Two fans have caught foul balls with popcorn buckets ... but who did it better?
Who's got the best popcorn bucket catch this season?
More than 50,000 baseballs enter the stands at Major League Baseball stadiums every season. Some bounce into scrums, some enter the broadcast booth, and others provide fans with the opportunity to flash some bare hand to earn their own souvenirs and star in their own highlight simultaneously.
Of the thousands and thousands of foul balls that have found their way into the seats in 2014, a grand total of two have landed in strategically placed popcorn buckets re-purposed as baseball gloves.
The season was still in its infancy when a young Pirates fan put on quite the show at PNC Park, coralling a foul ball with his popcorn bucket and celebrating with jubilation.
Then, just last week, a Braves fan put his snack to good use, hauling in a Lucas Duda homer with his popcorn vessel.
We sent both tapes to our panel of Foul Ball Catch Experts to break 'em down and figure out who did it best. Our contestants were judged on three aspects of their performances: mechanics, splash and celebration. Here's how the fared:
Mechanics - The first thing an outfielder learns about catching fly balls is to run to the spot and get under it. This fan does that and then some, setting up shop beneath the rainbow and waiting with his pot of gold. 9
Splash - So. Much. Wasted. Popcorn. It's wonderful for comic relief, but not when you're hungry and looking for a snack. He could have distributed his popcorn more evenly, too, rather than spilling it all over himself. Five-second rule? 6
Celebration - This kid loses it, dancing all over his row and hoisting his prize for the crowd. Later, he even caught wind of the fact that some people on the Internet were impressed with his grab and expressed his adulation through tweet, as one is wont to do in 2014. It is the digital age, after all. 9
Mechanics - Whereas the Pittsburgh Fan got to the spot early, this fan had to lie in wait as a gaggle of nearby spectators had the souvenir in their sights. At the last second, he swoops in to make the catch, but that's a risky play ... especially if there are runners in scoring position. 7
Splash - Not only did this guy's cash manage to make a splash, but it appears as though his splash was efficient. Because of the way he pulls the bucket back toward him to cradle the ball, a minimal amount of popcorn is wasted, but the popcorn that was wasted had a bigger splash radius, meaning that his popcorn was put to better use. 9
Celebration - This guy's excited, but he's not anywhere near as excited as he should be. Maybe that's a sign of maturity -- an "act like you've been there before" thing -- or maybe he's just not as jazzed about catching a home run in his popcorn as we'd have liked him to be. 5
Not only is the "Popcorn Pirate" still the reigning highest-rated Fan Catch Hall of Fame inductee, he's also made the best use of his popcorn bucket in 2014. Ain't a bad year to be that guy.