September 7, 2010
I've seen a lot of great snags from fans at baseball games, both on TV and in person, but I don't think I've ever seen a home run snag more impressive than the one I saw at Camden Yards on Saturday. And in my opinion, the fan who snagged it should become an instant celebrity.
It was the bottom of the ninth inning with the Orioles holding onto an 8-3 lead, and I was watching the closing moments of the game from the right field flag court. The Rays' Brad Hawpe launched a towering fly ball to right-center field and Orioles' center fielder Corey Patterson drifted towards the wall, preparing to make a leaping grab. Realizing that it wouldn't be within reach, however, Patterson gave up on it, but what happened next was just as web-gem worthy as a game-ending home run-robbing leaping catch would have been.
Every fan in the front row was standing and looking to make a play on the home run ball. Many of them had gloves. As my eyes quickly scanned the fans I noticed that one of the fans was not like the others. Amidst a forest of adult baseball fans stood a little kid with his baseball mitt, and the kid wasn't the least bit intimidated.
I'm not a great judge of age, but I would put him anywhere from five to eight years of age. Even with the short front-row barriers at Camden Yards, his upper body barely cleared the top of the fence.
The kid calmly extended his glove in the middle of a sea of flailing arms and in the blink of an eye the ball smacked into the glove, and he effortlessly squeezed the mitt and pulled in the souvenir baseball. The crowd around him was mostly Orioles' fans, but they didn't care. They were going crazy, pointing at the kid and celebrating. A woman who appears to be his mom was absolutely ecstatic and wildly threw her arms into the air for the television cameras.
Meanwhile the kid was utterly and completely in shock, no doubt overwhelmed by the attention he was getting. As things calmed down a bit, a pack of fans in the back of the bleachers jokingly started chanting "Throw it Back," which of course wasn't happening.
Here's the video, which you've truly got to see to believe:
I thought about racing over with my camera and getting a picture and short interview for the website, but I decided not to because my family was with me and wanted to beat the crowd out of the stadium when the third out was recorded. No big deal, I thought, this will be all over the news tomorrow.
I don't think the kid has really received his well-deserved 15 minutes of fame, though. I didn't get a chance to see Sportscenter or the highlights on the news, and I'm sure he got some decent face time there, but I completely expected this kid to become a web sensation and get featured on all the major news outlets.
This morning I scoured the web but couldn't track down anything about it. Bewildered that the grammar school home run snagger hadn't received any substantial press, I decided to write this column and give him some press myself. I don't know, maybe I'm making too big a deal out of this, but I've never seen anyone even remotely close to this kid's size snag a homer, much less on the fly.
So for what it's worth kid, if you happen to be reading this, let me publicly say that your snag officially gets my newly-created Webmaster's Award for Snag of the Year. Truly Amazing.
And for the rest of us, let's do our best to make this amazing snag go "viral." Forward this column to everyone you know. Post it on your blog. Alert your local news broadcast. Let's find out who this kid is and work to give him the fame he deserves.
Alan Schuster is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.