Fan gives walk-off ball back to A.J. PollockPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- The story of A.J. Pollock's first career walk-off home run - and the fan who caught it - didn't end when the center fielder touched home plate or the fan left the stadium on Monday night.
Pollock crushed a first pitch fastball from San Diego Padres pitcher Kevin Quackenbush over the Chase Field batters' eye to give the D-backs a 7-5 win. D-backs fan Gary Mandile was sitting with his grandchildren in center field and caught the ball.
This wasn't the first ball Mandile gave away. During the game, Pollock had thrown a ball to Mandile and his grandchildren, but Mandile decided to pass the ball off to some younger fans in the area.
Mandile said he wanted to return the home run ball when he found out it was Pollock's first walk-off. Mandile contacted the team to give the ball back, but Pollock and the team gave plenty back to Mandile too.
The D-backs let Mandile and his entire family on the field for batting practice on Thursday, the first of a number of gestures made by the team. While there, Mandile and Pollock posed for photos with the game-winning baseball.
Pollock autographed everything from hats to gloves for Mandile's family, but the biggest prize went to the man who caught the ball. Pollock sent Mandile home with an autographed bat.
"I figured if you're a fan, trading a ball for a bat would be a thing I would've done when I was younger or watching as a fan," Pollock said. "So I figured it was a pretty fair trade, hopefully he thinks so too."
In the 4 games since the walk-off, Pollock has 8 hits.