ST. LOUIS -- Undoubtedly, Cardinals shortstop Masyn Winn will never forget his first MLB hit. Fortunately for him, he’ll have the souvenir baseball to remember the moment by, but only after some drama between Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, a lucky fan seated behind the Cards' dugout and a member of the Busch Stadium security detail.
Alonso dove to the ground to stop Jonathan Araúz’s wild throw to first long after Winn had already reached base for the infield hit. Seemingly unaware that the single was the first hit of Winn’s MLB career, Alonso threw the ball over the protective screening to a fan. That incensed many of the Cardinals' players, namely pitcher Miles Mikolas, who angrily barked at Alonso from the dugout.
“I know it sounds stupid, but it's just a bad brain fart,” Alonso said. “Throwing the ball in the stands, that robs him of kind of a really special moment, but I feel really bad thinking back on my first hit and just getting the ball thrown back to the dugout. I feel awful. I feel like a piece of crap.”
Winn said that his primary thoughts at the moment were about him recording the first hit of his MLB career. Then, he mentioned how surreal it was seeing all the drama over the ball being tossed into the stands.
“I got to first and I couldn’t really think about anything else [other than his first hit],“ said Winn, who was 1-for-4 in his MLB debut. “[Cardinals first-base coach] Stubby [Clapp] was right there, and he talked to Pete and he was like, ‘Did you just throw that ball into the stands?’ I don’t think [Alonso] even knew at first. But he apologized on first, and when he got to second later, he apologized as well. It was a complete accident, and I thought it was quite funny. Especially after we got the ball back, I thought it was a little bit more funny.”
Alonso said he got caught up in the moment.
“I just kind of got up from trying to make a play, and then the umpire said, ‘Hey, we're gonna switch this ball out,’” Alonso said. “So I'm like, 'OK, like I'm gonna do what I always do.' I always throw the ball in the stands, but I'll never throw the ball in the stands again. I'm just gonna roll every ball to the dugout when they're gonna switch it out. That's a really bad mistake, and it's completely unintentional.”
Alonso said he realized the mistake once he heard the reaction from several of his former teammates in the World Baseball Classic from the Cardinals' dugout.
Busch Stadium fans joined in, booing Alonso lustily as he ran off the field at the end of the inning and when he came to the plate in the seventh inning. Then, the crowd turned its focus to the fan who caught the ball thrown into the crowd, chanting, “Give it back! Give it back! Give it back!”
Alonso also said he apologized to Winn after he reached base later in the game.
“I'm going to try and talk to him and get him something for tomorrow as an apology,” Alonso said.
Ultimately, a cheer went up when Cardinals security bartered for the baseball. Cardinals director of security, Philip Melcher, confirmed that the team was in possession of the baseball. He said that the fan would be receiving an autographed ball, jersey and hat in exchange for the Winn memento.