Coaches break the rules

Dodgers 3B coach Larry Bowa and 1B coach Mariano Duncan wore hard, protective liners inside their caps during today’s game, in apparent violation of a new rule passed at the general managers’ meetings in November required 1B and 3B coaches to wear helmets. The rule was passed in the wake of Double-A Tulsa coach Mike Coolbaugh’s having been killed by a line drive in a Texas League game last season while he was coaching first base. Bowa said an umpire approached him and said he wasn’t sure the liner was sufficiently in compliance with the rule, but the umpire let it go for the day.
After the game, Bowa let fly with what he thought about the rule — and basically said he doesn’t plan to follow it.
“My question is, if I have been in the game for 40 years, then who are they to say who wears a helmet or who doesn’t?” Bowa said. “One guy got killed, and I am really sorry that happened. But to me, broken bats are a deadly weapon. The other thing is, I see more umpires get hit on the field than coaches. If a coach has to wear a helmet, then umpires should have to wear helmets.”
Last year, a common concern among base coaches was that a helmet would block out parts of their field of vision, inhibiting their ability to do their job effectively and also possibly putting them in more danger of being hit by a ball. But Colorado 1B coach Glenallen Hill voluntarily began wearing a helmet immediately after Coolbaugh, a coach in the Rockies’ minor-league system, was killed. Bowa also expressed concern that a coach’s helmet could fly off while he frantically waved a runner around the bases.
“It should be optional for coaches,” Bowa said. “If guys want to wear them, fine. But I don’t think they should make you wear them.
“I will write out a check for whatever the fine is for every game.”

Dodgers 5, Braves 4

Brian Shackelford gave up a two-run homer to Tyler Flowers in the top of the ninth, but the boys scored three in the bottom half, aided by three walks Matt DeSalvo to load the bases. Colter Bean then came on and hit Jason Repko to force in the first run, and John Lindsey yanked Bean’s first pitch just inside third base and up the leftfield line to score John-Ford Griffin, Andre Ethier and Repko. Yes, that’s right, Repko came all the way home even though the game was officially over when Ethier crossed the plate. Matt Kemp continued to sizzle, going 2 for 3 with a single and double, although he committed a baserunning gaffe when he tried to go first-to-third on a second-inning single without realizing that James Loney had stopped at third. Loney went 2 for 3 with a pair of singles. Dodgers go to 1-0. Although Tom Martin and Shackelford were roughed up, six other Dodgers pitchers — Jason Johnson, Tanyon Sturtze, Mike Myers, Brian Falkenborg, Mike Koplove and Eric Hull — combined to hold the Braves to one hit over seven innings. Of that group, only Hull is on the 40-man roster.

Opening day is upon us … sort of

That would be the Grapefruit League opener, which is set for 1:05 today against the Braves, who come in on a roll after having pounded the University of Georgia yesterday. It feels like it’s about as cold today as it was for last year’s actual season opener in Milwaukee, although Miller Park has a roof that was closed that day. Holman Stadium, well, it doesn’t really have a retractable roof, so it’s going to be kind of a miserable day. Jason Johnson, a non-roster guy, is starting today’s game for the boys. He’ll be followed by Mike Myers, Tanyon Sturtze and Tom Martin. … The final day of Dodgers Idol is going on in the clubhouse right now. If a winner is declared, I’ll let you know.