BOSTON -- As fan interference goes, Danny Vinik is more
Jeffrey Maier than Steve Bartman.
Vinik reached over the temporary photographers' box in front of
the stands and kept Los Angeles Angels catcher Jeff Mathis from
catching Manny Ramirez's foul pop on Friday night. He did not reach
into the field of play, making it a legal move.
Ramirez stayed at the plate and drew a walk to load the bases
before Mike Lowell's sacrifice fly tied it at 3.
"Everybody was giving me high-fives," Vinik told a crowd of
about 20 reporters who interviewed him under the stands near the
entrance to the Red Sox clubhouse. One of the well-wishers was
horror-meister Stephen King, sitting behind him and one seat over.
The 17-year-old fan said he got 15-20 calls on his cell phone,
and while he was talking to reporters other fans congratulated him,
saying, "That's the kid. Way to go. Nice play."
One man called him "The anti-Bartman" and gave him a
Bartman was cursed by Cubs fans in 2003 after deflecting a foul
popup away from Moises Alou with Chicago just five outs away from
the World Series. Maier was the 12-year-old New York Yankees fan
who reached over the outfield wall in the 1996 playoffs and caught
Derek Jeter's homer away from Tony Tarasco.
Vinik, who said he had heard of Bartman, is the son of
part-owner Jeffrey Vinik, a hedge fund manager who once ran
Fidelity's mammoth Magellan Fund.
"My dad has season tickets," Vinik said. "I come a lot."
Mathis, who punched the air in frustration, would have had a
better play at the ball if not for the photographers' boxes added
in front of the first row of seats down the first- and third-base
lines for the playoffs.