Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays' Alex Cobb irked at baseball over lack of protective cap

PORT CHARLOTTE — When Rays right-hander Alex Cobb saw the images of Reds closer Aroldis Chapman getting hit in the face with a line drive Wednesday night, he was predictably stunned.

Then Cobb got mad. After hearing all about the new protective cap Major League Baseball approved in late January, Cobb is frustrated that as opening day draws near he has yet to see a model.

"It kind of seems like a gimmick to cover their end in case of a serious injury," Cobb, who suffered a concussion after he was hit in the head by a liner June 15, said Thursday. "It feels like a liability issue more than an actual care-for-pitchers issue on their end. … I don't know (if) we're supposed to go online and find it on our own or what, but we haven't seen anything yet."

The padded cap, which is a half-inch thicker on the front and an inch thicker near the temples, probably wouldn't have helped Chapman or Cobb, considering where they got hit; Chapman above the left eye, Cobb on the right ear.

And, turns out, there's a reason Cobb hasn't seen the new model: They aren't completely ready. Bruce Foster, CEO of 4Licensing Corp. (parent company of isoBlox, the cap's creator), told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday that after getting feedback from a number of pitchers this offseason, developers have been working on modifications to improve its comfort, breath­ability and look. Foster said the new mesh design will be finalized in the next couple of days. Company representatives could start showing them to teams in visits to spring camps by next week or in stadiums at the beginning of the regular season.

The original prototype was also available this spring. MLB said it told clubs in a late January memo that if pitchers wanted their own model, they should go through their equipment manager to request a custom-sized model from isoBlox.

Cobb acknowledges he could have been more proactive in seeking out the hat but wonders why there wasn't more urgency or awareness about the product.

"Home-plate collisions have been addressed Day 1 in spring training, helmets for pitchers haven't even been talked about," Cobb said. "There's so many different changes going on, it might be far down on the list of things to address. Maybe (the Chapman incident) will bring it … to the top."

The Royals' Salvador Perez ripped a 99 mph fastball back at Chapman, who suffered a concussion and had surgery (story, 5C) but is expected to return this season, like Cobb did last fall.

"I can't believe it's already happened again," Cobb said. "I wouldn't say I was naive to the fact it wouldn't happen again. But this quickly is pretty amazing."

Rays' Alex Cobb irked at baseball over lack of protective cap 03/20/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 20, 2014 10:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No gimmes in scrappy Wiregrass Ranch's volleyball district

    Volleyball Preps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Wiregrass Ranch High coach Michelle Davis is realistic about her volleyball team this season. They will scrap for every point. They will never give up. They will encourage each other no matter what.

     Wiregrass Ranch High School girls volleyball player Jaizah Anderson (2) gets ready to spike the ball during Thursday's (9/21/17) match with Zephyrhills High School in Zephyrhills, Fla.
  2. Steelers' Villanueva apologizes, says he didn't intend to stand alone during anthem (w/video)


    PITTSBURGH — Alejandro Villanueva just wanted to get a glimpse of the American flag, the symbol he wore on his military uniform during three tours in Afghanistan before beginning an unlikely journey from Army Ranger to the NFL.

    Alejandro Villanueva stands alone during the national anthem at Soldier Field in Chicago. [Associated Press]
  3. Rick and Tom podcast: Bucs' Gerald McCoy frustrated with disrespectful fans


    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss Gerald McCoy's latest comments on disrespectful fans who attack his teammates, Donald Trump, protests by DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans, and his respect for the …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) warms up before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  4. NFL owners' unity with players might be short-lived


    The image was striking — several owners of NFL teams locking arms with their players on the sidelines Sunday, and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Monday night, in a dramatic statement of defiance to a president who ridiculed their sport and condemned players for refusing to stand during the national anthem as a …

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, currently without a team, has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for not standing during the national anthem. [Associated Press]
  5. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity


    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.