Have you ever wondered what would be the most dangerous position in baseball? Could it be the catcher as they’re positioned so close to the batters? Or maybe the batters who have to aim for a home run? Through numerous researches, we’ve found that the most dangerous position in baseball actually belongs to the pitcher.
Understanding the positions in baseball
Before going through to knowing why the pitcher is the most dangerous position in baseball, let us look at the various positions available in the game. There are 9 positions on the field in a game of baseball – the pitcher and the catcher belong in the core positions, while the first base, second base, shortstop, and third base players belong in the infield positions.
finally, there will be 3 players on the outfield position known as the right fielder, center fielder, and left fielder. Of course, there are also other positions such as the designated hitter, pinch hitters, and pinch runners who play at specific roles only.
So, why is the pitcher the most dangerous position in baseball?
We hear you wondering – how could the pitcher be the most dangerous position in baseball? For starters, pitchers do not wear any protective gear while playing, leaving them at higher risks of getting injured unlike any of the other players on the field.
When a ball is hit back by a batter, pitchers would often have to be on alert and on their feet in case they need to dodge it or risk injuring themselves from the velocity of the baseball. They cannot however put on any protective gear as pitchers need to retain their agility and pitching form to deliver the perfect throw.
Wearing protective gear in turn would hinder their ability to pitch at their best efforts, thus no pitcher has been known to wear any protective gear ever.
Pitchers are also likelier to suffer from shoulder and elbow injuries due to the force of pitching in a game. These injuries may not be seen or felt immediately, but long-term neglect would cause a pitcher so much pain that they could be out of the game for a full season.
There are two types of common shoulder injuries a pitcher would suffer from, which are:
1. GIRD or Glenohumeral Internal Rotation Deficit
GIRD is a shoulder injury that most pitchers would also relate to as stiff shoulders. This is caused by the persistent use of rotating the arm while pitching, causing the back ligaments of the shoulder to lose its flexibility after prolonged playing.
Over time, pitchers who do not attend to their GIRD injuries would be at higher risk of suffering from rotator cuff tears and rotator cuff tendonitis.
2. Rotator cuff tendonitis
The rotator cuff is formed where the grouping of muscles and tendons surround the shoulder joint, allowing the bone of the upper arm to stay within the socket of the shoulder.
Rotator cuff tendonitis however is the inflammation to the tendons of this position and often affects baseball pitchers, especially in their pitching arms. This is caused by the pitcher’s need to persistently raise their arms to achieve a perfect form in pitching, resulting in rotator cuff tendonitis after playing for some time.
On top of suffering from shoulder injuries, pitchers also experience elbow injuries:
This is because pitching is not usually an action any common person would do, and when a pitcher consistently practices their throws at full torque, they are risking their tendons to such injuries. The commonly known elbow injuries that most pitchers suffer from are:
1. The pitcher’s elbow
The pitcher’s elbow is an injury caused when a pitcher persistently bends their arms to form a pitch before throwing their arms out in full torque. This bend-and-snap phenomenon is also called the “valgus force” and it causes damage to the cartilage of the olecranon bone. A pitcher’s elbow is easily diagnosed when pitchers would experience pain and swelling in their elbows.
2. Olecranon stress fracture
In the event that the pitcher’s elbow is not properly attended to, a pitcher may then experience an olecranon stress fracture. The olecranon is where you could feel the bones in the elbow, and should a player experience a fracture, they could see a slowing down in their elbow movements. This is especially disheartening for a pitcher and may put them off-season for a while.
How To Preventing injuries as a pitcher?
As important as it is to make a good pitch on the field, it’s also crucial that pitchers do all they can to prevent an injury. Here are some tips in how to avoid an injury as a pitcher:
- Stay alert: Staying alert allows a pitcher to be prepared for any unwanted accidents. If the player isn’t feeling too well for the day, it’s best to stay off-field so they won’t lose concentration and get hurt in the process.
- Take breaks: Most injuries suffered by pitchers are caused by prolonged and repetitive movements. Taking breaks would allow their shoulders and elbows to properly recuperate so they can continue to play throughout the season.
- Train your muscles: Training your muscles is a great way to cushion your tendons and ligaments, reducing the possibilities of injuries in the long run.
- Practice proper pitching techniques: One of the most common mistakes for beginner pitchers is the use of improper pitching techniques. Learning the right way to throw a ball would help a pitcher reduce injuries when playing so they don’t overexert themselves.
Why the pitcher is the most important position in baseball?
Despite the dangers that a pitcher experiences, it’s also encouraging to know that they’re often regarded as the most important position in baseball. This is especially true for starting pitchers as they have the ability to set the momentum and possibly influence the outcome of the game.
Should there be no trained pitchers on the field for the day, coaches may substitute an outfielder for this position. This however can only be a temporary solution as the results of an outfielder’s pitch – however strong – would not be as ideal as those of a trained pitcher who would be able to throw a ball at better form and control.
Did you know…
The youngest baseball in history began his career in baseball as a pitcher. The late Joe Nuxhall was only 15 years old when he debuted as a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds on the 10th of June 1944. It became a historic feat as this game was played while World War II was ongoing, but baseball provided the nation with much-needed relief from the tensions of war.
Is the pitcher the hardest position in baseball?
Fortunately, the pitcher isn’t the hardest position in a game of baseball. Instead, the hardest position is baseball is said to be the catcher as the catcher plays various responsibilities in a game. The catcher – usually the player who squats behind the batter is an important player who guides the pitcher on the best ways to pitch for the game.
Their responsibilities also include watching the runners through the field and ensure that no other players would try to steal in a game. It’s an exceptionally exhausting position, as most catchers can be seen squatting for the entire period of the game which could typically last between 2 to 5 hours at a time.
Is the catcher a dangerous position in baseball?
Yes, a catcher may also be considered a dangerous position in baseball, but they usually experience lesser risk when compared to the pitcher.
The biggest danger for a catcher is often the act of having to catch the ball that the pitcher has thrown in time. Failing to do so puts the catcher at risk of suffering a concussion as the ball may hit them as high velocity.
The severity of this injury is highly dependent on the speed of the ball, and despite wearing protective gear, a catcher would still be open to such dangers.
Furthermore, catchers would also often suffer from knee injuries as their position requires them to squat for prolonged hours in a game. Catchers would occasionally also be hit by the batter, and this results in various injuries such as pain in the catcher’s arms, thumbs, or even their head.
This is why it’s important for the catcher to stand safely in the catcher’s box as this allows a safe distance between the catcher and batter. This in turn would reduce the possibilities of any unwanted accidents.
In conclusion, it’s crucial to know that all positions in baseball have their own strengths and weaknesses. Despite the dangers that a pitcher or catcher would encounter on the field and in a game, it’s a good thing to understand that all injuries and risks can be lowered and avoided if the pitcher takes the extra precautionary step when playing. This would allow the players to continue enjoying this age-old sport that is loved by the nation without worries.