Jul 26, 2010
14-year-old Mike M recently returned home to New York after a summer vacation in California, carrying with him what now ranks as one of the most prized possessions for the aspiring young ballhawk: his first ever Major League game ball. And thanks to the broadcasters and camera crew at SNY, he also has a really cool video of his first foul ball snag.
Visiting AT&T Park in San Francisco, Mike picked out his seats for the Giants/Mets game with foul balls in mind. "Catching a foul ball down the line was the whole reason I was sitting there," he explained.
With flame-thrower Tim Lincecum on the mound, foul balls would indeed be plentiful down the first base side. The Mets righties, behind on the Lincecum fastball, were the most likely source of the foul balls, but ironically, Mike's big chance came with lefty Alex Cora at bat. In the third inning, Cora got the bat around and laced a low line drive into foul territory on the first base side.
When the ball came off the bat, Mike instinctively made his move. "I bolted out of my seat, reached full-extension over the fence, and made the play on a short hop back-handed," he said. "When I had it, I couldn't believe it. The crowd was cheering, and I ran back to my seat to show my shocked parents."
On the way back to his parents, he threw his arms up in celebration, high-fived another fan, and basically just went crazy. Like any ballhawk getting his first big snag, his feeling at that moment was truly beyond words. "I was in such shock, that I couldn't even pay attention to the game," he said. "Later that night, we got an email of the play and was able to hear everything. I also got to listen to the WFAN radio broadcast, and they gave me props too."
The SNY television broadcasters had a lot of kind words for Mike after the snag, complementing him on-air for his skillful backhanded catch. Including batting practice, it was his 4th ball of the game and and 22nd for his career. A week later, he established a new career high by snagging 8 balls at Dodger Stadium, increasing his lifetime total to 30.
View the video of Mike M's amazing snag on YouTube, and stay tuned to his Blog for the upcoming entry.