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After what happened at the Home Run Derby on Monday night, we as a baseball-loving nation need to run a check on our priorities.
Wherever "catching a baseball" ranks — and it's high, apparently — it ought to be made less important.
Keith Carmickle — the man pictured above hanging on by his right arm, with his baseball glove dangling from his left hand — almost fell about 20 feet to a pool deck below at Chase Field after he chased a home run hit to center by Prince Fielder(notes).
Thankfully, he didn't catch the ball. Or fall. But he almost went over completely. As the Associated Press reports, he was saved by his brother and a friend.
"I thought: I've lived a good life," Carmickle said about dangling.
Seated in a small section of seats above the right-field fence, Carmickle, of Kingman [Ariz.], and his group had already grabbed home run balls by Robinson Cano(notes) and Adrian Gonzalez(notes), and were looking to add another to their collection when Milwaukee's Prince Fielder came up in the second round of the derby.
Trying to snare a towering shot by Fielder, Carmickle stepped up onto a metal table about 18 inches wide and reached down to catch the catch. He missed the ball, which hit the wall several feet below him, and the momentum carried him forward, headfirst over a short railing.
Carmickle was headed for a hard landing when his friend, Aaron Nelson, grabbed his legs and his brother, Kraig, grabbed him around the arms. The crowd above and below gasping, Carmickle dangled briefly over a deck where a couple of cameras were positioned behind Chase Field's pool before his brother, Nelson and a few fans pulled him back to his seat.
Carmickle's good fortune came on the same day as a memorial service for Shannon Stone, the man who fell at Rangers Ballpark on Thursday and died that day as a result of his injuries after trying to catch a ball. Stone's story must have slipped Carmickle's mind.
The circle drawn on the lower-right portion of the screen cap approximates the ground. Note the one fan, a woman in front of the "MLB Fan Cave" sign, covering her head. She's just afraid of the ball falling, with no idea what's going on behind her.
Fans cannot and should not rely on ballparks to be 100 percent safe or accident-proof. There's no such thing, anyway. But what Carmickle did — stepping onto a table not made for it, in a part of the ballpark where one can fall — was incredibly foolhardy. Life is not like a video game, where you get extra lives, or can hit "reset."
And it's just a stupid ball, not anything worth your life — or giving the rest of us a scare, for that matter.
Big BLS H/N to participants in the Fightins' Home Run Derby Chat, moderated by @Petzrawr, for the heads up. They include @Chinny, who originally posted a long shot of Carmickle hanging on. And to @Shyamd88 for spotting Carmickle in the first place. And to anyone else paying attention. Check out two more photos below.
Below, one more shot — amazingly, from earlier in the Derby, before Carmickle got famous — of him being excited to catch a home run without having to flop over a railing:
The dude has no idea he's about to go for a ride.