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Introducing the 2014 Fan Catch Hall of Fame

Welcome to the first induction ceremony for the 2014 Fan Catch Hall of Fame!

What is the Fan Catch Hall of Fame, you ask? The FCHoF (or HoF FC, for our English readers) celebrates the best in ballpark spectator defense. Each month, we'll select several civilian snares for enshrinement within these hallowed walls.

Hall of Fame catches are then judged by the Cut4 staff according to four criteria: degree of difficulty, artistry, use of props and post-catch flair. Scores are averaged together, with the resulting final tally used to rank catches throughout the season.

Without further ado -- let's meet our first group of honorees!

 

4/4/2014 -- Cardinals at Pirates:

PopcornPirate.gif

What we said then:

This particular fan left his glove at home and opted instead to use his popcorn bucket as a baseball receptacle ... But hey -- would you rather have a bucket of popcorn or fan-catch immortality?

What we say now:

The degree of difficulty on this catch is not, by itself, that high. The fan could have simply put the popcorn down and made a decent barehanded catch. But then, of course, he would not be at our ceremony today.

Add some elite post-catch flair, and you've got yourself an early frontrunner for Fan Catch of the Year:

PopcornPirate2.gif

Final score:

PopcornPirate

 

5/4/2014 -- Rangers at Angels:

AngelsKid.gif

What we said then:

We'd say the Angels should get the kid a contract, but we think that they might be set with Mike Trout patrolling pretty much the whole outfield for them.

What we say now:

Our voters were in agreement that this is one difficult catch. Consider the fact that it was made by a fan who's not even old enough to drive, and it's darn near impossible. Unfortunately, the youngster's rather subdued celebration cost him valuable points in the "Post-Catch Flair" category. 

Final score:

AngelsKid

 

4/6/2014 -- Cardinals at Pirates:

TarpDiver.gif

What we said then:

It can be pretty thrilling to make a leaping catch over the PNC Park tarp, sure, but the reality is that you will probably be asked to leave the ballpark in such an event. Fans typically aren't allowed on the field -- even if they're showcasing Gold Glove-caliber defense.

What we say now:

While the difficulty of this catch is undeniable, Tarp Diver found himself in the middle of a classic Hall of Fame controversy. One voter, our own Mike Bertha, submitted a blank ballot with only this comment: "He used a glove. No thanks, bro."

The official FCHoF bylaws provide no specific direction for glove vs. no-glove catches, leaving each individual voter to make that decision for himself or herself. Most of our voters chose to look at the catch within its own context, but that was not a requirement. As such, Bertha's 0's are averaged along with all other scores.

Final score:

TarpDiver

Update: We tracked down the Popcorn Pirate, real name Lucas Spano, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about his Hall of Fame catch. Spano, whose use of the popcorn prop helped lead him to victory, said that the bucket wasn't part of some nefarious scheme for fan catch glory. 

"I put the bucket up and hoped for the best," said Spano, adding that "the catch was actually harder then most think because the force of the ball hitting the bucket almost ripped it right out of my hands ... plus there was popcorn flying everywhere." 

Spano would also like to dedicate the award to "my grandmother Pat Trello, who is almost a bigger Pirates fan then me, my best friend Jaime Ramirez, who I share my season tickets with, and my girlfriend Kelsey Swimkosky, for putting up with my enlarged ego after all of this." 

We at Cut4 say that if you can't have an enlarged ego after having an award-winning fan catch, when can you have one? 

___

Each month, we'll be inducting new members to the Fan Catch Hall of Fame, so check back in June to see which new snares made the cut. If you'd like to nominate a catch for enshrinement in the FCHoF, tweet us at @Cut4 and let us know.

And remember:

If you find yourself at the ballpark, with a foul tip coming right toward you, keep your eye on the ball. Immortality awaits.