Is there a hat/helmet that is going to protect a pitcher? "No," Phillies pitcher A.J. Burnett said. "What happened [to Chapman] is unfortunate, but it is part of the game. I won't wear a helmet when I pitch. If I did, that's all I would be thinking: 'Hey, I have a helmet on my head.' That's not what I should be thinking about."
Said Phillies pitcher Jonathan Papelbon: "When we all sign up for this game, we know what we're getting into. Something could happen; that's part of it. It's like any job. When you sign up to work on an oil rig, you know what you're getting into. When you join the military, you know what you're getting into. When you go to the mound, you might get hit."
Do pitchers value performance over safety?
Yes. Completely. "I tried one of them [hat/helmet] two years ago, and it felt heavy and hard on my head," Burnett said. "One of the keys as a pitcher is to keep your head still, and pick up the target. I couldn't do that with that thing on my head. What happened [to Chapman] I wouldn't wish upon anyone. It was a freak accident. I don't think there is a solution for it."
Said Papelbon: "How are you going to wear a helmet while you're pitching without it falling off, especially for a guy with a herky-jerky motion? I would use one [protective cap] if they made one that worked. I don't care if it's not comfortable. If you do something long enough, you will get comfortable. I can live without comfort, but when it affects performance, it's a whole different animal."
Will MLB ever mandate the use of hat/helmets for pitchers?
Not until the players association signs off on it, which won't happen until a hat/helmet has been invented that won't affect performance. Still, 50 years ago, there were those who said batting helmets would never be mandatory, and eventually, they were. Someday, so will hat/helmets for pitchers, but only when the technology gets to the point where everyone is happy.
"I don't think it's impossible, not with technology these days," Papelbon said. "But now? No."