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.
WATCH: (Video via MLB.com)
Take a look at some Twitter reactions:
"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...