Why the Royals fan who jumped on dugout to snag flying bat couldn’t keep it

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For many Royals fans, getting a souvenir baseball from the game is something they'll never forget.

But one Raytown man says he's disappointed that he couldn't keep a bat that had been thrown into the stands at Thursday's game.

When Tigers catcher James McCann swung at a pitch and let go of his bat, it flew high above the dugout, and got trapped in the netting where Tyler Lambert was sitting.

What happened next was captured on the television broadcast of the game. Lambert, a general contractor, says he didn't think much. He admits he wanted the bat, but says he also was concerned it would fall into the stands at any moment and hurt someone.

Lambert jumped on top of the dugout, a no-no at Kauffman Stadium, and shook the net.

The bat dropped down and Lambert grabbed it with one hand while holding a beer in the other.

He did not spill a drop.

"I just told my friend I was with, I have never gotten a foul ball or anything and then the bat comes through," Lambert said. "Then I turned around, before I could even process what had happened, it was already going out of my hand."

A Royals worker immediately confiscated the bat Lambert had snatched, and there was a chorus of boos from surrounding fans. Many people, Lambert included, believe anything that ends up in the stands is fair game.

Not true the Royals tell FOX4. A bat is a prohibited item. And when a bat ends up in the stands, it is always taken. Usually the team will consult with the player to see if he will allow the fan to keep the bat or give him a replacement. But in this case, Royals Vice President Toby Cook says the team did not want to reward Lambert for breaking the rules by jumping on top of the dugout.

McCann later gave Lambert a game used, Major League Baseball. He's thankful for that.

In the same game, after Royals outfielder Jorge Soler hit a monster 440-foot home run into some bushes, another fan jumped into the restricted area and started digging around for the ball. The Royals did not let that fan keep the ball because he did not obey the rules. Instead, the team gave the Soler ball to a child nearby.