Fielding Position

[size=18]As it looks as if the Lord Almighty is making the Giants WS Champs this year (I say this because of “miraculous” doubles and bunts that walk lines :wink:)
[/size]…looks like ol jd knew how the wind was blowing for the ol sweep didn’t he??..winner winner…Large Steak dinner! You may all praise my skills at prognostication
I will bring Doug Fisters smack off the head to the table and say…So should we coach kids from when they are very little on how to position after delivery?

http://aol.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2012-10-25/world-series-2012-doug-fister-stays-in-game-after-line-drive-off-his-head?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl2|sec3_lnk3%26pLid%3D225871

I mean…OW…I laughed thinking that if Jackson would have not been mesmerized, he may have actually caught that and Fister would have received the assist :shock:

What made me really pay attention, was immediately McCarver starts talking that pitchers are now going to be wearing helmets…The image of a pitcher with a helmet, and chest protector…well it just made me recoil…and as soon as a guy takes one off the knee cap like Gibson had happen to him…will we just encase the pitcher in padding?

Is there an answer? Does there need to be an answer? Is this such a rare thing that we should just call it “The Almighty” just like I did about the Gigantics?

What says this forum? 8) :lol: 8) :lol: :lol:

Nah. No answers required.

Pitchers are going to get hit once in a while no matter what position they finish in. I see it as Just part of the game.

My opinion, like most things is determined by my life experiences. I can’t imagine a world where pitchers don protective head gear. It would seem very strange to me but then again there was a time when batters wore no such protection.

So I could envision the technology to produce headgear that would be protective but light enough not to get in the way of pitching mechanics. And I would be open to the change, if it were provided as an option and not demanded. Pitchers are in a very vulnerable position after releasing the ball and some baseballs are hit at a speed that makes reaction time immaterial. That is one reason I was always in favor of wood bats and the spurning of the aluminum RPG.

My acceptance of protective headgear probably is influenced by my former profession and my own son’s life threatening head injury as well as his being a pitcher who had numerous errant change ups rocket past his head.

I have viewed the inside of countless human skulls, the results of head trauma, the ruptured veins and hemorrhages, the irreversible brain damage. I have had chilling conversations with medical examiners and neuro surgeons about the fragility of the brain - the way it functions to control every aspect of the human thing we call life. And I have seen my own son flown in a helicopter to a hospital where a talented surgeon opened up my son’s skull, evacuated a killer subdural hematoma, installed five titanium plates over numerous fractures and watched him lay in an intensive care unit for several days in an induced coma. My son made a miraculous recovery but it was made possible by one skilled and caring surgeon.

Wherever we can, we should try to minimize our risk of traumatic injury but we enjoy life partly because we know how fragile it is. And some of us enjoy participation in activities that expose ourselves to greater risk. Technology can reduce these risks. A prudent person will make use of technology. A society that forces this on anyone is a step further away from the freedom that makes it worth living.

Those are my thoughts…Just off the top of my head…

Brandon McCarthy and Juan Nicasio just recently. It seems obscene to give them ‘headgear’.

I would rather pitch in shorts and no hat, so a helmet seems funny to me.

I can see it happening one day, but just how far down the road I’m unsure.

It would be interesting to see if anyone’s done a study out there pertaining to how many guy’s have taken one off the nogging vs BPIP over a large sample size.

Much the same as broken bats, or base coaches getting hit by the ball or broken bats.

But even if the time comes to wearing protection there will still be freak accidents.

I can remember a few year’s ago where a father was throwing BP to his son and son’s friends and they were using the L-screen and the Dad still got clipped on a rocket back at him and unfortunately succumbed to his injuries.

No matter what you do the potential for injury will be there.

And that, dear everybody, is exactly why PFP—pitchers’ fielding practice—is of such paramount importance!
We need to remember that every time a pitcher steps off the rubber after completing a pitch or throwing to one base or another, said pitcher becomes a fifth infielder and has to be able to do all the things infielders do—fielding bunts, covering bases, handling comebackers, bang-bang plays at the plate, you name it. This was told to me by my incredible pitching coach, Eddie Lopat, and when he suggested that we get some players and devote an afternoon to PFP, I was all for it. Believe me, I got more out of that one afternoon than most pitchers get in a month or even a whole season. If such practice sessions were to be implemented at all levels of the game I believe that we would see a substantial reduction in the number of serious injuries. 8)

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that pitchers will be wearing some type of head protection, probably more sooner than later.

I tend to disagree, I think it is one of those inherent risks of the game. Look at what happened today with the knee injury to the college football player, should they all wear knee braces?

Freak injuries happen and when you take the field whether it is in the front of your mind or not, there is always an injury risk there. I don’t think the CBA and the players union would ever allow a rule passing that pitchers HAVE to wear helmets on the mound.

Why not make third baseman? I mean it is called the “hot corner” after all? Why not make the outfielders? The ball did go off Jose Canseco’s head…I just don’t see it happening and as a player still in the game I hope it doesn’t :smiley: but it definitely makes for a great debate.

That’s a good point…and honestly, I could see it there as well. Understand, I’m not advocating it … as a former pitcher I can’t imagine doing it . But seeing how 1st and 3rd base coaches now have to wear helmets, I just see it as inevitable.

Sounds like it could start in the MILB in 2013


and it sounds like there’s a few already doing it…

Kevlar and similar type materials have been getting lighter over the years. My first body armour was produced in 1985. It was designed to stop threats up to 9mm and 357 magnum. Important because many police officers are shot with their own weapon, so you need to be wearing a vest that stops what you are carrying. Back then it was 9mm and .357 magnum. But the vest …it weighed five pounds. You carried that five pounds wrapped around you for the entire shift. It was bulky, uncomfortable and just a plain pain in the butt. My last vest was rated for .45 GAP because I carried a Glock model 37. It also had a small titanium shock plate covering the heart.

Alot of guys refused to wear body armour. Over the years I bought my own body armour. Second Chance was one. The owner of the company actually would take a .357 magnum and while wearing the vest shoot himself in the chest point blank. He would place a phone book between the vest and his chest but still…that’s believing in your product.

That brings me to a point I’d like to make. The purpose of kevlar is to stop the bullet from penetrating into the body. None of the body armour we wore would stop anything fired from a rifle. That would go through you just like butter. But a bullet carries a tremendous amount of energy that even if stopped from penetration, the energy is transmitted throughout the torso in the form of blunt force trauma.

So if you read this far, thank you for your patience. The type of protection offered the body - think about the flack vests the quarterbacks wear - is to me different from that of protecting from a head injury. If the head is exposed to internal trauma, there is no elasticity = no room for any swelling as is true for other organs in the body. The brain has no place to go. So I think the challenge of coming up with protective headgear that both offers real protection (and not just symbolic) coupled with the dynamics of added weight to the head affecting a pitcher’s mechanics; makes this an engineering nightmare.

Whatever is offered…if I were a pitcher I would want to see the product placed on the head of a company representative and I would like a pitching machine to launch a major league baseball off his noggin at less than 60’6" at a minimum of 100 mph. And then I want that guy to live at least a week.

Interesting stuff Dino.

I like your idea at the end!

So nobody wants to talk about instruction at the position except Zita?
I agree PFP’s need to be worked…but to me fundamental position competency begins with the player…not his gear. I believe that IF MLB or baseball, want to save lives, they need to protect the chest cavity…in my 30 years of coaching and writing, I’ve never heard of a pitcher being even knocked into a coma off of a liner to the old mind melon (Though sadly we did lose a first base coach who took one to his temple), I’ve heard way too many times (More than 3 in my memory…including one on the very same Saturday my eldest took one off his skull while on the bump) of a kid/player taking one off of the chest and dying.
I believe a new pitcher can be instructed to complete his delivery in position to field the ball, not turned sideways or falling…for those who believe that it impedes velocity…look at this mech and tell me defensive positioning can’t be done at hi velo…

Clemons also left himself in position to field…
That all said, I’d have no issue if they had a kevlar which softened the blow or deflected it…I just think that as Ryan said, we all have a certain amount of jeopardy in our lives and positions. I say we take all that kevlar and hysterical pablum and jam it down the throats of the media…who want to be our mommy and likely never laced on the cleats or stood with a little bit of weak knee against a guy with a fast ball and no clue where it ends up. Every time I feed my horses or walk down by my ponds or creek I can be killed or harmed by any number of unpleasant things…it’s the risk I take to live where I do…

First, to Dino, Im glad your son is well. As someone who has had a family member suffer irreversable damage because of a head inury, that hospital room is a scary place to be. God bless that surgeon. I do see some sort of different cap being implemented, with light weight kevlar sort of material sewn into it…how much real protection this will provide? Who knows? I can certainly see helmits or a face mask being implemented in youth ball…further hampering kids learning good pitching techniques. I totally agree with JD about teaching pitching to end in a position to field (protect) themselves. It is a matter of teaching it and including it in your delivery.

PFP’s will help forsure but there’s always gonna be that risk regardless of what’s implemented.

That’s a great clip BTW

I found this one particularly interesting also…it pops up as a preview once the Smoltzie one gets done :smiley:

The Freak isn’t too bad out of fielding position either…I don’t know what I think about the analysis I’m still thinking about it…lots of math…not much on how.

I remember years ago there was a scene in one of the original episodes of “Hawaii Five-O” in which the entire squad was in position to try to get an armed man down from the top of a pagoda. Detective Dan Williams insisted he could do it, but Steve McGarrett told him it was too risky, too dangerous. Danno replied: "So’s crossing the street."
Or getting out of bed. Or pouring hot coffee into a cup. Or—you get the idea. There’s one or another degree of risk in everything, and that includes getting up on the bump. And wearing protective gear is definitely not the solution. What will minimize the risk is consistent, vigilant practice in fielding the position, and not just for pitchers—catchers and infielders must be included, for the safety (at least relative) of all concerned. JD, unfortunately you are so right—outside of the major leagues I seem to be the only one who advocates PFP. I’m glad you’re with me on this tough subject. By the way, I never even got nicked by a batted ball hit back at me; if I couldn’t grab it I could at least deflect it to an infielder who could make the play, and I got an assist for it. :smiley:

Zita…
the coach of my sons travel team starts every batting practice with bunts and begins every fielding sessions with pfp. He would like to do more of it but limited practice time cuts into it. It isent totally lost out there. His high school team it consisted of a couple of weak hand rolled balls to the pitcher…per week. I agree that protective gear is treating the symptom not the cause.

If protective gear for pitchers is gonna happen, it’s gonna be due to the insurance companies. It’s all about the $$$.

I’ve noticed he’s gotten worse lately - falls off to the side more than he used to. Also, his fastball doesn’t seem to be 95-97 anymore.

But he did pitch well in the World Series.