Barnett’s throw goes distance online
If you watched ESPN’s SportsCenter or viewed USA Today’s webpage last week, chances are you saw one of Cameron’s own captured in the national spotlight.
On Sept. 20, Cameron Baseball’s Assistant Coach Josh Barnett became an Internet sensation after he threw a homerun ball back that reached the infield at a Chicago Cub’s game he attended at Wrigley Field.
It is a Cub’s tradition for fans to throw back the opposing teams’ homerun balls. Barnett said that it is typical for the broadcasters to play clips of fans throwing back the homeruns, but he did not think it would capture the amount of media attention that it did.
“I thought it might get shown on TV during the game, but I didn’t think it was going to be on Sports Center, ESPN, USA Today; blowing up all over YouTube, Facebook and Vines,” Barnett said. “It’s gotten a little crazy. I didn’t expect it to be that big of a deal.”
While it’s commonplace to see the replays, the distance of Barnett’s throw is what caught the attention of the Fox Sports announcers during the game. During a Cub’s visit to the mound, Fox replayed Barnett’s lob to the infield with the announcers suggesting that he could play center field for the Phillies.
By attending the game last weekend, Barnett said he got to cross off an item on his bucket list.
Barnett attended the game with two of his friends who wanted him to go for years, but he was unable to join them until this year. They purchased their tickets back in January and had to wait nine months to make the trek to Chicago.
Once the date of the game finally arrived, Barnett showed up two hours early to the stadium in order to get the first-come, first-serve bleacher seats, running to capture a spot above left center. He said he remembers telling the guys that if he catches a ball, he will try to throw it as far as he can.
In the top of the third inning, Barnett got his chance. Los Angeles Dodgers Adrian Gonzalez homered a fly ball to left center field that sailed over Barnett.
“I saw it coming right at me, and I got excited,” Barnett said. “It went right over my head. A guy attempted to catch it, and it hit his hands and bounced right in front of me in the rows behind mine. I dove between the guys’ legs and reached through and got it.
“I tried to get to the back step because it’s a little bigger and I’d have a better base to throw it in, but it was too crowded though, so I made the guys move out of the way so I could rear back and throw it as hard as I could.
“It was a dream come true, and I got to throw a ball back at Wrigley which I don’t think a whole lot of people get to do that and now with all the publicity it’s gotten, it’s been crazy.”
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