Fan tosses back phony ball after Sanchez' first homer
By Travis Sawchik
Published: Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, 1:12 p.m.
Pirates rookie catcher Tony Sanchez hit his first major league home run on Saturday night in San Francisco, a shot off former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum that landed well up the left-field bleachers at AT&T Park.
Conveniently for the purposes of stocking his personal memorabilia collection, a ball was thrown back on to the field.
But there was just one problem: it wasn't his home run ball.
“Pretty smart fans here,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “That's why (third base coach) Nick (Leyva) didn't jump all over it when he saw it roll by him. He saw green lettering on it. We are in recovery mode.
“It happens in Wrigley (Field) a lot. They act like they are really cool throwing it back. But they keep the ball. They bring a ball to the park.”
Tony Sanchez examined the Pony League baseball at his locker following the Pirates' 6-3 loss.
“They gave me a joke of a Pony League ball. Is that really what they threw back? I guess that's my first home run ball,” Sanchez said. “It's not the ball Lincecum threw that's for sure.
“My first home run ball is in someone's house.”
The home run came in Sanchez's 45th career plate appearance and against a pitcher he has a personal connection with.
“I drew up first home runs for the past month that I've been here. Every day you think about it. You wonder who it's going to come off of. It's funny it came off Lincecum,” Sanchez said.
“He played for my college coach in the Cape Cod League. In his first (at bat), after he struck me out, I said ‘Hey, Coach (Steve) Englert said what's up.' He started laughing. The next at bat, I had ended up hitting that home run, he comes up and he's just staring at me. I go ‘I'm going to text Coach (Englert).'”
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