Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Mike Olt fan catches controversial home run
By Gordon Edes / ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- Mike Luzzi is an attorney from Branford, Conn., who had come to Fenway Park on Tuesday night to see Rangers rookie Mike Olt, one of three big-league players from the Nutmeg State who have ever played for Texas.
Joe Lahoud, the former Sox outfielder, and John Ellis, who also caught for the Yankees, are the others.
Luzzi scored great seats for the occasion --front row on the Monster-- and became more involved in the game than he ever imagined. He was the guy in the T-shirt --and bared midriff-- who caught Will Middlebrooks' pinch, three-run home run in the seventh inning. Umpires reviewed the home run at the request of Texas manager Ron Washington, who argued that Luzzi had reached over the low shelf above the home run line to catch Middlebrooks' liner.
The umpires upheld the call, and ESPNBoston dispatched intern Bill Humphrey to the Monster seats to put the question to Luzzi: Did he pull a Jeffrey Maier --the 12-year-old kid who reached over and caught a flyball from Derek Jeter that was incorrectly ruled a home run in the 1996 playoffs?
"Absolutely did not,'' Luzzi said. "It was certainly within the rules."
Another Olt fan, Tanner Tamsin, said the ball was caught at chest level.
"At least at our chests,'' Tamsin said.
"I think,'' Luzzi said, "what they saw was maybe he (Tamsin) reached over, but I caught it against his chest.''
After the game, Washington was asked about the play. "I hope [Luzzi] gets the ball signed,'' he said dryly.