Triston Casas’ first home run of his big-league career was a thing of beauty.
After being called up by the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night and getting his first hit in his first game on Sunday, Casas sent a ball soaring into the
beautiful night sky stands of the Trop.
Then the situation got weird.
When approached by Tampa Bay Rays mascot DJ Kitty to hand over the ball so that it could be authenticated and given back to Casas, as is customary when a player hits their first homer, the fan appeared to refuse.
Rival fan negotiates hefty return from Red Sox for Triston Casas’ first career home run
As Casas devoured a post-homer banana in the visiting dugout, Rays and Sox employees continued to approach the fan and discuss some form of exchange. Most fans lucky enough to catch a player’s first homer are happy to give it back to the player and take a signed ball or bat to commemorate the occasion, but this guy wouldn’t budge. It took several innings of negotiations for an agreement to be reached: Casas would receive the ball, and the fan would receive a bat signed by Casas and balls signed by Xander Bogaerts and someone else whose name he said he’d already forgotten. In fairness, Rafael Devers is a pretty obscure player, said no one ever.
Sox fans were already annoyed that it seemed like the fan didn’t want to give the ball back, but that frustration turned to outrage when the Ryan Brasier lookalike revealed that he was unaware of who’d even hit the home run and that he’s not even a Rays fan. Jordan, a 23-year-old from Orlando, told NESN’s Jahmai Webster that he’s a Chicago White Sox fan. And he wasn’t even paying attention; he told reporters who went up to sit with him as he guarded his prize that his phone fell while he was eating chicken wings, and the ball just landed there.
Later in the game, Jordan told MLB’s Ian Browne that he was actually told to wait with the ball so that it could be collected, but that doesn’t really square up with how many team employees had to go over and talk to him before he finally agreed to hand it over. Most fans in his position don’t get three signed objects in return, either.
All’s well that ends well, though. Casas is here and homering, and he’s got the memento to prove it. And if Bogaerts and Devers need someone to negotiate their contracts with the Sox, Jordan might be the guy to call.