SALT LAKE CITY — Over the weekend, social media criticized a Chicago Cubs fan who was caught on camera keeping a baseball from a child sitting in the stands.
But upon further review, the story isn’t as it seems.
The initial video that traveled around social media saw a young boy miss catching a foul ball tossed his way. The man sitting behind him quickly scavenged the ball and handed it to the woman next to him instead of giving it to the kid.
Here’s what happened:
When going to a baseball game, DON'T be this guy. pic.twitter.com/pAeiRN6Q2X— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 22, 2018
Cue the outrage. Social media went ablaze with reactions, according to USA Today. So much so that the Chicago Cubs approached the child after the game and handed him a ball signed by Javy Baez.
But Reddit users discovered through multiple reports from fans that the social media reaction was misguided — the man grabbed a ball for the young boy earlier in the game, which is why the boy has two baseballs in his photo with the Cubs.
Deadspinwas the first to report the news nationwide.
“He had already helped that kid get a ball. He gave two more away to kids also. He was a great guy. TV got this all wrong,” wrote Chuck Mycoff, who sat on the man’s left.
But that guy didn’t catch the ball. At all. He grabbed it off the bleacher floor...the ball was obviously intended for the boy. Thankfully guilt or common sense took over.— Sheryl Brandt (@Sheryl58) July 22, 2018
He continued, “I was sitting next to this guy. That ball was between my feet. The kid already had a ball the same guy helped him get. He handed it to his wife. She took a picture of it and they gave it to the kid next to them. This guy was great. This story is BAD.”
I was sitting next to this guy. That ball was between my feet. The kid already had a ball the same guy helped him get. He handed it to his wife. She took a picture of it and they gave it to the kid next to them. This guy was great. This story is BAD.— Chuck Mycoff (@cmycoff2) July 23, 2018
Meanwhile, Jeff, a fan wearing a red shirt in the video, said, “I was sitting next to the boy and the same fan helped him snag a ball a few innings before this.”
So you were the guy sitting there laughing as he took the ball and handed it to her? Bravo, sir.— Devin Treichel (@DevinFoFevin) July 23, 2018
Chicago Cubs host David Kaplan later confirmed the reports.
“I spoke with people from the Cubs,” he wrote. “The man who grabbed the ball on the widely seen video had actually already helped the little boy get a ball earlier. The young man has a game used ball and a Javy Baez ball. All is well. Guy is A-OK so let it go people.”
I spoke with people from the Cubs. The man who grabbed the ball on the widely seen video had actually already helped the little boy get a ball earlier. The young man has a game used ball and a Javy Baez ball. All is well. Guy is A-OK so let it go people.— David Kaplan (@thekapman) July 23, 2018
Here is the final wrap up on BallGate at Wrigley on Sunday: Eddie Olczyk and I just spoke with a man who was sitting next to the gentleman in question. "That guy did nothing wrong. He gave three balls out to people around him including the little boy in question. He was great."— David Kaplan (@thekapman) July 23, 2018
Mycoff told The Chicago Tribune that social media’s mob mentality unfairly chastised the man.
“The whole world is calling this guy the most evil guy in the world for being a ball thief,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, he got balls for three kids. Television and social media read it the wrong way and made up a story. … It's crazy. That guy helped that kid get a ball earlier and he got other kids balls.”
He said people shouldn’t act too quickly to pass judgment.
“Well, I'm getting a lesson in what happens in social media,” Mycoff said. “The only reason I got involved at all is because the story was so wrong.”