For some kids at baseball games, getting a ball handed to you by a major league player is the dream. They wait at the bottom of the stands, looking hopefully out at the field, trying to catch the eye of a player as they run back to the dugout. And if they get that baseball, their face lights up like a Christmas tree. Watching that series of events unfold is one of life’s little pleasures.
But what if an umpire walked up and took the ball back? Crushing the dreams of the kid and turning a great memory into something that is the opposite of great? That happened on Wednesday night. Well, it sort of happened. Almost. It was all a prank by umpire Laz Diaz, who apparently needed a few laughs during the game between the Houston Astros and the Seattle Mariners.
The unwitting target of this prank was a young Astros fan sitting on the edge of the left field stands. At the end of an inning, Astros outfielder Josh Reddick ran right over to this fan while he was headed back to the dugout and placed a ball right in his outstretched glove. The kid was insanely happy… for about 10 seconds. Laz Diaz made a beeline right for him, called out to him, and asked for the ball back.
The kid didn’t put up a fight, and who could blame him? If an umpire asks you for a ball, you assume he has a good reason for it. (Plus, umpires can eject fans from the stadium, so you don’t want to get on their bad side.) The smile disappeared from that young fan’s face instantly. He gave Diaz the ball and sat right back down, presumably to mourn the loss of a treasured souvenir.
But it was all a joke! Diaz took about two steps before turning around, smiling, and giving that relieved fan his ball back. The kid was ecstatic, and everyone around him laughed.
In all, it was a pretty good prank. But be careful, Laz Diaz! You’re toying with a child’s fragile emotions! If that kid had started to cry, the title of this post would have been “Laz Diaz is evil, makes child cry with cruel prank.” So the real hero here is that young fan who took everything in stride. Enjoy your baseball, kid!
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – –