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The guy who threw back Strasburg's home run ball

When Bill Corey arrived at Nationals Park and surveyed his seat in the front row of Section 141 in right centerfield, he made an immediate decision. Any Pirates home runs that landed in his possession were going back into the outfield grass.

Well, sure. That's proper baseball etiquette. Easier said than done when you're watching History, though. And Corey got his chance in the fourth inning, when Delwyn Young hit that two-run homer off Stephen Strasburg that ended up in Corey's hands.

The man stood by his word. You can see him above, getting ready to toss the thing back. There was some tumult behind him, and he didn't get a great toss off due to the contact, but he did what he said he would do, and it earned him a loud ovation.

"I'm just letting [Strasburg] know I have his back, as should everyone else here," Corey, 23, told me.

"[Bleepin] team player right there," said Tim Lynch, 21, sitting in the row behind Corey.

"He did the right thing," shouted out another fan from down the aisle, the guy in the red shirt above gesturing for Corey to throw that thing back.

"I thought he should have been the fan of the game," said Kevin West, several rows back.

Security didn't agree. One guard came down and reprimanded Corey, saying that isn't allowed at Nats Park. More guards had a discussion behind, and at least one of them made a "you're out of here" motion during that talk. The fans around Corey protested, and he was allowed to stay.

I called a couple sports memorabilia dealers Wednesday morning, and they said that a home run ball allowed is not typically a big seller. But given the circumstances, and the relative lack of Strasburg merchandise out there, they said there's a market for everything.

So one estimated the ball would be worth $500 to $1,000. Another said it would start at $1,000, and could go significantly higher. A third -- Dan Wulkan from Southern California's Memory Lane Inc., which sold Barry Bonds's 70th home run ball -- said he'd pay $1,000 for it today, and maybe as much as $2,000 or more. CNBC's Darren Rovell wrote about all the memorabilia craziness circling Strasburg already; one of his strikeout balls has been bid up to $1,700, with a week to go in the auction.

"I have no regrets, even after everyone came up and told me how much money I could have got off it," Corey said. "It's not worth the hassle."

The people sitting around him were giddy at what Corey had done. And no one liked this Nats Park rule about not throwing balls back onto the field.

"We've got rabid fans here, let's keep them rabid," one man shouted out.

"It's an American institution," said Dave Huson, also in the row behind Corey. "That's what it is. It's an American tradition. That's what baseball's all about, you throw that [junk] back."

"It was the only respectable move," Dave Yampolsky called out.

"You do whatever you have to do for your team," Lynch concluded. "This guy's a hero. He's a hero."

Corey wasn't calling himself a hero, but he did become one of the many small-print footnotes of a great D.C. sports night. The fans stood with two strikes, they gave Strasburg ovations and chanted his name, and they threw the only home-run ball back onto the grass.

"I said when I first got here and sat down, if I catch a home run from the other team, I'm gonna throw it back, and that's what happened, so I did," Corey told me. "I just wish I could have thrown it further."

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 9, 2010; 1:09 PM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Next: Strasburg haiku winners


Moron. Leave that Cubs sh*t to the cry baby yuppies in Wrigleyville.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 9, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. Sweet Caroline belongs to the Red Sox. Throwing home runs back belongs to the Cubs. DC needs to make some of their own traditions.

Posted by: thurminator | June 9, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

At least watching on TV, what was so awesome was how her threw it back. There was no hesitation, no regard for self, just instantly got it back on the field. Perfect moment. Now, when we start doing this for all our pitchers we will have something. Then again, those seats are usually empty out there.

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | June 9, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

It's not an American institution, idiots. It's a Wrigley institution that other mongoloids have co-opted.

Posted by: beach3 | June 9, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"That's proper baseball etiquette"

That's BS too. Proper baseball etiquette would be to offer it to either Delwyn Young, the Nationals or even MLB. No way I'd be that honorable though. I'd take it up to PNC Park when the Nats are there in September and try and get Young and Strasburg's signature on it - then keep it.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 9, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I regret never having had the chance to throw back a yankee home run more than I regret missing a Cal Ripken home run by a foot.

This guy did what he should have.

Posted by: trousers | June 9, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"That's proper baseball etiquette."

No. It's a cool tradition at Wrigley; everyone else, it's idiots who have no concept of how to behave other than to imitate what they saw on TV somewhere.

Posted by: joebleux | June 9, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Everyone needs to relax. Nat's tradition or not, it took some balls to throw the ball back. Tradition aside, it is the ultimate slap in the face to Pirates fans and players to throw back a ball with that type of historical significance and potential value. Not to mention it brought up the morale of the crowd after Strasburg gave up not only his first bomb but also the lead. Even if it is not a tradition in D.C. it was the right thing to do.

Posted by: AB1231 | June 9, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

So this guy threw back a ball that had touched the hand of Jesus and had touched no other hand before it came to rest in his hand. Even though the ball may have no monetary value at all, how dumb is that?

Posted by: nunof1 | June 9, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

it is the ultimate slap in the face to Pirates fans and players....

I'm sure Pirates fans and players need more slaps in the face.

Posted by: fushezzi | June 9, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Cubs tradition, yes. American institution, no.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 9, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Don't sing Sweet Caroline. Don't Tomahawk Chop. Don't shout "Os" during the anthem. Don't throw homerun balls back into the park. Don't be a clueless idiot who doesn't know where he is.

Posted by: prokaryote | June 9, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Man, there are alot of angry, bitter people on this blog.

Relax everybody.

Posted by: enstage | June 9, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree about Sweet Caroline, Tomahawk Chop, and "O's" but throwing back a home run ball isn't as much connected to the Cubs to me. I've seen people do it across the league and without any knowledge of Wrigley field it makes perfect sense - we don't want this junk here. It's immoral to profit from someone's success against your team.

Posted by: 202character | June 9, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I was watching the game when this guy threw the ball back. I thought it was cool. He didn't throw it at anyone, he just put it back on the field. I don't see what the problem is. It's not like it was a can of beer or something. Jeeze, there are a bunch of tight panty wearing people in this area. It's not that serious. Hats off to the young fella , I would have done the same thing. GREAT GAME all around!

Posted by: ivyleague | June 9, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Nobody said it was "serious"; it's just stupid -- it would be like if Zim hits a home run and everyone breaks out into the tomahawk chop (well, except that that's stupid even in Atlanta)

Posted by: joebleux | June 9, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"Don't shout "Os" during the anthem"....?

I don't know if you all were actually at the game but that is exactly what the 40+ thousand crowd did during the anthem.......

Posted by: AB1231 | June 9, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I believe that many of the negative comments here are from members of the Taliban. You know, those guys in Afghanistan who go around making sure that no one has any fun doing anything, and cut off their hands or worse for violations. I say if a fan decides to throw back a homer from the opposition, then go for it!

Posted by: justmike | June 9, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

My bad take back the last statement I thought you mean "O" in general, not specifically for the O's.

Posted by: AB1231 | June 9, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I catch a HR ball I'm keeping, doesn't matter which team hits it, that is, unless I can sell it for a thousand bucks. I'd jump at that.

Posted by: fmccain | June 9, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

If you shout "O's" during the anthem anywhere than at an Orioles game, you should be beaten with a crowbar.

Throwing back home run balls is lame Cubs tradition, but the notion that someone would be ejected for doing so is even lamer.

Posted by: yatesc1 | June 9, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Nats tradition? The Nats have been around for about a minute and a half. What is this talk about Nats tradition? Personally, when I go to the park again, I'll feel free to sing whatever I want, shout "O" if I choose to shout "O", chop whatever I choose to chop, and dare any of the loudmouthed, message board know-it-alls to stop me.

Posted by: sonny2 | June 9, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

My goal in life is to catch an opposition homer and throw it back in time to nail him on the basepaths.

Posted by: justmike | June 9, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

We could try being original.

Traditions start somewhere; think up one for THIS team instead of jacking others.

Too many 'monkey see, monkey do' folks around here who saw 'Major League' and think that movie is a guide on how EVERY fan should think and act.

Posted by: kahlua87 | June 9, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Too many 'monkey see, monkey do' folks around here who saw 'Major League' and think that movie is a guide on how EVERY fan should think and act.

Posted by: kahlua87 | June 9, 2010 2:51 PM

Whoa, whoa. Let's not go besmirching the holy name of 'Major League' here.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 9, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"Don't sing Sweet Caroline. Don't Tomahawk Chop. Don't shout "Os" during the anthem. Don't throw homerun balls back into the park. Don't be a clueless idiot who doesn't know where he is."

Apparently there are more rules for a Nats game than a Fugazi concert.

Posted by: foosball | June 9, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Usually kids imitate what they see on television like celebrating in the end zone, chest bumps, and all that crap. Here we have an adult doing the same thing.

Posted by: MKadyman | June 9, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Next thing you know, they'll be dissing "Bull Durham." humph. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 9, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

The Nats need a better home-grown tradition if for no other reason than the Nats' fans will get sore arms from all the dingers they throw back over the course of a season.

Posted by: arod69 | June 9, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

AB1231: "I don't know if you all were actually at the game but that is exactly what the 40+ thousand crowd did during the anthem......."

Um, no, not 40,000, about 500 did. Chanting during the national anthem is disrespectful at Camden Yards. It's disgraceful anywhere else. I don't care about the other things, but do not say "Os" during the national anthem. Just don't.

Posted by: joebondi | June 9, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

he throws like a Sally

Posted by: TheDubb | June 9, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Have their memorabilia experts that have come out to say what they estimate that ball would actually be worth? I feel like it's probably less than a lot of people out there are imagining.

Was there a market for Prior's first HR ball? He's probably the best comparison in terms of hype and promise at this stage in his career. This would be at the time of his 1st game - we all know that it would be worthless now.

Posted by: dugly2ugly | June 9, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The guy is a moron, plain and simple. As a collector of sports memorabilia, I'd pay 4 figures for that ball right now as well and I'm sure the big time collectors in a bidding war (Ebay???) would pay upwards of $10,000 --especially since there isn't a lot of Strasburg memorabilia out there.

The Hall of Fame was already requesting stuff from this game, to throw stuff like this away is just pure idiocy.


Posted by: Barno1 | June 9, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Lots of people on this board have it right. Throwing an opposition homerun back on to the field is NOT a baseball tradition: it's a Cubs tradition. In Wrigley, the ball gets tossed back 95%+ of the time - everywhere else you might see it happen once in a while but it's not *mandatory* like it is in Chicago. Rizzo even said that he couldn't recall anyone ever doing it in Nats park before!

It's just another case of people who aren't knowledgable baseball fans co-opting another team's tradition. It's silly and frankly, looks a little pathetic. Same with "Sweet Caroline" and screaming "O" during the anthem. Seriously, you idiots who scream "O" while at a Nats, Wiz, Caps, or Skins game realize that the reason Baltimore fans do it is because they call the Orioles the O's right?

Posted by: jhcarson | June 9, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

That fool who threw the ball back has
is worth!

Posted by: whatyoutalkinboutman | June 9, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"I have no regrets, even after everyone came up and told me how much money I could have got off it," Bill Corey said. "It's not worth the hassle."

Oh yeah, what a hassle. That whole 60 seconds you have to spend posting an ebay auction...definitely not worth that minute of your life. Not for several grand...nah, not worth it.

Posted by: Barno1 | June 9, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Everyone should lighten up on this guy. If he wants to throw back a home run ball it should be his call. No pressure either way.

Posted by: bubbabob59 | June 9, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

It's really pathetic to me that he's being criticized for not wanting to cash in. First, I doubt if it would be worth all that much anyway. Second, he did what he wanted to do- how does that hurt anyone? As the Mastercard commercial says, "doing what makes you happy- priceless!".

Posted by: justmike | June 9, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

People throw HR's back on the field all over the country, not just in Chicago. I think its a fun thing to do as a fan to support the team.

But if you need the money, by all means, keep it and sell it...

Throwing a fan out of the ballpark, however, for tossing a HR ball onto the field is incredibly stupid, short sighted and asinine.

Posted by: jmajka | June 9, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the logic of any of the people quoted in the story. Were these real Nats fans or just people who showed up for the hoopla last night? Throwing the ball back is only a "tradition" in a handful of places and shows poor sportsmanship. The team doesn't benefit from this foolishness and the fans end up showing up the opposition. That's ok at a football arena but not here. What next? Throw batteries at the opposing outfielders like they do in Philly?

Posted by: plptba | June 9, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I like that he threw it back. But .. you got to figure that ball could eventually be worth a great deal, maybe 10-grand plus. Not now, but eventually. First major league dinger off of Strasburg?

But Kudos to Corey, WTG man!

Posted by: boblas | June 9, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Or, in a twist of justmike's comment, do what makes the next guy happy. Just hand the ball to the nearest little kid who brought his mitt to the game, giving him a keepsake to last a lifetime.

Posted by: DC_Native2 | June 9, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I guess the best way to appease these baseball purists is to start throwing a bowl of Ben's Chili on the field for an opponent's home run. I would have thrown the ball back.

Posted by: MMaskul | June 9, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

So....what happened to the ball after it was thrown back?

Posted by: DCNatsFanFromVA | June 9, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Throwing opposing HR balls back on the field is the direct opposite of baseball etiquette and tradition, that only started in recent years with a bunch of drunken bleacher bums at Wrigley Field. Hardly the type who's tradition and etiquette (actually the lack thereof) should be followed. Hats off to the Nats stadium staff to try and keep it classy. This is not Chicago, or Philly. Serves him right that he literalaly tossed away at least $2,000 (A fool and his money...).

Reminds me of the knucklehead in Philly who threw back Brad Wilkerson's HR ball (the first homerun of the 'Nationals' era on Opening Day in 2005). He did that as representives from the HOF were rushing over to his seat to offer him a goldmine of memorabilia (even stuff from his own team).

Posted by: dabagley | June 9, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Isn't allowed? Are these guards just generally that stupid with baseball law?

Posted by: Bious | June 9, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

DC_Native2- That's an Ok idea, except that I don't see any little kids nearby in the photo above.

Posted by: justmike | June 9, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Last I checked, the only Cub tradition they have a monopoly on is choking.

Posted by: boblas | June 9, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

LOL seriously... you would think this board was full of kindergartners.

Posted by: BrownBagIt | June 9, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Nats ushers / security have ejected people for throwing balls back. I saw it happen 2 season ago. Roundly booed, but escorted out nonetheless. Steinz might have even covered it.

New tradition suggestion: Take the ball, cover it in red tape, THEN throw it back.

New tradition suggestion #2: Hand the ball to Teddy, Teddy throw it in the Potomac, Park Service arrests Teddy for "littering".

Posted by: kingrob76 | June 9, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Isn't singing take me out to the ball game a cubs tradition?

my thoughts:
- DO NOT shout 'O' during the anthem in DC, that is an Orioles tradition that should stay in Baltimore
- Throw it back! who cares who started the tradition it is an awesome way to show support for your team.
- Although I wouldn't blame someone for trying to cash in.

Don't hate, just the opinion from a guy who goes to a lot of games.

Posted by: sect104 | June 9, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Is everyone kidding here? This guy did the right thing. He demonstrated integrity and sided with his team over cheap profits.

It does not need to be done on every visiting homer -- that would be copying Cubs fans.

But I respect him for backing Strasburg......and not wanting the HR ball.

Seriously, people are calling him morons?????

DC should have more sports fans like him. The idiots are the ones who left before the game was over.....

Posted by: CF11555 | June 9, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Isn't singing take me out to the ball game a cubs tradition?

Posted by: sect104 | June 9, 2010 6:22 PM

No, the song is over a hundred years old. And was widely sung long before Harry Carey got to Chicago.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 9, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Let's get a few things straight here. Cubs fans are among the greatest of any sport. Don't get jealous, just because they show up in every MLB city, and support their team even when they lose, AND they (WE) can laugh at ourselves. Yuppie?!!! I guess you don't know Chicago. Although it's a northside team, it's still a working class fanbase and a working class city, with a whole lot more humor than some other folks, I see. They write songs about being a Cubs fan and going out to Wrigley, by the way. Managers complain about the jobless deadbeats at day games. We fret about goats and a poor schmuck who just reflexively tried to catch a foul ball. It's a wild ride being a Cubs fan. I'm fine with sharing the excellent tradition of throwing the ball back, here in DC. A few teams can share that. What arses if team management or the junior police at the stadium decide to ban it. And for those who still don't understand the tradition of O at O's games. It's tradition from the flipping city who spilled the blood and WROTE the flipping song. It's not disrespective, it's tradition of place and pride. And while I don't do it outside B'more myself, I'm fine with people doing it at Wiz games, because it has long been regional DC-Balt, and shows that O's fans are out there, AND supporting the Nats and Wiz (from the town that LOST the Wiz TEAM originally). Just another worthless opinion, as many many others here; just like to tweak the unknowing.

Posted by: ragtop4spd | June 9, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

@beach3. "other mongoloids?" What is this, the 1880s? Did I really just read you use a racial epithet that most of America had forgotten?

Used as you use it, "mongoloid" was used by the racists of the early 20th Century to describe (and patronize, abuse, and otherwise vilify) Asian people.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised--after all, it wasn't too long ago that Roger Clemens said, of the 2006 World Baseball Classic: "None of the dry cleaners were open, they were all at the game, Japan and Korea,” Clemens said. “So we couldn’t get any dry cleaning done out there . . . "

Posted by: ouij | June 10, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse

I find it rather amusing how Cub fans, if they're really such great baseball fans, always feel the need to tell everyone what great fans they are and to try to defend themselves (often simply by saying "we're great fans") any time they're criticized. If they were really such wonderful fans, they wouldn't feel so desperate to prove themselves. (I think it would be loads of fun as an opposing fan at Wrigley to throw back a Cubs home run ball.....if you have a black belt in martial arts to defend yourself against the cretins, of course!)

Same principle largely applies to Baltimorons yelling "O." If it were truly an inoffensive local custom, they wouldn't feel the need to become so vitriolic every time people point out that (a) it's disrespectful and (b) it's utterly stupid to yell it at a game in another city when the Orioles aren't playing. It would be like if I, as a UVA alumnus, yelled "Hoos" at the line "Whose broad stripes and bright stars" at a Capitals game. (I suppose the Nationals at least have a prominent UVA connection in Zimmerman. But I outgrew my childish amusement at profaning the National Anthem a long time ago. People who yell "O" remind me of little kids who say curse words simply because their mothers told them not to do it.) As for "ragtop4spd"'s assertion about Baltimore "spilling blood," how many of those "O" yellers were involved in the War of 1812?

Posted by: 1995hoo | June 10, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm a Cubs fan and I don't think we are necessarily better than others, 1995hoo. Nice strawman argument though.

I also think it was cool that he threw the ball back. But, man, the people on this comment section really know how to get riled about nothing.

Posted by: BlahBlahBlah314 | June 10, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Where did I say that Cub fans "think [they] are necessarily better than others"? Take your time. I don't think you'll find any such statement anywhere in my comment.

Posted by: 1995hoo | June 10, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"Rizzo even said that he couldn't recall anyone ever doing it in Nats park before!"

I guess Rizzo hasn't been to many games when the Phillies are in town. Have seen Philly fans throw back Nats' HRs on more than one occasion. Nice to have the hometown crowd doing it for a change, regardless of stupid it may be.

Posted by: teamohall | June 10, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

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