There was an interesting moment in the bottom of the third inning at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati this afternoon, as Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Reds outfielder Chris Heisey. He dove into the stands along the first-base line to catch it, but came up empty-handed. Adams decided to tap the fan who caught the ball with his glove, which ended up looking a lot like a shove. The fan quickly responded by flipping the bird to Adams. Fun stuff.
Check out the exchange in this Vine, courtesy of user Chris Looy.
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with the fan in question, Chris Smith, after the incident:
“He gave me a shove and I fell back,” Smith said. “I’m pretty sensitive about my knee right now. I’m fresh out of surgery, it’s nothing to joke around about.”
Leaning over the tarp, Adams was in position to catch the ball, but Smith had his glove above Adams’ glove and made the catch. A fan has the right to catch a ball if he doesn’t go into the field of play, and replays showed Smith didn’t.
“I didn’t reach over, I stayed where I was, I couldn’t reach out if I tried, because I can’t hit my knee on anything,” Smith said, pointing to the cup holder in front of him right at knee-level.
Smith and friend Kristen Kidd, who was sitting next to him, said there were no words exchanged between the two. Just the shove — and the gesture that was caught live on TV.
“I wouldn’t be mad if he wasn’t hurt,” Kidd said.
There is, of course, no way Adams could know Smith was hurt, but it was still her first reaction to look out for her friend.
“He didn’t say anything,” Smith said. “He just looked at me right in the face and walked away.”
This isn’t the end of the world, but you have to wonder how this incident would be covered if say, someone like Yasiel Puig was the one who did it. Anyway, the fan was well within his rights to catch the ball and hopefully Adams will think twice next time about touching a fan unprovoked. Fortunately, this didn’t escalate into a bigger confrontation.