Foul Ball, Unfair Play, Happy Ending
Sometimes nice guys do finish first, a Texas kid has discovered.
Nick O'Brien, 4, was at a Texas Rangers (search) baseball game with his parents Sunday night when a foul ball hit by right fielder Gary Matthews Jr. landed at his feet.
Before Nick could reach down to pick it up, a grown man leaped in front of him, pinned Nick to the seat and grabbed the ball.
"I couldn't believe someone would do something like that to a 4-year-old boy," Nick's mother, Edie O'Brien, told the Dallas Morning News. "He wasn't friendly."
Edie O'Brien swatted the man with a cardboard fan and called him a jerk, among other names.
"I said, 'You trampled a 4-year-old boy to get this ball,' and he said, 'Oh, well,'" she told "Good Morning America" Wednesday, adding that the man seemed proud of himself.
Thousands of people saw what happened on Ameriquest Field's (search) giant video screens, and a chant of "Give him the ball!" started up. Rangers announcer Tom Grieve called the man "the biggest jerk in this park."
But the miscreant, identified Wednesday by the Dallas Morning News as 28-year-old Matt Starr of the Dallas suburb of Sachse, wouldn't give up the ball and soon left the stadium to a chorus of boos.
That's when the Rangers and the visiting team, the St. Louis Cardinals (search), stepped in.
St. Louis outfielder Reggie Sanders called Nick and his mother down to the rail between innings and gave them a bat and a ball.
"In my heart, I thought I should do something," said Sanders. "You gotta remember, it's all about the kids."
The Rangers gave Nick a bat from outfielder Kevin Mench, as well as a ball signed by Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan (search). By the time the O'Briens left the stadium, Nick had gotten two more balls.
The next morning, Nick's father Jeff heard the incident recounted on the radio. The answering machine at the family's home in Plano filled up with messages from TV stations.
On Wednesday, the three flew to New York for the "Good Morning America" appearance. Host Charles Gibson gave Nick a New York Mets gift bag and the family tickets for the Mets' game against the Cleveland Indians.
As for Starr, the man who apparently took the ball, he at first said nothing publicly. His pastor described the married landscaper and former youth minister as "not the bad guy he's been made out to be."
"He probably got a little aggressive and did something he regrets," Rick DuBose of the Sachse Assembly of God Church told the Dallas Morning News. "But that's not Matt. He's a good kid, a good young man."
By Wednesday night, the public pressure had apparently gotten to Starr.
Word reached the O'Brien family that the ball-hog had contacted the Rangers and vowed to mail Nick the ball — along with a letter of apology and an undisclosed number of tickets to future games, according to the Dallas Morning News.
"He doesn't want any more publicity about this," said Rangers spokesman Gregg Elkin. "He's hoping this will bring some sort of closure."
— Thanks to Out There reader Melissa S.
Nine Million Flee Scene of Truck Crash
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A tractor-trailer overturned on a curve on a highway, spilling its load of hundreds of bee hives and unleashing some nine million angry honey bees.
The bees buzzed furiously as driver Lane Miller, his arm scraped to the bone, struggled to flee his rig after it overturned Monday in Bear Trap Canyon (search) west of Bozeman. The truck slid across the highway before coming to a stop between guardrails.
"I had to kick the windshield out of the front of the cab and the bees were on me from that moment," said Miller, 41. "I've never felt so much fear in my life."
Miller walked away from the crash, and two people picked him up and took him to the hospital. Miller underwent surgery on his arm and suffered bruises and about 20 stings.
The state road was closed for 14 hours as crews and beekeepers cleaned up the 512 hives Miller was hauling from Idaho to North Dakota.
In spite of bee suits and extra clothing, beekeeper Gary Clark said he counted about 60 stings of his own.
"Everybody had literally thousands of bees on them, in their hats and on their suits," Clark said. "When we pulled the boxes out, big globs of them would fall on us."
Firefighters directing traffic also suffered stings.
"The bees were so agitated you could barely see the beekeepers or the wreckage itself, just because of the cloud of bees that were swarming," said fire chief Shawn Christiansen.
It wasn't until 3 a.m. Tuesday that a tow truck got in to haul out the tractor-trailer, leaving behind pools of honey from the overturned hives.
State Transportation Department employees dropped sand on the road to soak up the sticky mess.
— Thanks to Out There reader Don W.
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho man has been charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly throwing a rattlesnake into a crowded bar.
Police say he walked into an Idaho Falls bar on Monday, pulled a 3½-foot-long rattler from his pocket and threw it into a crowd.
Bar patrons used a crutch to sweep the angry snake to a cleared area, and then wrapped a T-shirt around its head before picking it up and dropping it into a bucket. No one was hurt.
If convicted, the man could face up to five years in prison.
— Thanks to Out There reader Roxana L.
Double-Decker Bus Suddenly Becomes Convertible
NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario (AP) — At least 15 tourists from Japan were injured Tuesday when the roof of their double-decker bus was sheared off by a bridge.
The bus was trying to cross the lower deck of the two-level Whirlpool Rapids Bridge linking Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, N.Y.
"The bus was too tall for the bridge," said Sgt. Jim Moody of the Niagara Regional Police Service (search).
The bus was carrying 29 Japanese tourists. Fifteen were taken to a hospital, and several were treated at the scene, Niagara Parks Police said. None of the injuries was said to be serious, police said.
The bus belonged to Double Deck Tours Limited, based in Niagara Falls, Ontario. A telephone message left for the owner was not immediately returned.
Cars and buses use the lower level of the bridge while trains cross the top tier. The bridge was not damaged and remained open to traffic.
Runner Breaks Record Getting Nowhere
OXFORD, Ohio (AP) — Watching Brian Godsey run is like watching a DVD in reverse.
The 23-year-old claims to have set a world record in the 800-meter run — doing it backward.
Two coaches at Miami University (search) in Oxford, Ohio, timed Godsey.
He was clocked at about two minutes, 50 seconds.
According to the Book of Alternative Records, that breaks the record set in Italy nine years ago.
Godsey says he runs backward to help prevent injuries.
He graduated from Miami University last December and spent four years on the school's cross country and track teams.
Guilty Conscience Takes Man to Jail
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Honesty may be the best policy. But for one alleged thief, it became the quickest way to jail.
Police say Peter Shelley, 24, punched a convenience-store clerk and stole a pack of cigarettes June 6 after he refused to show the clerk his identification.
But last Saturday, police say Shelley returned to the gas station and apologized to the clerk — twice.
The clerk called police, who caught Shelley in his car near the gas station and arrested him.
Shelley was arrested and faces felony strong-armed robbery charges.
Compiled by Foxnews.com's Paul Wagenseil.
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