By now, pretty much everyone has heard the story: At the Rangers game on Sunday versus the Cardinals, a grown man jumped across a 4-year-old boy’s seat to get a foul ball, unapologetically nearly knocking the boy down not once but twice in his blind zeal to retrieve his in-game trophy. But in a move that shows that the cosmos does have a sense of fair play, the tot ended up being showered with gifts (balls, bats, you name it) from both the Rangers and Cardinals players. The (at the time) unnamed jerk got the crap booed out of him as he left the park about halfway through the game.
Well, the jerk has a name, and that name is Matt Starr. But reminiscent of seemingly every interview with the neighbor of a serial killer (“He was such a nice, quiet young man. I never would have suspected…”), poor ol’ Matt doesn’t deserve the unending grief he’s been subjected to since the incident:
Starr is “not the bad guy he’s been made out to be,” said Rick DuBose, senior pastor of the Sachse Assembly of God Church. “He probably got a little aggressive and did something he regrets. But that’s not Matt. He’s a good kid, a good young man.”
Now let’s review the facts as they stand right now: He practically knocked down a 4-year-old kid. To get a foul ball. Hit by Gary Matthews, Jr. (who may be a fine player in his own right, but we’re not talking Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds here). And to top it all off, he had the gall to mouth off at the boy’s mom when she disapproved of his actions. But he’s not a bad guy?
At one time, maybe he was a “good kid”. At one time, maybe he was a “good young man”. But actions speak louder than words, and his actions show that for all that he was, right now he is a big ass.
Congratulations, Matt Starr. Display that ball with pride.
Follow-up (Jun 17, 2004): Starr has [belatedly] offered to give up the foul ball and make restitution of sorts to the boy and his family. A noble offer, though he essentially had to be guilted into it. He could have spared himself a whole lot of grief and scrutiny if he’d just done the right thing the first time around…