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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

N.Y. Times: Now Batting: A Stronger, Mandatory Helmet

For Rawlings, the official provider of helmets to Major League Baseball, the S100 Pro Comp is the latest and best attempt at protecting players. Introduced last year, it is fractions of an inch larger and an ounce or so heavier than a traditional helmet. But its carbon fiber shell is also 300 percent stiffer and 130 times stronger than the helmets made with plastic shells that have been the standard for the past several years.

About 200 players, including stars like Carlos Beltran, Matt Kemp and Buster Posey, wore the S100 Pro Comp at some point last season. But starting this spring training, all major league players must wear the helmet, a decision included in the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011. The only exceptions are for the handful of players who wear helmets with earflaps on both sides.The S100 Pro Comp’s biggest innovation is that its hardened shell is designed to provide protection against balls thrown at up to 100 miles per hour, compared to 68 m.p.h. for older helmets. [...]

Rawlings set out to make the S100 smaller and lighter while maintaining its strength by switching to carbon fiber. Carbon fiber, though, is far more expensive than plastic, which can be injected into a mold and removed within minutes. Carbon fiber helmets must be cut from sheets and shaped into a helmet, a time-consuming process. Though Rawlings has since streamlined its manufacturing process, the S100 Pro Comp helmets are about five times more expensive to produce.

bobm Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:35 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: helmets

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   1. glennrwordman Posted: February 20, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4372697)
Though Rawlings has since streamlined its manufacturing process, the S100 Pro Comp helmets are about five times more expensive to produce.

And many times less expensive to replace than a head.
   2. phredbird Posted: February 20, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4372701)
i'm pretty old school and all, but i do favor this. protecting the head is a no-brainer.

ha! i made a joke, sort of.

as for the elbow and ankle stuff, not so much. i think that gives hitters too much advantage. i especially hated how bonds got to put on a suit of armor and hang out over the plate. that particular piece has since been since made illegal, right?
   3. cardsfanboy Posted: February 20, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4372723)
as for the elbow and ankle stuff, not so much. i think that gives hitters too much advantage. i especially hated how bonds got to put on a suit of armor and hang out over the plate. that particular piece has since been since made illegal, right?


I thought you had to have a doctors note or something, which means No it hasn't been made illegal.

I would have no problem with the protective elbow and other pads, if the umps would call the rule about attempting to get out of the way. The Fernando Vina way of pretending to avoid a ball by rotating into it, should be made illegal and a mandatory fine. I despise the NFL, but I wouldn't be adverse to a review system fining players for flagrant rule violations like that after the fact, like the NFL does, regardless if the ref called the play on the field.
   4. Bhaakon Posted: February 20, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4372756)
I thought you had to have a doctors note or something, which means No it hasn't been made illegal.


I don't think it has either, yet I can't think of a current player who wears anything nearly as extensive as Bonds did.

As you say, the protective pieces don't bother me so much as the umpires reluctance to enforce the "attempt to to get out of the way rule". Though, to be honest, I think that rules comes into play for more often on "scrappy" type players with baggy uniforms who "get out of the way" by lifting their arms, thrusting out their bellies, and draping a yard of polyester in the strike zone than on balls bouncing off pads. A guy like Bonds is protected from the inside pitch more by his ability to pull it over the fence than the risk of it ticking of some armor for a cheap HBP.
   5. AROM Posted: February 20, 2013 at 01:46 PM (#4372757)
as for the elbow and ankle stuff, not so much. i think that gives hitters too much advantage. i especially hated how bonds got to put on a suit of armor and hang out over the plate. that particular piece has since been since made illegal, right?


They did crack down on protective gear allowed, since players like Bonds were making it into a mockery. An alternative measure would be to allow hitters to wear whatever they want. Use a full suit of kevlar-lined plate mail if they want. But HBP would just count as a ball instead of awarding you first base. Or a strike, if it hits your arm hanging over the strike zone.
   6. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 20, 2013 at 01:50 PM (#4372762)
I would have no problem with the protective elbow and other pads, if the umps would call the rule about attempting to get out of the way.

And not award a base any time a batter gets hit while leaning over the plate. That's a very good style of hitting aggressively, but it should be assumed to carry a fair amount of non-rewardable risk with it.
   7. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: February 21, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4373283)
i especially hated how bonds got to put on a suit of armor and hang out over the plate. that particular piece has since been since made illegal, right?


They changed the rules while Bonds was using it, but he was allowed to continue. Players who had existing armor were grandfathered in.
   8. Charlie O Posted: February 21, 2013 at 03:31 PM (#4373527)
I would have no problem with the protective elbow and other pads, if the umps would call the rule about attempting to get out of the way.


I would require them to keep all the pads and armor on when they reach base. If you want to hit with it, you have to run with it, too.
   9. Jose Remains The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: February 21, 2013 at 03:43 PM (#4373539)
I would require them to keep all the pads and armor on when they reach base. If you want to hit with it, you have to run with it, too.


See I'd go the other way. You aren't allowed to leave the batter's box until every piece of equipment is off. A couple of 8-3 ground outs would cut down on the amount of the stuff guys wear.

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