Angels catcher Jeff Mathis, who drew the start in Game 2 over Game 1 starter Mike Napoli, said he had to tip his cap to 17-year-old Danny Vinik, the Red Sox fan who beat out Mathis for a Manny Ramirez foul pop-up into the stands that had the dual effect of extending Kelvim Escobar’s night by keeping alive Ramirez’s at-bat in the fifth inning.
“The kid made a good play,” Mathis said.
It was even witnessed by none other than famed author Stephen King, a devout Sox fan, who was seated in the row right behind Vinik
Asked if Ramirez should have been called out due to fan interference, Mathis said, “I wouldn’t say all that, you know? Like I said, I don’t remember it all that well. I know I just had a chance to make the play and it didn’t happen.”
Was it a matter of the Sox enjoying home-field advantage at Fenway Park? “That’s what they’re supposed to do; those guys are good fans and they’re always paying attention,” Mathis said. “The kid made a great play.”
While Ramirez’s walk-off homer in the ninth minimized the impact of that semi-controversial play, it did prevent Ramirez from making the second out of the fifth inning.
Mike Lowell came up next and hit a towering sacrifice fly to center that scored Dustin Pedroia with a tying run that made it 3-3. Had Mathis made the catch, Lowell’s fly ball would have been the third out to end the inning. “You can look at it that way; you can look at it many ways,” Mathis said. “It was an out that we needed in that situation.”
One that was thwarted by Danny Vinik’s sure-handed catch of Ramirez’s foul ball.