Brandon McCarthy on pitching headgear: ‘there is nothing acceptable out there’

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

Brandon McCarthy weighing in on pitching headgear after J.A. Happ's brutal liner-to-the-head Tuesday night is important for two reasons: (1) McCarthy is one of baseball's more thoughtful players. (2) He, too, was struck in the head by a line drive last season, needing emergency brain surgery and suffering a fractured skull.

So McCarthy speaks as someone who knows the consequences of being a defenseless pitcher better than most.

His message, boiled down, is this: Pitchers shouldn't be wearing helmets. Not yet. There's nothing acceptable out there right now. If you want to make money, come up with good headgear for pitchers and you'll be rich.

The Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher took to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, firing off a series of thoughts on the issue:

In a more-than-140-characters fashion, McCarthy also talked to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic and USA Today, offering up the following:

"Most everything that's come out, it wouldn't have protected me, wouldn't have protected (Happ) if he got hit directly on the ear ... You'd have to have something that protected the ear. At that point, how vulnerable is the face and beyond. It's kind of a slippery slope where somebody will have to come up with something really good or really sound. Otherwise, I don't know how to answer the question.

"We've put things on the moon before, so I feel like we could create some sort of a device that sits on your head and protects you. … It's going to be a money-maker whatever it is. You can sell it to youth leagues and people will wear it all the way through. Usually good ideas go where the money is, so I think if enough companies get into that or people in their basement who are good at creating, someone will do it. It's just a matter of when not if."

Indeed, MLB will likely find something one day to protect pitchers. It looked into padded caps after McCarthy's injury. Prototypes were produced, but none were approved. A type of headgear that McCarthy's "wondered about" is what's worn here by soccer goalkeeper Petr Cech of Chelsea F.C.

Maybe now that McCarthy has put this in the most universal of terms, MLB will get workable headgear options from a company out there. We all know there's no greater motivator than the almighty dollar.

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