Yesterday at the Angels-Orioles game, baseball fans everywhere tuned in to watch two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani pitch and to see if the Orioles could snap their historic 19-game losing streak. But as is common in baseball, sometimes the most memorable and exciting parts of the game happen off the field, and this was the case Wednesday night in Baltimore.
After Angels top prospect outfielder Jo Adell made an inning-ending catch in left field, he threw the ball into the stands. Adell’s tossup hit an unsuspecting young fan, knocking his drink out of his hands. When Adell took the field in the next inning, he ran to his position with a signed bat and a memory to last a lifetime.
See the heartwarming moment for yourself here:
The lucky fan and recipient of the bat was Ben, a high school student from Maryland, who was celebrating his birthday by making the trip up to Baltimore to watch Ohtani and the Angels. Ben was actually undercover in his Orioles hat, as he is a dedicated Nats fan! I talked to him earlier about what it was like to be the viral, feel-good story of the day in the baseball world.
It was a random Wednesday night baseball game that turned into one of the best nights of my life, and a night I will remember forever. Let’s start at the beginning.
My dad and I have wanted to see Shohei Ohtani pitch (and hit!) in person. I wanted to sit in the front of the outfield to have a great view and increase my chances of catching a ball.
Between the first and second inning, everyone in my section was standing and watching fans in our section dancing on the jumbotron. I was watching the dancing when out of nowhere my drink fell out of my hand. At first, I was confused about what happened. The people behind me picked up the ball that had knocked my drink and threw it to my dad, who handed it to the younger kids sitting by us. I know how exciting it is to come to a game and get a ball. I was really happy for them. Everyone around us started talking about how Jo Adell threw the ball into the stands. I was disappointed that I hadn’t been paying attention and missed the chance to connect with him and catch the ball. I even brought my glove!
I was telling my dad about how Jo Adell is a top prospect and we got caught up watching the game. When the inning ended,the person sitting next to me said “He is right here” (pointing to me). I looked over the wall and Jo Adell was standing right there. He told me how sorry he was that my drink fell from the ball he threw and that he will give me a bat next inning. I was so surprised. I wasn’t sure what to say, but I did manage to say that was really kind but he didn’t need to do that.
Sure enough, at the top of the next inning, he came running back out to left field with a signed bat in his hands. I couldn’t believe it! Everyone in our section stood up and started clapping. As the video shows, Jo handed me the bat and I thanked him. I told him that this means the world to me. I was having trouble getting words out. I’ve often thought about what I would say if I had the chance to connect with a player. At that moment, as the inning was getting ready to start, I quickly asked for a picture and he said, “sure man.” I got the picture and the bat and sat down.
The thoughts in my head were spinning a million miles an hour. I looked at the photo and then put down my phone. Everyone around us wanted to check out the bat and see it in person. Then an usher rushed over and explained I couldn’t keep the bat at my seat because of safety concerns. I followed him to a locker to have it safely stored. When I returned to my seat, I sent a tweet and a snap to share the photo with my friends. I put my phone down and returned to watching the game. It was becoming clear that it was possible the O’s would break their losing streak. Then a few minutes later my phone started vibrating as people started liking my tweet. Then someone sitting behind me tweeted a video of that moment and tagged MLB and the Angels. That’s when things started getting crazy. Jared Carrabis liked my tweet and retweeted the video. I have followed Jared for years and love his writing. I never expected him to like one of my tweets! Even as the O’s were holding their own, our section was chanting “Let’s Go Jo” instead of “Let’s Go O’s”. Before I knew it, my phone started blowing up with Twitter notifications. MLB reporters were retweeting the video. Then I got a notification saying the MLB and the Los Angeles Angels liked my tweet. I was incredibly happy.
I love baseball and this is one of the many, many reasons why. I am always so impressed by the ways players interact with fans. I have watched YouTube videos showing MLB players and fans interacting with each other. Never in a million years did I think I would have one of these cool interactions. Baseball is more than a game.
If I am taking one thing away from this experience it is that one small kind gesture can make someone’s year. Players have the opportunity to be role models and influence their fans, especially kids. This was a moment I will never forget. Jo transformed a simple moment into something that meant so much.
I realize the video has gone viral. That’s insane and I can’t believe it happened. It was unreal to see the number of views going up – and up! I hope others will realize how much one kind gesture can make an impact. As other fans have shared, this was a #BiggerThanBaseball moment. Jo is a highly skilled player and an incredibly kind person. I’ve now learned that he leads a foundation which really shows he cares about helping the community. Jo’s Foundation website says: Work Hard. Be Kind. Give Back.
I am still flabbergasted by what took place. Jo Adell went above and beyond and for that, I say thank you. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.