When you're interfering with a ball in play, know that there's a fine line between being a hero and getting a key to the city (Jeffrey Maier), and becoming an enemy among the very fan base you've been a part of all of your life (Steve Bartman).
Young Danny Vinik knew where the line was and didn't cross it. And now, Boston has their very own interfering fan, and luckily for the Red Sox (not so luckily for the Angels), he interfered with the player wearing the visiting uniform, and helped the Red Sox score the tying run in the fifth inning of their Game Two victory.
Who would expect anything else though? After all, the fan's father is a part owner of the Red Sox.
With the Angels leading 3-2 in the fifth inning of Game 2 on Friday, Manny Ramirez came up with runners on first and third and one out. Angels starter Kelvim Escobar got ahead of Ramirez quickly, 0 and 2, and then got him to hit a popup into foul territory just up the first-base line.I hope this doesn't open up a Pandora's box where teams start deploying relatives to sit in strategically placed box seats for the express purpose of interfering with key foul balls. (But if it does, I bet you it starts with some of Arte Moreno's family members in Anaheim ... during Sunday's Game Three.)
Angels catcher Jeff Mathis gave chase and reached over the temporary photo well added for the playoffs into the stands for the ball. He got his glove on it in a tangle of hands but one fan snatched it off the edge of his glove, making a two-handed catch with his bare hands. Because Mathis had reached into the stands to make the play, there was no fan interference and Ramirez remained at the plate. He worked a walk to load the bases for Mike Lowell.
Lowell drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly - a fly out that would have ended a scoreless inning if Mathis had been able to make the play on Ramirez's popup.
The fan who made the play was Danny Vinik, the 17-year-old son of one of the team's minority owners, Jeffrey Vinik. The younger Vinik was surrounded by reporters after the inning and cheered by fans in the neighboring sections. He told reporters only that his father has season tickets and he comes to a lot of games.
It's safe to say that Vinik is the newest hero in Red Sox Nation:
I hope young Danny isn't planning on any vacations to SoCal anytime soon.
Passing fans offered high-fives and back slaps.
"The new president for Red Sox Nation right here," said one.
"The anti-Bartman," yelled another.
Is he the anti-Bartman?
"Sounds good to me," Vinik said.