The 2016 Major League Baseball season hasn't even officially started, but already there's an early candidate for play of the year... and it's from a fan.
During this past weekend's Pittsburgh Pirates-Atlanta Braves spring training game, a man's cat-like reflexes saved a young boy from severe injury when he blocked a launched bat from hitting his face in the stands.
Take a look at this pic from CBS Pittsburgh to see just how close the barrel of the bat was from this boy's face, as the man used his hand and forearm to block the lumber's dangerous path.
This is part of the reason why the MLB warns its fans to pay attention at all times because all it takes is a second or two for a foul ball — or a launched bat in this case — to go airborne into the stands.
This is also the reason that the MLB recommended all 30 franchises increase netting around the plate to limit such events from happening, as foul balls and occasionally a slippery bat from a hitter's hands happens, putting fans in danger of being hit and injured with the projectiles.
Thank God this man didn't have his face buried in his smartphone, the way fans do while attending live events, especially one as long as a baseball game. If he did, this incident could have been ugly.
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(Photo: KDKA News2 via CBS)