John Bendzinski, Macomb and Mark Bouchamp, Clarkston are featured in a photo in the 'Detroit Free Press' as they reach for a ball hit by the Tigers' Victor Martinez during Game 4.
(WJBK)-- Two Tigers fans reach for a long ball, in a move that could have cost Detroit the tying run in Game 4 of the American League Division Series. Fortunately for them (and the rest of us) the umpires called it a home run.
The big hit came in the 7th inning, off the bat of Victor Martinez. John Bendzinski, of Macomb, and Mark Bouchamp, of Clarkston, were seated in the front row of section 104. Seeing the ball headed straight for them, they reached for it on instinct. "The ball's coming your way you're like a little kid again," said Bouchamp. The ball bounced off of Bouchamp's hand and Bendzinski's arm, before falling back onto the field.
For a few tense moments they feared they might be booed out of the stands, if their highlight-reel worthy reach was ruled fan interference. "As soon as I got home my wife goes, 'you're lucky we don't have to move out of the Detroit area,'" Bouchamp told Fox 2. After watching the replay, the umpires ruled it a home run, deciding the ball would've gone out anyway and was beyond the reach of Oakland A's outfielder Josh Reddick.
It's worth noting that the yellow stripe at the top of the wall determines what counts as a home run... not the metal fence the men reached over. "When it fell I wanted the ball and we were yelling at Coco Crisp to give it to us, and he looked at us with disdain and threw the ball over to the ball boys," said Bouchamp.
In the end, their peers in the stands were forgiving. "Home run baby!" exclaimed Bendzinski. "We were like their heroes, chanting MVP and stuff like that, but Victor Martinez did all the work," said Bouchamp. Despite the controversy, these guys are determined to get the last word, "Sorry, you would've went for it too, don't give me that. Go Tigers," laughs Bendzinski.