After hearing all about the new protective caps that Major League Baseball approved in late January, Tampa Bay Rays’ Alex Cobb is wondering why he has yet to see a model when Opening Day is right around the corner. Then, when Cobb saw what happened to Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman Wednesday when he was hit in the face with a line drive, Cobb became frustrated.
Chapman ended up suffering a concussion and had surgery but he’s expected to return this season, just like Cobb did last fall after his hit.
The Tampa Bay Times says Cobb is very skeptical about the MLB’s promise to create a solution.
“It kind of seems like a gimmick to cover their end in case of a serious injury. It feels like a liability issue more than an actual care-for-pitchers issue on their end. … I don’t know (if) we’re supposed to go online and find it on our own or what, but we haven’t seen anything yet.”
This padded cap probably wouldn’t have helped Chapman or any other pitcher anyway, since it is just a half-inch thicker on the front and an inch thicker near the temples. Because Chapman was hit above the left eye and Cobb was once hit on the right ear, I’m not sure how much damage it would actually prevent.
But, that’s not the point.
The MLB has assured players and fans that these caps would be revolutionary. But according to Bruce Foster, CEO of 4Licensing Corp, they aren’t completely ready. Foster told the Tampa Bay Times that after getting feedback from a number of pitchers, developers have been working on modifications to improve its comfort, breathability and design. Foster said the new model will be finalized in the next couple of days. Company representatives could start showing them to teams during spring camps by next week.
Foster also says that the original prototype was available this spring. The MLB said it told teams in late January that if pitchers wanted their own model to test out, all they had to do was go through their equipment manager to request a custom-sized model from isoBlox.
Cobb knows he could have been more persistent in requesting to test out the hat but his original point stems back to curiosity. He simply wonders why there wasn’t more urgency or awareness about it. It seemed that these protective caps were the subject of conversations surrounding baseball and common injuries in the sport, right when the MLB announced it’s creation. Since then, conversation has died down and players got busy with Spring Training. All of a sudden a pitcher gets hit and people are asking, “What ever happened with that hat?”
Cobb assumes that since there are so many changes going on, it might be pretty far from being a top priority.
I guess we can expect to hear about Cobb and other Rays testing this product in the coming days.
For more on this story visit: Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times