June 17, 2004
Nick O'Brien followup

You've all heard of the Nick O'Brien story by now - indeed, more than 300 Googlers dropped by yesterday looking for news of the four-year-old baseball fan. Well, it turns out that he's going to get that baseball after all, as the fan who shoved him out of the way has publicly apologized for his actions. Good for him.

Now then. Before I quote from today's story, I want you to take a guess what Matt Starr, the fan in question, does in his spare time. Ready?

The Texas Rangers' most maligned fan, who belly-flopped over a 4-year-old to shag a foul ball Sunday afternoon, promised Wednesday to mail the poisoned prize, a letter of apology and an undisclosed number of game tickets to the Plano family on the receiving end of his enthusiasm.

"He doesn't want any more publicity about this," said Gregg Elkin, spokesman for the baseball team. "He's hoping this will bring some sort of closure."

Mr. Starr notified the Rangers of his goodwill gesture Wednesday, and a representative for the team contacted the O'Brien family young Nick and his parents, Jeff and Edie in New York City, where they were on deck for a possible morning appearance on Good Morning America.

Mr. Starr's refusal to give Nick the ball drew blistering commentary Sunday from Rangers TV announcer Tom Grieve and national attention afterward. On Wednesday, friends continued to defend Mr. Starr, a Sachse resident.

"I've known Matt for seven or eight years, and he is without exception the greatest baseball fan that I know. He could tell you anything about baseball," said Hadley Baker of Garland, who added that he and Mr. Starr ministered to children at Sachse Assembly of God. "Kids were our whole lives."

He said Mr. Starr had retreated from what he called the media's hyped and hysterical coverage.

"They're just making way too much out of it," Mr. Baker said. "It's completely ludicrous. They need someone to stand up for him."

One of Mr. Starr's neighbors, Kendra Stout, said she was upset by what her children watched an adult neighbor do on national television.

"Any adult with the right mind would have handed [the ball] over," Ms. Stout said. "He's probably learned a sad lesson."

You know, call me crazy, but I'd think that one of the first things they'd teach you in Youth Minister School is to not knock over four-year-olds in pursuit of material gain. But maybe I'm wrong.

OK, I'm done with Mr. Starr. He's apologized, and the odds are pretty good that he'll have to live with this for a long time. Enough is enough, so let's move on.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 17, 2004 to Baseball | TrackBack

Youth minister, huh? Well, that clears up one mystery I've been pondering for a while. I've been trying to figure out where this massive sense of entitlement that seems to permeate the generations of people under the age of 20 or so came from. But knowing this guy, who sat back with such a pompous look on his face and looked so pleased with himself at having bested a 4 year old, is someone who serves as a role model for children helped clear part of that up.

My cynical guess: I think the guy is hoping that by apologizing and playing the good guy, he'll get in on some of the free swag the kid's gotten in on. Fat chance.

Posted by: Amy on June 17, 2004 10:41 AM