We take technology and safety for granted these days, you know? How often do you watch a baseball game and think of all the protection the players wear, and how much more prone to stupid injuries they would have been many years ago? Not often, I’m betting.

The perfect example came in yesterday’s match between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics. Cliff Pennington fouled a Michael Pineda fastball directly into catcher Josh Bard’s facemask, but miraculously, the ball got stuck between the second and third bars. We laugh about it now, but there was a time where that foul ball might have seriously concussed Bard — or worse.

So yeah, facemasks are cool. .gifs after the jump.