After watching pitcher Nick Blackburn of the Minnesota Twins try to join the MMA frenzy Sunday by taking a batted ball off the schnozz, someone must have said aloud at Baggiedome, “Why isn’t the man with the bloody jersey sprawled on the mound area wearing any protective gear?” (That, or “How much blood does the human body hold, anyway?”)
(”I wanth a masth. A matsh and my mommeh.”)
The journal PEDIATRICS has the solution, as recounted in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE: All baseball players at all ages should wear helmets and masks, no matter where they are on the diamond. Also implicitly mentioned: elbow pads, knee pads, Nutty Buddies, tights, force fields, ancient Roman shields, and 50 feet of bubble wrap. This will lessen injuries 87% and increase suffocation 14%.
And now that we’ve mocked it, onto why it’s such a good idea:
If the efficacy of the equipment can be proved, why not wear it? Does Richard Hamilton seem slowed down in the slightest by gazing through Plexiglass? Did John Olerud seem less likely to hit .400 because he wore his helmet on the field of play? And what about all of the protective layers on C.C. Sabathia?
Is it uncomfortable in the beginning? Possibly. But, y’know, if you’re put off playing sports because you’re a little uncomfortable, perhaps you should stay in the living room where underwear is optional. You’ll be more free to scratch yourself and feel comfortable.
Ah, but it’s not manly. When Lance Berkman and Barry Bonds lean out with all that “armor”, it’s unmanly and untoward and they should take it like a man. Really? If your manhood is defined by how much artificial danger you face, perhaps your manhood should wear a helmet and face guard to protect its fragile nature.
Though, if you’d like, we’ll make a deal. If you are legitimately tough enough to handle a thrown or batted ball directed at your face, you’ll let us test it out by sending Ben Christensen to your home when you least expect it. If you can take a 97 mph fastball to the face while in the shower, then you don’t have to wear protective equipment.
You do have to wear underwear, though. That’s for our protection.