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Video: Turner Field employee catches Yoenis Cespedes line drive grand slam with one bare hand

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Oftentimes when I’ve been at Phillies games (I live in Philly, for those of you who don’t know), when a fan is unable to catch a foul ball or a home run ball, other fans will boo and heckle that fan. It’s not a behavior unique to Philly, but it is part of the city’s blue collar character.

A typical game will see 20 or so foul balls enter the stands and only a marginal increase when home runs are counted. In stadiums that hold 30,000 fans on average, only a small percentage of fans get a chance to catch one. One can’t really practice it, either, unless one shows up early for batting practice and attempts to catch the occasional home run. So harping on fans who can’t catch foul balls is kind of pointless. It’s difficult. Few of fans are wearing gloves and few have had proficient training in catching baseballs.

I say all this because a Turner Field employee made catching a line drive Yoenis Cespedes grand slam — measured at about 110 MPH off the bat — look easy. He was holding a sign with one hand and caught the ball barehanded with his free hand. Mighty impressive. He was risking a broken hand or finger if he misjudged the ball.

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The slam, by the way, was the 30th home run of the season for Cespedes. After going 1-for-4 in Sunday afternoon’s 10-3 win over the Braves, he’s batting .293/.363/.568 with 78 RBI.

A’s players, staff support coach after gesture, no penalty

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Major League Baseball has been in touch with the Oakland Athletics about their bench coach making a gesture that appeared to be a Nazi salute following a win over the Texas Rangers.

No discipline has been announced against coach Ryan Christenson, who has apologized for the gesture.

“Ryan Christenson is fully supported by everybody in our clubhouse and they know who he is. So do I. Obviously it didn’t look great but that was not his intent at all. I know that for a fact,” manager Bob Melvin said Friday before a game against Houston.

“He’s just not that guy. I’d say he’s progressive, very progressive as a person. Everybody feels bad for him right now `cause they know who he is,” Melvin added.

A short team meeting was all that the A’s needed because Christenson had full support, Melvin said.

Christenson apologized late Thursday for raising his arm during the postgame celebration. He made the gesture while greeting closer Liam Hendriks following a 6-4 win over the Rangers.

Hendriks immediately pushed Christenson’s arm down. Cameras showed Christenson laughing and briefly raising his arm a second time.

Christenson faced criticism after video of the gesture circulated on social media.

“I made a mistake and will not deny it,” Christenson said in a statement issued through the team. “Today in the dugout I greeted players with a gesture that was offensive. In the world today of COVID, I adapted our elbow bump, which we do after wins, to create some distance with the players. My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in. What I did is unacceptable and I deeply apologize.”

The A’s called the gesture “offensive” and apologized for it.

“We do not support or condone this gesture or the racist sentiment behind it,” the team said in a statement. “This is incredibly offensive, especially in these times when we as a club and so many others are working to expose and address racial inequities in our country. We are deeply sorry that this happened on our playing field.”

The 46-year-old Christenson played six years in the majors from 1998-2003. He later spent several years coaching in the minors before becoming bench coach for the A’s in 2018.