We have an early candidate for fan "play of the year" and this one is going to be awfully difficult to top.
The great play happened during the seventh inning of the Nationals 7-6 extra inning victory over the Reds at the Great American Ball Park on Saturday. Washington slugger Jayson Werth stepped in against reliever Sam LeCure and promptly drove one of his offerings well over the fence in right center field for a solo home run. In fact, the ball actually ended up clearing the first section of seats and a walkway to land a couple rows in front of the concourse.
That's where our fan was waiting — though perhaps not expecting a baseball — and like an outfielder on a routine flyball, he reached out and snagged it like it was nothing. Just snatched it right out of the air.
Under any circumstances it would be viewed as a great play by a fan. But consider this ball was flat out stung by Werth and still had to be traveling at a pretty good pace. Now factor in that our fan was not wearing a glove, so this is a clean bare-handed catch. And then understand that he is clutching a young child in his right arm, making it a one-handed, bare-handed catch of a very well hit baseball.
Aside from standing on his head and catching it with his feet, I'm not sure how he could have added another degree of difficulty to the play. It's just a fantastic grab and perhaps the highlight of baseball's opening week. It's also a message to other fans around the league that the bar has been set high early. You'll have to bring it to top this one.
Just please think carefully before putting any young children at risk to do so.