I've heard a few stories about plate umpires getting hit in the head with bats that slipped out of a players' hands. In a game last night, plate umpire Brian O'Nora (bio at MLB.com) was hit by a broken bat and suffered a cut on his head. You can see the video and read the full story here.
There's been some discussion about maple bats (and/or those with thinner handles) being more susceptible to breaking and that if they do break they do so in such a manner with they completely break off leaving most of the remaining bat vaulting out onto the field. (good article here on the subject)
And because bats frequently break and land away from the plate or even in the stands, my initial thought when I saw the headline was that it was a field umpire that had been hit by a flying bat. This was not the case, and the first time I've ever noticed a bat break off behind the batter.
Yes, the bat in this case was maple.
My suspicion is this could have been worse. Regardless, it's not hard to think that a hockey style helmet would have served Mr. Nora better.
But what if this was a field umpire who had been hit by a broken bat? Are we too far off from thinking that field umpires (or even the pitcher or other players) should wear some type of head protection? It's an interesting discussion, especially considering that 1st and 3rd base coaches in the minors and majors now require it in light of minor league coach Mike Coolbaugh's death a year ago by a line drive as he stood in the 1st base box.... not to mention the umpire that was killed late last year or early this one in a softball game by a batted ball as he stood between the pitcher's mound and 2nd base (note: could not find link to this story).
Keeping Up Your Skills as a Referee
1 day ago