Baseball has long been ingrained in American culture – bringing forth traditions, and customs that are “unspoken”. With the exception of batting helmets and catcher gear, baseball protection has been historically non-existent.
Barry Bonds was one of the most notable players to start wearing impact protection on the field. Slate first covered the appearance of his bulky arm protector, and the advantages it offered, back in 2001. The evolution of baseball protection has been amazing since then - you can read Slate’s take on it here.
Bonds started wearing arm protection to continue to crowd the plate without the fear of getting hit by a pitch. When you look at what he was able to accomplish as a hitter, it’s easy to see why wearing baseball protection has become commonplace.
But how often do players actually get hit?
Let’s look at the 2015 MLB stats for answers (courtesy of sportingcharts.com). It shows a breakdown on a team-by-team basis. The Pittsburgh Pirates led the way with a batter hit every .55 games. That means that someone in the lineup was hit with a pitch slightly more often than every other game! On the lower end, the Diamondbacks averaged a batter being hit once every five games.
It’s worth pointing out that these stats represent an entire team and not an individual player being hit. In fact, a batter on the most often struck MLB team in 2015 averaged being hit only once every 18 games. So while it doesn’t happen to an individual player that frequently, it is not an uncommon occurrence in the game.
Unfortunately, it only takes one bad ball to cause a serious injury.
It’s also worth noting that these stats are only for those playing at the elite level. We don’t have stats for amateur play, but there is one thing we do know. Pitchers at lower levels have less control than those in the MLB. We can assume this means you’re more likely to be struck by a rogue ball during amateur play than a professional game.
So why wouldn’t every batter wear as much protection as possible?
While each hitter will have their own reasons, the vast majority of players don’t want to do anything that will affect their swing or cause distraction. Protection has traditionally been bulky and ill-fitting, causing some players to opt in favor of being hit unprotected rather than hinder their swing.
But what if it didn’t have to be that way?
We’ve designed our G-Form Baseball Protection with exactly these factors in mind. What makes us different from traditional protection is our exclusive RPT padding used in all products. This soft padding is completely flexible, and only hardens on impact. It’s sewn onto moisture-wicking compression sleeves to be form-fitting, comfortable, and never move. What’s more is that it actually absorbs impact better than hard shell protection.
Batters no longer have to be distracted by their protection or have their swing impeded in any way. It really is a game changer for batters. The new protective line is available March 2017.
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