Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton took a fastball to the face last September. It was a scary moment, breaking multiple bones and teeth and ending his season, and Stanton wants to make sure it never happens again. He's going to wear this custom helmet and protective face guard, beginning today.
The Miami Herald shares this first image of the contraption, designed by football helmet-manufacturer Schutt Sports. Stanton went to pick it up earlier this week, and watched it get put through its final paces, including having a pitching machine fire fastball after fastball directly at it.
It's got a bit of style: Stanton requested a "G" be worked into the carbon steel frame. But it's functional too. Stanton is very concerned about the mask preserving his vision, so he went with the frame rather than what we've usually seen, solid single-piece additions like Jason Heyward's. (The two players are good friends; Stanton says he consulted Heyward before deciding to get a face guard.)
Stanton says he'll try it out in spring training (today will be day one vs. live pitching), and if he likes it, he'll use it all season as he gets used to batting with his still-slightly-fucked-up face, which he says needs some more dental surgeries.
"All season I'll wear it, given it is comfortable vision-wise," Stanton said. "Just to rule out any type of doubt. We'll see after the first year."
In the offseason, the Marlins signed Stanton to a deal that could be worth an MLB-record $325 million, so I'm sure they're hoping he feels comfortable with the half-mask. They're probably also quite pleased their investment is protecting himself.