Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Paging Gary Busey

You read articles like this, and you have to shake your head and wonder what this guy is thinking. In the wake of the death of minor league coach Mike Coolbaugh's death last year after being hit on the head by a line drive foul, instantly killing him, MLB has instructed all on-field coaches to wear protective headgear.

However, Braves coach Glenn Hubbard is griping about the safety measure, saying it feels ridiculous. Clearly, MLB has erred by not balancing the fashion and scalp sensory needs of grumpy curmudgeon coaches, when considering issuing edicts that could save lives.

Glenn Hubbard trotted on the field Wednesday wearing a helmet -- and feeling downright ridiculous.

"You know what it feels like?" he asked before a spring training game. "Look at that kid over there."

Hubbard pointed toward a young batboy standing at the edge of the Braves dugout, his head dutifully covered by a helmet.

"That's what I feel like," Hubbard said, not bothering to hide the disgust in his voice. "A batboy."

Actually, Hubbard is the first base coach of the Braves, a job he's always done with nothing more than a cap on his head. But last year's tragic death of minor league coach Mike Coolbaugh -- the victim of a line drive to the neck -- prompted the major leagues to take action.

Now, the coaches standing along each foul line in the majors must wear some sort of protective headgear. So Hubbard and Atlanta's third base coach, Brian Snitker, carried out their duties during an exhibition game against the University of Georgia wearing "skullcaps" -- baseball slang for the flapless helmets that catchers wear along with their masks.

"It's like the one I used to wear in high school and college," said Snitker, a former catcher. "It seems a little tight. It doesn't feel like it's shaped to my head anymore. But it's one of those things if we've got to do it, we've got to do it."

Hubbard wasn't so magnanimous about the mandate from higher up. He even threatened to adorn his helmet with advertising, like a NASCAR racer.

"We should have a choice in these things," he said. "My choice would be not to wear it. I'm only wearing it because it's a major league rule."

Keep fighting the power, Hubbard! Drive without your seatbelt! Tear off your mattress tags! Leave the cover open while striking!


Orel said...

Still trying to figure out the title....

Steve Sax said...

From Wikipedia (last sentence has since been edited out): On December 4, 1988, Busey was severely injured in a motorcycle accident in which he was not wearing a helmet. His skull was fractured and doctors feared he suffered permanent brain damage. Busey recovered and encouraged all cyclists to wear helmets.

My recollection--and this might be wrong--was that prior to the accident, Busey was a vocal opponent of motorcycle helmets.

Delino DeShields, Sr said...

Check out
The lingering effects of Busey's accident. Though he still has his S--t together more than Ryan Seacrest (THE WORST!)