The Dodgers’ new “Home Run Seats” do not come with a guarantee of a home run ball. On Sunday, in the Dodgers’ nationally televised game against the San Diego Padres, one fan sitting there caught two home run balls.
No, he said, he did not throw back the one hit by Fernando Tatis Jr., despite what the broadcasters said on air and ESPN said in a tweet.
Doug Pyle, 17, is a junior at La Salle Prep in Pasadena. He and his family have gone to Dodger Stadium for years, but usually they sit along the left field line, close to the Dodgers bullpen.
“I’ve caught one foul ball,” Pyle said, “but I’ve dreamed about catching a home run.”
When his mother splurged on a night in the new seats — $500 for two tickets — Pyle wore his Justin Turner jersey and brought his glove. And, when he caught the home run hit by Tatis, the television cameras focused on him throwing a ball onto the field.
“In some stadiums, they eject you for throwing the ball back,” he said. “But I know at Dodger Stadium, they don’t do that. Plus, I kind of wanted to show off my arm.”
He is a pitcher and center fielder on his high school team. When the ESPN SportsCenter Twitter account posted video of his throw for its 37 million followers, one of the replies came from former Dodgers pitcher Brock Stewart: “Solid arm action.”
Pyle said he got a nice message from former Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling, whom he had gotten to know from all those nights sitting near the Dodgers bullpen. His phone was blowing up with messages. On the ESPN broadcast, Alex Rodriguez suggested he was a lookalike for Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler.
For one day, he was the most famous person on his high school team. The second baseman on his team is the son of former Dodgers third baseman and probable Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre.
On Monday, Pyle said he had both home run balls, one hit by Tatis and the other by the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor.
During batting practice, Pyle said, he had grabbed a ball. That was the ball he threw on the field.
“I had that ball in my pocket, waiting for that exact moment,” Pyle said. “I have the real one.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.