Chet Greason, email@example.com
A Stratford Northwestern student was involved in a big play at the Rogers Centre during a Blue Jays game on Sunday.
It was the top of the eighth with no outs and nobody on. Toronto was up 4-1 over Tampa Bay. Rays infielder Logan Forsythe popped one up along the foul line on the first-base side, straight towards where Ethan Day was sitting in the stands.
You can almost read Day's thought process while watching him make the catch on slow motion replay. His face first betrays a moment of uncertainty.
"I heard the crack of the bat, but looking up, I lost the ball with the sun behind it," he said during an interview on Monday.
Day knew the ball was heading straight for him. His friend, Jordy Tessmer, sitting next to him, opted to duck, but Day got his glove up.
Then there's confusion as the ball hits his glove at the same time Jays right-fielder José Baustisa crashes into him.
Day said he didn't even know Bautista was there.
Then comprehension dawns, as the grade nine student realizes he caught the ball that was meant to be caught by Bautista, possibly costing the Jays an out. Day's face then displays immediate regret.
"The second it hit my glove, I knew what I did," he said. "I saw his glove right behind mine."
There was a tense moment where no one in the stadium knew what would happen next. The Jays challenged the call. Bautista returned to the field and took a knee, awaiting the officials' decision. Tessmer started receiving texts from friends asking whether that was them on television. A smattering of boos accompanied Day's appearance on the Jumbotron. Things began looking somewhat dire.
Then, relief. The umps declared that Bautista would have caught the ball had Day not interfered. Indeed, viewing the instant replay it's clear that the major leaguer's glove is right behind Day's. Day was also just leaning into foul territory when he made the catch, although not by much.
The play was called an out and Day was redeemed.
"It was a big relief," he said. "I got a lot of high fives; people telling me it was a good catch and that they would've done the same."
Day got a brief warning from Rogers Centre staff about interference. He also got interviewed by Sportsnet, and got to keep the ball.
He arrived at school the next day to see "Great catch Ethan Day" displayed on the sign out front, and was given free lunch for a week at the school's Screaming Avocado in recognition.
Day said he used to play for the Stratford Indians travelling team, but recently quit and started playing more football.
"I wasn't very good," he laughed.
However, watching the replay, one might beg to differ. Day didn't even spill his Sprite while catching a deep major league pop-up.
Following this experience, he's rethinking his decision to leave baseball.
"I might try out for the school team," he said.
In the end, it's worked out pretty well. But Day offered the following advice to fellow fans should they find themselves in a similar predicament while watching a game.
"If it's right there, don't catch it. Be aware of your surroundings."
Watch the clip of Day making the catch via Major League Baseball's website below.
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