Protection always the best game plan
By Marc Katz
Saturday, August 04, 2007
It is the injury that provides the most pain, if not the worst consequences. How do we put this delicately? It is the injury that comes from being hit in the crotch.
Sure, when it happens to someone else, guys laugh about it. In most cases, it's not life-threatening, and recovery time is so brief, athletes who get hit there continue in the game they're playing.
It also seems to be funny because the victim can't really rub away the hurt. Applying pressure only makes it worse. So we stand around and giggle. Not nice.
Do women have a corresponding pain? Childbirth? I don't know. Maybe.
This subject comes up because last Monday, Dragons' outfielder Denis Phipps fouled off a ball that bounced back up and hit him in the worst place imaginable. Phipps limped away from the plate for a moment, bent down, then tossed his helmet to the ground.
After about a minute spent catching his breath with his hands on his knees, Phipps went back into the batter's box, ready to play. An hour later, he continued to have some pain.
It might not have hurt that much had Phipps been wearing a protective cup, which gave Dragons manager Donnie Scott a chance to stump for that piece of equipment.
"It's idiotic to be playing baseball without a cup," Scott said. "I don't care if you're playing pee-wee. I'm serious about that. Parents should stress you're not going to play unless you wear a cup.
"People say it's uncomfortable to wear. You'll get used to it."
Scott says some outfielders — such as Phipps — think they can get away without wearing a cup because they aren't facing a lot of hard, high-bouncing ground balls the way infielders do, or hard foul balls, the way catchers do, or line drives off the mound, the way pitchers do.
He points out what happened to Phipps, and to Kane County's Larry Cobb, who while stealing a base recently, was hit in the crotch by the catcher's throw to second. Cobb suffered a lacerated groin and was out of action for a month. Scott said he wasn't wearing a protective cup.
So, what's a guy to do? Wearing a protective cup in baseball is not mandatory. After being hit there once without one, though, you'd think a guy would learn. Asked if he'd now wear one while playing, Phipps just shook his head no.
Contact this reporter at 225-2157