by Long Island Attorney Paul A. Lauto, Esq.
Most of us have learned about the horrific injury that pitcher Brandon McCarthy of the Oakland A's sustained, when he was struck in the head with a line drive. The good news is that after brain surgery he has now taken a few steps and is expected to leave the hospital soon. But what is being done to help insure that an injury like this doesn't happen again?
Line drives such as the one that McCarthy encountered, often come back at the pitcher at over 100 mph. Even the most athletic of pitchers barely have enough time to react to get a glove on the ball, let alone catch it. Over the years MLB has made changes that have worked against the pitchers and in favor of the batters. These changes, such as lowering the height of the mound and changing the composition of the baseballs used, have made for more exciting hits and increased danger to the pitcher.
Several other incidents and injuries have prompted MLB teams and players to take additional precautions. Today most all MLB dugouts have a protective fence in front of the dugouts, younger players often wear a more extensive batting helmet, sideline coaches are seen wearing helmets, batters wear additional protective gear for various body parts and most catcher helmets are far more elaborate and protective, just to name a few.
So what will it take before we have a new rule, or in the case of Little League players a new law, requiring changes that more adequately protect the pitcher? Whether it's developing a new light weight pitcher's hat with built in protective gear, raising the height of the mound, increasing the distance from home plate to the mound or some other change, something needs to be done. MLB should immediately commence an exhaustive study in this matter to determine what changes should be made and publish their research and findings. We can't afford to wait until another injury like McCarthy's or even worse a fatality occurs, before something is done. Baseball players of all ages should be able to play the game in a reasonably safe manner. After all it's still suppose to be a game.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.
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Paul A. Lauto, P.L.L.C.
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