As far as I’m concerned, one of the best ways to spend an afternoon or evening in the summertime is to take in a ball game. I’ve been to a few Blue Jays, and while the odd foul ball has come close, I’ve never had the chance to catch a ball that’s gone flying into the stands at a game.
I mean, it’s no big deal. Most people go to games and don’t catch balls. Those that do (or those who win the fight in the stands after it goes into an empty section of seats) are the lucky ones.
And then there’s the unlucky people who have a chance to catch the ball but fail miserably. And two of those people are our focus here.
Wednesday night, after the Jays had beaten the Rockies the day after that super late night affair, the Yankees were playing host to the Texas Rangers – a matchup in which I’m sure most Jays fans would love to see both teams lose. Things were looking pretty good for the red-hot Rangers as they entered the bottom of the 9th with a 7-3 lead.
Matt Bush (yes, the guy who threw at Jose Bautista in the lead-up to the melee in Arlington) came out to start the 9th, giving up a hit and walking a batter. Then Sam Dyson (the guy who gave up the bat-flip homer, then called Bautista out for his “lack of respect” for the game) came in to replace Bush. This is where it gets really tough for Jays fans trying to decide who to cheer for in the situation.
Brett Gardner was Dyson’s first batter, and he lined a single to centrefield to score Rob Refsnyder from second, and move Jacoby Ellsbury from first to second. Next up, A-Rod lined out to Rougned Odor at second. Then Brian McCann stepped to the plate and tied the game with one swing of the bat.
It sure is nice to see Dyson get rocked like that… But that wasn’t even the end of the fireworks. The next batter up was Starlin Castro, who Dyson put on base with a walk. Then it was Didi Gregorius‘s turn. Here’s how that went:
And just like that, the Yankees win and Dyson loses. Not that I want to see the division rival Yankees winning, but as of today they’re still 2.5 games behind the Jays, so meh. Also, I take great pleasure in seeing Sam Dyson get owned like this. But he wasn’t the only one who got owned in this situation. If you noticed in those videos, the same guy missed catching BOTH of those home run balls! Watch:
That’s not just any guy, however. That’s Zack Hample – known to the Yankees AND their fans as a professional ballhawk. By his own count, he’s caught over 9,000 baseballs. And apparently he’s known for running section to section and pushing people out of the way to add to his collection. Well, he wasn’t too happy about what happened.
McCann’s game-tying home run just hit me in the face . . . because the guy in front of me deflected it. And HE got the ball. Damn.
— Zack Hample (@zack_hample) June 30, 2016
. . . and Didi’s walk-off HR came right to me & I dropped it because I got body-slammed by the guy next to me. Unreal. Goodnight, Twitter.
— Zack Hample (@zack_hample) June 30, 2016
Apparently he’s not terribly well-liked by other fans… Or people who write for Deadspin for that matter… But it is kinda hilarious to see him get bodychecked by that guy on the second one… Although he shouldn’t be complaining, because he slammed into the kid standing on his other side with about the same force… Which, I’m sure, is one of many reasons some folks aren’t terribly fond of this guy. But, of the 9,000 balls this guy HAS caught, none of them have been a walk-off home run ball, so you can understand why he might be a little upset about it.
Anyway, last night the Baltimore Orioles (another team that needs to lose repeatedly) were at Safeco Field taking on the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners came out on top 5-3, but during the game there were two home runs hit in the same spot. One by Seattle’s Seth Smith, the other by Baltimore’s Hyun Soo Kim. This fan was in the perfect spot for both of ’em, and he missed ’em both. The second one even went off his hand! Have a look:
It just goes to show it’s always a good idea to bring a glove to the ball game – Although as Billy Burns showed last night, it doesn’t necessarily always guarantee you’ll make the catch.
That hit is also notable because it came off the bat of pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who batted for himself in the AL-rules game. It was the first time a pitcher has done that since 1976. Bumgarner is used to batting thanks to playing in the National League, but of course the American League has the Designated Hitter in place of the pitcher in the batting order.
Anyway, the moral of the story is… If you go to a ball game, bring your glove!