On August 12, 2000, the New York Mets had been gunning for their fourth division championship in their then 38-year history.
In town were Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants, who were nearly as good by record, entering the game at 64-49 to the Mets’ 67-47. In the top of the fourth inning, the Mets carried a 1-0 lead when Giants catcher Bobby Estalella lifted the Mike Hampton delivery into left field. Jeff Kent (third) and Ellis Burks (second) tagged, readying to run if the opening presented itself. Mets outfielder Benny Agbayani ran over and easily secured the routine fly ball. Thinking the inning was over, he kindly jogged toward the bleachers and handed a young hot dog-eating fan the ball, then turned to realize there were only two outs in the inning, instead of the three. He jogged over to get the ball back, but it was too late, and both Kent and Burks scored, giving the Giants the lead. And, no, the fan didn’t wanna give the ball up either.
Imagine if Twitter were around for this. Just imagine it. Use this to help. The Associated Press recap included a quote from the kid, whose name is Jake Burns, and at this point could be in his late 20s or so.
“It was weird,” he said.
His father Jim, who was next to him, added, “He was eating a hot dog and then all of a sudden he had a ball in his other hand … I figured I was wrong. Then I saw his (my son’s) expression and I couldn’t care less.”
Over six years earlier, Larry Walker did the same thing while a Montreal Expo (R.I.P.), and it was arguably funnier.
Luckily for Agbayani, the Mets won 3-2 after a Todd Zeile two-run double put them ahead in the bottom of the seventh. (Lot of amazing names in this box score.) Still, this is our collective fondest memory of him, and it’s unfortunate because although his career only lasted five seasons, he was a solid .284 hitter during three of those with the Mets. Agbayani did get the last laugh, though. He belted a walk-off home run in the 13th of Game 3 in the 2000 National League Divisional Series against these same Giants. In the 2000 playoffs, he even batted .320.