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Alex Avila's Mask Hit By Foul Tip, Sparks Fly In Tigers-White Sox Game (VIDEO)

Alex Avila Mask Sparks

First Posted: 09/14/11 01:38 PM ET Updated: 11/14/11 05:12 AM ET

According to baseball slang, a pitcher who throws with velocity in the mid to upper 90s is known as a "flamethrower" or a "fireballer." The adjective "blazing" is sometimes used to describe their fastballs, which are themselves known as "heaters." As in, "Forget about the curve ball Ricky, give 'em the heater."

Tigers ace Justin Verlander is such a flamethrower. But the sparks didn't start flying during the Tigers' game against the White Sox on Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field until after Verlander's seven shutout frames. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Detroit relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit hurled a fastball and Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski foul tipped it. The ball struck Tigers catcher Alex Avila's mask, causing sparks to fly and Twitter to explode.

According to Chris Iott of MLive.com, Avila didn't have any idea what reporters were talking about when he was asked to comment on the play.

Then he saw the replay.

"That was ridiculous. That was like a firecracker coming off my mask," Avila said, via Jason Beck of MLB.com. Scroll down to watch the video.

WATCH: (Video via MLB.com)

Take a look at some Twitter reactions:


Alex Avila is so tough his stubble causes sparks from foul tip balls off his mask. #MLB #Tigersless than a minute ago via Twitter for Android Favorite Retweet Reply


Alex Avila Is On Fire -- No, seriously...he is. Two .gifs of pure danger. http://t.co/nNxbGYv via @sbnbaseballless than a minute ago via Tweet Button Favorite Retweet Reply

Alex Avila is lucky his mask didn't catch on fire. #Tigers #Sparkless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

"Foul Tip Creates Sparks On Alex Avila's Catcher's Mask " http://t.co/YZUXfvy I'm not convinced it was his mask, maybe he's a cyborg...less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

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Filed by Michael Klopman  |