Fan rips home run ball from sister-in-law’s hand, throws it back on the field


In at least one respect, Game 5 was like the last year in current events: so much crazy stuff happened in such a short period of time that it was hard to focus on any one thing.

Indeed, if a game included just one monster comeback, one huge, tide-turning home run or one crazy pitcher meltdown, we’d be talking about it all day today. When all of those things happen multiple times, it creates a sort of paralysis, preventing you from deeply discussing any one instance.

The same goes for weird, offshoot stories too. A YouTube star rushed the field in star-spangled biker shorts with the words “villains never die” written on his chest, but most of us just yawned at that. Why? Because there was a fan drama that was far more interesting.

Yasiel Puig hit a homer into the left field stands in the wild ninth inning. A woman caught it, but the man sitting two seats to her right ripped the ball from her hand and angrily threw it back on the field. Watch, and pay special attention to the dude’s face. He seems positively deranged:

It turns out it wasn’t quite as malicious as it appears there, as the Houston Chronicle reports that the man and the woman are in-laws — the guy in between them is her husband and his brother — and that the woman seems to be OK with it in hindsight, with two of them laughing about it later. She said she planned to throw the ball back too, as is tradition in some parks, Minute Maid Park included.

Still, the whole thing was more than a little messed up.

For one thing, can we talk about how dumb the “throw-the-ball-back” tradition is, at least in this instance? It’s her ball once she catches it and she can do what she wants with it, but this ball would be worth some money! It was already a historic game that became even more historic as it wore on. It was hit by a player who, whatever happens with his career going forward, will always be memorable. The home run broke a record for the most home runs hit in a single World Series so that ball had historic value in and of itself. Like I said, it’s the fan’s call, but, dude, I don’t know how you make that call.

The comment from the dude who threw it sort of bugs me too, because while it may be a fan’s call to throw the ball back, it wasn’t his call:

“I just would have liked to have been able to throw it back myself,” Sarah said.

Kirk said he didn’t have the patience to wait on Sarah, especially with his Astros in the process of blowing a three-run lead.

“It’s bad karma to keep it,” Kirk said. “You’ve got to throw it back. I was just making sure she did.”

If that guy was my brother and he talked like that about my wife, he’d be on his damn own for Thanksgiving this year. Guy sounds like a jackass.

Oh well. Just a side note to five hours of crazy.


José Ramirez’s 17-pitch at-bat kickstarts Indians’ five-run comeback in ninth inning

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With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.

Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.

After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.