Fan makes catch to right fielder's dismay

April 24th, 2021

Sometimes, when your opponent makes a great play, you’ve just got to tip your cap.

Ballplayers express that sentiment often. After all, everyone on the field is a highly paid, highly trained professional. But in the Braves' 5-4 victory over the D-backs on Friday night at Truist Park in Atlanta, D-backs right fielder Kole Calhoun was left with nothing to do but tip his cap to … a young fan?

There was one out and a runner on second in the fourth inning when the Braves’ Austin Riley lifted a fly ball down the right-field line. Calhoun raced over from his position, crossed the foul line and tried to reach over into the seats to snag the foul ball for an out.

The 13-year-old fan, who was attending his first game and came prepared with his glove, had other ideas. He stood his ground and made the catch, even as Calhoun’s glove connected with his. While Calhoun surely would have preferred the out, he took the setback in stride and with good humor, giving the boy a fist bump and having a laugh about the situation.

"I knew I was going to be pretty close to the wall," Calhoun said. "I thought I had a shot at it and went into the stands. To be honest, I didn’t really know what the rule was. I didn’t catch it and I looked at the kid and I kind of stared back to look at the umpire to see what exactly the rule is right there, and he’s calling foul ball and I’m like that was a heck of a play.

"I just gave him knuckles and said, 'Nice catch, man,' tipped my cap to him and went back at it. That was a heck of a play."

"He had the net right in front of him, so that ball is right on top of him," Calhoun said. "It was almost like 'Sandlot' -- like, throw your glove up and it went in. I felt like he kind of looked at me and then looked at his glove like, ‘Oh my gosh I caught it.’ I just thought it was awesome."

In the eighth inning, Calhoun went back over to the fan, who was attending his first-ever Major League game and talked to him some more.

"He was the man of the night, for sure," Calhoun said. "I looked at him and told him, 'Hey, you realize you’re going to be the No. 1 play on SportsCenter tonight?' And he looked at me dead in the face and he goes, 'I’m already blowing up on TikTok.' I was dying laughing. He had a little personality, too. That’s a moment he won’t ever forget."