Baseball’s new performance-enhancer

It can’t be easy staring down a pitcher in front of 30,000 fans. It must be even harder when the hurler is glaring at you with an intimidating amber glint in his eye. According to this story from the Sporting News, a number of Major League Baseball players have been trying out performance-enhancing contact lenses that help players see the ball in bright sun and have the added effect because of their amber color of making players appear like "some wild-eyed creature from a science fiction film." Orioles’ leadoff hitter Brian Roberts has worn the Nike and Bausch & Lomb contacts—called MaxSight— during game play, while Reds centerfielder Ken Griffey wears them during batting practice. The University of Miami is allowing 20 of its athletes to use them. The companies are also circulating a pair made for golfers, and developing contacts for night play. Before baseball purists start whining about taking the challenge out of the game, consider that even equipment as old and venerable as the mitt had to be marketed to players at the turn of the century. Fielders who considered it unmanly to wear even a bare leather glove to stop a home run changed their tune when star BoSox hurler and sports-equipment entrepreneur A.G. Spalding took the field with a padded model. If it weren’t a rival sports marketer hawking the lenses, I’d say Spalding would be proud.

—Posted by Deanna Zammit