Padres fan catches foul ball in the middle of chewing his food

As a fan at a ballpark, you take your food into your own hands if you’re sitting in certain sections. If a ball flies toward you, be prepared to catch the ball or use your food to catch it — and then wear the food all over you for the rest of the night.

One San Diego Padres fan understood that bargain when he sat in the Petco Park stands for Thursday’s Padres-St. Louis Cardinals game. A ball came his way and he managed to catch it, save his food, and even impress his lady friend.

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It was the bottom of the first inning, and the Padres had loaded the bases against the Cardinals. Erick Aybar was at the plate, and he took a mighty hack at the 1-2 pitch and fouled it back toward the stands on the third base side. It was a sky-high foul ball, and it as it came down it was on top of a guy trying to enjoy a plate of delicious ballpark food. Thankfully he wasn’t too absorbed in his meal to notice it. And instead of sacrificing his food (and his shirt) and putting his tray out to catch it, he confidently put his bare hand in the air and snatched the ball right up like a food-saving hero.

This Padres fan saved his food (and his clothes) with a head-up bare-handed catch in the stands. (MLB.com)

That the guy made this catch in the bottom of the first inning is pretty impressive. Fans are still filing in and finding their seats and generally just starting to get into the rhythm of the game. It’s early for such a heads-up moment. And even more impressive: this guy was eating when the ball came toward him! He had an actual mouthful of food he was still chewing when he stood up and made the catch! You can see it at the start of this great gif from MLB’s Cut4.

But the hands-down best part is the reaction of this guy’s significant other. She got up when the ball came toward them, and when he caught it she was REALLY INTO IT. She raised her fist and shouted with pride, and even rewarded him with a kiss.

And she had every reason to be super proud — that was a truly excellent (and food-saving) catch.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher