All the Times MLB Fans Stole the Show
Most highlights from MLB games come from the players — a great hit, a stellar catch, etc. But sometimes, it’s the fans who steal the show, whether it’s something hilarious or heartfelt. Here are 15 times MLB fans had the most memorable moment of the game.
1. That time a man caught a foul ball — while holding a baby
Being a parent is important, but catching a ball from your favorite team might be a little more important. At least that’s what this guy thought. A Phillies fan was at the game with his wife and seven-month-old son when he made the catch of a lifetime. The Mets’ Daniel Murphy hit a foul ball high up into the stands on Mother’s Day in 2015. But as the ball barreled toward 30-year-old Mike Capko and his young son, Kolton, Capko had to make one swift move to make sure the baby didn’t take the ball to the face. He reached up and caught the foul ball, and the crowd went crazy. It was his son’s first ball game and a game the family (Capko’s wife was also present) will never forget.
Next: He’s not the only one to make a catch like that.
2. … And that time another guy did it, too
Apparently, catching a ball with a baby in tow is something dads everywhere practice when training for parenthood. During a Giants game In San Francisco in 2013, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt hit a foul ball high into the stands above right field. And one man had a quick, one-handed reaction: He caught the ball, barehanded, while holding his baby daughter under his other arm. “That’s good parenting,” the announcer says as the man waves the ball in the air. It appears the baby’s mother grabs the child out from under his arm. The little girl had begun to slip a bit when he caught the ball. But hey, she was safe. And the important thing is, this guy went home with a ball, right?
Next: This kid’s ‘game’ is unlike any we’ve seen before.
3. That time a young kid fooled a pretty girl into thinking she’d gotten a free ball
Sneaky, sneaky. One young fan tried to make a move on a pretty young woman behind him, but he faked her out. The third base coach for the Toronto Blue Jays tossed a foul ball to a young kid in the stands. The kid then turned around and looked like he handed the ball to an older, attractive girl sitting behind him. But if you look closely, he actually swaps out the real ball for a fake one and hands her the fake one instead. It’s as if he wanted to impress her but didn’t want to give up the baseball. It was a sneaky move, but the announcers caught it. They put him on blast on television yet praised him for the sly move. We’re still not sure if she ever learned her baseball was actually a fake.
Next: This Reds fan saved his team from an out.
4. That time a Cincinnati Reds fan saved his team with a play
The Cincinnati Reds were on the verge of getting an out when a Reds player popped a foul ball up near Cardinals’ first baseman Matt Adams. Adams ran toward the ball, which was just about to cross airspace into the stands — Adams would need to hurtle himself into the stands to catch it. But just as he made the move, a fan reached out and snagged the ball as it landed. Since the ball was already in foul territory, there was no interference. But had Adams made that catch, it would have been an out for the Cardinals. It was a fan just doing his due diligence and protecting his team by preventing Adams from making the catch. Instead, Adams walked back to first base both angry and embarrassed.
Next: Don Mattingly made this fan’s life.
5. That time Don Mattingly helped himself to a fan’s popcorn
Sometimes, in the middle of a ball game, players get hungry. Most players might ignore the hunger pangs, but Don Mattingly took it upon himself to grab a snack from a little guy in the stands. Mattingly made an attempt to catch a foul ball, but it was way too far in the stands for him to grab it. So he hustled toward the stands for no reason, right? No, he actually decided to take the opportunity to grab a mid-game snack from a young fan seated in the first row. Mattingly tapped him on the shoulder and snatched a piece of popcorn from the kid’s bucket. The kid looked up at him in awe, with a slight smile on his face. He didn’t say a word before Mattingly turned around and headed back toward the field. Years later, we’re sure it’s still a moment the fan will never forget.
Next: This guy celebrated catching a home run in a funny way.
6. That time one guy danced like never before after catching a home run
There’s only one way to celebrate an awesome catch: Dance it out. That’s how this fan responded to making a great home run catch from Rangers player Josh Hamilton. He even hopped over the stands to make sure he’d catch the ball. But it’s more the dance move he chose that made his celebration memorable. This guy did the sprinkler on live television. Yes, the sprinkler. Of all the dance moves he could have celebrated with, he chose one of the most embarrassing moves of all time. But he probably doesn’t care, since he was clearly expecting Hamilton to rip one to center field, which meant his day — and season — was made. His friends were ecstatic, too, since you can see everyone giving each other high fives as he returns to the stands.
Next: Celebrities can catch foul balls, too.
7. That time the one and only Chris Rock snagged a foul ball at a Yankee game
There’s no shortage of celebrity appearances at Yankee games. After all, plenty of them live in New York City, and plenty of people all around the country are Yankee fans. In 2014, Chris Rock happened to be sitting in the perfect spot when a foul ball popped up and headed straight for him. He reached out for the ball, just a bit further than a nearby fan, and ended up making the catch. He raised the ball and fans cheered — it’s not every day a celebrity makes a catch. But instead of keeping the souvenir for himself, he turned around a gave it to a young boy behind him who’d wanted the ball so badly. Not only did Rock impress fans with his catch, but he touched hearts when he gave his souvenir to someone he thought could use it more.
Next: One kid showed this baseball player how to make a catch.
8. That time a young kid caught a home run the outfielder couldn’t reach
Sometimes, kids are better at our jobs than we are. And in the case of Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur, a little kid was a little better at catching. A ball was hit deep into right field, and Francoeur ran toward the wall to make the catch. But he ran out of room — it was a home run. As soon as the ball flew over the wall, though, a young kid was there to make Franceour’s job look easy. He reached out with his glove and caught the home run, no sweat. Maybe Francoeur would have made the catch if he’d had the room, but the real winner was the little kid who did it effortlessly. Perhaps he has a future career in baseball. But since it was already over the wall, we figure Francoeur couldn’t have been too mad.
9. That time one kid pushed his way to a handshake with Miguel Cabrera
When you want to meet your favorite player, you might stop at nothing. That’s what one young fan did when he was determined to get a handshake from Miguel Cabrera. He knew he’d have to put himself out there to make it happen. As Cabrera was called on deck, he began walking alongside the stands when an excited fan came pushing his way through to the front. He reached his hand out as far as it could possibly go and called to Cabrera. Cabrera was a good sport about it and stopped his walk to go shake hands with the eager fan. The whole thing was caught on camera, and the fan’s pushiness paid off. It was a memorable moment for both that fan and everyone watching.
Next: It’s a rare feat to catch a foul ball in the stands — but this guy caught three.
10. That time one guy caught three foul balls in one at-bat
It’s something of a stroke of luck to have a ball hit perfectly in your direction during an MLB game. But for one fan, it happened three times — and twice in a row. At a 2011 Orioles game, Zack Hemple caught foul balls hit by both the Orioles and the opposing team, the Seattle Mariners. But believe it or not, this guy claims to be a professional at catching balls during MLB games. He even wrote a book about it and was interviewed by Men’s Journal to share his expertise. We’re not sure that “professional baseball catcher” can be a real thing, but if it is, this guy is the poster child. He claims to have caught tons of baseballs throughout his career as a dedicated fan.
Next: Manny Ramirez had the play of the game — and it involved a fan.
11. That time Manny Ramirez high fived a fan during his double play
Manny Ramirez had one of the greatest player-fan high fives in history. Ramirez was in Baltimore when he made one of the major plays of his career. A ball hit deep into left-center field would have been an easy miss for a more inexperienced ball player. But Ramirez sprinted toward the ball and made the catch, to many of the fans’ surprise. But his momentum kept him running, and he did a quick hop up onto the wall with just enough time to high-five a fan on his way down. The fan seemed totally caught off guard, but the high five still happened. And the best part? Ramirez shot the ball back to the infield in just enough time to make a double play. Talk about a memorable moment.
Next: When you catch a ball in your beer, here’s what you do.
12. That time a guy caught a foul ball in his cup — and chugged it to celebrate
If you think the odds of a foul ball headed your way are slim, can you imagine the odds of a foul ball, which could land anywhere in the park, landing in the two-inch range that is your beer cup? For one guy, this became a reality. At a Seattle Mariners game, one man in the stands was enjoying a beer when a foul ball landed right in his cup. When this rare feat happens, there’s only one way to celebrate: Chug the whole beer. He immediately began chugging without even removing the ball from the cup. But honestly, this guy could have chugged it a little better than he did. We’re pretty sure half of the beer ended up on his nice jacket instead of in his mouth, but we do give him credit for acting accordingly in such a bizarre situation.
Next: A great catch is worth the belly flop.
13. That time a fan dove into a pool just to make the perfect catch
If you think you’ve seen the perfect catch, think again. Well, actually, this catch was pretty messy and left a lot of people dripping with water after the huge splash made by one fan. But for him, it was worth it. During the 2011 Derby, Adrian Gonzalez hit a homer right over top of the pool at Chase Field in Phoenix (because of course a baseball field in Arizona needs a pool). It was headed straight for the center of the pool, so one fan knew he had to make the catch. He did a full belly flop into the pool just to grab the ball. But it was a success, since not only did he make the catch, but he also saved his beer. And while it was definitely a fan catch that would go down in history, we’re not sure how all those people around him liked getting splashed with his belly flop.
Next: Derek Jeter can thank this fan for his home run.
14. That time a young fan literally stole a home run for Derek Jeter
It was a classic case of a fan reaching a little bit too far over the wall, and it ended up giving Derek Jeter a home run. It was the post season, and Derek Jeter came up to bat. He hit the ball beautifully toward right field, and the Orioles’ Tony Tarasco thought for sure he could grab it. But a fan swooped in and deflected the ball into the stands before Tarasco could get it. A fight instantly broke out between Tarasco and the umpire. Orioles’ players were running toward right field to argue the call, and coaches were arguing while trying to calm the team. The home run stood, though, and that fan can be credited for handing Jeter an important homer in the post season — the Yankees went on to win the game and the series. Today, that then-12-year-old fan even has his own Wikipedia page. He got some major publicity from the incident.
Next: This young girl reminds players why they really play the game.
15. That time a young girl shed tears upon meeting Carlos Gomez
Meet and greets are always exciting. But for some people, they’re downright overwhelming. And while this moment might not be laughable, it shows how much of an impact an MLB player can have on his fans. One young girl couldn’t control herself when she met Carlos Gomez (who then played for the Milwaukee Brewers). Gomez gave the girl a hug, and she immediately burst into tears (we’re assuming these were tears of joy). Gomez then said something to the girl and gave her another hug, during which she continued crying. It was truly one of the greatest fan moments of all time. It shows the impact these players have on those who grow up watching them and reminds them of the real reason they play the game.
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