One of the more stressful jobs in baseball is standing on that pitcher's mound. Not only are you trying to avoid giving up a hit, you also want to avoid taking a line drive to the head. A baseball cap provides zero protection, but a new lightweight carbon fibre insert wants to change that.
Baseball leagues across the country have experimented with ways to protect a pitcher's head during a game, but they either look ridiculous, are ineffective, or are so heavy that they affect the pitcher's performance.
A company called Safer Sports Technologies has developed a lightweight insert made from carbon fibre and kevlar to protect a pitcher's head from their ear to the middle of their forehead. It weighs just two ounces, and when inserted into the sweat liner of a hat looks invisible and feels like it's barely there.
In other words, pitchers might actually be willing to use one.
With one of the carbon fibre guards under their hat a pitcher can survive taking a line drive to the head at speeds of up to 94 miles per hour. They're definitely still going to feel the impact, but the damage and repercussions will be far less severe. And while Safer Sports Technologies hasn't approached Major League Baseball to ensure their creation is officially approved, the league doesn't prohibit pitchers from wearing protection as long as it doesn't interfere with any of the game's official rules.
So how can you get one? The company has already been producing its under-hat armour for about a year, but its recently launched a modest $US5,000 Kickstarter campaign to make its creation available to more players. With a pledge of $US60 you can pre-order a pair of left and right head guards sized for younger players, while the pro version designed for adults is just $US20 more.
Delivery is expected sometime in August if the Kickstarter campaign is successful, but working with carbon fibre and kevlar can be difficult. So the company points out there might be delays, but the last thing anyone wants, especially pitchers, is for them to cut corners and try to rush them into player's hands -- or hats.