Alex Torres

Why are people still making fun of Alex Torres’ cap?

Seriously, this is something I do not understand. I don’t understand the big deal about New York Mets’ pitcher Alex Torres‘ cap.

Yet one thing never fails since he started wearing the protective cap offered to pitchers in 2014, and that is people still make fun of him. Even the New York Post called his hat “goofy,” although they’re overall article on the protective cap was positive.

Still why call it “goofy?” Torres is the only pitcher in the game who wears this particular cap. The rest seems to be too vain to don it because it looks a little different.

But what if professional baseball at any level had, say, always had protective caps for pitchers. I honestly doubt then that this would be made such a big deal out of. Yet when he takes the mound wearing what could be considered a life-saving cap, he’s the subject of ridicule.

It’s not as terrible as it was in 2014, when even the broadcasters of the San Diego Padres game poked fun at Torres for actually having the audacity to wear the cap in a game.

The idea around it has gotten better. The problem is that pitchers just seem to be too concerned with their appearance on the mound than their actual safety even though the protective cap has been improved and and will continue to be modified by 

I will confess I may have felt and acted that way at one point in my life, that appearance and reputation meant more than anything, but that point was in middle school. I wasn’t a well-informed professional who is too scared to protect themselves because of what people may think.

I remember when Tampa Bay Rays starter Alex Cobb went down after taking a line drive to the head. And I know that the person who took his place in the game that night was Alex Torres. Obviously the true gravity of what getting hit by a ball going at that velocity might do to a person gave Torres some perspective.

I was also in attendance when former Oakland A’s pitcher, now a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Brandon McCarthy was hit in the head with a line drive.

Although, McCarthy left the field by his own power and didn’t appear to lose consciousness, it was a scary moment. It was a scary moment for McCarthy as well, as he ended up being rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery. He still experiences lasting effects such as seizures from the injuries caused by that line drive ball.

Yet, until he was sidelined this month needing Tommy John surgery, McCarthy still refused to wear the so-called “goofy cap.” So has Alex Cobb (who has also been sidelined by a torn UCL but that serious trend is for another post) and a number of other pitchers who have been hit by a come backer off the bat of their opponents.

It may be a matter of them thinking “well it happened once, what are the odds it will happen again?” kind of thing. My question is though, why risk your career or your well-being or possibly having lasting symptoms in the name of what? Of fashion?

Really, that’s all that it is. It’s a statement that these pitchers, who are more often in harms way than they even know, appear to care more about appearances than their own lives and the lives of their families. Those are things that can be forever changed at a moment’s notice if a come-backer is headed straight for your face before you can react.

That’s something to think about before saying Alex Torres’ cap looks “goofy.” The subject was again trending on Twitter last night. 

I don’t feel bad for Torres for being the subject of ridicule. He’s handled it well and stuck to his convictions. In fact I think he is the smartest pitcher in the game.

“I don’t care how I look, I care about the protection,” Torres told ESPN in 2014. “It might be a while before we see more pitchers using it, but the cap feels good, and I hope to see people join me next season and the cap refined further.”

Torres, whose first protective cap now sits in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown to represent the movement towards protecting all players from injury, is setting an example for his peers and it is a good one.

It is one that he should be commended for instead of being made the butt of people’s jokes on social media or anywhere else.

%d bloggers like this: