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To Catch Or Not To Catch

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This is an interesting story that sparks a debate where I’m not sure anyone is really right or wrong. All parties just reacted instantly and instinctively. With two outs in the top of the twelfth inning of a tie game, Cincinnati’s Drew Stubbs lined a ball foul down the right field line. The Phillies Jayson Werth had a clear path to the ball that looked like it was going to land in the first row of the stands. A Phillies season ticket holder and fan (wearing a Phillies t-shirt) reached up and robbed Werth of what looked like it was going to be the third out. As a Reds fan watching the game, my instant reaction was, “Thanks!” Werth’s reaction was to yell an obscenity. Stubbs grounded out to third and the Phillies won on a Brian Schneider walk-off home run in the bottom of the inning. No harm done. Bartman 2.0 averted. No one really did anything wrong or right in this situation. The fan should have let Werth try to catch it to do his part to help the team. As fans in baseball we have that ability. If the opposing player is trying to make the same play, catch it. If it’s your guy, let it go. But, it’s very difficult to rationalize as a baseball flies directly at you and, in this case, your ten year old son. It’s instinct to catch it. Werth knew he had a good chance to catch it, so he reacted. Again, it’s not really right to yell obscenities at fans, but his frustration in the moment is understandable. If we are looking for bad guys in this situation, I think that’s silly. Two guys reacted in completely understandable ways in the moment and we all can move on. Pat, the Phillies fan who interfered with Jayson Werth, joined Mike Missanelli on 97.5 the Fanatic in Philadelphia to discuss catching the foul ball and Jayson Werth’s reaction.

On his thought process as the ball was coming towards him:

“As soon as I seen it off the bat, to be honest with you, it wasn’t even about catching a foul ball. It was about protecting my son. If you really look at the footage again, I took a step over to my son and I catch the ball. If I don’t catch it, it’s going to hit my son in the head. I wasn’t even thinking about Werth. The only thing that I thought about was getting that ball and making sure it didn’t hit him. Then I went numb afterwards because I heard Werth, he screamed. I was like, ‘What just happened there?’ I sat down thinking, ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me.’”

On if he feels he should have let Werth try to catch the ball:

“Unless I knew that 100% he was going to catch it. Even if there was a 2% chance that that ball was going to hit my son in the head, I’m going to catch it. Those are my seats. If you look away and look back, you are going to lose that ball in the lights, so I just looked at the ball the whole time.”

On what Jayson Werth said to him:

“I don’t think I can say it on the air. It was, ‘Get out of my F-ing way.’ Then he turned away. And I just went numb. I started getting a boatload of text messages and phone calls.”

On what his ten year old son thinks of it:

“He’s been pretty quiet about it. I try to talk to him about it, so he’s really not saying too much. He’s a huge Phillies fan and Werth is one of the guys he really likes. He just doesn’t know what to think about it… I see that he’s disappointed. I don’t really know if he is disappointed in me catching it or what.”

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