Nobody ever brought a baseball glove to the ballpark because it just completed their outfit.
It’s a device meant for one thing: catching baseballs.
And if your family happens to have season tickets in a spot just beyond an outfield wall in fair territory, like Reif Faulkner’s does, you could easily find yourself in an actual position to impact the outcome of a game.
You’ve probably watched enough baseball that you’ve seen it before. The eager fan, overwhelmed by the excitement of the quickly approaching moment when the baseball is headed right for them, against all odds… they reach over a wall and into the field of play, turning an extra-base hit, maybe even a home run, into an out for their own team.
Faulkner knew full well what nightmare fate could await him if he didn’t play it cool, so he was determined to not let that happen.
When Daniel Murphy sent one directly at him in a one-run game at the time, he played it calm and cool, just like the players, and let the ball come to him. Set up perfectly behind the demarkation line for home runs to avoid any interference, Reds’ left fielder Phillip Ervin leaped towards him.
Ervin came up just short, but Faulkner did not.
The baseball landed safely in his glove as a home run just inches away from another glove that would have meant an out, as would have any wavering from Faulkner.
“I’ve seen a lot of balls here and I’ve caught a couple myself and I know not to do that,” he told BSN Denver about preventing fan interference. “One of my seat neighbors will get down low so he doesn’t reach over and so that’s what I was doing once I saw it was coming out here.”
Being his fifth year of coming out to these seats about 20 times a season, he had been anticipating this for quite some time.
“This was the moment,” he said, reliving the close call just a few minutes later.
And while some doubt lingered around a crowd of over 40,000 while the umpires looked at the replay in New York to make sure the fan hadn’t broken any rules in the game (isn’t baseball something else?), Faulkner never feared a potential overturning of the call on the field.
“I knew I had it,” he says. “I was surprised they went to the replay. But any close play I guess they have to do it.”
It’s clear from statements like these that Faulkner’s successful catch didn’t just show clarity about how to best help the team he cheers for, but also respect for the game he loves.
Some of his seat neighbors offered good-natured ribbing during our conversation, noting that Faulkner actually apologized to Ervin in the moment and that Cincinnati outfielder looked unpleased.
“I was giving him credit,” Faulkner said. “I didn’t want to throw it in his face.”
He had respect for the opposition and the field of play, though of course wanted to make it clear that even if the words “I’m sorry” did escape his lips, he didn’t feel at all apologetic for what he had done.
And it even got noticed by the man who hit the ball.
“Yeah, I saw it on the replay. Very impressive,” said Murphy who also wanted to know if Faulkner was a season ticket holder. Happy to learn that Faulkner and his family are regulars, he added, “I didn’t think that ball was gonna get out. He had to stay on it. Nice play, very nice play.”
Faulkner, who enters the ever-growing and always entertaining world of the Rockies internet community under the appropriate handle “WebGem,” should be happy to hear of that particular review of his performance.
As for the baseball itself?
“We actually have a case of home run balls and autographed balls and I’m gonna put it in there,” says Faulkner.
Or, I’m sorry, says WebGem.