Regular Articles

 

Arizona Diamondbacks hurler Brandon McCarthy may still be a little fuzzy on the events of 16 months ago.

While pitching for the Oakland Athletics in September 2012, McCarthy was drilled in the head by a line drive and was forced to undergo emergency surgery due to internal bleeding in his brain.


Photo by Patrick McLeod, used under creative commons license.
The whole scene was extremely scary, and last season, we unfortunately witnessed another incident of a player getting hit in the head in May -- J.A. Happ of the Toronto Blue Jays.

So you would think that if MLB ever approved a protective headgear for pitchers, McCarthy and Happ would be the first two to sign up. In fact, McCarthy was asked for his input in helping to design a new hat that has been approved for the upcoming season.

But when McCarthy takes the mound for the D-Backs, he will not be wearing the new hat.

He's told reporters the cap is too big, since it’s a half-inch thicker in the front and an inch thicker on the sides near the temples. When he tried it on, he said he’s too aware that it’s there unlike a regular cap.

He also said it’s too hot since the padding adds seven ounces of weight to the cap. Even in optimal conditions -- and not a scorching hot day game -- the cap is itchy, McCarthy said.

To me, despite the cap’s current limitations, McCarthy is not taking advantage of a new form of technology that could save his life.

Of one of the small handful of players that has been hit squarely in the head, you’d think that he would wear anything the league approved, regardless of how cumbersome or hot it was.

The odds of getting hit in the head again are incredibly slim, but it has happened already to McCarthy. What’s to say it can’t happen again and even worse?

McCarthy suffered a seizure in June 2013 that doctors said was related to his head trauma several months before -- all the more reason for him to wear the new hat.

I would hope that McCarthy -- and all pitchers in the league -- adapt to the new prototype. It’s only the first model at this point and maybe a few changes would make it more popular, but with the velocity that the hitters produce, this hat is a life-saving mechanism.

The pitchers may not look or feel too cool, but shouldn’t that be a sacrifice for safety? All it takes is one line drive to the exact right spot to end a pitcher’s career -- or even his life.