Not to sound like Carol Brady warning the Bunch about playing ball in the house, but video of a Tampa Bay Rays fan falling head over heels, over a railing and out of the grandstand at Tropicana Field on Wednesday in pursuit of a foul ball gives me mixed emotions. In the end, he was OK. He lost his beer (though he surely replaced it and might have been full of them already), and someone rewarded him with a ball after the fan managed to stick his landing like Mary Lou Retton in the '84 Olympics. Watch for yourself:
Whoa, dude. The unidentified fan later talked to MLB.com in an interview on his way to the beer concession:
"I don't know about new-found fame, man. I'm pretty (much) a simple guy. I'm just going to buy beer [for] the guy who threw me the ball, too, because I went for it.
"It ricocheted about five or six rows back and then it came towards me so I tried to go for it, and then I just doubled back, but then I stuck the landing, they said. I just put my hands out before my neck could hit the ground, so I'm good.
"OK. Hey, well, go Rays, man because I got to get going, though, because I've got to buy that guy a beer. See ya!"
So it was thrilling, worrisome, relieving and funny all in one movement.
But then you think of Shannon Stone, the Rangers fan who lost his life a season ago by taking a frighteningly similar tumble while going for a ball. The differences, of course, start with the height at which Stone fell. Even if Rays guy face-plants, chances are he doesn't do much permanent damage. But it's still easy for a fan to lose some inhibition and go leaping after a $10 baseball. This guy was lucky (and, perhaps, subconsciously skilled in the ways of Bela Karolyi).
Look, just be careful out there, people.