do mlb players wear cups

Do MLB Players Wear Cups? Protecting Base Balls

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do mlb players wear cups

When it comes to the safety and protection of baseball players, even the smallest details can make a huge difference. One frequently asked question in the baseball world is Do MLB players wear cups? This was an easy question to answer back in my Little League games because certain players would play a game called “cup check.” They would simply walk by and smack you with their glove or a closed fist. If you didn’t fall to the ground in pain then you were most likely wearing a cup.

Acknowledging the significance of this kind of protective gear is important because it aims to keep players safe from potential injuries caused by baseballs or collisions on the field.

Officially, MLB rules do not require players to wear cups. However, the use of protective gear varies by league and organization. Some players, particularly catchers and pitchers see the most action and are more likely to wear a cup than others. Additionally, players who have had injuries in the past may be more likely to use protective gear as a preventative measure.

Why Do MLB Players Wear Cups?

MLB players wear cups for two main reasons: safety and injury prevention, and performance and comfort.

Safety and Injury Prevention

Wearing a protective cup is critical for MLB players, as it shields their genitals from the impact of a hard ball or collision with another player. The groin area is extra prone to getting hurt because it’s a sensitive spot and doesn’t have much protection. Without a cup, a player risks serious injury, such as testicular torsion or rupture.

The force of a ball hitting the groin can be severe. Additionally, the spikes on players’ shoes also add to the potential for injury. A cup made of hard plastic or ballistic-grade materials helps absorb and distribute the impact which reduces the risk of injury.

Performance and Comfort

In addition to safety, wearing a cup can also improve a player’s performance and comfort on the field. A properly fitted cup provides support and compression, which can enhance a player’s physical abilities and movements.

Some players may prefer to wear a jockstrap or compression shorts with a built-in pouch for added support. The right equipment can help a player feel more comfortable and confident, allowing them to focus on their performance.

Overall, the benefits of wearing a protective cup far outweigh any potential discomfort or inconvenience. It is a crucial piece of protective equipment that every MLB player should wear to ensure their safety and performance on the field.

Are Cups Mandatory in MLB?

MLB Rules and Regulations

Officially, the MLB does not require players to wear cups. However, individual teams may have their own rules regarding protective gear, including cups. For example, some teams may require catchers to wear cups due to the high risk of injury in that position. In addition, some players may choose to wear cups even if it is not mandatory.

Player Preferences

While certain players might opt for wearing cups, plenty of others choose to play baseball roulette with their family jewels. Former third baseman Adrian Beltre, for example, is known for not wearing a cup during games.

Back when I played, a lot of the guys found athletic cups to be very uncomfortable and limiting. I’m sure the designs have gotten better but it was hard to run the bases with a cup rubbing against your thighs. For that reason, a lot of us (even the catcher) decided not to wear them.

Overall, whether or not a player chooses to wear a cup in the MLB is largely a personal preference. While some teams may have their own rules regarding protective gear, there is no league-wide requirement for cups.

It is worth noting, however, that cups are mandatory in some other baseball leagues and organizations. For example, the Cleveland Indians require all players to wear cups, while the Milwaukee Brewers require catchers, infielders, and pitchers to wear them.

The bottom line is, while cups may not be mandatory in the MLB, they are still highly recommended.

Types of Cups

When it comes to protective cups for baseball players, there are several types available on the market. The most common types are made of plastic, metal, and carbon fiber. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and players should choose the type that best fits their needs.

Carbon Fiber Athletic Cups

Carbon fiber athletic cups are considered the best option for athletes due to their exceptional protection and comfort. These cups are lightweight, strong, and great at absorbing and distributing impact forces to prevent injuries in the groin area. Carbon fiber athletic cups have set a new standard in sports safety, combining advanced technology with superior protection.

Plastic Athletic Cups

Plastic cups are the most common type of cup used by baseball players. They are lightweight, durable, and easy to clean. They are also relatively inexpensive, making them a good choice for players on a budget. However, plastic cups may not provide as much protection as other types of cups, and they may not be as comfortable to wear.

Metal Athletic Cups

Metal cups are less common than plastic cups, but they do provide more protection. They are made of lightweight metal, such as titanium, and are designed to absorb shock from a ball impact. Metal cups are more expensive than plastic ones but are also more durable and longer-lasting. However, they may not be as comfortable to wear as plastic cups.

Athletic Cup Sizing

No matter which type of cup a player chooses, it is important to get the correct size. Cups that are too small may not provide adequate protection. Also, cups that are too large may be uncomfortable to wear. Players should measure their waist and refer to the manufacturer’s sizing chart to ensure the right fit.

How to Wear a Cup

Here are some tips for wearing a cup:

Choosing the Right Cup

Cups come in different sizes and materials. Be sure to find the one that fits well and provides the proper protection. Most cups are made of hard plastic or metal, and they typically come with a waistband or jockstrap to hold them in place.

Putting on the Cup

Once you have the right cup, it’s time to put it on. Here’s how:

  • Put on your compression shorts or jockstrap
  • Place the cup in the front of your underwear, with the hard part facing out and the narrow part facing down.
  • Pull your underwear up and adjust the cup so that it’s snug against your body.
  • Make sure the cup covers your entire groin area, including your testicles and penis.

Adjusting for Comfort

It’s important to adjust the cup for comfort, as well as protection. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure the waistband or jockstrap is snug, but not too tight.
  • Adjust the cup so that it’s not pressing against your body too tightly or causing discomfort.
  • If the cup is causing chafing or irritation, try using a different type of undergarment or adjusting the fit of the cup.

Additional Tips

Here are some additional tips for wearing a cup:

  • Always wear a cup when playing baseball, especially if you’re playing catcher or pitcher.
  • Make sure to replace your cup if it becomes damaged or starts to wear down.
  • If you’re not sure if your cup is providing adequate protection, consider getting a different size or type of cup.

By following these tips, baseball players can ensure that they’re wearing a cup properly and providing the best protection for their groin area.

Female Baseball Players and Cups

Traditionally, baseball has been a male-dominated sport, but an increasing number of female players have started to play and wear protective gear, including cups. Wearing a cup is an important part of the game, and all players should be aware of the potential risks of not wearing one.

According to a survey by the Women’s Sports Foundation, only 17% of female athletes wear a protective cup during sports. However, as the number of softball players continues to increase, more are realizing the importance of wearing a cup for protection.

While there are some differences in the design of cups for male and female players, the basic function is the same: to protect the genital area from injury. Female cups are typically smaller and more contoured to fit the female anatomy. It is essential for female players to find a cup that fits well and provides adequate protection without being uncomfortable or restrictive.

As more female players enter the sport, it is important for them to be aware of the risks and to take steps to protect themselves.

Youth Baseball Leagues and Athletic Cups

When it comes to youth baseball leagues, the rules regarding protective cups vary by league or organization. However, we recommend baseball players to start wearing a cup from the age of seven and above to protect against injuries. If you are a parent and would like grandchildren one day, make wearing a cup mandatory for your child.

Little League Rules

In Little League, all players must wear a cup, although the rule isn’t strictly enforced. I know because my child didn’t start wearing one until age 10. The umpire isn’t going to go around and cup-check all of the children. It isn’t his job and he probably doesn’t want to go to jail so it’s on the parents to make sure their child is wearing one.

The rule applies to all players, regardless of their position on the field. The Little League rulebook states that all male players must wear an athletic supporter and cup during games and practices. The rule exists to protect young players from injuries that they could sustain from getting hit by a ball or a bat.

Injury Statistics

Injuries to the groin area can be serious and can cause long-term damage. According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Urology, baseball is the second most common cause of testicular injuries in children, after bicycle accidents. The study found that most testicular injuries in baseball occurred in boys who were not wearing a protective cup.

Wearing a cup can also protect players from other types of injuries, such as bruising or contusions. A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that players who wore protective cups had a significantly lower risk of testicular injuries than those who did not wear a cup.

We were at my son’s game last week when we noticed an ambulance pull up to the adjoining field where the local high school team was playing one of their last home games. We hoped for no serious injuries, but it seemed the catcher didn’t wear his cup that night and caught a foul ball right in that area. I have no idea about the severity of the injury, but the need to cart him off the field suggested it wasn’t good. An injury like that could have long-lasting effects.

Do MLB Players Wear Cups – Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the use of protective cups in Major League Baseball (MLB) remains a personal choice for players. While there are no official rules requiring players to wear cups, most players choose to wear them for safety and performance reasons.

Protective cups have been a part of the game since the late 1800s, and they have evolved over time to provide better protection and comfort.

Most catchers wear cups, as they are in close proximity to the ball and are at a higher risk of injury. Pitchers also wear cups due to their follow-through, which can put them in a vulnerable position. On the other hand, most outfielders do not wear cups, as they are less likely to be hit by a ball.

While the use of protective cups is primarily for safety reasons, they can also provide players with a sense of confidence on the field. When players know they are protected, they can focus on their performance and stop the fear of injury from affecting their mental game.

Chris F.

Chris F.

Chris Forbes is the founder and editor of, a leading blog in the youth baseball space. As a lifelong baseball player, coach and fan, he decided to team up with his young son to offer advice and share their experiences with the sport they both love. Chris lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children.

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