Epic foul ball catch at Jays game gets cheers from Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson
Published Wednesday, September 4, 2019 8:21AM EDT
Nobody heads to a baseball game expecting to get a shout-out from Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson before they leave the stadium – but that's just what happened to one Toronto Blue Jays fan.
Dean Clarke took his parents to Sunday's game against the Houston Astros at the Rogers Centre. He'd been there many times before, but it was his parents' first time at the stadium.
They took a moment to marvel at the crowd and the atmosphere. They purchased some snacks and beverages. Then they headed to their seats, which were in a largely empty area along the third base line.
As they settled in, Clarke warned his parents that they were in prime territory for foul balls to come screaming toward them – even if he'd never been the luckiest in that department.
"Never, out of 25 games I've been to, (have I) caught a foul ball," the Waterloo, Ont. resident told CTV News Kitchener.
It didn't take long for that to change. Houston's fourth batter, designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, fouled a pitch off in the family's direction. Clarke leapt out of his seat and caught the ball bare-handed.
"Everyone's asking me did it hurt, what was it like – the only thing I can say was it came in as if it was in slow-motion," Clarke said.
"I was in complete awe. I couldn't believe I caught a ball. My mom and dad stood up, they were screaming."
Clarke then stood up and soaked in the cheers from the crowd, holding the ball in his left hand and a nearly full can of beer in his right. When he sat down, he handed the ball to his mother.
"If I did miss it … my mom would have taken it somewhere off the face. It was heading right for her," he said.
Clarke's parents said they regretted that in all the excitement, they missed seeing a replay of the catch on the large scoreboard above centre field.
Luckily for them, another fan approached them a few moments later to tell them the Blue Jays had posted video of the catch on social media. Clarke spent much of the rest of the game checking his phone and updating his parents on the online reaction to his catch.
The biggest celebrity reaction, though, escaped his notice until a police officer alerted him to it after the game had ended.
"He said 'You're never going to believe this, but The Rock just tweeted about your catch,'" Clarke said.
"He showed me and I couldn't believe it. I just stood there. The Rock is a big deal."
The actor's interest had apparently been piqued by the T-shirt Clarke was wearing, which featured Johnson's image from his 1990s stint as a pro wrestler.
"Great catch brother. Even better t-shirt," Johnson tweeted.
While this was his first MLB foul ball catch, Clarke is no stranger to catching baseballs. He played the sport when he was younger, and still plays in a slo-pitch league. His daughters play, and he has coached youth softball. His advice for anyone looking to catch a foul ball is the same advice he gives anyone who has played for him.
"Pay attention. Absolutely pay attention," he said.
"You never know where it's going to come from. Anything can happen."
While Clarke's parents may have left their first Rogers Centre experience with a bit of viral fame, they did not leave it with a victory. Houston picked up a 2-0 win, with pitcher Justin Verlander throwing a no-hitter.
With a report from CTV News Kitchener's Leighanne Evans