I'm sure plenty of baseball fans have read Ted Williams talk about smelling the wood of his bat burning on a foul ball. He said it happened five or six times during his career, fouling a ball off against a hard-throwing pitcher, and smelling smoke after contact was made.
But has anyone ever seen a foul ball cause sparks on a catcher's mask upon contact? Alex Avila got some fireworks in his face during the Tigers' game with the White Sox Tuesday night.
Avila's taken a beating behind the plate this season (which makes his amazing season even more impressive), taking foul balls off most every part of his body. The ones to the face have been especially scary, though. Even with the mask and helmet on, those have to feel like hard punches.
I missed this when it happened. I conked out early, after the second inning. Serves me right, I suppose.