The last time Padres fans had any reason to acknowledge Keith Hernandez's existence was in 2006 when he opined that women don't belong in the dugout. This because the Padres had hired a female masseuse at the request of Ryan Klesko.
"I won't say that women belong in the kitchen, but they don't belong in the dugout," Hernandez said.
Now he's got an opinion about large protective baseball hats.
Well, Hernandez took a macho, style-over-function stance, mocking Torres for looking "absurd." (The same was heard when batting helmets arrived, then grew larger until they included earflaps and would be worn by base coaches.)
He wasn’t done. He suggested Torres and anyone who would wear such a thing is a coward: "If you’re scared, get a dog."
Ugh! Either Hernandez was unaware of the dozens of annual, all-levels episodes that have pitchers rushed to hospitals — some with permanent neurological damage — or such episodes have not yet left an impression on him.
It's interesting because when I first saw Torres's new protective hat, I too thought it looked absurd and then no more than a minute later I was totally used to it. It surprised me how quickly I (we) can adapt to the newest fashions, whether it be a large baseball hat or skinny jeans.
Now the part about Hernandez calling Torres scared, that's where I disagree. In fact I feel it's courageous for a player to be the first to wear an "absurd" looking hat and choose to be a role model for other players, young and old, all in the name of safety. Especially so, when you know eventually you'll going to be mocked by a crusty old Met.
A few times I've come close to being hit by an errant throw while base running or by a come-backer while pitching during a recreational softball game. It's made me consider wearing a batting helmet. But players don't wear helmets in recreational softball, it's not done, you'd look like a wuss. So I don't. I bet Alex Torres would, he'd wear the hell out of it.