Father/son Bucs fans catch Cutch’s 300th HR, then meet the star himself

April 14th, 2024

PHILADELPHIA -- The ball ricocheted off of 9-year-old Toren Mehta’s Pirates cap and his dad, Vinay, was able to get it on the rebound.

“I didn’t see it because there were a bunch of people, and then I just felt it hit my hat,” Toren said.

Unbeknownst to them, the two were holding a piece of Pirates history. It was Andrew McCutchen’s 300th home run ball, hit in the ninth inning of the Bucs' 9-2 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

“No idea,” Vinay said. “We were actually urged by the Phillies fans to throw the ball back. I don’t think anyone knew that it was his 300th home run. Maybe they did. We didn’t.”

It wasn’t until a Phillies representative came up to them that they explained the importance of the homer and connected them with the Pirates. Normally, fan demands for catching milestone homers can range from signed bats and jerseys to even more.

For the father and son, they just wanted a photo and maybe a signed (regular) ball in return. But they also got a fun impromptu meet-and-greet as McCutchen ran up to Toren for an embrace, then the two inspected the ball to see where the Pirates’ fan favorite made contact with it.

"Honestly, one of the best reactions I could have gotten from a family, the dad and the son,” said McCutchen. “It was very genuine. They didn't want much. They didn't want anything. They just wanted to give me the ball. I was appreciative of that. It makes you want to do more for people, as opposed to people who want the moon, and rightfully so. For him, he just wanted to give it to me. Obviously I had to hook them up a little bit. Makes you want to do it more. It was cool being able to meet them. Him and his dad seem like very genuine people. It was a nice little surprise for us."

Vinay and Toren are from the greater Philadelphia area, but Vinay is originally from Greensburg, Pa., located about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. That explains why the two ventured into enemy territory in Pirates jerseys.

It turned out to be worth the trip and a great catch.

“First time I’ve ever caught a ball, and I’ve been to a lot of baseball games,” Vinay said.