September 14, 2011
In the eighth inning against the White Sox, the splendid Tigers receiver took a foul ball off his facemask that appeared — on first look — to jar one of the bars loose. After what happened recently with the mask of Mariners catcher Josh Bard(notes) — who got a funny but scary face wedgie — might Major League Baseball have to seek redeveloping protection for its catchers?
Well, maybe it already has. Watch as sparks fly from Avila's gear:
STATS LLC, Elias and Fangraphs all report that the majors have not experienced sparks since knuckleballer Steve Sparks retired after the 2004 season.
By Avila's reaction, it's almost like he had no idea his facemask could make fire. That's because he didn't know. From Chris Iott of MLive.com:
When Avila was asked about it after the game, he had no idea what media members were talking about. Avila said he never saw the sparks, which shot in several directions as a foul ball slammed into his mask.
It is unclear whether the ball hitting the mask or the ball forcing two parts of the mask to rub caused the sparks to fly.
"Ring My Bell" played over the stadium's public-address system immediately after the foul ball.
If only they had seen a closeup, "Light My Fire" also would have worked. Now that MLB is electrifying masks, the rest of the catcher's equipment is next. This might change the nature of home plate crashes going forward.
Before you go, check out the bubba sparks in animated form.
Big BLS h/t: @Suss2hyphens
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