One year later, Blue Jays fan reflects on not catching historic home run ball: ‘I think about that moment’

TORONTO – Recollections got here speeding again for Blue Jays fan Frankie Lasagna when he appeared out on the stands past the left-field wall at Rogers Centre.

The restaurant proprietor was again on the ballpark a 12 months after going viral when he got here inches away from catching Aaron Decide’s American League record-tying 61st house run ball.

“I take into consideration that second,” Lasagna stated. “I get to re-live it each different day when completely different clients come to the restaurant.

“A few of them have not heard all of it or a few of them want a refresher. So I’ve talked about it lots during the last 12 months.”

With Decide on the cusp of baseball historical past, the thrill was palpable each time he swung the bat in that New York-Toronto sequence a 12 months in the past.

Many spectators within the outfield seats introduced gloves – Lasagna included – simply in case they got here near snagging the ball, which might be value massive cash to a collector.

When Decide went deep, Lasagna was considered one of a handful of followers who stretched their arms over the railing, hoping the ball was hit excessive sufficient to succeed in the stands.

It got here up simply quick and bounced into the Toronto bullpen. The ball was later given to Decide, who tied Roger Maris’s longtime file.

Lasagna’s story, coupled together with his uncommon surname and occupation – naturally his restaurant serves Italian meals – shortly fuelled a social media fervour.

Memes, footage and tv clips have been in every single place. ‘Frankie Lasagna’ was trending together with Decide. Even late-night TV speak exhibits obtained in on the enjoyable.

“The following day was insane,” Lasagna recalled. “(A) breakfast tv (present) reached out and it was the very first thing I did. My spouse was speeding me out of my mattress to stand up and be correct for the interview.

“It was simply continuous (radio and TV) interviews and phone requires the entire day and all through the evening.”

It did not cease there.

A beer firm later reached out and provided to fly Lasagna and a good friend to New York for 3 days to see if he might catch Decide’s subsequent house run.

He hopped a flight and shortly discovered himself taking within the motion at Yankee Stadium.

“I used to be the one one sporting a Blue Jays jersey so I caught out,” Lasagna stated. “As I used to be strolling all the way down to the entrance row, folks have been recognizing me and calling me out. Individuals wished to take footage with me.

“I used to be holding folks’s children and taking footage. It was a super-awesome expertise.”

Lasagna took in a comedy present earlier than leaving the Huge Apple. One in every of his favorite comedians, Jeff Ross, was the closing performer and Lasagna met him outdoors the venue afterwards.

“I stated, ‘Hey man, I am an enormous fan’ and I informed him who I used to be,” Lasagna stated. “As soon as he realized who I used to be, he knew the entire story of me nearly catching it.

“He wished to take an image with me.”

Decide set a brand new file of 62 homers just a few days later in opposition to Texas. Spectator Cory Youmans caught that ball at Globe Life Discipline and it later offered for US$1.5 million at public sale.

Lasagna, 38, took a second on Wednesday evening to reimagine the scene at Rogers Centre a 12 months in the past earlier than sitting down together with his good friend to observe the sport.

The stands, fence and bullpen space look completely different now after low season renovations. Decide was his ordinary self although, swatting two homers in a 6-0 Yankees win.

Life went again to regular when Lasagna returned from New York final fall. The seemingly infinite requests for interviews ultimately petered out.

His father put a binder of press clippings collectively and it stays on website on the restaurant, a pleasant reminder of a whirlwind week.

“It was enjoyable the entire method,” Lasagna stated.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Sept. 28, 2023.