Tampa Bay Rays' TV analyst Brian Anderson called him the "Dude in the White Shirt," so that's what we'll call the fan sitting in the front row at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night who had no clue that a screaming line drive off the bat of Baltimore Orioles slugger Steve Pearce was coming right at his head. That baby had to be sizzling like steak fajitas as it whizzed past his right ear.
Engaged in conversation with another dude in a light-colored shirt seated next to him, Whitey was caught unawares that his number almost was up until the ball was basically past him. It's probably a good thing he didn't react to the sound of his impending doom, because he probably would have turned his head right into the ball's path. Only after the ball broke the sound barrier and slammed into the row of seats behind him — inducing the screams of other people in his section — did Whitey realize that something bad might be happening somewhere.
It's funny to hear Anderson break down the improbability of Pearce getting a bat on the pitch from Tampa Bay's Brad Boxberger, before pivoting to the Dude in the White Shirt not following along with the riveting at-bat. It's only funny because there was no blood.
First, the amazing reflexes of Oakland Athletics right-hander Jesse Chavez, and now this contrast. No injury, thank goodness, but very two different reactions. Somebody upstairs was looking out for both guys. This also goes to show what fans already should know: If you're sitting near the action of any sporting event, if there's no screen or shield in front of your face to protect you, you best keep both eyes on the action at all times.
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