Long before Josh Bell blasted the Pirates to victory with his first career walk-off home run on Friday night, Jedd Gyorko struck a two-run homer to put the Cardinals on the board in the first inning. Andrew McCutchen scaled the wall and came up short by several feet, watching it sail right over the top of the fence and into the outstretched glove of a Pirates fan in the right field bleachers.
The ball was officially clocked at 405 feet off of Gyorko’s bat, but its final resting place was much further from home plate. The fan who caught the home run, later identified as Jeff, promptly turned toward the crowd and chucked the ball, which cleared the bleachers and riverside concourse to find a new home in the depths of the nearby Allegheny River.
“I put all my weight into it, about 285 pounds,” Jeff told ROOT Sports’ Robby Incmikoski. While throwing toward the crowd isn’t an advisable course of action for every bleacher fan, Jeff was quick to encourage other “true fans” to toss the tradition of returning home balls to the field: “If you’re a Pirates fan — a true Pirates fan and a true Pittsburgher — you will throw away home run balls into the river.”