Now Is Not A Good Time To Be An MLBer’s Skull

Remember those weird-ass Japanese robots that play baseball? Maybe the Japanese were onto something. After all, this is a sport with a hard object often flying much faster than human reflexes can catch up to. So when robots take a cruel and unusual amount of physical abuse, it’s usually awesome and never scary or disconcerting.

David Wright HBP
(Oh, that ain’t good.)

The exact opposite is true for humans, though, and the Summer of 2009 Death March has turned its attention from random celebrities to the brain cells of baseball players. The results have been predictably harrowing.

First, David Wright took a fastball to the head, resulting in a concussion. Here, enjoy:

Then Ian Kinsler took his turn:

But Hiroki Kuroda outdid them both by taking a line drive off the dome that ended up ricocheting into the stands:

All three men are going to be fine, so no hushed tones and worrying necessary. All that said, we’re the most shocked that Kuroda checked out well, because the amount of force necessary to go through his head to send the ball back about 80 feet should be enough to turn out the lights for a little bit.

So is it time for helmets on the mound? The inclination is to say “no,” but what if Kuroda were severely injured? The impetus for helmets would be a lot stronger, but why? A pitcher got hit straight in the head by a line drive either way; that brain injury tests came back negative seems like little more than, well, chance. And rule changes as a matter of overreaction to highly unlikely events are par for the course in sports these days.