Every now and then a fan makes a great play on a foul or home run ball that leads everyone to cheer.
Mark Kirsch was not that fan, and everyone was not cheering him, but booing and cursing his terrible behavior.
Flash back to Aug. 28, 2022 at the Kansas City Royals’ Kauffman Stadium. San Diego Padres slugger Juan Soto belted a home run. A 17-year-old fan named Bruce Williams caught the ball — only to have Kirsch snatch it out of his glove.
A TV camera captured the moment in what quickly became a viral video.
— Bill Spiegel (@BillSpiegel) August 28, 2022
Kirsch became a pariah online, with fans calling him names and demanding he be banned from Royals games. Word that he’d offered to give Williams a jersey of former Royals pitcher Sam Gaviglio in exchange for taking the ball didn’t ease the anger many fans felt toward Kirsch.
In a recent interview with Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, Kirsch finally shared his side of the story.
To make a long story short: He has no regrets about what he did.
“It was two guys trying to make a play. I obviously didn’t know he was a teen at the time. Not that (it) matters,” Kirsch said. “It was the heat of the moment. You don’t feel anything when it’s that big of a stage. It’s Aaron Judge. It’s Juan Soto. It’s hard to describe. I thought it was in my glove. You look and it’s not there. I regret that I had a bad glove that day. It wasn’t the best glove. I had to upgrade.”
Kirsch has been hawking home runs for years, having caught homers off the bat of everyone from Barry Bonds to Mike Trout. He conceded he needs to be more careful in similar situations.
“Bill Buckner, the ball goes through his legs but the guy got to 2,500 hits,” Kirsch said. “It’s the one error that he’s remembered for. Since then, I’ve realized how I needed to be better but mindful of everyone who’s around me.”
The Royals soothed Williams’ pain to some degree, giving him a baseball signed by shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., along with some bobbleheads.