In the second inning of Tuesday night’s game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel sent a fly ball down the line, perilously close to the stands.
Yeah, we know what you’re thinking.
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Sure enough, as Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez leaned over the tarp and reached for the ball, a fan also reached for the ball — fan, player and ball converging at the same time.
And that’s where the Steve Bartman comparisons end.
First of all, the fan actually made the catch. And what a catch it was! Check out the above video and just look at the grab … holding (OK, bottle feeding) his 7-month-old son Isaac and fighting off one of the NL’s biggest sluggers, the man identified by the Chicago Tribune as 29-year-old Keith Hartley doesn’t even need a glove.
More importantly, the umpires in Tuesday night’s game had the benefit of replay. So after Dodgers manager Don Mattingly asked for a review of the original call of foul ball, umpires took to the headsets and the call was overruled; fan interference and Hammel was ruled out.
"I’m just trying to protect [Isaac] first," Hartley told the Tribune. "We have the seating configuration so my two friends were closer to the ball if a sharp foul ball came. We’d all kind of stand up and make a wall.
"This one was a little easier, a pop fly. Just kind of a reaction. It just came to me."
Here’s MLB.com’s video for more details of the complete play and replay review.
As for Keith’s wife Kari?
"I was a little bit scared that he was going to drop him," she told the Tribune. "Fortunately he held on tight to both the ball and Isaac."
Something that set Tuesday night apart from that fateful eighth inning that October night in 2003 when Cubs fan Bartman reached for a foul ball and prevented Cubs left fielder Moises Alou from potentially making the grab:
After Bartman’s brush with infamy, Alou immediately began jumping, screaming and pointing at Bartman. And for good reason … the Florida Marlins, down 3-0 and five outs from elimination, got new life when Luis Castillo’s ball was ruled foul and scored eight runs in the inning to win Game 6 of the NLCS en route to a World Series triumph.
But on Tuesday night, Gonzalez was rather low key, perhaps knowing he had replay backing him up.
"He didn’t say anything," Hartley told the Tribune of Gonzalez. "I think I turned around too quickly for him to interact with me. Hopefully he’s not too angry. He is on my fantasy team."
Oh, and one more thing set this incident apart from Bartman’s: The Cubs won Tuesday.