Fri Jul 09 11:11am EDT
Two coasts. Two games. Two foul balls. Two leaping attempts. Two fans blocking the path.
As you can see from the pictures in the post, both situations turned out just a bit differently.
• "Daddy, why is the mean wolfman swearing at you?" In the top of the 12th inning, with the Reds and Phillies tied at three, Werth chased a foul ball hit by Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs(notes). There were two outs in the inning and Werth had a good chance of ending it.
But Philadelphia's older, heavier and bejorted version of Steve Bartman didn't get out of the way and caught the ball for his kid instead. "C'mon guy!" said every Phillie fan at home.
Though the man didn't technically interfere (the catch was made entirely in the stands), Werth's response was a very easily made out "Get the ---- out of the way!" Which would have probably been fine had the man's young son not been sitting right next to him.
But apart from the boy hearing a word he had probably already heard 654 times at Citizens Bank Park that night, the damage was minimal. The Phillies escaped that half of the inning without incident and a Brian Schneider(notes) walkoff homer sent everyone home happy.
• "Squeeeeee!" Meanwhile, roughly 2,825 miles away at Safeco Field, Ichiro was chasing a first-inning foul fly off the bat of New York's Mark Teixeira(notes) when he collided with 17-year-old Aris Skinner. The ball was too deep into the stands for the Seattle Mariners right fielder to make the play, so he asked Skinner if she was OK and returned to his position.
Watch the play on Yahoo! Sports Minute.
What happened next was the best ballpark reaction since that little girl threw the ball back at the Phillies game. In the span of about three seconds, Skinner went (left to right) from heart-pounding exhilaration to paralyzing shock to unadulterated glee to "OMG! I have to call my mom/text all my friends/change my Facebook status update on my cell phone!" Great stuff.
There's a debate over whether Werth acted appropriately and Ichiro's handling of his situation doesn't help his case. However, I can't get too mad at our favorite bearded friend for showing a little frustration. The Phillies are playing in important games (unlike the Mariners), the game was in extra innings and Werth had a real shot at catching the ball. The two situations were apples and Rawlings.
Oh, and Werth is also performing under the pressure of earning a big contract and possibly being traded before that. Considering that Ichiro's superfan was later given a baseball and some Mariners gear, I think it'd be nice for Werth to arrange some similar swag for the boy he scared. He does that and then I think we're all good.