You can't blame Giancarlo Stanton for going the extra step to protect his face with a one-of-a-kind helmet he plans to wear for the 2015 season. And not because he recently signed a $325 million contract or because he's getting the model treatment from Sports Illustrated.
In a scene that's still hard to shake, Stanton's 2014 season ended when he was hit in the face with a pitch. He sustained facial fractures, dental damage and was carted off the field. It was both gruesome and unfortunate, considering he was having an MVP-like season for the Miami Marlins.
So this year, Stanton will wear a new custom helmet that will prevent a sequel. Check it out:
As the Miami Herald explains, it was created specifically for Stanton with a carbon steel faceguard built to withstand 100-mph pitches. It's the product of Schutt Sports in Illinois, which usually makes football helmets. And it's even stylized with a G in the facemask, because that's how Stanton rolls.
Here's more on the process from Clark Spencer of The Herald:
Stanton flew up to the company's Litchfield, Ill., facility Monday on owner Jeffrey Loria's private jet to see the helmet for the first time and put it on for size.
"We were so impressed with him when he came up earlier this week," said Glenn Beckmann, director of marketing and communications for Schutt. "He was genuinely interested in working this whole batter's guard out."
Stanton wanted something that would not only protect the side of his face, but a helmet that would allow him open sight lines and freedom of movement.
"He gave us the final instructions on what he wanted, and we had a working prototype to go this morning," Beckmann said Wednesday. "He was intensely engaged in every step of the development process."
Other MLB players have worn helmets with faceguards, but never like this. Jason Heyward is a good example. He put an extension on his helmet to protect his face after suffering a broken jaw.
Stanton's helmet costs between $500-$1,000, Schutt Sports says, but that's not much when you're the player with baseball's richest contract and you know just how bad a pitch to the face feels.
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