ATLANTA -- A fan's poor judgment on Wednesday got him kicked out of a game at SunTrust Park. But it's the security guard's actions that have some crying foul.
It all happened during the Pittsburgh Pirates' 12-5 win over the Atlanta Braves. But video shows there were no winners in what happened next.
The video shows the Braves' Rio Ruiz hitting a ball down the right field line. A fan dives down to scoop the ball up and immediately realizes, as security jumps the barrier, that he has done something wrong. The call was fan interference and he was escorted out of the stands.
Just moments before this, however, he hands the ball to a small boy who jumps up and down with excitement. But that moment would be short-lived. The security guard turns around and snatches the not-so-foul ball out of the child's hands.
The ousted fan can be seen pleading with the security guard to let the child have the ball but he appears to be unsuccessful. Even the commentators are heard on the video joining with the fan.
"Have some common sense there, fella, give the ball back to the young man," one announcer says on-air. "Give the ball back to the kid. He's not the one that messed up."
A Braves spokesperson told 11Alive news the team later gave the child a ball signed by Freddie Freeman. The man, identified as the mother's boyfriend, was eventually brought back to the seats and was allowed to stay for the rest of the game. The family has been invited back for the boy's birthday.
James Boles, an attorney for the fan who gave the ball to the boy, Chet Zoeller, issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying,
My office has been retained to represent Mr. Chet Zoeller in relation to the incident that occurred involving a Sun Trust Park security guard at the Braves games on May 24, 2017. Mr. Zoeller made every effort to be compliant with Sun Trust security throughout the incident. Despite his efforts a souvenir was taken from a small child and unnecessary force was used against Mr. Zoeller by a Sun Trust security official. Contrary to statements issued on behalf of the Atlanta Braves, Mr. Zoeller is very disappointed by the lack of response from the Braves organization and will continue to seek an appropriate remedy.