New York Mets' David Wright wears a new batting helmet as he gets ready to step into to the cage for batting practice before facing the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game in Denver on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009.
Sure, David Wright looks ridiculous with that over-sized soup bowl on his head but there's an upside. The second he comes on screen wearing that thing it becomes impossible to think about how bad the Mets are this season.
Instead, the brain is working furiously trying to figure out if Wright looks more like Dark Helmet from "Spaceballs," one of the bad guys from Super Mario Brothers, a five-year-old boy playing dress-up in his father's closet or the Great Gazoo from "The Flintstones." Keith Hernandez was feeling that last reference on Tuesday night, and it was clear he was using Wright's helmet as a way to escape from yet another on-field disaster.
The little kid image was the one with the most resonance on Tuesday night. Wright really looked like a kid who was so desperate to get on the field with the big kids that he'd wear whatever equipment was nearby in order to make it happen. He's so eager to play, in fact, that he can't hear that everyone else in and around the game is laughing at him every time the helmet falls down over his eyes in mid-swing. That never happened to Wright, of course, but it looked like it was going to happen every time he came to the plate which brought some much needed laughter in a season of tears.
These helmets are going to be mandatory in the minor leagues next season, with the next natural step being a graduation to the big leagues. That's got to scare the dickens out of bobblehead doll manufacturers, because what's the point of casting something out of plastic when you'll never capture the likeness of the real thing. If they want to mount a protest, they'd be smart to circulate pictures of Wright (and Luis Castillo for that matter) at the next meeting of the Players Association.
Safety never takes a holiday, but neither does vanity. There are plenty of players around the league that would rather run the risk of getting smacked in the head than wearing something as silly-looking as that helmet. Wright, lucky boy that he is, got to do both.