10 Fan Catches Better Than in the Actual Game
Are you too cool to bring your glove?
That's what most people say, which is why 99 percent of the time when a ball goes into the stands, an all-star-like display of clumsiness ensues.
No matter the excuse for unpreparedness, though, every fan wants to make a spectacular catch and hand the ball to the little kid next to them. Darn societal conscience.
It's the hole-in-one of fandom, a cementing of team loyalty, and a complete crapshoot. Some fans have risen above the fray, though, and into our hearts through impressive displays of athleticism and trickery. Here is the handful of fans out of millions who inspire us to wield beers instead of gloves at the ballpark.
We thank you.
April 10th 2013: Astros vs. Mariners
Like I said, some fans convince us the best way to catch a baseball is not in a glove, but rather, a beverage. This guy deserves a lot of credit. The chugging as soon as he realized his feat is brilliant, but he botched it on the transfer.
It's like he made the diving catch for an out but couldn't make the transfer and simple throw to first to double that baserunner off.
The fellow spectators don't seem to mind, though, as they celebrate with Jersey Shore fist pumps (screen right) and awkwardly unfulfilled high fives (screen left). Here's guessing it wasn't their first round of the night, and after that catch, not the last.
April 20th 2013: Rangers vs. Mariners
I blame the TV coverage here. This was a big league catch by a pro at catching home run balls. Trent Williams is known as the home run ball king, and the local ABC affiliate, WFAA, even did a story on him.
But the problem in this particular case is that the TV coverage cut away from Williams just as it appears he was going into a victory dance. What better way to grow his legend than allow him five seconds to make a fool of himself?
It's marketing genius. Five more seconds and we're talking Trent Williams baseball cards, jerseys and bobble-hips in the clubhouse store. Five more seconds.
June 15th, 2014: Rockies vs. Giants
This guy has to be the Dad of the Year. It's one thing to make a bare-handed catch as soon as you walk into the stands. It's a whole other level of dad awesomeness if you can do it while holding your baby on Father's Day.
And here's the best part. Remember that thing where you have to give the ball to whatever kid is next to you so the crowd thinks you're a good person? I know—bologna. But this guy has his kid right there, and it's Father's Day. No need to give the ball to anyone else, and no need to actually give it to the kid, who appears to be 10 months old and clueless.
I'm sure this was all intentional on the dad's part, and it's brilliant. Hat tip, my friend.
May 17th, 2014: Rangers vs. Blue Jays
This kid has me beat. Maybe it is a good idea to give the ball away after all, especially when you're in middle school and it's to impress the chicks behind you.
Just giving the ball to a girl twice his age is phenomenal, but the fact that he tricked her and everyone else into thinking it was the actual game ball is Frank Abagnale suave.
Can you imagine him in college? Based on his game and bright pink Ray Bans, he'll be on frat row faster than this front-row switcheroo.
July 9th, 2011: Yankees vs. Rays
- A baby you are responsible for
- A chick way out of your league
- Derek Jeter
On the rarest of occasions, the ball is bigger than the game. Derek Jeter's home run on July 9th, 2011 was his 3,000th hit, a feat only achieved by 28 players in the history of the game.
The ball was belted straight to Christian Lopez, who was mauled by jealous fans as soon as he made the historic catch and became an instant celebrity when he gave the ball back to Jeter after the game.
So in sum, the three people you can actually feel good about giving your prized game ball to are:
All other donations will leave you feeling robbed by your conscience.
August 19th 2010: Phillies vs. Giants
Based on this list so far, the best time to catch a ball is the second you walk into the stands. I've noticed this trend in baseball for quite some time now, thus I have started doing a split step every time I walk out of the concourse to make sure I'm ready for the ball. You know, like a shortstop.
It's bound to happen at some point, and when it does I'm determined to be as ready as this man with his beverage, chips and explosive first step off the stairs. The ushers at Turner Field call me Simba.
April 8th 1974: Braves vs. Dodgers
Tom House's catch in the Braves bullpen may not exactly be a fan catch, but on that night in 1974, everyone in the stadium was Hank Aaron's biggest fan.
Just look at the reaction of all the relievers in the Braves bullpen. They look like little leaguers shagging pop-outs at the Home Run Derby, and rightfully so.
What gets lost in this legendary home run, though, is that there are normally fans where the ball was hit, but that entire section and their mothers were all somehow on the basepath and home plate, mobbing Aaron.
So maybe that's not true, but regardless it was a monumental day in baseball...and ballpark security.
August 11th, 2014: Cubs vs. Brewers
Ah, yes. Our friend, the Wrigley con artist.
In case you missed it last week, this Cubs fan at the very top of the outfield bleachers made a save that would make Tim Howard proud. What's more, he switched the ball with one his dog has slobbered on for years and threw that one back, slyly keeping the game ball.
Smooth, right? No, not at all. There are problems galore here.
The game was at Wrigley Field and he is clearly a Cubs fan. You're only supposed to throw back home runs the opponents hit. His dog at home watching on TV must have been furious. "Not only did you throw away my ball, but it was COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY!!"
All is well, though. Shortly thereafter, the man and his wife were paged on their shared Nokia.
October 3rd, 1951: New York Giants vs. Brooklyn Dodgers
Time for one of baseball's greatest history lessons. While we may not be able to see this particular catch, "The Shot Heard Round the World" is one of the most memorable and subsequently mysterious moments in baseball history.
Bobby Thompson's walk-off three-run homer sent the Giants to the World Series, but no one could find the ball or who caught it after the game. There was even a book, Miracle Ball by Brian Biegel, written about the ball and its peculiar disappearance. So for now, that lucky fan remains unnamed and unknown.
How jealous is Steve Bartman?
October 8th, 1996: Yankees vs. Orioles
Jeffrey Maier was Steve Bartman before Steve Bartman.
There's just one, all-important difference. Maier's interference helped his team win a playoff game and go on to win the World Series.
Derek Jeter's shot to right field appeared to be heading for the wall, but Maier reached over the top and into the heart of every New Yorker as he pulled the ball into the stands with his outstretched glove. New York would win the game and later that month his Yanks were crowned World Series champions.
And that, my fellow fans, is why you always bring your glove.