August 28, 2014

One Year Later, Kerwin Danley’s Head is Ringing Again

The dodgerfan faithful will remember an article published a little over a year ago citing the Kerwin Danley incident and the power of the World Umpires Association.

Danley was the unfortunate soul who was beaned by an errant pitch and briefly hospitalized as a result of his injuries. Almost one year later, Danley was again the unfortunate recipient of a high speed projectile…this time in the form of a shattered bat to the head on April 21st.

Danley certainly seems to be having his share of bad luck these days. Interestingly enough, the World Umpires Association seems to be quiet this time on the topic of umpire injuries (whereas they seemed downright litigious only a year ago). MLB officials are vigorously tracking the incidents of broken bats and note that they are down from approximately 1 broken bat per game to only 0.8 bats per game.

Some sports are actually seeing more injuries as competition increases. Just this week, cricket umpires in India have indicated that umpires may need to move to wearing baseball helmets to protect themselves.

Even former Dodger manager and current advisor Tommy Lasorda has been stung by a broken bat – remember the 2001 All-Star game?

My question is – have any steps been taken to improve the protection from bats and wild pitches for umpires and other “at risk” employees of MLB? A year ago, the focus was all on restitution. No one was speaking seriously about revamping protection for umpires and others to ensure a greater level of safety when bats and balls go wild. A year later, it seems as if it is still considered an acceptable loss if the occasional player or on- field personnel…unless your name happens to be Mr. or Mrs. Kerwin Danley.