It’s not quite the helmet some pitchers anticipated, but MLB has officially approved a padded cap from IsoBlox that could help protect pitchers against injuries from nasty line drives back up the middle.
The new caps, which will be available for pitchers next month during spring training, are a half-inch thicker in front and an inch thicker on each side thanks to plastic and foam, providing protection against line drives up to 90 mph on the front and 85 mph on the side. While some line drives can exceed 100 mph, the new caps should provide protection in the vast majority of cases. The padding will triple the weight of the cap — from three or four ounces to 10 or 11 ounces — and be inserted into official MLB New Era caps.
While MLB has been targeted as an early adopter, the real future audience for 4Licensing Corporation subsidiary isoBlox will be the youth market. From ESPN:
On Tuesday morning, MLB informed its 30 teams that it has approved such a product for the first time, after consultation with the players’ association, according to Dan Halem, MLB executive vice president for labor relations.
“We’re excited to have a product that meets our safety criteria,” Halem told ESPN, adding that baseball will continue its efforts to come up with more options. “MLB is committed to working with manufacturers to develop products that offer maximum protection to our players, and we’re not stopping at all.”
Also on tap from IsoBlox: a skull cap that offers the same level of protection.
Image courtesy IsoBlox.
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