MLB introduced a padded cap last season in attempt to protect pitchers from head injuries, but it was big and awkward and Alex Torres of the Padres was the only one who actually wore one. According to William Weinbaum of ESPN’s Outside the Lines, MLB has now approved a new padded cap with the players’ feedback in mind:
Pinwrest, the manufacturer, removed the padding from inside the isoBLOX cap it introduced last year in favor of detachable padding to wear over a standard cap. Patrick Houlihan, baseball’s vice president and deputy general counsel for labor relations, told “Outside the Lines” that all 30 teams were informed via email Friday afternoon that the new product passed independent laboratory testing.
“It’s ready for prime time,” said Bruce Foster, CEO of 4Licensing Corp, Pinwrest’s parent company. The revision, he said, addresses pitchers’ complaints that the cap with interior padding and an extended bill hindered comfort, depth perception and the ability to hold runners on.
The padding, which is secured to the cap by an adjustable strap, is made of “plastic injection molded polymers combined with a foam substrate” and is customized to match the colors and logos of each team. Foster said that the weight of the new cap and padding combination is “about the same” as last year’s cap. However, the new version increases padded coverage by about 20 percent to include critical areas like the temples. The new padding is expected to be made available to pitchers in spring training next week.
Protective headgear for pitchers is a work in progress and Houlihan acknowledged that they are open to alternatives to isoBLOX if a better solution emerges. Who knows if this new version will be more popular than last year’s, but it’s nice that pitchers have a choice and MLB is trying.