Big League Stew - MLB

What in the name of Sparky Anderson happened Tuesday night to Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila(notes)?

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:

An electrified facemask! Cool! Hey, who says the White Sox can't spark anything this season? Also, it figures that A.J. Pierzynski(notes) would be the guy to do this. He's always rattling cages.

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

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

Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave — and engage the Stew on Facebook

Other popular stories on Yahoo! Sports:
Video: Massive hit sends quarterback's helmet flying
Financial planner returns to minor league baseball glory
Nuggets' J.R. Smith signs with Chinese team

Related Articles

Big League Stew

Add to My Yahoo RSS

Related Photo Gallery

Y! Sports Blog