Bring back Wright’s big helmetPosted: Tuesday, May 18, 2010
David Wright took a lot of grief last year after he came back from a beaning wearing a newly designed, though unfortunately odd-looking, helmet for a game or two. The helmet offered additional skull protection, but the ribbing Wright took, even from his teammates, helped lead him to return to his “regular” helmet.
Unfortunately, he did not return to his regular batting prowess, a trend that’s continued this season as he’s amassed an astounding 55 strikeouts in 40 games, nearly a quarter of a season.
I don’t care how ridiculous it looks: David Wright should bring back the “Great Gazoo” helmet. What looks more ridiculous, that helmet or three strikeouts — including one in the top of the ninth inning with one out and the go-ahead run on third — and then throwing a weak grounder away to allow the winning run to score?
Wright is a head case right now, and looks lost and perhaps more than a little scared at the plate. Maybe a little protection for his noggin, and more importantly the confidence that could bring, may help him. What could hurt at this point?
I’ll give you a personal example. When I played adult hockey, wearing all my gear, I felt a lot more confident, even with slapshots flying off my pads blocking shots from the point (or accidentally blocking shots from my own teammates while camped out in the slot — I didn’t say I was very good at hockey), than I do playing infield at softball, wearing nothing for protection but an undersized glove and a cap to keep the sun out of my eyes.
The secret is out among the league’s pitchers, especially righties, in facing Wright — throw something inside and high early in the count, watch Wright flinch and get uncomfortable, and then strike him out on nearly anything else you want to offer him.
Wright needs some confidence at the plate, confidence that can come with a little added protection above his shoulders. His needling teammates should STFU about how silly the helmet may look, and the Mets pitchers should drill any opponent who ridicules their teammate for wearing the helmet.
At this point, again, what could it hurt?
Either that, or he ought to read my toddler son’s favorite sports book — Leonard Kessler’s classic Here Comes the Strikeout.
Originally published May 18, 2010, 10:53 p.m., at my occasional baseball blog, Clutch Bingles.