There's hope for America's future yet!
In one of the most heartwarming scenes you'll ever see, a young Arizona Diamondbacks fan named Ian made Wednesday's play of the day at Chase Field after an even younger fan named Nicholas missed a ball thrown his way by Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks(notes).
Though the dropped ball was instead handed to Ian by another person, he immediately recognized what he had to do after seeing Nicholas in a distraught state after botching an attempt at a souvenir. With an amazed audience looking on, Ian marched back down the stairs and graciously handed the baseball over to Nicholas, a Brewers fan, without any prodding from anyone else.
As Deadspin notes, "if this doesn't warm your heart, you're awful."
Here's play-by-play of the moment from announcers Daron Sutton and Mark Grace:
Sutton: "Are you kidding me, this kid is going to do this?"
Grace: "That is big time, right there!"
Sutton: "Oh my goodness!"
Grace: "What a nice young man!"
As with Wednesday's post about the pouty Giants fan, I suspect there will be a lot of misguided people taking aim at the younger fan and his immediate sulking after missing out on the ball. That sort of criticism is ridiculous, of course, because you can hardly expect a child of that age to have control of his emotions or any perspective beyond that exciting — and ultimately, disappointing —moment.
But it's those conditions that make what Ian did so impressive. Despite the rush of corralling a baseball at a big league ballgame, he saw that the ball might matter more to someone else and gave it up without a second thought. It was "the right thing to do" Ian later told the D'Backs field reporter.
For his generosity, Ian was rewarded with a trip to the announcers booth to meet Sutton and Grace, tickets to a future game and an autographed bat from Justin Upton(notes), his favorite Diamondbacks player. Of course, he couldn't have expected any haul like that when he made the decision to give the ball to Nicholas, which is what makes this story great.
Bravo to young Ian for setting a great example for people of all ages.
UPDATE: It's unbelievable that people can be so cynical over such a nice story, but many commenters are noting that a female usher initially directed Ian's attention toward Nicholas' reaction. Still, the decision to return the ball quite clearly belongs to Ian as he does not argue with the woman for one second or hesitate to give the ball back. He deserves all the praise that's coming to him.
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