When it comes to sports, fireworks have become as much of a part of the landscape as overpriced beer and painted faces.
If you live anywhere near a baseball stadium, major or minor league, you'll be hard pressed to not see, or at least hear, those booming lights and sounds that remind you that, "Oh yeah, Wednesday is July 4th."
While it all seems as American as ice cream sundaes in a helmet cup, that flammable powdery mixture of charcoal, sulphur and potassium nitrate actually dates back to an accidental concoction in 10th century China (a fact that makes the faux fireworks scandal of the Beijing Olympics all the more disappointing).
Fast forward more than a few centuries, and you can hardly separate fireworks and sports. On May 24, 1935, the Cincinnati Reds were hosting the Philadelphia Phillies at Crosley Field for the first Major League Baseball game held in the moonlight. Even President Roosevelt symbolically turned on the lights from the White House in honor of the first night game.
It was also the inaugural major league baseball fireworks display, produced by John Rozzi of Rozzi's Famous Fireworks, a company still lighting up the skies for the Reds, the University of Kentucky and the University of Cincinnati, to name a few.
From that day in 1935, fireworks at sporting events have just gotten more bombastic. Can you imagine a Super Bowl without fireworks? The Olympics? What about a grand slam? Of course not. Unfortunately for some, sparks don't always fly according to plan.
A thorough outline by Doug Williams on ESPN.com tells of the Mets' Vince Coleman injuring three fans in 1993 when he threw a firecracker in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, resulting in his suspension.
There was 1979's Disco Demolition Night, which turned into a fire at Chicago's Comiskey Park. The small blaze was ignited by anti-disco DJ Steve Dahl while attempting to use miniature fireworks of sorts to blow up a crate of disco records.
The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis went ablaze in 2009 during game against the Patriots when fireworks were set off to celebrate a Joseph Addai touchdown.
The Houston Astros drove visiting fans bonkers with their extravagant display, while the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz played a game of dueling fireworks and laser lights.
Think the well-lit disasters only happen at the games? Think again. Italian soccer star Mario Balotelli (also of Manchester City fame) set his Manchester home aflame after he and some mates were lighting fireworks through an open window and, bollocks, his bathroom towels lit up like Guy Fawkes Day.
Sometimes when fireworks happen in the offseason, it can be a beautiful thing. Then-Los Angeles Clipper Chris Kaman needed entertainment at his Western Michigan home for July 4, 2010, so naturally he spent $10,000 on fireworks for his front lawn. The result? Worthy of a Los Angeles New Year's Eve party.
What is it that makes sports and fireworks such loving companions? Perhaps it's the magic in the making. Simple ingredients (a ball, a stick, a glove ... charcoal, nitrates, sulphur) that, when placed in the right hands against the right backdrop with the right timing, combine to make something rather extraordinary.