Sometimes you these selfless moments in the game. A guy hits a homerun for the opposing team, and a 10-year old, just indoctrinated into the system of hated rivalry, will launch maybe the only ball he’ll ever catch, right back onto the field. The rivalry, the anger of seeing another team one up your own, your fandom, and your love for your home team, transcends any logical decision of keeping the souvenir and showing your friends the next day ( Also, some fans in Chicago and Boston won’t give you a good response if you hold an opposing team’s homerun ball for long, but hey, we can leave tha out of the story:).
This story of how a fan caught Manny Ramirez’s 500th homerun, goes against the norm of the so-called “fans” of the game, the ones who have so much concern for the game, the players, and their enthusiasm that they demonstrate this love by selling their new-found treasure for huge sums of money. A pile of cash and a lucky seat, and he’s considered a fan.
The story of how Damon Woo, a Sox fan who is a New York native, goes along the lines of a compelling tale of how he went with his brother to Camden Yards with an insight that he will “catch Manny’s 500th homerun tonight.
The compelling tale reaches its climax when Manny hits the first pitch off of Chad Bradford, and everyone watches it fly in the right-center field seats. On closer look, and on Woo’s account, he tries to get an advantage to catch the ball as it heads towards him, and it hits him right in the neck.
No insult to the pain, he is able enclose the ball after the body hit and place it into his hands.
Most stories you will see end with people running leaps and bounds to the nearest auction agency, dribbling drool from their bottom lip as they trade off their love of the game for their love of the green. They talk about how they are fans of the game, but rarely do they make any comments about the history that they are a part of, or at least give examples of their dedication to the sport ( at least have a story of how you babysat Dwight Gooden’s kids or something/)
But this story ends with Damon and his older brother meeting up with Manny Ramirez in the clubhouse after ( or during since Manny was taken out of the game? MLB marketing whores!), and giving him the ball, without asking for anything in return. Nothing. Not a dime, not even a bat ( although it is understood someone who has the ball is going to get something regardless.
” It’s his accomplishment, It’s his achievement, it’s his ball. It is the right thing to do,” Said the 40-year old Woo.
Where would you get a quote like this from the guy who caught Sammy Sosa’s legendary balls? Or Mark Mcgiwre’s? Or Barry Bonds ( although he is a prick; I wish someone caught his homerun ball and sold it just based on the fact he’s a complete asshole. Thank god he doesn’t play anymore. Insane eye though; I’ll miss that)?
What put the cherry on top of this story, is the fact that Manny is going to auction off the ball to charity. Not to himself. He hit the ball and would rather it go to help others. Manny-being-f&%king-Manny. Way to go. An accomplishment he may not match ( although he is counting on hitting 600+), but nonetheless it shows a bit of selflessness for such a feat.
Damon Woo did get some stuff and some perks for bringing it back, but give this guy a beer tribute for going out of his way to do an honorable thing.
Now, if we want some more empirical evidence, lets see what happens when Griffey get his big hit…
ps: Wow, Jay Bruce? Wow is all I got to say…