The school of hard batting helmets.

Batting helmets appear in baseball cards in all kinds of ways. They are an important component, for instance, of many action shots. This is one of our favorites in the Helmet Not Serving a Purpose category:
Yesterday's New York Times noted that a newly designed batting helmet, the Rawlings S100, is much safer than previous versions (it is protective even if walloped with a baseball at 100 mph) but is meeting resistance from major league players because they think it's, well, dorky. For example, Jeff Francoeur, newly minted Met right fielder, says in the article, in perfect petulant teenage boy tones, "No, I am absolutely not wearing that. 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." Psst, Jeff. Many Mets fan think the new helmet is not why that's the case; but we digress.
The new helmet uses the same polypropylene found in bicycle helmets and offers considerably more resistance than other models, most of which are designed to be dent-resistant at speeds of up to a piddling 70 mph. Players, is it better to look good than to feel good?
The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment has gone on record with serious concern that major league players do not play with a helmet that meets any kind of standards. Also, without an earflap, a helmet can't be certified at all.
Good ole David Wright, role model for all that is wonderful in the world, said, "If it provides more protection, then I'm all for it." (Just last week he had to dodge a Brad Thompson fastball!)

"I'm not worried about style or looking good out there. I'm worried about keeping my melon protected." Certain people around here think DW would look fine even if he came up to bat wearing a football helmet.

If you would like to try the S100, it retails for $99.99 at the Rawlings online store. To be honest, if Lucy plays softball (where the rate of fractured skulls is higher than in baseball) you can be sure she'd be wearing one of those babies. And hey, it comes in black, cardinal, dark green, maroon, navy, purple, royal, and scarlet. It may not be comfortable to wear while you're, say, driving to work, but for kids' sports at least, it probably makes sense...melonwise.


Motherscratcher said...

Shysterball had a post about this a day or two ago. I agree that Frenchy sounds a little ridiculous. I'm definately for things that make sense melonwise. And, I don't think they look much different than the old kind.

"Lucy plays softball (where the rate of fractured skulls is higher than in baseball)"

Interesting. I wonder why that is?

firstngoal said...

I also find the softball fractured skull fact interesting. My wife works on a trauma neuro ICU floor. I wonder if she has ever had a softball patient?

I also agree that when it comes to kids, you can never be too safe. Although one time I saw an article that showed a little league where face masks and chest pads were required to bat. That might be a bit extreme.

P.S. my word verification for this comment is "porke". This amuses me for some reason...

dc said...

For a start, here's some anecdotal evidence from the article:
"In 24 years of work with the committee on athletic equipment and as co-founder of the Southern Impact Research Center, David Halstead said he had seen only three skull fractures from a pitched ball--and two were in girls softball."

dayf said...

Everyone busting on softball... Girls throw HARD.
Combine an excellent but wild pitcher and an inexperienced batter who doesn't know to get out of the way and you have a recipe for mushmelon.

Jeff Francoeur IS Nuke LaLoosh. Million dollar arm, ten cent head. Frickin' football player shoulda went to Clemson. I'm glad the Braves locked up Crash Davis to a long term deal instead.

McCann Can Triple said...

Jeez Frenchy. I love the guy, but I would think he would have more sense.

I am starting to like David Wright more and more. Actually went looking for his cards I owned.(I own a grand total of five. No, six. I'm forgetting the jersey card I have.)

crackinwax said...

To be fair, Mauer is wearing his catcher's helmet on that card.

--David said...

"It might not be comfortable to wear while you're, say, driving to work..."

That gives me an idea... If I can convince my son to pick one of these for his baseball this coming year, then I could, um, 'borrow' it for a drive into work one day in the interest of research!

Gallon of gas: $2.59
New, safer helmet: $99.99
The amount of embarrasment to a teenage boy just starting high school: PRICELESS

dc said...

oh crackin. we used that picture because he looks kind of goofy. and we couldn't find a photo of a player wearing a helmet with the flaps torn off like ticket stubs. :)

MadHandle11 said...

How bizarre and scary that Wright would be beaned in the head today. Thank goodness for that helmet.

Joe said...

Too bad Wright wasn't wearing that helmet tonight, might have saved him a trip to the hospital.