I recently read the letter submitted by John Galluppi [“Baseball face masks are only for wussies,” March 3, Page 7]. I disagree. It may be slow in coming and it may not be as drastic as a full face shield, but I think there will be more safety items incorporated into the game of baseball as a natural evolution of the game. And I can list a number of reasons as to why I think this will happen.
When I was a kid, professional hockey players were not required to wear helmets. Heck, it wasn't until 1959 that goalies started wearing masks regularly. This was when Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadians started wearing a mask that he made himself. He was sick and tired of getting injured after being hit in the face with the puck. After that, all goalies started wearing masks and today they are commonplace. Today's goalie masks have taken advantage of technology and are actually very cool looking yet functional.
In baseball, as in hockey, you still have a small projectile coming at you at incredibly fast speeds. Fast enough to tear flesh and crush bone, so protective equipment is required.
Catcher's equipment, like that of goalie equipment, has evolved and improved as technology has allowed it. No longer is a catcher's mask just a small face protector, but like a hockey mask, it now protects the entire head, even the neck. The rest of the equipment that a catcher wears has likewise improved. The same can be said for equipment the batter wears.
Why are we seeing all this extra protection? Because technology is making it available and because more and more players don't want to get hit by 100-mph fastballs that could end their careers. Are they wussies for wearing such equipment and wanting to stay in the game longer?
I think we'll not only see more and more pros wearing batting helmets with some kind of additional face protection, I also think we'll start seeing it become mandatory at the college and children's levels.
New Ulm, Minn.