Tags: will | baseball | pitchers | headgear

George Will: MLB Headgear Vital

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 05:23 PM

Major League Baseball is right to offer pitchers protective headgear and should weigh a ban on home plate collisions to keep players from being maimed or killed, Pulitzer-winning columnist and rabid baseball fan George Will says.

"Something has to be done to protect the pitchers because a 96-mile-an-hour fastball comes back faster than that," Will told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"The pitcher stands on the pitcher's rubber at 60 feet 6 inches from home plate. By the time he follows through, he's, what, 57 feet from home plate? It's terribly dangerous and we've seen some hideous, hideous accidents out there.

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"Only one person has ever been killed playing Major League Baseball, and that was a guy who got hit by a pitch in 1920. But someone's going to get terribly, terribly injured as the players get bigger and the ball moves faster because they're bigger."

On Aug. 17th, 1920, Ray Chapman, a shortstop with the Cleveland Indians was hit in the head from Yankees pitcher Carl Mays and died hours later.

Will's comments came as MLB revealed that headgear to protect pitchers from being beaned by high-speed balls will likely be available next year.

There is also talk about whether rules should be set in place to curb collisions at home plate, a commonplace occurrence as players race to score. Many fans are against any change.

"The people who are saying that [and are against protective headgear] ought to get there and crouch at home plate looking out to right field when the ball's coming in when there's a 240 pound runner coming down from third base," Will said.

"It seems we really don't want to have the kind of collisions that took a brilliant player, Buster Posey, out for a year, the Giants catcher."

But he admits the rule would be difficult to put down on paper.

"It seems there's a way by tweaking the rules, and this rule hasn't been written yet. It would be hard to write," he said.

"But I do not think it's fair to catcher or to the base runners to have this ethic in baseball that two players, the catcher and the base runner, ought to put their careers in jeopardy over this one run at home plate."

Will, who writes for the Washington Post and is a Fox News contributor, also spoke about President Barack Obama's tweaking of the Affordable Healthcare Act without the approval of Congress.

"He has adopted the novel and fundamentally dangerous and anti-constitutional practice of serial revisions of law unilaterally without consulting Congress," he said.

"He just changes laws as they are written and this again is fundamentally lawless," he said.

But the practice could come back to haunt Democrats, according to Will.

"I'll tell you who should come awake on this and that is our Democratic friends because someday there's going to be another Republican president again," he said.

"And what are they going to say when he says, you know, I like this idea that Mr. Obama popularized of enforcement discretion and I just don't think the capital gains tax is good for the country so I'm going to direct the IRS not to enforce the capital gains tax … I mean two can play this game."

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