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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitting Fear

Posted by: mjb (berg@pop.ctctel.com) on Wed Aug 21 20:19:50 2002

In the 2 years since face masks were adopted (I watched a lot of games during that time), I don't remember a single player getting hit in the face mask. My oldest son doesn't remember one either.

However, in the year before they adopted the face masks, I saw my son's teamate get hit in the face by a pitch that I think first glanced his helmet. It wasn't a pleasant scene and while he did try coming back a few games later, he never got comfortable and soon quit baseball. That was too bad, because I thought he had some talent.

This year, I saw a 12 year old short stop get hit in the face on a bad bounce, and it broke his nose, but he was back playing the next game wearing a helmet with a face mask and he seemed to field fine.

We seem willing to take extra steps to protect our young kids in other areas of life, such as in learning to ride a bicycle by making sure they wear a helmet. Why shouldn't we take extra precautions in baseball with the players facing their first live pitchers? So what if they don't look like the major leaguers.

When my oldest son was 10, he threw a baseball to me when I wasn't looking and it hit me in the face. It took me about a year before my teeth quit hurting. This year, he hit a line drive back at me and hit me in the thigh. Even though it hurt, it was nothing in comparison to getting hit in the face.

I don't think that having a face mask will make young players so careless that they won't want to learn how to dodge a pitch. It is even hard to teach a catcher not to turn his head when a pitch hits the dirt before it crosses the plate.

Even though I enjoy baseball more than other sports, the danger aspect of baseball gave me pause when I was considering letting my 9 year old face live pitchers. It made me wonder how danger I am willing to allow him to be in for the sake of a game. The face masks helped a lot and I think I see a higher percentage of batters at ease because of it.

> The face mask will prevent facial injuries. However, it also allows the hitter to never learn how to turn away from the ball. Do you see many kids get hit in the face mask?
> I have this horrible image of hitters padded up like hockey players and fielders with shin guards, elbow pads, face masks and chest protectors. Maybe a permanent pitching screen in front of the pitcher as well.
> Then everyone will be safe, nobody will get hurt. But it won't look like baseball either.

> >Our league switched to helmets with face masks for both the 9-10 and the 11-12 years olds a couple of years ago, and I think it was a very smart move.
> >
> > I especially don't like inexperienced 9 year olds facing a hard throwing 10 year old pitcher. But I think face masks give all young players more confidence and makes baseball more fun for everyone (players, coaches and parents).
> >
> > Sometimes I even wonder if 9-10 year olds shouldn't wear them in the field too.


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