Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Put A Lid On It

MLB has adopted a new safety rule this year, in the wake of the death of Rockies minor league coach Mike Coolbaugh in 2007. Coolbaugh was killed during a July 22 game between the Tulsa Drillers and the Arkansas Travelers when he was struck by a foul line drive. Coaches are now required to wear batting helmets while on the field. It's a simple, sensible precaution.

Not to hear some coaches talk about it, though. To listen to them, you'd think that the rule falls somewhere between the horrors of socialized medicine and the Black Helicopters.

Some of the complaints crack me up. Jose Oquendo can't chew gum with the helmet on? Andy Van Slyke thinks it's too hot? The umpires don't wear them, so why should coaches? Call the wahhh-mbulance!

By next year umpires will probably be wearing them too. Cubs third base coach Mike Quade asks why don't pitchers have to wear them. Good question! They should. And it won't be long before some of them start.

And then there is the reason that coaches don't wear the ear flaps, which are required for hitters, because the ears are part of coach's signs, and have to be exposed? Why? If the area of the ears needs to be visible for signs, why not just paint the flap white or something?

The real reason is that coaches are a bunch of macho guys who don't want to feel like sissies. They'll get over it.

Here's a postscript to the Coolbaugh story. When the Rockies made the postseason last year, their players voted a full share of their winnings to Coolbaugh's widow. Remember that when you hear the complaint that all professional athletes are selfish bastards.

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