Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Great Mask Debate: Softball Safety in Section II

Every day throughout Section II, softball pitchers walk into the circle and stand 43 feet away from home plate. They throw fastballs and sinkers and every pitch in the book and when they do give up a hit, they're only 43 feet away.

At first glance, 43 feet seems like a pretty significant distance, but when a line drive comes off the bat, there's less than a second of reaction time available to pitchers to protect themselves.

Now, mask aren't required for Section II pitchers. In fact, wearing a mask isn't even addressed in the softball handbook. But, I'm curious as to y'all think about it. Should masks be required equipment for pitchers (and even some of the infield, for that matter) or should it be up to the athlete? If you do wear a mask when you pitch, what do you think the benefits are? What are the disadvantages? Is it more difficult to see and do you have to kind of "pitch through" the mask?

I've also heard from a few coaches that the circle distance and pitching masks aren't the problem. It's actually the bats. With the brand-new bats through Section II, hits seem to come off much quicker and much harder, so is that the root of the problem?

Go ahead and sound off here with thoughts, musings or tweet me a response @LauraAmato or you can even e-mail me at There are plenty of avenues of communication open to you. It's a particularly interesting topic since we put so much focus on safety in other sports like football and basketball, but no one really thinks about spring sports until something happens on the field.

Go forth and comment.


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