PLATTSBURGH — Before the New York Yankees game on June 25, Andrew Parent called out to outfielder Johnny Damon just to say hello to the former pinstriper who now suits up with the Cleveland Indians.
“Immediately, he turned around and waved,” Parent said.
The Plattsburgh man, along with his girlfriend, Elaina Macey, and the rest of Section 135, Row 11, likely thought Damon’s gesture would be the highlight of the game.
But Yankee switch-hitter Nick Swisher changed everything with a swing of his bat in the third inning.
“Swish” (as he is affectionately known to fans) sent a ball over the wall and right into Parent’s baseball glove, just out of reach of a leaping Damon.
“The ball looked like it was coming right at the foul pole, but then it starts coming toward us,” said Parent, who grew up in Rouses Point. “I had my glove on my hand, and it was almost like this ball was hit right to me.
“If I hadn’t caught it, it would have hit my seat.”
It was a surreal moment, realizing that home-run ball was homing in on him.
“Your fight or flight instinct sets in,” he said. “Your heart pumps, and you get that butterfly effect in your stomach.
“Then euphoria sets in, and it’s really quite something.”
Macey said she and Parent, both baseball-lovers and Yankee fans, took the short trip to New York City just to enjoy the game.
She was amazed at his apparent lack of panic as the home-run ball hurtled toward them.
“He just reached out and caught it, I mean, he acted like he was a player. He had no fear in his eyes,” she said. “He was also the only person around with a glove.”
Swisher’s solo shot came as a back-to-back blow with a Robinson Cano home run that capped off a two-run inning, ultimately helping Parent’s beloved Yankees beat the Indians 7 to 1.
And his magical moment made it to the big screen on the scoreboard and is now forever immortalized in game highlights.
His home-run catch also brought him instant, semi-celebrity status around the stadium, Macey said.
“People were requesting to have their picture taken with him after seeing him up on the big screen,” she laughed.
Fellow fans in Section 135 were equally proud of Parent, shaking his hand and offering congratulations.
His fame also followed him back to Plattsburgh, as he joined his family and friends later in the week, ball in hand, to relive the highlights of his home-run catch all over again.
To see Andrew Parent’s home-run catch, go to
http://tinyurl.com/cp9de3z and select “Swisher goes back-to-back” in the play list.
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