Luckily for Joe Webster, there isn’t a lot of demand for Cincinnati Reds tickets these days, especially not in the outfield.
The Atlanta area college student was so excited about Ronald Acuna’s promotion to the Braves roster that he drove all night to Ohio and got himself a prime seat to watch the 19-year-old phenom play. He had the day off from his part-time job at Champion Sportscards and Collectibles in Marietta on Thursday and decided to sit in the left-center field bleachers.
It turns out he couldn’t have picked a better spot.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW!@Braves prospect Ronald Acuña Jr. goes 2nd deck for his first career HR!
(via @FOXSportsBraves) pic.twitter.com/h9pJePjdrS
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 26, 2018
That was Webster, snaring the homer with his bare hands and generating a mini social media lovefest with his giddy reaction.
That @Braves fan who caught Ronald Acuña Jr.’s first home run? He drove up from Atlanta just to see the game. @KelsWingert has more: pic.twitter.com/ADHVr3fVil
— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) April 26, 2018
Can we get running @JoeWeb10 on tomorrow’s Acuña #ToppsNow @Topps ?
— Matt Traylor (@ballcardz) April 26, 2018
While it looked like he was on his way out of the stadium with a potentially valuable piece of memorabilia, Webster opted instead worked out a trade to give the ball back to Acuna after some negotiation.
Overjoyed to have caught Ronald Acuña JR’s First Major League Home Run, but even more happy to have been able to hand deliver the baseball to him postgame! All the best in your career, and Go @Braves!@MLB @MLBNetwork @Cut4 pic.twitter.com/vZks7S3e7O
— Ñ (@JoeWeb10) April 26, 2018
There was no immediate word on what the Braves turned over to get the ball back. Had he opted to sell it, Ken Goldin of Goldin Auctions says it likely would have been worth about $15,000. Of course, if Acuna becomes the Hall of Famer many project he will be, that may seem like a bargain.
Ross Finley, the owner of Champion Sportscards told us he was helping customers on Thursday afternoon and didn’t immediately see the catch and his employee’s reaction. Customers of the shop recognized Webster from the Fox Sports South broadcast, though, and began calling and texting. Finley then caught a replay.
“It couldn’t have gone to a better collector,” he said.
Webster’s whirlwind trip will bring him back to Atlanta and his job at the card shop on Friday.