A new batting helmet turns off the fashionistas

There’s a new batting helmet design (pic in article) that is supposed to provide substantially greater protection from beanballs, but no one — apart from David Wright and Edgar Gonzalez, who is still suffering the effects from one to the head — seems to like it all that much:

“No, I am absolutely not wearing that,” Mets right fielder Jeff Francoeur said with a laugh after seeing a prototype, as if he were being asked to put a pumpkin on his head. “I could care less what they say, I’m not wearing it. There’s got to be a way to have a more protective helmet without all that padding. It’s brutal. We’re going to look like a bunch of clowns out there.”

No matter. Something tells me that Frenchy has less to worry about from a fastball to the head than anyone else anyway. Others:

“I want a helmet that’s comfortable,” Athletics infielder Nomar Garciaparra said, “and that doesn’t look bad.” Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira said the new helmet would make him feel as if he were wearing a football helmet in the batter’s box. “The one I’ve used for my entire career is fine,” he said.

This is not terribly surprising. There is always a lot of resistance to this kind of thing. People didn’t even start wearing seat belts that often until the 80s for cryin’ out loud. Only David Wright seems to be making a lot of sense here:

“If it provides more protection, then I’m all for it,” said Mets third baseman David Wright, who last week dodged a Brad Thompson fastball traveling on a frightening vector for his head. “I’m not worried about style or looking good out there. I’m worried about keeping my melon protected.”

I’d draw the line at anything that compromised my visibility or the ability to turn my head the way I needed to in order to hit a pitch. Short of that, however, you could put just about anything you wanted up there as long as it kept me protected.

(thanks to Robert M. for the link)


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lar
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lar

Too bad the picture in the article gives you no sense of what they’re complaining about. I’d like to see it on someone’s head, and from a few different angles (most notably head-on). It can’t be that bad, though.

I’m with you, Craig. These guys generally have little reason to oppose something like this if it does what it’s supposed to do. The complaints smack of “it looks silly so I don’t want to change”.

Troy Patterson
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Troy Patterson

Francoeur feels the same way about the helmet as I’m sure many Mets fans feel about him being on the Mets.

Jason @ IIATMS
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Jason @ IIATMS

Funny, I was writing a similar thing at the same time: http://www.itsaboutthemoney.net/2009-articles/august/your-logic-and-protection-is-no-match-for-my-bravado.html

I likened it to the HANS devices that were fought in racing circles before instituted as mandatory.  Not sure if that’s a 100% valid arguement/comparison.  Eventually, all racers had to wear these devices and a basal skull fracture injury risk has been mitigated. 

Sometimes, the sport’s governing authority needs to protect the players from themselves.

Jason Seaver
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Jason Seaver

One thing I didn’t quite catch from the article is whether the new helmet is significantly heavier than the current ones.  Bulky or goofy-looking is not the greatest reason to stick with the old one, but if this is putting enough weight on your head to potentially mess with your balance or adjust your stance, that might be an issue.

George
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George

From that picture, it doesn’t look vastly different from what they wear now.  After reading the player comments, I was expecting something like a batting helmet surrounded by memory foam surrounded by a second helmet that was shaped like a butt.

Jeff V.
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Jeff V.

Thats a rough little league that guy’s son plays in if the 70 MPH helmets are not enough protection.

Ron
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Ron
Yeah, but the new helmet isn’t going to make a difference. All the serious injuries from being hit in the head have come from being hit in the face, or the ball being deflected by the bill. Tony Conigliaro, Dickie Thon, etc, were hit in the face, where the helmet wasn’t protecting them. Someone tell me if I’m wrong, but there hasn’t been any player that has suffered the severitiy of the injury they recieved by the ball actually hitting the helmet. The problem has been the psychological aspect of being beaned, not the physical. This new helmet doesn’t provide… Read more »
Rob²
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Rob²

@Ron – You don’t need to get hit in the face in order to get a concussion.  Mike Piazza and Edgar Gonzalez would be quick to point that out.

Ron
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Ron
Rob, if it works, great, I would be all for it. But right now, the only evidence is that it doesn’t dent at 70 mph.  What does that prove? Care bumpers get dented all the time, and no one is suggesting they aren’t effecitive. Car bumbpers do what helmets do. Diffuse the impact. It’s not Kevlar, it’s plastic, or some form of polymer. Just because it doesn’t dent the helmet doesn’t mean it does a better job than what the current helmets are doing. Besides, if it does such a signficantly better job of preventing concussions, then why isn’t the… Read more »
Motherscratcher
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Motherscratcher

I don’t think they look too bad at all from that picture.

Ron, do you have some scientific data that shows that the new helmet doesn’t protect better than the old one, or are you just somehow infering it from the picture?  I’m assuming that it does protect better because the people that designed it and tested it have told me so.  I suppose that it could be BS and just be a marketing ploy, but that seems kind of silly.

The Rabbit
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The Rabbit

“Sometimes, the sport’s governing authority needs to protect the players from themselves.”
I understand what you are saying, Jason, but I’ve personally had enough of people with lower IQ’s than mine deciding what should be my acceptable amount of risk. I suspect others feel the same.
PS “Fashion” does not dictate my choices.

kardo
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kardo

From the link on NYTimes gave, the new helmet doesnt look any bigger then the regular helmets.

And The Rabbit, its not about IQ, its about knowledge in a specific field. I am happy to let construction workers tell me where I can and can’t walk on a construction site.

Rob²
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Rob²

@Kardo – Just what are you saying about construction workers?

Ron
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Ron
Motherscratcher, All I saw in the article was that it was tested by a pitching machine at 100 mph and didn’t dent. As I said, car bumpers dent, but still protect people. That was the only ‘evidence’ that I saw. That’s telling me someone says it’s better becasue it doesn’t dent, but they don’t really know. The only way to really know is to put it on a batter and have him take a few dozen balls off the skull to see if it works. That seems a little extreme to me. A few years ago, one of the car… Read more »
Motherscratcher
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Motherscratcher
Ron – I’m not sure what car bumpers have to do with anything, but saying that the only way to test it and get an idea if it’s safer is to “put it on a batter and have him take a few dozen balls off the skull to see if it works” is absolutely ridiculous.  I’m pretty sure that isnt’ how medical, pharmaceutical, safety, really any breakthroughs work. I’m fairly certain that there exists machines and computers of great sophistication that can measure forces, velocities, impacts, and whatnot so that we can get a very good idea of what will… Read more »
mm
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mm
“Besides, if it does such a signficantly better job of preventing concussions, then why isn’t the NFL using it? They seem to have a really big problem with that.” I’ve seen several articles over the past 5 years of so as the NFL has been switching over to new helmet technologies.  I don’t think its mandatory (at least, I remember it being voluntary when I first read about it), though I remember Peyton Manning and some other big names being some of the first adopters written about in articles. The thing about the helmet is that the the difference is… Read more »
Travis M. Nelson
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Travis M. Nelson
“There’s got to be a way to have a more protective helmet without all that padding.” Um, no, Jeff.  There isn’t.  “F = ma” is a basic tenet of Newton’s physics,  and since you can’t change the mass of the ball, the only way to decrease the Force is to decrease the Acceleration (or in this case, deceleration).  The ball is going to go from 100 mph to zero mph using your head to slow it down.  The only way to lower that acceleration number is to stretch out the time it takes to drop from 100 to zero, and… Read more »
Trinian
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Trinian

Brad Thompson fastball . . . frightening vector . .

These phrases don’t belong in the same paragraph, much less the same sentence!

kardo
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kardo

@ Rob^2 – I am saying that even those construction workers with lower IQ then me, will have a better understanding of the risks I am to take on a construction site.

Because lets face it, they wear protective helmets much more often then I do.

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