Live sports are always a thrill, but few events put the spotlight on causual fans like an old-fashioned Major League baseball game. Whether it's a fly ball into San Francisco's McCovey Cove, the rare shot to the top of Fenway's Green Monster, or a pop fly that lands among the Yankee Stadium's screaming bleacher creatures, there's almost a guarantee that some beer-soaked dude will show up on TV at least once during the game.
And no disrespect to the major-leaguers on the field below, but that's half the fun of big-time baseball.
So here's a look at some of the most astonishingly wacky, flat-out awesome, and totally badass fan catches and moments from America’s pastime. (Besides eating.)
In 2012, Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton ripped one to dead center. This fan did his homework and, knowing that Hamilton often hit home runs to the center field garden, hopped out of his seat. The result: a sweet snag on Hamilton's goner and sick baseball moment. For good measure, the overjoyed khaki shorts-wearing bro ripped into a sprinkler dance on live TV. Catch grade: 10/10. Celebration grade: 1/10.
It's a challenge to be a diehard baseball fan and a responsible dad. This guy, however, has this stuff down. Decked out in sunglasses, a baseball cap, and a Baby Bjorn to boot, Pops snatches a foul off the bat of Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy, all while protecting his child. Fatherhood points, dude.
Lots of us hit up a game to get out of the office. But for Zack Hample, a baseball game is another day at the office. This guy's written books on catching balls in the stands—he's even shared his expertise with Men's Fitness—and he showed off that pro skill at an Orioles game in 2011, when he snagged three fouls in one at-bat. The feat drew the awe of his fellow fans, the ushers, and even the broadcasters. This is as close to a professional fan as one guy could become.
It looks like the players weren't the only ones scoring at this game. This young bachelor's game is A1 and his strategy is impeccable: After grabbing a toss from the Toronto Blue Jays’ third base coach, the kid grabs a decoy ball and chivalrously hands it over to the lovely lady seated behind him. Talk about a win-win—this dude gets to keep his game ball and look like an absolute stud on TV.
A sure-fire way to get your mug on the TV screen during a game? Make the plays for the players. With Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams hustling after a foul pop, this Reds fan plucked the live ball out of the air right in Adams’ face as he went hurtling into the stands. Bro: 1 Cardinals: 0.
Ah Yankee Stadium, the home of expensive beer, pinstriped players and plenty of celebs. Either Chris Rock is method acting here for his new role as a Yankee fan or he's enjoying a game like the rest of us. Either way, he got more than he bargained for at a Yankees game in 2014 when a foul pop landed right next to him. Rock scooped it up and proudly hoisted the souvenir in the air before handing it off to a kid. Nice move, Chris.
In 2016, a little kid seated in the first row of right field made literal child's play out of a task too difficult for even Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur. Frenchy raced after the long ball, but ran out of room at the wall and could only look up and watch as the boy a fraction of his age snagged this home run ball from Giants infielder Joe Panik.
Dodger fan Bobby Crosby—he of the YouTube channel DodgerFilms—has amassed close to 1 million views simply by sharing footage of himself and his buddies snagging batting practice homers on film. Crosby upped the stakes during the 2015 baseball season when he focused his camcorder on his glove as he reeled in an actual live home run. The accomplishment drew the attention of legendary broadcaster Vin Scully and proved to be one of the most memorable fan moments in baseball history.
This young fan wanted to meet Miguel Cabrera. So he marched down the aisle, called for him and got the handshake he wanted. Props to Miggy for providing the kid and the rest of us with a memorable moment.
Longtime Red Sox great Manny Ramirez made such a reputation for himself that the utterance “Manny being Manny” essentially became Boston's go-to catchphrase. One such case: In Baltimore, Ramirez made an impressive, over-the-shoulder snag on a liner and turned it into a double play. It was what happened in between those, however, that made for a timeless piece of player/fan history and a chapter in the Ramirez legend.
Sometimes, baseball players manage to step out of the outfield and into the lives of their fans. Take this moment from Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez, whose simple interaction with a young fan made for an overwhelming meet-and-greet.
For older fans, a ballgame is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a beer or three while you watch. For one fan in Seattle, his brew served for more than just a tasty beverage. This guy actually had a foul ball pop right into his cup. He celebrated appropriately: chugging the damn thing on the spot.
This dad in San Francisco didn’t even have a hands-free carrier to aid this effort. Instead, he used his one free arm to pick a laser beam foul ball from Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt right out of the air. That's juggling priorities for you.
Fans have been turning in game-changing efforts for as long as the sport has allowed spectators. Perhaps none have been more insane than young Jeffrey Maier, who basically plucked a homer out of Tony Tarasco’s glove. Maybe Derek Jeter sent the kid a card afterward?
The Home Run Derby is ballhawk euphoria, a time when fans can flock and field long balls ad nauseam. Naturally, it also serves as a stage for some remarkable fan moments, including this snag from the 2011 Derby. This fan goes all out to reel in an Adrian Gonzalez long ball, complete with a belly flop into the pool. He got the souvenir and didn’t even spill his beer.
Ballplayers are big guys. Big guys need mid-game nourishment. This can come in the form of sunflower seeds, Gatorade, or, in former Yankee Don Mattingly’s case, popcorn.
While most players grab their grub from the clubhouse or dugout, Mattingly went right to the source, grabbing a couple pieces straight from an unsuspecting fan’s bucket.
During day games, fans can sit out in the sun for over three hours. Hydration is an absolute necessity and we can only hope this dude got a little water in his system because, try as he might, the poor guy couldn’t even get his bottle open. The scene made for quite the display as this bro got caught on camera manhandling his Aquafina to no avail.It’s a wonder how he gets his protein powder lids off. (Pro tip: Improve that grip strength, bro.)
Fans can go wild in pursuit of a souvenier while at the game, sometimes diving onto the field, over other spectators, or even into a body of water for that cherished game ball.
In this guy’s case, however, he didn’t even have to move a muscle as he scooped up a ground-rule double while looking as chill as possible. Our guy fully impressed that girl he was with with his look-what-I-found grab.
So you've got a problem with the officiating, huh? Take matters into your own hands.
It’s always recommended that fans bring their baseball gloves to the game to make snagging flies a little easier. This fan, however, had no such use for a mitt as he stuck his cap over his section’s ledge and yanked back a dinger.