Dodgers' Bowa says he will ignore helmet rule for coaches.
The third base coach says he'll 'really make a joke out of it.'
February 29, 2008
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- To protest baseball's new rule requiring base coaches to wear helmets, Larry Bowa threatened to march to his work station along the third base line wearing shin guards, a chest protector and a mask.
"I'll really make a joke out of it," Bowa said.
Bowa refused to wear a helmet in the Dodgers' exhibition opener Thursday at Holman Stadium and said he had no intention of doing so in the future. First base coach Mariano Duncan also ignored the rule that stemmed from the death of Mike Coolbaugh, who was struck by a line drive while coaching first base in the minor leagues last season.
"I'm willing to write out a check for whatever the fine is for every game," Bowa said. "Whatever 162 games is, I'll write out a check for it."
Bowa says helmets are uncomfortable and that veteran coaches should be able to decide on their own whether to wear them. He argued that broken bats are more dangerous than batted balls and that if coaches had to wear helmets, umpires should be forced to do so as well.
Bowa, who Thursday wore a cap lined on the inside with thin plastic, says he isn't the only coach who feels this way.
"There are a lot of coaches that I've talked to who aren't saying anything so I feel like I'm talking for those guys," Bowa said. "They don't want to wear them."
by Jon Weisman
I don't really want to get into the politics of new Dodger third-base coach Larry Bowa's rebellion against Major League Baseball's new helmet rule for coaches – or I guess to be blunt, I don't want the commenters of Dodger Thoughts to do so, because political discussion is against the site rules. But to offer a few thoughts:
1) The argument that the helmets are uncomfortable echoes an argument people had against wearing seat belts when those became compulsory. If it wasn't common sense already, we learned that people get used to things and the discomfort disappears. Also, getting hurt less tends to be more comfortable than getting hurt more.
2) The argument that umpires are in more danger than coaches, if it's true, doesn't imply you should be fighting against helmets for coaches. It implies that we just need to consider helmets for umpires.
3) From a Dodger perspective, consider that Bowa is a man in authority, expecting to be listened to, telling the world that he has no intention of listening to authority.
You may agree or disagree with Bowa's opinion on helmets (we know where Vin Scully would stand). But I do think it qualifies as irony that on a day that criticism renewed of Dodger players running through stop signs, Bowa is running through one himself.