$700M Catch: Dodgers Batboy Catches Foul Ball, Saves Ohtani From Injury

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a superstar in Shohei Ohtani, who signed for a record 10-year, $700 million deal in December 2023. But the team’s real hero on Wednesday June 27th was its batboy, Javier Herrera.

Herrera, 38, who has been with the Dodgers for 20 years, made a barehanded catch in the dugout to prevent a foul ball from crashing into Ohtani’s face.

This impressive feat, now dubbed the “$700 million catch,” underscores the critical, albeit often overlooked, role that support staff play in Major League Baseball (MLB).

Herrera’s remarkable presence of mind and agility, intercepted the ball mid-air, is very impressive.

This incident not only highlights Herrera’s swift reaction but also his adept skill set, drawing widespread praise and admiration. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts lauded the batboy’s reflexes, noting, “Javier’s catch was nothing short of miraculous. He showed the kind of quick thinking and athleticism that you would expect from a professional player.”

Herrera’s heroic act resonated deeply within the baseball community and among fans. Sunny Skyz reported that the video of the catch quickly went viral, amassing millions of views and garnering accolades from across the globe. One commenter noted, “It’s rare to see such a spectacular catch from anyone, let alone a batboy. This moment will be remembered for a long time.”

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While the immediate focus was on the thrilling catch, the broader implications for player safety cannot be overstated. Foul balls can reach speeds exceeding 100 mph, posing significant risks to players, coaches, and even spectators.

The protective netting installed in many ballparks has mitigated some of these dangers, but the incident involving Ohtani underscores that vigilance and quick reflexes remain essential components of ensuring safety on the field.

Ohtani, a dual-threat player known for his exceptional pitching and batting skills, expressed his gratitude following the game. “I’m very thankful to Javier for his quick reaction. It could have been a serious injury, but he saved me,” he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

The reactions from Herrera, Ohtani and interpreter Will Ireton were just as good as the catch, Sports Illustrated reported. Herrera looks back at the two-time American League MVP before casually tossing the baseball to a fan, according to the magazine. Ireton, meanwhile, stares in open-mouthed amazement.

The remarkable event also draws attention to the unsung heroes of baseball—the batboys, batgirls, and other support staff who contribute to the seamless operation of games. Often overshadowed by the star athletes they support, these individuals perform vital tasks that go beyond merely retrieving bats and balls. They maintain equipment, ensure players have what they need, and sometimes, as Herrera demonstrated, they protect the players themselves.

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The narrative of Herrera’s catch also serves as a counterpoint to the progressive inclination to undervalue traditional roles and the individuals who occupy them. By stepping up in a critical moment, Herrera affirmed the significance of each person’s contribution within the established framework of baseball.

In the aftermath, there has been some discussion about whether this moment could impact the Dodgers’ approach to their support staff. Enhancing training programs for batboys and similar roles might be a prudent step to ensure they are well-prepared for any eventuality on the field.

Moreover, this event has prompted further reflection on the inherent risks of the game. While measures like extended netting are essential, the human element—embodied by Herrera’s quick reflexes and situational awareness—remains irreplaceable.

In recognizing Herrera’s outstanding contribution, the Dodgers organization and fans alike are reminded that every role within a team holds potential for greatness. The $700 million catch is not just a testament to one batboy’s heroics, but a powerful illustration of the essential, interconnected roles that make up America’s pastime.

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