Crying Foul

Sometimes even helmets can\'t help youWhile watching the Yale-Brown game Sunday (Yale lost, 7-0 and 9-0 at home), a foul ball flying at about 200 miles per hour hit an empty seat three rows away from me. Although I was putting on a tough facade for the crowd, I was cringing inside and thanking the baseball gods for not striking me down.

The incident made me think about the new mandatory helmet rule for first and third base coaches in the Major Leagues. The rule was put into effect for the 2008 season in the aftermath of the death of minor-league first base coach Mike Coolbaugh on July 22nd of last year.

The incident REALLY made me think about the bozos who oppose the rule and continue to fight it to this day. I looked around and found this interesting article by Ward Gossett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, which describes different coaches’ opposition to the rule and the likelihood (or lack thereof) of a similar rule being implemented in college or high school baseball.

I’d like to highlight one Major League Moron who sums up the backwards thinking that has stifled progress in baseball since it was invented.

Braves first base coach and former Major Leaguer Glenn Hubbard (Gossett mistakenly calls him Gene) said that he doesn’t want to wear a helmet while coaching because it makes him feel silly. (Apparently, posing for a baseball card with a snake around his neck DIDN’T make him feel silly)

If only a python could protect you from foul ballsWhen Hubbard was forced to wear a helmet in a spring training game, he said, “You know what it feels like? Look at that kid over there. That’s what I feel like. A batboy.”

Well, Glenn, the batboy has enough sense to realize that a helmet just might help him out if a line drive comes screaming towards his head. Maybe you should be trying to imitate him.

Hubbard is 50-years-old, which makes him relatively young for a baseball coach, but his comments sound like that of a 95-year-old remembering the good old days when women couldn’t vote and you had to get your news from a newspaper.

I played baseball competitively for almost 20 years and at every single level I ran into old fuddy duddys like this guy. They call themselves “traditionalists” but if they were truly steeped in baseball tradition, they would know that the entire game was founded on adjustments.

The game of “base ball” (2 words) originally played in the late 19th century is practically unrecognizable compared to today’s game. Baseball itself evolved through change, yet these “traditionalists” continue to oppose it.

On May 20, 1882, a writer for the New York Clipper said that the policy of not charging an at-bat to a batter who walks was “nonsense.”

Imagine where the game would be today if we listened to “traditionalists” like him.

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