06-16-2004, 07:51 PM #1Inactive
- Join Date
- May 2004
Foul Ball, Happy Ending
Foul Ball, Unfair Play, Happy Ending
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Sometimes nice guys do finish first, a Texas kid has discovered.
Nick O'Brien, 4, was at a Texas Rangers (search) baseball game with his parents Sunday night when a foul ball hit by right fielder Gary Matthews Jr. landed at his feet.
Before Nick could reach down to pick it up, a grown man leaped in front of him, pinned Nick to the seat and grabbed the ball.
"I couldn't believe someone would do something like that to a 4-year-old boy," Nick's mother, Edie O'Brien, told the Dallas Morning News. "He wasn't friendly."
Edie O'Brien swatted the man with a cardboard fan and called him a jerk, among other names.
"I said, 'You trampled a 4-year-old boy to get this ball,' and he said, 'Oh, well,'" she told "Good Morning America" Wednesday, adding that the man seemed proud of himself.
Thousands of people saw what happened on Ameriquest Field's (search) giant video screens, and a chant of "Give him the ball!" started up. Rangers announcer Tom Grieve called the man "the biggest jerk in this park."
But the miscreant, identified Wednesday by the Dallas Morning News as 28-year-old Matt Starr of the Dallas suburb of Sachse, wouldn't give up the ball and soon left the stadium to a chorus of boos.
That's when the Rangers and the visiting team, the St. Louis Cardinals (search), stepped in.
St. Louis outfielder Reggie Sanders called Nick and his mother down to the rail between innings and gave them a bat and a ball.
"In my heart, I thought I should do something," said Sanders. "You gotta remember, it's all about the kids."
The Rangers gave Nick a bat from outfielder Kevin Mench, as well as a ball signed by Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan (search). By the time the O'Briens left the stadium, Nick had gotten two more balls.
The next morning, Nick's father Jeff heard the incident recounted on the radio. The answering machine at the family's home in Plano filled up with messages from TV stations.
On Wednesday, the three flew to New York for the "Good Morning America" appearance. Host Charles Gibson gave Nick a New York Mets gift bag and the family tickets for the Mets' game against the Cleveland Indians.
As for Starr, the man who apparently took the ball, he's said nothing publicly. But his pastor described the married landscaper and former youth minister as "not the bad guy he's been made out to be."
06-17-2004, 10:25 AM #2
The guy is now supposedly going to give the ball to the child-too little too late!! What a jerk! Youth Minister or not what he did was just wrong and hes lucky he didnt get the snot beat out of him!The saints are the sinners who keep trying...