August 21, 2011
The Atlanta Braves have been flashing some serious leather of late. That continued during their 8-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night when center fielder Michael Bourn(notes) crashed into the wall at Turner Field to rob Paul Goldschmidt(notes) of extra bases.
But as fantastic and important as Bourn's play was, it only gets half of my vote for the best catch of the game. The other half will go to the young man seated along the first-base line, about 30 rows up from field level, who wowed the crowd with a leaping, one-handed catch of Martin Prado's(notes) third-inning foul ball.
Oh, and did I mention it was a barehanded one-hand grab?
I know a person who once tried to make a similar catch as a younger man. It was at Milwaukee's County Stadium in the early 1980s, and the baseball was hit by Cecil Cooper. This fan also jumped from his seat, leaped in the air, and attempted to snag the line drive out of mid-air with a bare hand. Unfortunately, the baseball bounced off his hand and ended up in the lap of an older lady who wasn't even looking at the field when the ball was hit.
The fan that day was my dad. And the only souvenir he took home was the indentation of a baseball in his palm that lasted about two weeks. Having heard my dad's story several hundred times — just this season, of course — I truly admire the fan in Atlanta's effort, as well as his ability to hold on to the ball.
Well done, young man.
Now go put some ice on that hand.
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