|Saturday, August 12
Benny's blunder costs Mets one run
NEW YORK -- Catching a fly ball was easy for Benny Agbayani. Figuring out what to do with it wasn't as simple as 1-2-3.
Thinking it was the third out, the New York Mets left fielder handed the ball to a 7-year-old boy Saturday night.
Problem was, there were only two outs, the bases were loaded and the ball was live. The play came in the fourth inning and gave San Francisco an extra run for a 2-1 lead.
"It was weird," said the young fan, Jake Burns.
The gaffe did not cost the Mets the game, though, as they rallied to beat the Giants 3-2.
Larry Walker, then with the Montreal Expos, made a similar slipup on April 24, 1994, when he handed a ball to a 9-year-old boy in the front row at Dodger Stadium after catching a foul fly with one out and a runner on first.
Down 1-0, the Giants loaded the bases with one out and Bobby Estalella hit a lazy fly to left field. Agbayani ran toward the line to make the catch.
With Jeff Kent tagging from third and scoring, Agbayani jogged toward the left-field seats and handed the ball to the boy, who broke into a big smile.
"He was eating a hot dog and then all of a sudden he had a ball in his other hand," said Burns' father, Jim.
As soon as Agbayani gave the ball away, another fan raised two fingers to tell Agbayani that there were only two outs, but it was too late.
Agbayani grabbed the ball back from the fan and threw it back to the infield, but the runners were given two extra bases on the error. Ellis Burks scored the second run.
The New York fans booed at the end of the inning, but gave Agbayani a nice ovation before he struck out in the bottom half.
After Agbayani warmed up in the top of the fifth, he directed that the ball be given to the boy.
Jake Burns was attending his third game of the season. He said he did not know how many outs there were when the kooky play occurred, but his father did.
"I figured I was wrong. Then I saw his expression," he said, referring to his son, "and I couldn't care less."