Stop Mocking David Wright

Ha-ha, we get it. David Wright looks like Rick Moranis in Spaceballs or Marvin the Martian of Looney Tunes fame when he wears that giant new batting helmet. He looks dopey. If you're a Phillies fan, you're going to mock anything a Mets player does, and boy, David Wright looks like he's wearing a giant bowl on his head so his mama can cut his hair.

But seriously, stop mocking now. The biggest reason pro athletes shun the latest and greatest safety equipment is out of fear they'll look foolish or at least like less of a tough guy. On the baseball diamond, hitter wear a version of the equipment that appears to be significantly less safe than what Wright is now wearing, making them more susceptible to injuries, including serious concussions.

Even worse, the guy at bat is the only person wearing a helmet at any given time in a major league game, for the same reasons of misguided machismo. So you get incidents like this and this and this.

Or better yet, ask Mike Coolbaugh, the minor league first-base coach who got hit in the head by a line drive, then died. I'm sure his wife, two sons, and the baby-to-be his family was expecting when he died felt much better knowing daddy looked cool right before he left them forever.

As someone who wore a seat belt right before getting into a terrifying car accident, I can tell you that I've never been so happy to look dorky in the driver's seat.

David Wright doesn't have a wife and kids to think about when he steps into the batter's box. But he does have the good sense to know that concussions (or worse) are all too common in baseball, and by all too common I mean they can be prevented and should never, or almost never, happen.

So instead of mocking the guy, let's applaud him for having the guts to ignore the taunters and say, 'I don't care how I look, I want just want to be safe.'


By: Chris Morgan
On: 9/2/2009 7:19:00 AM
You would think they could find some sort of happy medium helmet that would be more protective than the current design, but not quite as unsightly and one might think uncomfortable as this new design. Considering that once you add up all the at bats baseball players have ever taken hits to the head that cause concussions are rare, super protective helmets aren't exactly a necessity. Or at the very least they should allow player the chance to change their helmets to the current style once they reach base. Running around in those things can't be all that easy. However, as for now you can't chide David Wright for being extra cautious.
By: daddymag
On: 9/2/2009 8:37:00 AM
Everyone thought Jacques Plante was a chicken for putting on a goalie mask. He just kept winning games after that. Wright needs to hit like a banshee.
By: vtadave
On: 9/2/2009 9:01:00 AM
Jonah - Wow...good to know you're still among the living after reading about your accident. As a father of not one, but two sets of twins, I can somewhat relate.
By: Jonah Keri
On: 9/2/2009 9:10:00 AM
The Plante case is interesting. I didn't include it here because there were supposedly 2 concerns: 1) He'd look lame 2) Mask might occlude goalie's vision, and of course seeing the puck is everything if you're a netminder.

On the other hand, the five skaters aside who refused to wear a helmet for the longest time did so largely because they were vain, and also under some nebulous suggestion that they'd be uncomfortable. I know athletes are programmed to think they're inevitable, and young people in general feel that way...but geez, you can be smart and be safe and still be as awesome as you want to be.
By: daddymag
On: 9/2/2009 10:16:00 AM
The legend has it that Plante wore the goalie mask to protect himself in pratice, but his coach refused to let him wear it during a game. The only real reason probably that it wasn't manly. When Plante was cut in the face he returned wearing the mask. Blake wanted him to wear it only till the cut healed, but the Canadiens went on an 18-game streak. Blake asked him to take it off, and he did for one game. The Canadiens lost 3-0, and the mask was back for good next game.

By: Charlie Zegers
On: 9/2/2009 1:10:00 PM
Jonah: First off -- thanks for writing that post about the car accident. Chilling stuff.

As for Wright's helmet, I agree 100%... his first priority ought to be safety. But I can't imagine that there isn't some way of making a helmet that is both safe and doesn't look as if it's three or four sizes too big. He looks like my six-year-old son wearing one of my hats.

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