Minor league players argue safety and style
The new larger helmets are not popular with players, but they can withstand pitches up to 100mph. A required piece of equipmentin the minors this year, the Rawlings S100 helmet includes an expanded liner made of polypropylene for added protection.
“I don’t even look in the mirror,” said Justin Turner, an infielder for the Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. “I think they’re ridiculous. I’ve been hit in the face in the College World Series. There’s got to be a way to put more protection in the helmet and not have them look that atrocious”
New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli is the only big leaguer wearing one on a regular basis. He’d already sustained a couple of concussions when manager Joe Girardi persuaded Cervelli to opt for safety over style. “It’s ugly,” Cervelli said in spring training, but added that looks weren’as important as taking care of himself.
It will be interesting to see how the new helmets are accepted in minor league baseball and their impact on concussions. If favorable, the trend could spread to the major leagues, colleges, and high schools. It’s not yet clear if the pitch speeds in youth baseball justify the extra protection.