Little League requires face masks on players!


I’m all for the safety of the players, but when is enough, enough? I guess I am just old school, but is it me? or are there Parents and officials out there just plain going above and beyond? I have played baseball for many years and yes I have been hit by a ball and yes it hurt, but I got up and took first. Today, I look around at the other coaches and keep my ears on and eyes open and I never hear any of the other Coaches teach a hitter how to move away from a ball thrown at them. When I was younger, coaches taught their hitters/players how to turn away from a bad pitch and how to take one for the team, but today, I guess coaches don’t have time or worse, just don’t even know or remember. I guess seeing players getting hit in the face is not very pretty and I would agree 100%, but the question is…How? Why? It’s not the pitchers fault! It’s not the batters fault! I feel it runs deeper than that and it runs all the way into the dugout. COACHING!!! So, now I have these officials talking safety this and saftey that and it is driving me nuts, but what can one do when there is already and avalanche? Think about it for a second, will there be no more sliding into base because it is not safe? What about the position that is the most dangerous of all? That’s right!! The PITCHER. Will pitchers be forced to throw on the mound with an L screen? C’mon… Makes no sence to me to have a batter with a mask on when a pitcher is more volnerable with a ball that could come at him twice as fast. Hello!!! Now, the batter is more confident and aggresive. Swings harder now because of the mask, but lacks the vision to see the ball as well as the player use to without the mask and results in more balls being swung at late which, by he way, results in the pitcher being even more of a target… Safety? How about overly protective? I love being a coach and I love Baseball. These Boys want to play baseball. I just don’t understand how people think this is an answer… :x Any comments my fellow Coaches??? Officials too :smiley:


Little League is being run by lawyers now. It is on it’s very last legs and if ESPN wasn’t propping them up Ripken/Babe Ruth and AAU would have already supplanted them. Already they’ve started to buckle though (I just read last week where they may actually come up with a intermediate field size).
I had this kid back in the 80’s, he was this little golden haired tyke…sang in the choir…they said his voice was a thing of beauty (I’m a nicknamer so immediately, he’s Elvis). Well he was just about as skittery and weak as any kid I’ve ever coached. As he was getting his 2 fielding innings and one at bat on a fine Saturday morning against the fastest toughest pitcher in our league, I called him to me and told him not to keep bailing all the way out of the box every time the kid threw, the ump was calling everything a strike because of this…well lil Johnnie (And his name was Johnnie :lol: ) went up there all brave and determined…thumped that plate with his bat and was just not going to give in…next pitch slammed into a point equa-distant between upper lip and nose…this vaulted Lil Johnnie into the most technically perfect gainer ever attempted at home plate. Soon there after Lil Johnnie made a commitment to scouting and hung those cleats by the door. I can see from the shock and horror of his parents and the surrounding parents how this “face-mask” deal came about.
I still for the life of me just can’t agree with it though.


There is only one thing mandatory in Little League these days. Williamsport must make money. To that end, all the other mandatory rules have evolved. I gave up on Little League when they accepted a television contract for millions and used “little Johnnie” :cap: as an excuse to expand their television empire. Now every mother and father sees their child as a budding superstar. Add to that the “pitch count” rule and I just want to :puke: .

Every easy fix is adopted but the one that would make a true difference in the game. Getting back to wood bats. Hmmmm…I smell an aluminum bat company in the woodpile.

I feel better now. :crazy:


It wouldn’t surprise me if the insurance companies had a hand in this requirement.


Even if it’s Little League, or should I say especially if it’s Little League, they should make it a requirement for the teams to have pitchers’ fielding practice. It should include handling comebackers, so that these young pitchers can be equipped to move fast, spear those line drives and fire to the base to make the putouts, and avoid being hit by them (except, of course, in the pocket of the glove). You’d be surprised at how some of those kids at bat can line one right back at the pitcher. This is how things are done at the professional level, especially in the major leagues, and if all teams were to do this on a regular basis it would cut down drastically on injuries sustained by that lethal batted ball. 8)


This year is going to be very interesting to me as a dad and a coach. :lol:


Congratulations. This may be the most ridiculous thread I’ve ever read.

Complaining because Little League (12-and-under kids) requires batters to wear face masks? What’s the big deal? Face masks add safety and have zero effect on performance.

Do you also complain that Pony League requires catchers to wear cups? Of course not, because the sole objective of many of you is to find something to knock Little League.

I can say that I’ve now heard just about everything from the anti-Little League crowd: “Pony League’s shorter pitching distances compared to Little League’s longer pitching distances are good”; “Little League not allowing runners to lead off is bad”; “Pony League requiring catchers to wear safety cups is good”; “Little League requiring batters to wear safety face masks is bad”.

Can you spell “hypocrisy”?


littlelefty said,

I’ve managed to miss most of the other posts you’ve made on this forum until today. Before you start calling someone a hypocrite you ought to first know the defintion of the word and then have a personal experience to draw from regarding that person’s acts. The very definition of hypocrisy requires a knowledge of the accused person’s acts. You don’t know me so you can’t know if I am a hypocrite about anything let alone little league.

I am here to tell you that I not only know how to spell hypocrisy, I know what it means. If you want to place a face mask on your son at the plate, go ahead, you should have that freedom. If you want to mandate that my kid wear a face mask then I will have to decide if I want to play little league or go to a program where it is optional. There has always been the option to have your kid wear a face mask. For that matter, you can wrap him (or her) in bubble wrap if you want. I choose not to.

We have become way to complacent when it comes to giving up our freedom of choice. I don’t like the escalation in mandates and my acts bear that out, if you knew me. And if you knew me, well you’d know if I like you or not. I don’t soft sell anything.

Your turn.



First, I did not say anyone in particular is a hypocrite.

Second, what I said is that it is “hypocrisy” to criticise one league (Little League) for its safety requirements but not another league (Pony League) for its safety requirements.

By the way, you wrote above that “There is only one thing mandatory in Little League these days. Williamsport must make money.” Well, what say you about Pony League’s requirement that all games must use “baseballs bearing the emblem of PONY Baseball” (Rule 8-B). That rule is not there to “make money”, is it? Pony is not making money off the sale of those “PONY” baseballs, is it?


Well, BUDDY, if you are lookin for a squabble…there’s a place we have here called, “Official Pissing Contest Thread!” I’d like to invite you over there to continue this diatribe.

In the meantime, I find it quite boring to argue with people who keep changing the subject as a strategy every time you challenge them on something.

There are only five other posters on this thread…which one of us was complaining?

Nobody except you mentioned “Pony League”. JD made a vague reference to little league experimenting with a transitional field size. That’s funny, you create the controversy and then start the aguement by name calling.

[quote]Little League requiring batters to wear safety face masks is bad".
Can you spell “hypocrisy”?[/quote]

You are kidding right?

I doubt PONY League makes the kind of money Little League does on television rights by the way.

I said,

[quote]“There is only one thing mandatory in Little League these days. Williamsport must make money.” [/quote] I stand by that. I’ve visited Williamsport, I’ve coached Little League (Ten Years), I played both Little and PONY League and a bunch of other leagues, my dad established Little League in our home town, and I’ve watched all the mandatory this and mandatory that come down. The one thing that makes you a slave to someone else is taking money from them. Nothing comes free. Little League is now beholden to the aluminum bat companies, the helmet companies, the glove companies, the uniform companies, the television affiliates and ESPN and all their advertisers. I am unabashedly, unashamed to bash Little League because they deserve it. and if you’ll meet me over at the Pissing Contest Thread I’ll bash you too. :shock:


When I got into playing the game as a kid, nobody in New York City even heard of Little League, or Pony League, or Veeblefetzer League for that matter. We learned to play the game by playing the game, as simple as that, and a little later on I hooked up with a very good sandlot—it could have been called semipro if the players had gotten paid—team with a manager with good baseball savvy. We played major league rules all the way, which pleased me greatly—including the 60’6" pitching distance and the 90-foot distance between bases—and I learned even more abouit playing the game as a result. There was none of that b.s. about face masks (except for the catcher, of course), or cups, or saucers for that matter; we learned how to deal with things like line drives hit back to the mound, and so on. And still later on I found myself a pitching coach who was nothing short of incredible; he was an active major-league pitcher who doubled as an extra pitching coach, and what I learned from him was priceless—not to mention giving my team an extra edge or two.
So—forgive me if I look at the whole situation with a jaundiced eye, because we didn’t have that sort of thing until much later on, by which time I had acquired the nickname of “The Exterminator.” And now, at age 75, my playing days well behind me, I still look at the situation the same way. 8) :roll:


I was searching “face guards for little league” when I stumbled upon your forum, and wanted to just interject another perspective. My 10 yr old son is recovering from a blow out fracture to his orbital floor (lower eye socket) from a pitch to the face in a Little League AAA tournament game a week ago. I can’t tell as much as my husband (and probably all of you) the difference between pitches, but I am told it was a screwball. It was like a heat-seeking missle, as my son backed away from it, it followed him. He has been taught to turn away on inside pitches and always has done that, but in his previous at bat in this game, he was called out on an inside pitch, one that had quite a bit of movement on it and ended up in the glove closer to the plate than he was expecting. I think he was trying to hang on to this pitch in his vision a bit longer to get a better look because of that, but in any case, he should have turned away sooner. The team we were playing had several more experienced travel players and our boys really hadn’t seen pitches move quite that much before - but whatever the excuses…he was hit (along with about 4 other players on our team) and, like has been said in this thread - it’s no one’s fault.

The ER Dr. said he will need to wear a face guard to prevent re-injury. I wasn’t sure he’d even want to play again, with or w/out the guard, but in any case, the guard is a requirement for him for the foreseeable future. He said he does want to continue playing, so I’m researching the different options avbl.

Our daughters played D1 college softball and ASA began requiring face guards in 2005. The ruling affected our younger daughter, who at first had some adjustments to make, but as time went on, it was a non-issue. And altho in college it was not required, the one who had played travelball with it did continue to wear it. During the college softball world series a couple wks ago, we noticed many, if not most, of the girls who came to the plate did so w/ face guards. Imho, it’s just a no-brainer. I would have loved it if Little League had that requirement in place a week ago.

So, yes, it should be taught and re-taught at younger levels how to turn from inside pitches. Yes, being hit is part of the game. BUT, as the “game” continues to evolve to faster pitching at younger ages (w/ kids in lessons from age 5), and bats continue to improve in composition for more pop, injuries will happen no matter how much preventative training.

I didn’t know Little League was considering a face guard requirement, but if they are, I am happy to hear it. Regardless (no pun :), our son will be wearing one. He was very lucky his eye muscle was not entrapped, so no surgery was needed, but he was in a lot of pain, seeing double and vomiting, w/ half of his face distorted for several days. He will miss the entire allstar season and no running for 4 wks, so it’s definitely something I wouldn’t wish on ANYONE.

With that said, his coach bought him something called a “C-Flap”. It looks good, but I was wondering if there was anything out there more like the NOCSAE approved ASA guards, that reach across the helmet as opposed to a protuding flap. If anyone has an opinion on an effective face guard, I would appreciate any input.

Thanks for reading, even though I realize my opinion, as a parent, might be different from most of you (esp since this is a pitching forum), but thanks anyway. Whether or not there’s a requirement won’t affect us, as our son will wear one, but I do think mandating it would be more good than bad. Just like the seatbelt law, it would take time to adjust, but after that, I think it would be no big deal.



First I want to say that I empathize with your experience and I hope that your son recovers fully without any lingering side effects from the incident.

Your post was well thought out and presented fairly so I respect your opinion. I disagree but I respect it.

Yes, I really do understand why you might be pleased to have Little League mandate faceguards given your experience. However, I would point out that the balance of civil liberty and safety is the crux of the arguement. The impositions of mandates or laws by governing bodies both restricting your liberty or mandating an action should only be accepted when the results are a benefit to all members of our society in an overwhelming fashion give the totality of the circumstances. Such a situation you mentioned yourself. Seatbelts. Doubtless that they save tens of thousands of lives on a yearly basis. So I accept the government’s right to limit my freedom based on these safety facts. Even though in rare instances, the seatbelt itself is the cause of death.

However, I would argue that driving is the type of situation the majority of us participate in and a failure to persue a high rate of seat belt use would be against the public good not only through injury but finacially due to hospitalization costs.

The game of baseball is a sport that in comparison is insignificant to the public safety issue. As such I feel it is the domain of parents and guardians to decide what safety equipment should be used. For instance, I do not know a single parent who insists that their son where a helmet or any protective head wear while pitching. Would you be in favor of such a requirement? There have been numerous kids killed by batted balls. Perhaps every player in the infield should wear a protective helmet also, afterall they require base coaches to wear them because of the death of a single minor league base coach. As a coach I would not allow a catcher to get behind the plate without the minimum of helmet, mask, chest protector, leg guards and protective cup. As a coach it is my right to act as legal guardian for a player and so I feel justified in mandating these items. But when requiring certain actions, where does one stop?

My final point is not meant to offend you. Prior to your son’s incident, had it ever occurred to you that he might be hit in the face with a fastball while batting? After all he stands within inches of every pitch that is thrown. But why didn’t you insist on the faceguard before the incident happened? We are a society so used to having governing bodies tell us what is the right and wrong thing to do that we give up our right to make those decisions for ourselves. There are plenty of situations out there that are dangerous to our kids. Believe me I’ve seen some of the strangest but it is up to each individual or parent or guardian to mandate the response, not governing bodies. The game of baseball is old enough to have made those decisions about safety equipment and I believe we should not add more rules to the book.

My son and his buddy took off biking one day while I was at work. My wife, insisted that each one wear a helmet. She even made sure they were on securely and not just there for show. They were not required by law for his age. Going down a steep hill, my son lost control and flew headfirst into a cement culvert. Even with the helmet on, he fractured his skull, suffered a subdural hematoma on the brain, was lifeflighted by helicopter to a surgeon who skillfully saved his life and patched his head back together with titanium plates. My son wasn’t wearing a helmet because the state required it. He was wearing one because I required it and I married the right girl. Inevitably, now when my son reports he is going to some risky activity he says something like, “Dad you can’t wrap me in bubble wrap…everythings going to be alright.”



Thanks for all your time in responding; you obviously have a passion for the subject and I respect that. To answer your question, where to draw the line w/ safety requirements… I would say I guess with the frequency of injury. Obviously an injury occurring very rarely probably shouldn’t prompt a mandate as much as one that occurs more often. I realize “rarely & often” are hard to define, but I’m speaking in general. For example, seatbelts are required in the front seat in more states than the backseat because injuries occur more frequently in the front. Catchers have to wear face guards, but not infielders bc even tho they all get injured, the frequency would be much greater for the catcher (if not wearing protection).

I guess it comes down to: I don’t see what’s so bad about a guard on your helmet, I mean, you’re wearing the helmet already.

Anyway, I do see your point. You are concerned with your freedom. I just feel as the game develops in intensity at younger ages, so should our safeguards. Little League is the first youth-based sports organization to require national criminal background checks for all of its volunteers with repetitive access to children. That can be looked at as an infringement on freedom, but we all know the good outweighs the bad there. I think it does here too, sorry :frowning:

Glad your son is ok, wow…how scary that must have been! You did marry the right person!

I’m still interested in info on effective face guards for kids and would appreciate advice from anyone out there w/ knowledge of them.


My daughter’s little league has also recently made fielders masks and pitchers helmets mandatory now, so I have been doing some research on the equipment and topic, which led me here! As someone who grew up playing the sport and has always loved to watch the sport, it is hard to take one specific side on the issue. Having a daughter, it has opened my eyes to the dangers that can occur that you have no way of controlling. Where when you play, you don’t care about the risks and you just want to win, but now that it’s someone I care about deeply, I don’t want any harm coming to her. Coaching does have a lot to do with it, but I also think that the sport is evolving just like every other sport does. With new technology in bats being made, players can hit the ball harder, and on the other hand new technology of equipment has been created to help protect those on the field…as well as batters! Softball players used to wear normal batting helmets, and now a shield like a football helmet has to be worn. (No one ever complained about that rule when it was made) So why not take advantage of equipment offered? I do however believe, that when a child hits a certain age, the parents and child have say in what protection they would like to wear.

I’ve done quite a bit of research and have found some great information. I’m sure you and many others have seen the latest news about the MLB approving a new helmet- Yet it is still not mandatory. That design is more to protect the head rather than the face, as my daughters league needs to have. My research also led me to a site that talks solely about this topic- A lot of really great information under the articles and blog section. We found a mask that has worked really well for her on there…doesn’t obstruct her view or interfere with her play. (both for boys and girls as well as adults) Let me know if you have any other questions about it!


Good god, you people let your kids play baseball!!! What kind of parents are you???

I keep mine wrapped in bubble wrap and locked in his room. Nothing bad is happening to my kid.


They might as well disband Little League altogether and forbid kids from going outside to play because they might get hurt tripping on the sidewalk! What is this world coming to? I remember when I got into playing baseball, nobody had even heard of Little League; I played with older kids and we all learned the game by playing it. So what if someone got a Charley horse sliding into second base? This was all part of the game, and because we all used wooden bats and played major league distances and by major league rules the questions that have been posed here never came up.
It may be just as well that elementary-school recess has been largely supplanted by sitting long hours in class cramming for test after test after test. The worst that can happen, physically, is a sore rear end (and fortunately I escaped that). No, wait—the worst that can happen is that we are becoming a nation of sissies, wimps, nerds and generally out-of-shape individuals. :cry:


I have a few comments for this thread about masks on helmets, pitcher protection, and overall safety gear. Don’t mind the long post, I have a lot to say.

As far as the masks on the helmets go, I remember when I was playing little league in Texas we all had masks on our helmets. Whether or not they were required I do not know, however I do know that all the team helmets we had had masks on them. So it could have been that if you had your own helmet, it didn’t need a mask but all team helmets were required to have them. I always wore the mask in little league and it didn’t diminish my vision or ability to hit the ball, it only provided extra safety.

I also grew up in a time (I say this like I’m old, I’m 21 and this was in the 90’s haha) where baseball players were brought up to be tough. This was where “don’t rub it”, and “rub some dirt on it” came to play. I remember a specific instance where I was stung by a bee in the dugout, and my coach (a savvy old baseball guy) decided that the best thing for the bee sting was to put a little tobacco juice on it. My dad was also a big proponent of being tough. I was a catcher all through little league and into high school until I switched to pitching my Junior year. He did several things to make me “tougher”, as they would say. One thing he would do, to teach me to not be afraid of the ball, was to stand me up against the brick wall of our house and throw tennis balls at me. I wasn’t allowed to move, just stand there and learn to be less afraid. He wouldn’t actually hit me, he would miss on purpose but he would throw the ball all around my body and I would just stand there. At the time I hated it, but looking back I found that it helped me incredibly and I thank him for it. And I can’t say anything about it now as I have hit him several times in all parts of the body as he squatted down behind a plate in my backyard to catch me with only a catchers mitt as protection.

Another thing he would do is take me to the local Putt-Putt batting cages and make me put on my catchers gear and sit in there and catch the 70 mph cage (at my age this was harder than any pitcher threw). He would then take me to the slower cages and make me take some off the chest protector Happy Gilmore style. Some people in these times would say that’s cruel, but I never think of it that way. It made me a tougher kid. He tells me stories about how during games catching machine pitch games, (In Texas at that time after coach pitch level we went to machine pitch and then to players pitching) I would get hit in the legs and shoulders with foul balls or balls that I just wouldn’t catch. I would cry because it hurt, but I just sat back there with my mask on so no one could see and toughed it out. Tough players are the best players. Even today when batting during summer ball (As a pitcher I get DH’d for during my college games) I’m not afraid of getting hit. There was a time last summer where it was a tie game in the bottom of the seventh and my team needed a base runner. So I stood in the box and crowded as far up to the plate as possible. The first pitch was an inside fastball, and I turned in and took it off the back. I then jogged on down to first base, stole second, then was knocked in by the next batter for the game winning run. Toughness wins games.

Also, as a catcher I have been on the receiving end and seen several times in the past few days a catcher being hit in the cup. While it still hurts, it’s a necessity which is why it’s required or should be required by all leagues. One of my catchers on my team has been hit 3 times in practice in the last 3 days. Along with summer baseball, I also play fastpitch softball. I’m the catcher for my team, and I honestly wear the least protection possible. I only wear on old style mask with a backwards baseball hat, no chest protector, and shin guards. Depending on the day I may or may not wear a cup. While I have yet to be hit where my cup should be, I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve been hit with foul balls. I’ve been hit on both shoulders/upper chest several times, and even on the inside of my thigh. But I’ve never missed a game, never been pulled, and always tough it out. My theory with the chest protector is that a softball catchers mitt is big enough that if I can’t stop a ball coming straight back at me at the chest, then I shouldn’t be catching. It also gets in the way when I have to throw a runner out at 2nd (I have yet to give up a steal in my 3 seasons as catcher. I guess being a college pitcher who has to throw the shorter distance to second has its advantages.

And as far as protection for pitchers goes, my feeling is pitchers are as protected as they need to be. Because of the recent trend of MLB pitchers getting hit in the head, there has been a padded hat developed for the pitcher to wear. I just had a conversation with Brandon McCarthy on Twitter about the hats and we both agreed they’re no where near game ready for pitchers. The current prototype is too big and bulky and will throw off a pitcher more than people seem to believe. Line drives back at a pitcher are a part of the game and always will be. One of my fellow pitchers on my team was hit in the head this morning during live BP. Luckily he got his glove on it a little bit, and it hit his hat so he didn’t have a concussion.

As pitchers move up the ranks of baseball, their reaction time improves dramatically. I’ve never been hit by a ball while pitching (I’m not counting all the times I’ve been hit in the feet). I’ve had many many balls hit back at me, but I’ve always at least gotten my glove on it if not caught it. I would go as far to say as pitchers have some of if not the best average reaction time in baseball aside from maybe catchers. If your reaction time isn’t good enough to get a glove on it, then you’re gonna get hit.

Sorry for the long post, I kind of get long-winded whenever I talk about subjects I’m passionate about. If you made it all the way through, thanks for reading.


Another note about bats, they have done something about the bats in regards to safety. Contrary to what jmho said, bats are no longer being improved to provide more “pop”, at least in the ways they used to. With the introduction of the BBCOR bat standard instead of BESR standard bats, power and velocity off the bat has gone down dramatically. The BBCOR standard requires the speed of a batted ball off of a non-wood bat to be no greater than that of a wood bat. And again, as a pitcher, it has improved the safety. We’re no longer seeing the long bombs hit off the end of the bat that BESR provided, instead those balls are either fouled off or hit weakly like a wood bat.


I don’t love the idea, but I like it. If it’s volunteer to wear a mask, no one will wear it, even if u wanted to. Medical bills in the USA is outrageous and so are law suits. No body wanted to wear a seatbelt until it was law. Or a motorcycle helmet.

For pitchers how about wearing an old style catchers cap?