Nearly every MLB game involves a great catch or two, but the one that stole the show at Target Field on Thursday afternoon was made by someone who wasn't even on the playing field.
Stories of the ball boy's catch are already circulating across the Internet -- and it was quite a feat, completed by a man with strong baseball blood lines.
As part of the tarp crew, Paul Neshek's other job is to sit along the third base line during the game, field foul balls and protect the fans.
"I take it seriously," he told FOX 9 News. "I try as hard as I can."
Thankfully, Neshek was on top of his game on Thursday.
"I didn't think I was going to get it and I hit myself on my stool, did a flip and came down pretty hard," he recalled. "I got up and the ball was in my glove."
The jumping catch was so spectacular, it even earned praise from the announcers. Neshek explained he made it with the help of the glove he got in junior high.
"Never leave home without it," he said.
Afterward, Neshek found himself giving autographs to stunned Twins fans.
"That was amazing," said Dave Cappa, a Twins fan who watched it all unfold. "The ball was just smashed, coming this way, everyone cringing. The kid jumps up -- four feet high -- and snags the ball, falls on his back. Amazing catch."
Speaking of cringing, the announcers were quick to note that Neshek may have saved someone from getting hurt in the stands -- and indeed he did.
"I was pretty scared," admitted Ray Schwarz. "I thought it was going to hit me right in the face."
Schwarz said he had just settled back into his seat at the top of the fourth with a cheeseburger and a beer when the ball headed straight for him. Luckily, Neshek sprang into action.
"I have a much greater appreciation for the ball boy for catching that ball," Schwarz said.
Until FOX 9 News showed him cellphone footage, Neshek hadn't yet seen the play.
"It's overwhelming," he said. "I didn't think I got up that high."
The moment certainly marked a high point for Neshek, who has seen his own family members in the spotlight before. Former Twin Pat Neshek is his brother, after all. When asked what it was like to be the focus on game day, Paul Neshek described it as "kind of crazy," and added that he's "very appreciative."
Neshek even impressed the players on the field.
"Pretty impressive," remarked Josh Willingham.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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