"Keep Your Mask On!"
I know you must be asking yourself, "why on earth does Jay have a picture of a teddy bear busting at the seams, being stitched together?". Well my friends, the answer is relatively simple. It's because the picture that I took of one of my private student's chins a few weeks back isn't really all that appropriate to send in a bulk e-mail.
You see, this young man unfortunately made the mistake of taking his helmet off at a play at home plate and it was a pretty brutal introduction of cleat to face. One that I am pretty sure he doesn't want to re-live anytime soon. His chin was sliced open and needed multiple stitches to close the wound.
Catchers, there is no greater risk of getting yourself hurt, seriously hurt, than by taking your helmet off during a play at the plate.
I've heard all of the excuses:
"I can't see with it on." - Well you just saw your pitcher throw a ball to you with it on and had no problem. Catching a throw from your noodle-arm shortstop should't be a problem.
"If the throw is high, I won't be able to see it." - Most masks are designed so that you can. And if I remember correctly, most of you have fully functioning necks. LOOK UP! You'll see it just fine.
"I see all the MLB/NCAA catchers doing it." - No you don't. And the list of the ones who have is filled with catchers who've suffered severe head traumas. Most of whom play the game for a living, and have a nice salary to rely on if an injury prevented them from playing again.
IT'S NOT WORTH IT! Keep the mask on!