Sitting close to the field at a Major League Baseball game is an experience unlike any other. It's like you are part of the action. Being in the first few rows at the ballpark came with a risk for many years until protective netting came along, but luckily one ball girl was around to save some fans one day.
Back in July 2016, the Los Angeles Dodgers were hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. The home team was cruising to a victory in the top of the eighth inning when Brandon Drury stepped to the plate. What happened next went insanely viral and it had nothing to do with any of the players.
Emily Gregorio, a ball girl in Los Angeles, snagged a screaming line drive that potentially saved a group of fans sitting in the front row, including a man looking down when it happened.
Dodgers Ball Girl Saves Fans from Foul Ball
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MLB ball boys and ball girls make great plays in foul territory all of the time. It's pretty much a tradition for America's Pastime. This catch in particular, however, made Emily Gregorio a hero at a Dodgers game.
When the ball hit Brandon Drury's bat, it screamed down the third base line and was heading for the stands near left field. The ball's exit velocity was clocked at 108.7 miles per hour. It would have been hard for any fan to react that quickly, especially one looking down, presumably on his cell phone.
Thankfully, Gregorio was right there to make the snag and save the fans.. and their beer. The trending video went viral on social media almost immediately.
"I didn't expect it to go viral the way it did," Gregorio said. "When I caught it, I knew it potentially could have been a great catch."
Gregorio was no stranger to making tough catches. She was an outfielder for the California State University, Long Beach women's softball team as an undergrad before pursuing her Master's degree in communications management at the University of Southern California.
Call it the right place at the right time, but who knows what would have happened if she didn't catch that ball. The standing ovation she got from the crowd was very well deserved. The Dodgers also won the game, 14-3.
Gregorio has been a Dodgers ball girl for over five years. She's now also a Production Coordinator at HBO, according to her LinkedIn.
For as many great plays as stars Clayton Kershaw and Cody Bellinger have made over the years during the regular season and playoffs at Dodger Stadium, this one also deserves a lot of credit. Some team needs to sign her to play outfield.
This post was originally published on October 14, 2020.
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