD.”

Read my mind — I take that back; don’t read my mind because you might not be normal again! — as to what I think about these fools.

Last Updated on Thursday, May 09, 2013 9:38 AM
 

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