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.