Sunday outrage gives way to Monday fact-checking. If you were one of the people who (reasonably) got very angry at a short video clip appearing to show an adult Cubs fan intercepting a ball meant for a child, you can stand down. The man, it now appears, is a good guy who does not deserve this at all, and indeed gave away every ball he got—including, earlier, one to that very same child.
The clip came from Sunday afternoon’s win over the Cardinals, and it was long enough to infuriate, short enough to strip context. It showed the first-base coach tossing a ball toward a young fan, said ball rolling beneath the seats and getting snagged by a grown-up one row behind. The man appeared to celebrate over his trophy, and handed to his wife, all while the child looked on.
It looked bad! Real bad. So bad that the Cubs gave the kid a Javy Baez–signed ball.
But, let’s take deep breaths. Reddit user “btbrian” rounded up some reports from folks who were sitting there, and what we saw was far from the whole story.
Chuck is the older gentlemen in blue sitting to the man’s left:
Jeff is the fan in the red shirt, in the front row next to the kid:
So, in case you were wondering where the kid got two balls in the photos the Cubs sent out—the non-signed ball appears to be one the man grabbed and gave to the kid earlier. The story’s very different, now.
By the way, this has all been confirmed by the Cubs, via local host David Kaplan:
I get the initial outrage. We’ve seen this sort of thing before, and it’s really gross—a ball probably means more to a child than it does to you, so it’s good manners to hand it over, and non-negotiable if a player or ballboy was trying to give the ball to a specific kid. But it’s worth waiting for the details to come out.
Oh, and what about the baseball in the viral clip, that the man seemed so excited about before giving to his wife? Even that ball ended up in good hands: