CHICAGO — When it comes to a Chicago Cubs fan who allegedly stole a baseball meant for a young boy, it appears the internet got it wrong.
On Sunday, cameras at the Cubs game caught a man grabbed a ball that appeared to be tossed to little boy holding a baseball glove.
The video was tweeted by the MLB’s Cut4 Twitter account with the words, “When going to a baseball game, DON’T be this guy,” and social media users had a lot to say.
One person, defending the move responded to the tweet, “I like this guy, and he’s got a pair of incredible shades on. As a youth football coaching legend, my view is that it’s every man for himself when the ball goes into the stands.”
To that tweet another person responded, “Except it was [a] child. Good thing most people [sic] have better sense of decency than you.”
But what cameras captured Sunday wasn’t the whole story, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The newspaper said, according to the Cubs, the man actually caught four baseballs that afternoon. Three of them went to kids seated nearby, including one to the little boy who appeared to be slighted.
When he got the fourth ball, the man simply wanted to keep one for himself.
“I spoke to the boy’s mother today and can confirm the man did not steal the ball from the boy, based on information we received from his mother,” Cubs spokesman Julian Green said in a statement to the Tribune. “Unfortunately, a video that was quickly posted and unverified has made a national villain out of an innocent man who was attending his first Cubs game to celebrate his wedding anniversary.
“In fact, the man gave several balls to children in the same section and his wife as an anniversary present. We hope this first experience won’t ruin his trip to Chicago and Wrigley Field, and we invite him to come back soon.”
The man also released a statement through the Cubs, which said in part: “I am not ‘that guy’ that the media and social media made me out to be.”
The Cubs made up for the kid missing out on the ball by delivering a baseball signed by Javier Baez. While many assumed the team gave him two baseballs, that wasn’t the case. Now he has a game-used ball, courtesy of a friendly stranger, and a signed ball, courtesy of the Cubs.