Mark Canha came to Oakland Coliseum on Wednesday and found a new face mask in his locker. Most everyone was given one, but it certainly wasn’t a standard issue. Not with its design.
Someone made masks that looked like Mike Fiers’ face when he had rocked that swirling facial hair design on Sept. 14, 2019 against the Texas Rangers.
Canha suspects Fiers himself.
The A’s outfielder tried it on, fully intent on wearing it for a workout. He ultimately, however, went against joining Bob Melvin and Sean Manaea in a Fiers facemask.
“I was excited about them, but the comfort level wasn’t there for me,” Canha said Wednesday afternoon in a conference call. “It was ill-fitting, so I didn’t wear it out there, but I wanted to.”
It’s not like Canha is anti-mask. Quite the opposite in fact. He wears them when he should in public and in communal areas of Oakland Coliseum now that baseball’s getting back to work during the coronavirus pandemic.
He wore one well before it was required for anything but warmth. Canha has worn a type of ski mask on colder nights, even in the East Bay when it’s not completely frigid. He even wrote a poem about it last year.
“You know how cold it gets at night here, so now nobody will make fun of me on social media for wearing it when it’s 65 degrees out,” Canha said. “I have a good excuse.”
It sounds like Canha could often wear a mask while playing defense this season, though it might not be as consistent at the plate.
“When I do wear the mask at night, I typically wear it at the plate,” Canha said. “On hot day games, that’s a different situation. It will be a feel thing. If it’s super-hot, it’s hard to wear a mask, especially if we’re in L.A. or something. You want to be able to breathe and you get sweaty, so it can be uncomfortable.”
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Canha definitely understands the importance of MLB’s health and safety protocols. It’s something the A’s discussed on Tuesday, and they all seem to be in lockstep about following the letter of the law.
“We had a meeting yesterday and talked about having a high-risk guy on our team in Jake Diekman and we have guys with families,” Canha said. “We talk about how we have to keep it in mind that there’s a bigger picture beyond playing baseball. At the same time, on the baseball side of it, we have to make sure we stay healthy so we have all of our players in the lineup. … When you talk about kids and families and the bigger picture of what’s going on, I think everyone is respectful of that.”